T Nation

Lifting Weights on Chemo


#1

What's up fellow T-Nationers!

I've been logging on here for a couple of years and have achieved some goals I am proud of, which in retrospect seem insignificant. Now is my time for a different goal, not simply to be strong again but to continue moving and living.

Background:
I had been in the best shape of my life until early 2013, when I started having mysterious sicknesses and symptoms. Slowly my strength dipped until early October when I passed large amounts of blood and ended up in ED, then at home crippled by fatigue and anorexia. Initial diagnosis of Mono was seven weeks later upgraded to Stage 3 bowel cancer.

In late November 2013 I had a tennis-ball size bowel cancer removed, along with half my stomach and most of my colon.

Due to lymph node involvement I am on Capox chemotherapy for approximately 6 months, started two weeks ago. Eight 3-week cycles.

Since my diagnosis in October, I lost over 20kg (97kg to 75kg current) though thankfully I was fat to start with.

My abdomen is weak as I had a full open surgery with sternum to groin incision.

Training History:
31 yo male. Approximately 3 years, including 2 on various 5/3/1 templates.
Past PRs 500/385/265/171 D/S/B/P.
Current working maxes 65kg/55kg/45kg/40kg...

Current Training
After my operation as soon as I was able, I began lifting shitty little dumbbells in my bedroom. I'm now sweet to lift barbells too, though my maxes have dropped substantially.

So I am back on a 5/3/1 template I whipped up:

Day 1
Press 5/3/1
DB Incline bench
DB Front and side delts

Day 2
Dead 5/3/1
DB Lunge
Side leg raises
DB Hammer Curls

Day 3
DB Shrug
DB Rows
DB rear delts

Day 4
Bench 5/3/1
DB OHP
DB Flyes
DB Skull crushers

Day 5
Squat 5/3/1
DB Stiff Leg Deadlift
Single Leg Squats
Calf Raises

Day 6
DB Row
DB Shrugs
DB rear Delts
DB Curls

Restrictions
-No direct Ab work (surgeon advice)
-No valsalva maneuver (surgeon advice)
-No chinups (they cause pain in my abdomen so surgeon said wait 6 months)
-I can't do long workouts due to fatigue; 45 minutes seems to be about right
-My diet is a bit fucked due to nausea and loss of appetite, but I eat what I can

Goals
-Live
-Lift more and vomit less!
-Don't become skinny-fat (would negate the living part)
-Reclaim the size required to fit my L NOV shirt (sexually tight fit)

I'm making this log both to keep myself honest, and to hopefully provide some information for anybody in similar situations to mine who may google "weight lifting on chemo". I found very little on this subject when I searched.

Cheers,
Jay Calvert

20/08/14 UPDATE
Finished chemo :slightly_smiling: new log:
http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_log/rebuild_this_somewhat_broken_body


Lifting Daily on Chemo
Lifting Daily on Chemo
Lifting Daily on Chemo
#2

OMG DUDE!!! <>> and good luck !!


#3

@ Spock81, thanks :slight_smile: hope your training is still going well; I must check in on your log!


If anyone is interested, here’s an article I read which encouraged me to get back into my lifting during chemotherapy:
http://www.ergo-log.com/strength-training-and-cardio-during-chemotherapy.html

Basically a bunch of people were put through strength training while on treatment and they not only increased their strength levels but also had reductions in 10 of 12 chemotherapy side effects. It was also noted, while mild exercise helped; moderate exercise helped more.


#4

My first infusion was on the 28th of February, so I will backdate my log until then:

531 Cycle 1
Training Maxes D/S/B/P
65kg/55kg/45kg/40kg
Bodyweight 76kg

Week 1 Day 1
2/2/14

Press 531
5 x 22.5kg
5 x 27.5kg
9 x 30kg

DB Incline Press
12 x 15kg pair
10 x 15kg
10 x 15kg

DB Side Delts
12 x 5kg pair
12 x 5kg
12 x 5kg

DB Front Delts
12 x 5kg pair
12 x 5kg
12 x 5kg

Week 1 Day 2
3/2/14

Deadlift 531
5 x 37.5kg
5 x 45kg
12 x 50kg

DB Lunge
8 x 10kg pair
8 x 10kg
8 x 10kg

Side Leg Raise
x 15
x 15
x 15

DB Curl
10 x 10kg pair
10 x 10kg
10 x 10kg

Side effect notes:
At this stage my nausea was pretty bad, during the first week of chemo. They fixed the nausea but the drugs which took it away brought a new problem in extreme fatigue. After a couple of days of this, they found a way to balance out the two to a relatively acceptable level.

Other side effects were loss of appetite, change in taste, extreme cold sensitivity (no cold drinks or food and had to wear gloves), pain in the infusion arm, and semi painful tingling in my feet.


#5

Week 1 day 3
4/2/14

DB Shrug
12 x 25kg pair
12 x 25kg
12 x 25kg

DB Row
15 x 15kg pair
12 x 15kg
12 x 15kg

DB Rear Delts
13 x 5kg pair
14 x 5kg
15 x 5kg

Week 1 day 4
5/2/14

Bench 531
5 x 27.5kg
5 x 30kg
16 x 35kg

DB OHP
10 x 15kg pair
10 x 15kg
8 x 15kg

DB Chest Fly
12 x 10kg pair
12 x 10kg
20 x 10kg

DB Skullcrusher
15 x 7.5kg pair
10 x 7.5kg
11 x 7.5kg

Side effect notes:
Lessening cold sensations and pain in arm. Now main side effect is diarrhea - fun… Nausea and fatigue are relatively under control and I am sleeping well.


#6

and now I am off to lift weights, will update the rest of my log later :).


#7

Inspiring stuff, I hope you have a full and speedy recovery and glad to see you got back on the horse :slight_smile:


#8

Fight the good fight, man.


#9

Will follow. Keep it up champ :slight_smile:


#10

Toughest dude on here by a mile. You’re a beast and will be back to your old strength (and beyond) in no time.


#11

definetely following , you are an inspiration keep it up and i hope your recover goes well :slight_smile:


#12

Thanks for the encouraging words guys; I really appreciate it. I always love the positive attitudes of people on this site, and how motivated everybody is. Through my whole cancer experience I’ve been fortunate to have awesome support from my friends and family. My girlfriend slept on a lazy-boy in my ward room the entire time I was in hospital, being really low key as visitors aren’t allowed to sleep over haha.

Now to continue updating:

Week 1 Day 5
6/2/14

Squat 531
5 x 32.5kg
5 x 37.5kg
12 x 42.5kg

DB Stiff Legged Deadlift
15 x 20kg pair
15 x 20kg
15 x 20kg

BW Single Leg Squat
6, 3, 5

BW Single Leg Calf Raise
20, 20, 20

Week 1 Day 6
7/2/14

DB Row
15 x 15kg pair
12 x 17.5kg
10 x 20kg

DB Shrug
20 x 20kg pair
20 x 20kg
25 x 20kg

DB Rear Delts
10 x 7.5kg pair
10 x 7.5kg
15 x 7.5kg

DB Curls
12 x 10kg pair
12 x 10kg
12 x 10kg

Side Effect Notes:
Hand and foot sensations were reducing at this stage, still a lot of pain in my chemo arm if I bumped it. By this time I had adjusted to the routine of taking insane amounts of pills. I’m generally not a drug fan, so this did my head in at first! Digestive issues still rampant and occasional fatigue.


#13

I had my daughter stay with me for the weekend, so I took the two days off lifting to entertain her. By this I mean taking her shopping haha.

Week 2 Day 1
10/2/14

Press 531
3 x 25kg
3 x 30kg
8 x 32.5kg
8 x 25kg

DB Incline Bench
10 x 10kg pair
10 x 12.5kg
10 x 15kg
10 x 17.5kg
6 x 20kg

DB Side Delts
15 x 5kg pair
12 x 5kg
13 x 5kg

DB Front Delts
12 x 5kg pair
12 x 5kg
10 x 5kg

Week 2 Day 2
11/2/14

Deadlift 531
3 x 40kg
3 x 47.5kg
16 x 52.5kg

DB Lunge
10 x 20kg
10 x 20kg
10 x 20kg

Lying Side Leg Raise
15, 15, 20

DB Hammer Curl
15 x 10kg
12 x 10kg
10 x 10kg

Side Effect Notes:
Still more or less the same, but appetite slightly better. I get cravings for really random foods due to my taste changes. Digestion and occasional fatigue main side effects at this stage.


#14

Week 2 Day 3
12/2/14

DB Shrug
20 x 20kg pair
20 x 22.5kg
15 x 27.5kg
15 x 30kg

DB Row
15 x 12.5kg pair
12 x 15kg
10 x 17.5kg
12 x 20kg
10 x 22.5kg

DB Rear Delts
20 x 5kg pair
15 x 5kg
13 x 5kg
12 x 5kg
10 x 5kg

Week 2 Day 4
13/2/14

Bench 531
3 x 27.5kg
3 x 32.5kg
17 x 37.5kg
12 x 27.5kg

DB OHP
12 x 10kg pair
12 x 12.5kg
10 x 15kg
6 x 17.5kg

DB Chest Fly
10 x 10kg pair
10 x 10kg
10 x 10kg
10 x 10kg
10 x 10kg

DB Skullcrushers
10 x 7.5kg pair
10 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg

Side Effect Notes:
Had a couple of warm days here and I ended up dehydrated and dizzy which was shit, but that has cleared up now. A lot of stomach pain and cramping but other than these, just digestive good times as usual.


#15

Week 2 Day 5
14/2/14

Squat 531
3 x 35kg
3 x 40kg
15 x 45kg

DB Stiff Legged Deadlift
15 x 15kg pair
12 x 17.5kg
10 x 20kg
10 x 22.5kg

Skipped Single Leg Squats

BW Single Leg Calf Raises
20, 20, 20

Week 2 Day 6
15/2/14

DB Row
12 x 15kg pair
12 x 17.5kg
10 x 20kg
10 x 22.5kg
6 x 25kg

DB Shrug
20 x 15kg pair
15 x 17.5kg
15 x 20kg
15 x 22.5kg
20 x 25kg

DB Rear Delt Raises
12 x 7.5kg pair
12 x 7.5kg
12 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg

DB Curls
12 x 10kg pair
12 x 10kg
10 x 10kg
5 x 10kg
7 x 10kg

Side Effect Notes:
It’s my week off chemo now, which is the third week of my chemo cycle. Digestive issues and minor fatigue current side effects. It’s nice being able to taste my food for a while haha.


#16

I’m quite enjoying this little template. Being limited by my core is allowing me to do heaps of DB accessory work which I normally have no interest in doing. I’ve puffed back up a little since getting out of hospital, not looking quite so skinny and frail. Obviously this pleases me, as it was a major headfuck suddenly going from being a slightly fat strong guy to being a very slim weak guy haha!


#17

awesome recovery man. Those all time PRs will fall in a couple years.


#18

[quote]browndisaster wrote:
awesome recovery man. Those all time PRs will fall in a couple years.[/quote]

Cheers dude. Yeah, will be interesting to see how long it takes to get my strength back. Right now I am limited by the inability to perform the valsalva maneuver; when I finish my max sets it’s because of abdominal discomfort rather than target muscle failure.
So, hopefully by the end of the year when my abdomen is fully recovered, my lifts will go up really fast.

In the meantime, I’m happy doing high reps with light weight to keep my body trained in the movements. And doing heaps of DB work to slowly build my smaller muscles. This could be really helpful in the long term, hopefully!


#19

Kick some arse, mate. Great attitude.


#20

[quote]MegaDavo891 wrote:
Kick some arse, mate. Great attitude. [/quote]

Thanks bro! As an Australian, did you watch the NRL Nines? It was pretty awesome, pity a Queensland team had to win it though!


Week 3 Day 1
16/2/14

Press 531
5 x 27.5kg
3 x 30kg
6 x 35kg
8 x 27.5kg

DB Incline Bench
10 x 10kg pair
10 x 12.5kg
15 x 15kg
11 x 17.5kg
7 x 20kg

DB Side Delts
8 x 10kg pair
8 x 10kg
8 x 10kg

DB Front Delts
8 x 7.5kg pair
8 x 7.5kg
10 x 7.5kg

**Probably the first workout since starting treatment which has disappointed me a bit. I knew I had a couple more easy final set reps in me, but my abdomen started hurting and that is the (no more!!!) signal.

Side Effect Notes:
I haven’t slept well the last couple of nights; woken up with my digestive issues making me leap out of bed and dash to the bathroom. Good times haha. Aside from that, just stomach cramps and a bit of dizziness.