Partner Spotlight: D1 Knoxville

Adam Kerr sitting on a weight bench smiling in fitness attire

One of the best things about the Survivor Fitness program is that we partner with fitness trainers who are all specialists in their field.

These trainers also have a deep understanding of the power of movement and the effect fitness can have on mental and emotional well-being. They have a strong desire to help others, and they use their extensive expertise to create personal, customized training programs for cancer survivors after difficult, painful, and exhausting treatments and surgeries.

Andrew Kerr, a fitness coach and personal trainer at D1 Training Hardin Valley in Knoxville, is a perfect example of a trainer who works with Survivor Fitness. He’s been helping individuals reach their fitness goals for years, and he understands the unique challenges that cancer survivors face.

This year, Devin Driscoll, the owner of D1 Training in Knoxville, joined the Survivor Fitness board, and he tapped Andrew to help run the program at their location. Andrew immediately jumped at the opportunity, and he’s now responsible for helping new participants connect with coaches at D1 Knoxville.

“When Devin came to me about running the program—and with the good I knew it would do—there was no way I was turning it down,” Andrew said. “While I love getting the chance to work with athletes, I knew the opportunity that Survivor Fitness created is something that truly makes an immediate impact on those in the community.”

Andrew’s passion for helping cancer survivors is also driven by a personal connection to the disease. Earlier this year, his dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, and Andrew saw firsthand the devastating effects that both the illness and its treatment can have on a person’s physical and mental health. That experience made him even more determined to help others affected by cancer.

“We all know someone who has had cancer. It affects every single person who has any attachment at all to the person diagnosed. I and the other trainers want to use what we know to hopefully help others to live longer and healthier lives.” 

From Chemo to Cones: Inspiring Stories from Participants

As a personal trainer, Andrew has seen firsthand the positive impact that physical fitness can have on anyone’s mental and emotional health. He is continually inspired to see this transformation happen in Survivor Fitness participants.

“My favorite part is knowing that after the first few weeks, they are going to start enjoying what we are doing and how they feel,” Andrew said. “It’s like clockwork. They come in after two to three weeks, and the soreness goes away while the motivation kicks in. It’s a joy to watch.”

One particularly memorable Survivor Fitness participant for Andrew was Brenda. Brenda started the program when she was 88 years old and had just finished her chemo. She was also a senior league tennis champion who was determined to continue playing.

“Watching her train and run cones at her age with the motivation and energy she did was inspiring, to say the least,” Andrew said.

Advice for Survivors: Embracing Small Milestones 

D1 Knoxville has already worked with around ten cancer survivors, and they are eager to increase that number in the years to come. 

“Exercise is such an important feature of healing, and we want as many people as possible to have access to that,” Andrew said.

Andrew and his team are passionate about helping cancer survivors recognize and celebrate the small milestones that make a big difference to their overall health and wellness. The team at D1 understands that cancer affects the body in many different ways, so they encourage participants to start slowly and be patient with themselves.

“It’s not about how much you lift—it’s about how you lift it,” Andrew said. “I like to use things that relate to daily life. If you can get up and down easier, if you can take a walk and not be exhausted, if you can do yard work and just enjoy being outside… those are the things that matter after fighting for your life.”

Andrew’s experiences with the program have led him to be an advocate for Survivor Fitness in the Knoxville area. He encourages people who are considering the program to take the plunge and go for it. 

“My grandmother always used to say, ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it,'” Andrew said. “As the son of a cancer survivor, I want him around for as long as possible, so give yourself every tool available to continue the fight.”

Join the Survivor Fitness Community

Andrew’s passion for Survivor Fitness is evident in his dedication to helping participants achieve their goals. He is a valuable partner, and we are grateful for his support.
If you are a personal trainer or fitness center that is interested in helping cancer survivors after treatment, please contact our team to learn how to become a part of the Survivor Fitness network.

If you are a cancer survivor looking to regain your strength after treatment, we invite you to learn more about our program or submit an application today!

A Wholesome Holiday Season: 25 Positive Affirmations for Health and Wellness

A closeup on hands writing in a journal with a cup of coffee.

The holidays are a time for joy, celebration, and spending time with loved ones. However, they can also be a time of stress, anxiety, and overindulgence. As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to take care of our overall health and wellness, both physically and mentally.

One way to do this is to practice positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are simple, positive statements that we repeat to ourselves to boost our self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. They can help us overcome negative thoughts and beliefs and create a more positive mindset.

The Science Behind Positive Affirmations

Social psychologists have been doing research on the self-affirmation theory for more than 40 years. Many people rely on positive affirmations when they’re feeling down, and researchers have found that they can improve an individual’s life in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the benefits of positive affirmations that have been studied and found to have an effect: 

  • Self-affirmation promotes healthy behavior changes. (Source
  • Positive affirmation was effective in eliminating the deleterious effects of chronic stress on problem-solving performance. (Source
  • Affirmations can make us more likely to dismiss harmful health messages, responding instead with the intention to change for the better. (Source)  
  • Positive affirmations can deliver long-term benefits by creating a positive feedback loop between the self and an individual’s ability to adapt over time. (Source

A Holistic Approach to Positive Affirmations 

At Survivor Fitness, we’ve seen the transformative power of positive affirmations on overall health and well-being. Many of our participants have used them to thrive on their post-treatment journeys. But positive affirmations are also beneficial for family members and friends seeking to enhance their overall wellness.

We also recognize the importance of a holistic approach to wellness, as the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our lives are inextricably linked. Research has shown that our emotions have a profound impact on our mental well-being, and these effects can even manifest physically. Incorporating positive affirmations into various aspects of our lives is one more step we can take to support ourselves during difficult times. 

Below, we’ve curated a selection of our favorite positive affirmations for health and well-being. You may choose to incorporate one from each category into creating your morning routine or choose a specific affirmation to focus on as you embark on the holiday season to nurture your body, mind, and spirit.

Positive Affirmations for Physical Health

  1. My physical health and well-being are a journey, not a destination.
  2. Movement is a celebration of what my body can achieve.
  3. I love and appreciate my body at every stage.
  4. My body deserves the best care and attention.
  5. I am strong, capable, and resilient.

Positive Affirmations for Daily Nutrition

  1. Every meal is an opportunity to fuel my wellness journey.
  2. I am conscious of what I eat and drink.
  3. Healthy eating is a gift I give myself daily.
  4. I make choices that honor and respect my body.
  5. I am deserving of the best nutrition.

Positive Affirmation for Mental Wellness

  1. I deserve breaks, relaxation, and rest.
  2. I prioritize my mental health because I am worth it.
  3. Challenges shape me, but they don’t define me.
  4. Today is a fresh start, a new chance to thrive.
  5. I am safe and loved. 

Positive Affirmations for Emotional Health 

  1. My emotional healing is important, and I allow myself time to process it.
  2. I am in control of my emotions.
  3. My heart is open to giving and receiving love.
  4. I have compassion for my fears. They are just one part of my complex self.
  5. I choose to see the beauty and strength in myself and others.

Positive Affirmations for Holistic Wellness 

  1. I am committed to my own growth and healing — physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  2. My self-worth is not dependent on external validation or approval.
  3. I focus on what I can control in my life and let go of the rest.
  4. I am confident in my ability to overcome challenges and emerge stronger and wiser.
  5. I am grateful for all the blessings in my life, big and small.

Live a Wholesome Life 

It’s important to remember that positive affirmations are not a magic bullet. But they can be a powerful tool for improving your overall health and well-being, especially during the holiday season.

That’s something Survivor Fitness participants know very well. If you’re looking for more motivational support and inspiring stories from cancer survivors, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Survivor Fitness works with cancer survivors to help them regain their health and stay motivated on the journey through one-on-one personal training and nutritional support. We walk alongside you to progress your post-treatment recovery, empowering you to take control of your healing journey. Connect with us today to learn more!

Participant Spotlight: Malicia Wilson

Malicia Wilson standing on the 20 yard line of an indoor athletic facility holding a weight over her head.

For Malicia Wilson, her family’s history of cancer made her vigilant about checking for signs of this disease. She lost her younger sister to breast cancer when she was 50 years old. This inspired her to be diligent about going every six months for checkups and mammograms or breast MRIs. 

On Thanksgiving Day 2021, she noticed a lump during her routine self-exams. The following week, she had an ultrasound that detected cancer in three different places. After an initial lumpectomy, Malicia decided to have a total mastectomy, which went deeper into the chest wall to remove any potential cancer on the margins. A few months later, in June of 2022, she had reconstruction surgery. 

After being unable to do much physically for 6-8 months, Malicia experienced everything from changes to her body to her mood from not having hormones.  

“Needless to say, my chest muscles were so weak,” Malicia said. “I wanted to feel better and learn new ways of moving.”

Finding Hope for the Future

Malicia joined Survivor Fitness at the beginning of 2023—eager to work with a personal trainer who could help her identify routines to increase her strength. Her son, who works in the medical field, introduced his mother to the program after he learned about it through a friend who worked as a trainer.  

Malicia was paired with  Micah McKee at Chadwick’s Fitness in Franklin, TN. Like most participants, Malicia recognized the value in learning how to start where you are and continuing to show up every single session. She improved so much that she was selected as Chadwick’s Client of the Month due to improving her strength scores. 

After 12 weeks, the program helped reverse some of the physical changes from treatment. But more than that, it gave her hope for the future. 

“Hope was the biggest blessing,” she said. “It made such a difference to know I could still work hard and have a body that would respond.”

Celebrating New Family Milestones

Today, Malicia feels much more comfortable with her body. She maintains an active lifestyle by working out regularly.

Malicia recognizes how much that impacts her overall self-esteem and ability to enjoy life’s most meaningful moments again, especially when celebrating with family. Earlier this year, Malicia welcomed her first grandchild—a beautiful baby girl—into the family. She also celebrated her son’s wedding in Portland, Maine, a few weeks ago. These milestone moments mean so much more to her now as a healthy and thriving cancer survivor.  

She credits Survivor Fitness for helping her regain strength, teaching her new ways to work out, and giving her the personal courage to do so.

“I am amazed at all the people who are out there to help—who give their time and talents, and I am eternally grateful,” she shared. “This program definitely contributed to where I am today as a Survivor!”