Finding the Motivation to Exercise After Cancer Treatment

girl stretching on a yoga mat

The journey after cancer treatment is filled with both immense relief and new challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is finding the motivation to exercise again. The fatigue that lingers after treatment can make the idea of a workout seem daunting. And weight gain or loss, another common side effect of treatment, can add another layer of self-consciousness. Let’s face it: even the mental and emotional toll of cancer treatment can make mustering the energy to exercise feel nearly impossible.

But here’s the good news: you’re not alone. Countless cancer survivors have encountered this same challenge, and many have found their way back to a healthier, happier, and more active life through exercise. At Survivor Fitness, we see the transformative power of movement firsthand, and we want to share some encouragement and practical tips from our program participants to help you find your own motivation.

Here are some insights from fellow survivors to help you reignite your spark and get moving again:


1. Start Small and Celebrate Every Win

Don’t try to jump back into your pre-cancer routine overnight. Begin with short, manageable, gentle exercise routines that you can feel good about accomplishing. A 10-minute walk, gentle yoga stretches, or a light swim session are all excellent starting points. Remember that progress—not perfection—is the goal. Celebrate each small victory, and watch your confidence and motivation grow.

As participant Amy McConkey shared, “I had to remind myself of the steps I’ve already taken that helped me get through the anxiety on my first day of workouts. I knew I had to get outside of my comfort zone to reach a new and better health and fitness level.”

2. Find Your Mantra

Sometimes, a simple encouraging phrase can be a powerful motivator. Choose a mantra that resonates with you, like “One step at a time” or “Stronger every day.” Repeat it to yourself during your workouts or even throughout the day as a reminder of your commitment to your health.

After sharing about her journey after cancer, Survivor Fitness participant Malicia Wilson described this principle perfectly when she said, “Hope was the biggest blessing. It made such a difference to know I could still work hard and have a body that would respond.”

3. Make it a Commitment (and Find an Accountability Partner)

Treat exercise like any other important appointment in your day. Schedule it in your calendar, set reminders, and show up for yourself.  Finding an accountability partner, like a friend or family member who can join you for walks or workouts, can make a big difference. Share your goals and support each other on your journeys.

Survivor Fitness participant Lynette Valentine started the program after a severe battle with breast cancer. The accountability and support she received from her tribe made a tremendous difference in her finding the motivation to exercise again. “Lean in on those who love you, and vent when needed. Get it all out and then move forward… There’s a community of survivors that will support you, even if it’s just a high five at the gym. It’s encouraging and healthy.”

4. Focus on How You Feel, Not How You Look 

Shift your focus from aesthetics to the positive physical and mental benefits of exercise. Notice how you feel after a workout—the increased energy, improved mood, and a greater sense of accomplishment. 

As Survivor Fitness participant Suzanne Gaulden shared, “The hardest part of recovery has been learning to love this new version of me, to value my strength, and not judge myself for not being the same size I was a year ago. It’s a huge hurdle that I am still working to overcome.” Through Survivor Fitness, Suzanne found strength and motivation by showing up—just as she was, with whatever she had to offer that day. 

5. Find an Activity You Enjoy

 Exercise shouldn’t feel like punishment! Explore different activities until you find something you genuinely enjoy. Maybe it’s dancing, swimming, hiking, or a fitness class. When you find fun exercise activities you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with them in the long run.

Survivor Fitness participant Nancy Lopez highlighted the value of having a little fun during exercise when sharing her experience: “My trainer was so supportive and encouraging. He made the workouts fun, and we laughed a lot. I believe laughter is good for the soul.”

Remember That You Are Not Alone

Finding motivation after cancer treatment is a journey, not a destination. There will be good days and bad days. But with some encouragement and the right support system, you can rediscover the joy of movement and reclaim your strength.

At Survivor Fitness, we offer a comprehensive program with 1-on-1 personal training, nutritional coaching, and mental health support. We’re dedicated to helping cancer survivors rebuild their strength and confidence. Here are some ways to get involved:

Remember, you are a survivor. You have the strength and determination to overcome any obstacle. Let’s move forward together!

7 Ways to Reclaim Your Self-Esteem After Cancer

four people standing with their arms around each other looking at the sunset

We all know the physical toll that cancer and its treatment can take. Hair loss, weight fluctuations, and scarring are visible reminders of the battle you’ve fought. But the invisible impact of the emotional and mental challenges can often feel just as overwhelming. Whether you’re a young woman facing the loss of your breasts, a man grappling with fatigue and changed energy levels, or an older adult navigating new limitations, the journey to regain self-esteem and embrace your post-cancer body can be daunting.

At Survivor Fitness, we understand these challenges firsthand. That’s why our program was designed to help you regain physical strength after treatment and to address the holistic needs of cancer survivors, including the emotional journey. Countless participants have shared how our personalized program, combining fitness training, nutritional coaching, and now, mental health counseling, has empowered them to find renewed strength and self-love. While physical fitness undoubtedly plays a crucial role in boosting self-esteem, we firmly believe that a comprehensive approach is vital to true healing. If you’re feeling lost and unsure where to start, know this: you’re not alone.

Here are a few steps you can take to regain self-esteem after cancer: 


1. Recognize Your Strength

Your body has been through a lot, and it may have changed. Instead of fixating on what’s lost, focus on what your body can still do. Celebrate its strength, resilience, and the amazing things it continues to accomplish.

2. Reconnect with Your Body

If you want to start a fitness routine after cancer, it’s essential to start small with gentle exercise routines. Practice mindful movement, listen to your body, explore activities you enjoy, and engage in self-care rituals. Reconnect with your body on a sensory level, appreciate its sensations, and rediscover the joy of movement.

3. Practice Self-Compassion

More than anything, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge the emotional rollercoaster you’re on and validate your feelings. Be patient with your body as it heals and remember that progress takes time. Treat yourself with the same gentle understanding you would offer a loved one facing a similar struggle.

4. Redefine Beauty

Our culture often associates beauty with specific physical attributes, but cancer challenges these narrow definitions. Remember, beauty is multifaceted and also encompasses your strength, resilience, and the unique story of your scars. Embrace the changes in your body as a testament to your incredible fight.

5. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Most of the time, our inner critic can be our biggest enemy. When negative thoughts about your body surface, challenge them with facts and positive self-affirmations. Remember, your appearance does not define your worth.

6. Find Your Tribe

Surround yourself with supportive individuals who celebrate you for who you are and understand what you’ve been through. Connecting with other survivors can offer invaluable support and shared experiences, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.

7. Celebrate Small Victories

Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrate every milestone, big or small, on your journey to feeling good in your own skin. Completing a workout, trying a new outfit, or simply allowing yourself to laugh are all victories worth celebrating.

Regain Your Self-Esteem with Survivor Fitness

Regaining your self-esteem after cancer is a journey, not a destination. But with the right tools and support, you can reclaim your confidence and embrace your beauty, inside and out. The Survivor Fitness program offers a personalized approach to healing that combines fitness training, nutritional coaching, and mental health counseling to empower you on your journey.

Ready to take the first step towards reclaiming your self-esteem?

Learn more about our program or submit an application to discover how we can support you on your path to healing and wholeness.

Eating for Recovery: Nourishing Your Body After Cancer

a plate of colorful food on a wooden table

The journey after a cancer diagnosis can feel like charting a new map, with twists and turns you never anticipated. One crucial aspect of finding your footing again is reclaiming your energy and strength through food. Nourishing your body with the proper fuel can be life-changing, but the path forward isn’t always clear. You might face fatigue, side effects that impact your appetite, or just plain uncertainty about what’s best for your body.

At Survivor Fitness, we understand these challenges. Through our partnerships with incredible registered dietitians and nutrition specialists, we’ve seen the tremendous power of personalized nutrition as part of a holistic approach to recovery after cancer treatment. In this post, we’ll share some tips and hacks that have helped our participants thrive.

Nutritional Tips for Your Post-Cancer Journey: Find What Works for YOU

In the realm of post-cancer recovery and wellness, it’s essential to remember that nutrition is not a rigid set of rules but rather a new perspective. While general guidelines provide a foundation, there’s no singular “perfect” way to nourish your body. 

As one of our partners, Jill Merkel, shared, “There’s so much misinformation and confusion about what to eat or not eat with a cancer diagnosis that people are afraid to eat. Helping participants to realize that there’s no perfect way of eating and helping them find what is right for them is my main goal.” 

Make Small, Sustainable Changes

Drastic dietary overhauls might feel overwhelming, and often, tiny adjustments can lead to significant results. Allison Tallman, another one of our nutrition partners, describes it this way: “It’s better to make small changes one at a time rather than a lot of big changes all at once. This helps the changes you make actually stick.”

She encourages cancer survivors to make simple switches to their diet and celebrate each positive shift, no matter how small. 

Make Sure To Fuel Your Body

When you’re battling fatigue or nausea from treatment, skipping meals might seem tempting, but fueling your body is crucial for healing. Aim for three regular meals and two or three healthy snacks a day. Choose foods that are easy to digest and pack an energy punch, like whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and prioritize nourishing yourself.

Prioritize Protein

Protein is the building block of your cells, tissues, and muscles. Adding the right amount of protein can help counteract the muscle loss from cancer treatment.  That’s why one of the first areas of focus for our partners is to make sure participants eat enough food and get enough protein in their diet. This can include protein sources like lean chicken or fish. You can also find a variety of non-meat sources of protein

Embrace Mindful Eating

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to rush through meals. Cultivate a habit of mindful eating, savoring each bite, and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. This practice enhances digestion and fosters a deeper connection with your food.

Snack Smart

Stock your pantry with nutritious foods that are easy to grab and delicious. Some of the best options include trail mixes with dried fruit and nuts, Greek yogurt with berries, or mini bell peppers with hummus. Keep pre-cut vegetable sticks and slices and easy dips in the fridge for a quick and refreshing snack anytime.

Fuel your Body Before and After Exercise 

As you embark on your fitness journey post-cancer, the importance of fueling your body cannot be overstated. Prioritizing nutrition before and after workouts can enhance performance, aid recovery, and support overall well-being.

Spice Up Your Water 

Staying hydrated is an essential part of cancer recovery, but plain water can get a bit boring. Infuse your H2O with fruits, herbs, or vegetables to make it a tasty and hydrating treat. There are dozens of combinations you can choose from. Try cucumber and mint, watermelon and basil, or citrus slices for a refreshing twist. Bonus points for adding berries or ginger for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

From Surviving to Thriving: Embracing Nutrition’s Role in Recovery

Remember, your post-cancer journey is just as unique as your diagnosis and treatment. Your nutritional needs will evolve over time. Listen to your body, stay patient with yourself, and celebrate every small victory. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

At Survivor Fitness, we believe in empowering you to take control of your recovery. We combine personalized training with expert nutritional support to help you build strength, regain energy, and rediscover the joy of movement. 

We’d encourage you to explore our website for additional resources and recipe ideas. You can also learn more about our program or contact our team to discover how to become a Survivor Fitness participant today.

Starting Strong: Gentle Exercise Tips for Cancer Survivors  

a group stretching on yoga mats

Navigating the post-treatment journey after a cancer diagnosis can be daunting, especially in the first few weeks and months. On one hand, cancer survivors are grateful to be finished with treatment and excited about the opportunity to get back to living. On the other hand, regaining strength and energy often feels like a monumental task. As one of our participants put it, “Ringing the bell at the end of treatment felt very triumphant. There was a sense that now you can move on with your life, but I wasn’t feeling that at all. 

At Survivor Fitness, we get that the physical, mental, and emotional terrain after a cancer diagnosis can feel uncharted and overwhelming. We’ve walked hand-in-hand with hundreds of survivors on this journey, and nothing warms our hearts quite like witnessing their transformation. But here’s a universal truth our team and trusted trainers share with almost everyone at the starting line: it’s okay to start slow. This isn’t a race to reclaim strength. It’s a mindful exploration of your body’s renewed potential. Every gentle step, every breath, every quiet victory is a testament to your resilience. 

Gentle Exercise Tips for Cancer Survivors  

While every cancer survivor’s journey is unique, we’ve found that reclaiming your physical and emotional well-being requires a gentle, evidence-based workout routine. In this blog, we wanted to highlight a few common gentle exercise tips for cancer survivors that we share with participants.  

1. Focus on rebuilding your core strength and stability. 

Many cancer treatments can weaken core muscles. But just like the sturdy foundation of a house, a strong core provides crucial stability for all your movements, from everyday activities to exercise. That’s why it can be helpful to start with pattern-based exercises to strengthen your core muscles, such as seated cat-cow, bird-dog, and superhero planks. Even if you’re not using resistance or weight, these exercises provide a stable base for all other movements and improve overall posture. Another way to build core strength is through practices like yoga and tai chi that combine movement with deep breathing, promoting both physical well-being and emotional resilience.

2. Explore gentle movement and cardio exercises. 

Those first few days you can work out again are all about rediscovering the joy of movement, not pushing limits. The good news is that there are a variety of fun outdoor exercises for cancer survivors and their friends. Whether it’s a nature walk, cycling on a flat path, or tending your garden, outdoor activities offer a natural mood boost while gently engaging your muscles. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature, allowing your body to move intuitively. You might also consider incorporating a few creative indoor exercise ideas during the colder winter months into your routine. 

3. Listen to your body. 

After cancer, it’s natural to want to jump back into old routines. But your body’s telling a different story about reclaiming your strength in a sustainable, joyful way. If you start to feel exhausted, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. It’s not a sign of weakness but a wise reminder to rest, refuel, and come back stronger! Remember: slow and steady wins the race, and your race is all about feeling good and strong. 

4. Recognize how your diagnosis and treatment impact your capabilities. 

Recognizing the unique impact of your specific type of cancer or treatment on your workout routine is crucial for maintaining a safe and effective fitness regimen. For example, women with breast cancer should be mindful of avoiding exercises that place excessive strain on the chest muscles. That’s why consulting with your medical professional or seeking guidance from a cancer exercise specialist is key. It’s imperative to tailor your workouts to your unique diagnosis. Remember, your cancer journey is unique, and your workout routine should be too! 

5. Find creative and effective ways to modify exercises. 

If a movement causes pain or makes you unsure in any way, it’s best to start with a modified exercise. This is especially true for cancer survivors seeking creative and effective ways to cater to their needs. There are several ways to modify an exercise to prevent injury and ensure you get the most out of your movement. For example, consider a modified push-up to add stability. If a movement includes jumping, you may change it without the jump or make the leap smaller to reduce the impact on your joints and leg muscles.

Let’s Start Strong Together

At Survivor Fitness, we believe in the transformative power of small steps. That’s why we offer a personalized fitness and nutritional program tailored to our participants’ specific needs and preferences. 

Ready to reclaim your strength and rediscover the joy of movement? Survivor Fitness is here to walk alongside you every step of the way. You can learn more about taking the first steps with Survivor Fitness, check out our FAQs, or apply to the program today! 

Thriving Through the Holidays: A Guide to Health, Fitness, and Nutrition 

tea and a pink sweet treat on a book that is on a bed of flowers

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and connection with loved ones. However, it can also be a time of stress, overindulgence, and a disruption to our usual routines. Amidst the festivities and gatherings, it’s easy to let our health and wellness take a backseat.

The Challenge of Prioritizing Your Health During the Holidays

The holiday season presents unique challenges to maintaining healthy habits. The lack of routine and structure can lead to less mindful eating and fewer opportunities for exercise. The abundance of tempting food and drinks can make it challenging to resist overindulgence. And the stress of the season can further disrupt our sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to prioritize our health and wellness during the holiday season. At Survivor Fitness, we like to encourage our participants and their families to find one or two simple practices they can implement. By making small, consistent efforts, we can feel our best throughout the season and emerge energized and refreshed.

4 Strategies for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Here are a few ideas you can use to prioritize your health, fitness, and nutrition during the holiday season. 

1. Find simple and creative ways to incorporate movement into your day.

Even if you can’t commit to your usual workout routine, finding small ways to incorporate movement into your day can be helpful. Get creative with your definition of the word “movement.” It can include everything from taking a brisk walk after a meal to dancing to some holiday tunes during a commercial break in a football game. What you choose to do doesn’t matter as much as consistently incorporating physical exercise into your daily routine. 

We like to encourage participants to make it a family affair. The holidays are a great time to go for a walk or bike ride together as a family or try a new workout routine with your spouse

2. Practice mindful eating.

Overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods is one of the biggest challenges of the holiday season. That’s why mindful eating can be such a helpful practice. 

When attending holiday gatherings, take your time with your meals and savor your food and drinks. Pay attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of each bite. It can also be helpful to avoid distractions and simply use the meal as an opportunity to enjoy the company of your loved ones. This mindful approach can help you avoid overindulgence and fully appreciate the food.

3. Make a plan to eat healthy as much as you possibly can.

A little planning can go a long way, especially when maintaining a healthy diet during the holidays. It can be difficult to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your meal plan, especially during times of the year when you’re out of your normal routine. 

While you may not be able to influence what’s being served at the family gathering or work Christmas party, there are still ways you can be aware of your nutrition. For example, the holidays are a great time to start incorporating healthy snacks into your daily routine. Nuts are in season during the fall and winter, making them a great choice for healthy fats that boost memory and brainpower. Bring a healthy dish to share if you know you’ll be attending a potluck or other holiday event, and look for recipes packed with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Winter is the perfect time for nutritious options like winter squash, kale, cauliflower, beets, carrots, and fennel. When braised, steamed, or roasted, these seasonal veggies are warm, comforting, and delicious.

 4. Focus on the positives.

The holiday season is a time for gratitude and reflection. Don’t let the busyness of the season keep you from taking some time to appreciate the good things in your life, both big and small. You could keep a gratitude journal and take time each day to write down a few things you’re grateful for. The holidays are a great time to use positive affirmations for your health and wellness. One of the simplest ways to maintain your health (and sanity) during the holidays is to do one thing you enjoy daily, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature. 

A positive mindset can help you stay focused and motivated to stick with your healthy routines during the busy holiday season.

Here’s to a Thriving Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a wonderful time of year, but it’s important to remember that our health and wellness should always be a priority. So, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the holidays!

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!

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!

Managing Fatigue and Increasing Energy Levels Through Nutrition

workout equipment

Fatigue is a common and often debilitating feeling. It can affect anyone, especially as people age, but it can be particularly challenging for cancer survivors. The journey of battling cancer can take a toll on both the body and mind, often leaving survivors feeling mentally drained and physically exhausted. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, incorporating a well-balanced nutrition plan can play a crucial role in managing fatigue and boosting energy levels for people who experience fatigue.

At Survivor Fitness, most of the cancer survivors who participate in our program are dealing with a level of fatigue they’ve never experienced before — often caused by various factors, including cancer itself, treatment side effects, and changes in lifestyle. 

In this article, we wanted to highlight a few best practices that our registered dietitians and nutritional specialists share when it comes to managing fatigue and increasing energy levels: 

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating can also make a significant difference in managing fatigue. This approach to intuitive eating includes paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and eating slowly to enhance digestion. Mindful eating can help prevent overeating and promote better nutrient absorption.

If you want to learn more about mindful eating or how to incorporate it into your meals, here are some helpful resources to get started: 


Prioritize Healthy Meals and Snacks

One of the foundations of fatigue-fighting nutrition is to focus on whole, energy-boosting foods. This means choosing recipes that are nutrient-dense, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and vitality.

Here are a few of our favorite articles to help you start incorporating whole foods and healthy snacks into your weekly routine: 


Avoid Quick Fixes

While caffeine and sugary foods may provide a quick energy boost, they often lead to increased fatigue later on. Sometimes, these foods can cause even more significant dehydration. Limiting your caffeine intake and opting for healthier alternatives like natural sweeteners are simple but effective ways to improve fatigue. 

Here are some of our favorite simple switches that can help you avoid the processed sugars or refined carbohydrates in your diet: 


Stay Hydrated

Drinking fluids is essential for maintaining energy levels. Water is vital for various bodily functions, including circulation, digestion, and regulating body temperature. If you’re feeling sluggish, a simple first step is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You may also consider incorporating hydrating foods like water-rich fruits and vegetables into your meals. Cucumbers and melons are great options!  

You can form dozens of different habits to ensure you drink enough water throughout the day. Here are a couple of inspirational resources to get you started: 


A program designed to combat cancer-related fatigue for survivors

Fatigue is a challenging obstacle that many cancer survivors face, but a well-considered nutrition plan can be a powerful tool for managing it. It’s important to remember that each person’s journey is unique, so consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to tailor a nutrition plan specific to your needs and preferences. With dedication and informed choices, you can pave the way to a healthier, more energized life after cancer.

If you’re a cancer survivor looking for more nutritional guidance and support, Survivor Fitness can help with a personal fitness plan to help you regain control of your life. We’d love for you to learn more about our program or apply today

The Mental, Emotional, & Relational Benefits of Physical Activity After Cancer

kettlebells in pink, light blue, and lime green

Life after cancer can be a challenging phase for survivors. While the physical battle of treatment has subsided, the physical side effects, emotional toll, and mental impact can linger long after the last oncology appointment. One of the most meaningful results of our personalized training program is watching cancer survivors recover their physical, mental, and emotional well-being

After working alongside hundreds of Survivor Fitness participants through 15,000+ training sessions, we’ve seen the life-changing difference that committing to wellness can make for cancer survivors. In this blog post, we wanted to highlight the evidence for how engaging in physical activities can profoundly benefit cancer survivors, not only in terms of their physical health, but also mentally, emotionally, and relationally. 

Here are a few specific ways that physical activity supports the overall restoration and well-being of cancer survivors — along with a few real-world examples from Survivor Fitness participants: 

1. Physical Activity Nurtures Mental Strength & Well-Being

A cancer diagnosis and treatment can have a profound mental toll on a survivor. There are so many times throughout the battle with cancer when people can feel out of control, afraid, and isolated. Engaging in fitness activities provides a renewed sense of control, empowering survivors to reclaim their bodies and minds. Physical exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals, which can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

We’ve seen countless examples where fitness helps survivors develop mental resilience, fostering a positive outlook and improving self-esteem. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Denise Jones — After battling breast cancer twice, Denise was physically and mentally exhausted. But after completing the program, she can say that she has won the mental battle with cancer. Fear and uncertainty can still arise, but she is better prepared to handle them and use her worries as motivation to encourage others.  
  • Maheen — “I feel so much stronger mentally and physically. I feel like I’ve been able to regain control back over my life.” — That’s how Maheen described her new reality after establishing a new workout routine with Survivor Fitness. 

2. Physical Activity Restores Emotional Capacity & Self Worth

After cancer treatment, some individuals can feel anxious, depressed, or disconnected from their bodies. For many Survivor Fitness participants, exercise can be an outlet for processing emotions, reducing stress, and promoting emotional equilibrium. 

It’s amazing to see how one-on-one training sessions allow survivors to focus on their bodies, thoughts, and feelings in the present moment. Daily movement can also provide a healthy way for processing what has happened and for understanding it better. Engaging in fitness over the course of the program also fosters a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-confidence, and enabling survivors to find joy and purpose in their daily lives. Here are a few testimonials from cancer survivors about the emotional benefits of fitness: 

  • Suzanne Gaulden — There were many days when Suzanne felt like she had to “hold things together” through treatment. Through Survivor Fitness, she found strength and motivation by showing up — just as she was, with whatever she had to offer that day. 
  • Shawyn King — Because of the way treatment impacted her body, Shawyn could barely walk up the eight steps that led to the training facility, leaving her discouraged and frustrated. Today, she is s able to run those stairs like “Rocky” and still benefits from the encouragement and support of her trainers.

3. Physical Activity Strengthens Relationships In New Ways

Cancer survivors often receive a lot of encouragement and support while undergoing treatment. After cancer treatment, survivors may experience a sense of isolation, as their social dynamics shift. At Survivor Fitness, our program creates a unique opportunity to connect with others through physical activity who share similar experiences, forming a supportive community. Sharing their journey with others who have faced similar challenges can provide a deep sense of validation and understanding, fostering meaningful relationships that aid in the healing process. 

Many times, we’ve seen how investing in physical activity and recovery creates opportunities for cancer survivors to give back and engage their other relationships in new ways. Here are a few of our favorite success stories that highlight the power of restored relationships:  

  • Shaundra Kee — As a young mother who enjoyed working out, Shaundra was devastated by the effect cancer treatment had on her body. Today, being able to ride bikes and play at the park with her daughter are two of her favorite activities. 
  • Natasha Leeth — After treatment, Natasha was committed to looking for new ways to move forward. Through the program, Natasha was able to regain strength that allowed her to carry her grandchild again, as well as care for her son after an injury. 

Survivor Fitness: A Holistic Recovery Program after Cancer

For cancer survivors, the path to recovery extends beyond the physical realm. At Survivor Fitness, we’ve seen how a holistic and personalized approach to physical training becomes a transformative tool, allowing survivors to regain control, rebuild emotional well-being, foster supportive relationships, and rediscover their physical strength. By embracing fitness, survivors can embark on a journey of healing that encompasses the mind, body, and soul.

If you’re a cancer survivor or know someone who might be interested in focusing on health and wellness after treatment, learn more about our approach or sign up for our 12-week program today. 

Highlights from Rock the Row 2023

Rock the Row Survivor Fitness Fundraising Event in Knoxville 2023

One of the most motivational aspects of the Survivor Fitness community is the way our partners and advocates rally together to support participants in their recovery journey. For the past decade, we’ve been amazed by the various ways people have donated their time and money (and in some cases, sweat) to sponsor scholarships for participants.

Rock the Row has become one of our cornerstone events. Former participants, trainers, board members, and advocates for Survivor Fitness all come together in teams to compete in a relay-style rowing competition. Leading up to the event, participants raise funds to help their team reach their goal to support Survivor Fitness participants. 

Highlights from Rock the Row Knoxville

Last month, we hosted our inaugural Rock the Row Knoxville at Performance Training, Inc.  Participants showed up early to begin the 20,000 and 30,000-meter competition. Here are a few highlights from the 2023 Rock the Row in Knoxville:

  • We had 13 teams (nearly 130 people) attend this event. 
  • Collectively, the teams rowed more than 260,000 meters! 
  • Rock the Row Knoxville blew its fundraising goal out of the water, raising more than $34,000 during this year’s event. 

Our hosts, Performance Training Inc., took first place in this year’s competition, and it was a blast watching each of the teams give it their all. 

Highlights from Rock the Row Nashville 

The event in Knoxville was hard to top, but participants in Rock the Row Nashville definitely gave them a “row” for their money. Here are a few of the highlights from the 2023 Rock the Row in Nashville:

  • There were 7 teams (70 people) in attendance. 
  • Each team rowed a full marathon (a little over 42,000 meters). 
  • CrossFit Freeflow took first place at Nashville’s Rock the Row as well, completing in 2 hours and 17 minutes. 
  • The generosity from our Nashville community was terrific, with teams raising nearly $50,000 through the event. 

Here are a few favorite moments from our Nashville community rowing it out for Survivor Fitness participants: 

Join us at Rock the Row in Chattanooga

Want to participate in our next Rock the Row event this year?  There’s still time to sign up for our next event in Chattanooga—where you and nine of your friends will go head-to-head to see who can row the fastest and raise the most, all to benefit cancer survivors in these communities! To learn more additional details or to register, please click here.

You can also stay updated on future Survivor Fitness events by signing up for our newsletter.

8 Fun Outdoor Exercise Ideas for Cancer Survivors and Friends

For cancer survivors, engaging in physical activity after treatment can be a desirable but 

daunting idea. Healthcare professionals agree that outdoor exercise can help to build strength, endurance, and overall physical fitness, which can, in turn, help improve quality of life. Exercise can also enhance your mental well-being and has even been proven to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. However, finding ways to move your body without discomfort or developing a workout routine that will help you stay motivated on your health journey can be overwhelming.

That’s why, we want to share some of our favorite, fun outdoor exercise ideas that cancer survivors can try with family or friends in this blog:

1. Walk Around Your Neighborhood

Walking is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for cancer survivors. It is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while also improving cardiovascular health and reducing stress.

Before her diagnosis, Survivor Fitness participant Roberta Justice’s favorite activity was going on walks with her son. One of her primary training goals was to regain the strength and stamina to continue their 5-mile walks together. 

2. Hike a Nearby Trail or Park

If you’re looking for an “elevated” approach to walking, hiking can be a more challenging alternative that involves traversing different types of terrain. It can be an excellent way to build endurance and strength while enjoying scenic views. There are a variety of online tools and apps, such as AllTrails, that can help you find a trail that is enjoyable and manageable based on your current physical capacity. 

Survivor Fitness alumni Brooke Harman made it her mission to hike Mount LeConte after her treatment. Over the span of a few months, she worked her way up to accomplish her goal, and she hasn’t looked back since. 

3. Cycle Outdoors

Cycling is a great way to get outdoors and explore new areas. It can help to build leg strength and cardiovascular fitness while also reducing stress. It’s also a low-impact routine for individuals who want a high-intensity workout but don’t want to create further damage or discomfort to their bones and joints. 

4. Go for a Swim

The pool is a great place to exercise outdoors during the warmer summer months. Swimming offers unique advantages that many other cardiovascular exercises do not because the activity involves so many different muscles, including the heart. It also helps increase your flexibility, which is a critical factor in helping your body recover from cancer and cancer treatment, especially if your joints have weakened during chemotherapy. It can also serve as a great low-impact workout since water supports and cushions the impact of vigorous movement. 

5. Try Outdoor Yoga

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It is also a great way to reduce stress and enhance mental well-being.

Multiple studies have shown there are numerous benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. During warmer seasons, many yoga studios and local fitness centers offer outdoor classes to enhance the physical benefits of yoga with the perks of exercising outdoors.     

6. Take to Water Activities

Kayaking or canoeing are both excellent ways to explore your natural surroundings while also getting a great upper-body workout. Pushing an oar through the water can help to build arm strength and improve cardiovascular health. Most kayaks are lightweight and easy enough to manage on your own. However, kayaking with a friend or group is a great way to build community and connection while enjoying physical activity. 

7. Strength Train in the Park 

If you’re looking for an exercise routine that incorporates strength and resistance training, but you don’t want to be stuck inside, you have a few options. Many parks and greenways have calisthenic equipment. You can also use a nearby bench for various arm, chest, and leg exercises. 

As with any physical activity, it’s important for cancer survivors to make sure workout routines are safe and appropriate based on individual needs and medical history. The good news is that there are easy ways to modify exercise routines based on your current physical capabilities. 

8. Play Outside with Friends and Family

Being able to play with children, grandkids, or nieces and nephews is often one of the primary goals for cancer survivors. This goal also offers a unique opportunity for exercise. Whether the little one you’re with enjoys frisbee, tag, kickball, or jumping on the trampoline, each of these fun activities can help to get your heart rate up and increase your fitness level while you’re enjoying time together.  

Building Back Stronger After Cancer

If you need more guidance to reach your fitness goals throughout the summer (or anytime this year), we are here and happy to help. Learn more about the benefits of Survivor Fitness or connect with us today to learn more.