T Nation

Training and Cancer


A ugly addtion to the Aftermath of cancer? or is it an aftermath any more?

Hi Guys,

A few months ago i put a post up on TNation regarding nutrition and training for survivor patients of cancer (called the Aftermath of Cancer) Well luckily for me (insert sarcasm here)
the cancer has come back to bite me in the ass but i want to continue to train: healthy body, healthy mind right?

Now to be honest there is nothing worse than being 24 (which is when im meant to be enjoying life) and being fat and looking at photos of what you used to look like only to see your a pretty ugly f$$k now (Now i know im meant to be grateful that im alive and should be focusing on that but training is so important to me that i cant help it and i need something to make me feel good at this point in time - i even want to pursue a career in it!)

So guys my main reason for this thread to see what people knew about training whilst doing chemo therapy or cancer in general? Now i know i could do research but guys please understand cancer is one thing but researching about all this stuff drains the hell out of me and i cant do it.

I was hoping that the community would help me in this time of need ( I dont know how to get the big guns opions on this like Christian Thibaudeau etc but ur help in engaging them would be much appreciated; if its even possible)

So you ask what am i trying to do exactly? well for starters i want to be able to lose some kgs ( I understand the concept of cardio)..but how should i go about it?

what supplements could i take to help me out?

BUT moreso...what do you people recommend my training regime should be like? I dont want to train too hard soo i dont put too much stress on my immune system becuase it could make me sick.

Guys your help is much appreciate.

I will not be offended if you cant help. But please dont post sh*t like do the research yourself. I have done enough research about my cancer and my statistical chance of living (and thats draining enough). I really do not need anyone being cyber comedians at the expense of my lack of motivation to do the research myself.

Cheers. Misho


I would go about emailing Alwyn Cosgrove and focusing on nutrition that supports chemotherapy.

IMO, I think focusing too hard on training will take away from your recuperative abilities for cancer. I would still train but pay attention to the signs your body gives you about fatigue and such.




Good ups man. You have a great attitude. I find it refreshing that you have this good outlook while others on here are just fat and complain and dont want to eat right.

  1. Whilst under chemo, it'd be a bad idea to train at a commercial gym IMHO because you're Immuno-compromised. Nothing worse than picking up a dirty barbell someone just used after wiping their nose. You get the picture.

  2. If your goal is fat loss, Eat a lot of green crunchy vegetables. It takes your body more energy to process them than they are actually worth calorically. Raw green veg = negative calories.

  3. Everyone's different. Just the fact that you want to take the cancer by the horns n throw it to the ground is a great indicator that you're on the right track. So be DISCIPLINED.

With that said, you always want to train intensely, but with cancer is another story. I would def do cardio just for your overall cardiovascular health a acouple times a week.(so long as you don't have any heart ailments as well.) Best advice i can give in this situation is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.


Keep fightin bro. Have you ever tried nutritional therapy? Juicing in conjunction with your training? I am not a salesperson at all...but a great book(s) I would recommend are from Dr. Max Gerson's work. The book is titled, "Healing the Gerson Way."...it may be very helpful and eye opening in your battles with cancer. Just trying to help...I have heard of and know people have have used these methods... The link is below. Take care and God bless.



Having fought cancer (testicular) twice myself in the last two years I know exactly how you feel. Chemo is a bitch and after three months of it I had gone from 259lbs at 14% body fat to 220lbs at 22% body fat. Lost a shit load of muscle and gained fat and water. If faced with this again, what would I do different?

Don't exercise too hard. It is hard enough to recuperate from chemo as it is.
Take more Glutamine to help my stomach lining heal better.
Eat only when hungry, and yes you will be. It was a mistake to stick to the 6 meal a day schedule because I did not want to lose too much muscle. This is NO time to force feed yourself.
Take walks several times a day. I did focus too much on the weights and some of the chemo I had to take affected my lungs badly so towards the end I was really not helping my body.
I realized a bit late that water with lemon and spinach was real good for my stomach and allowed me to eat better and healthier choices of food.
Focus on surviving, not on staying big and lean!
Rest! I did too much. This period it is all about you. Catch up on your favorite shows, read your books. Do whatever you can to calm your mind and get rid of stress.
Find some stress supplements that work. Rodelia might in the beginning. 5-HTTP might.
Drink Ginger tea. Made a world of difference for me.

But, you might hit a point when all of this is not possible and the chemo just hits you scare in the nuts. The last three weeks did that to me and I felt like dying 24/7. When that happens it becomes a mental game and you need to focus only on survival. Do whatever it takes to get you in 'fighting mood'.
I watched every UFC fight, Pumping Iron, every Rambo movie :slight_smile: Anything that got me smiling and motivated to come back better then ever. Half the time i was in the bathroom ready to puke with a little dvd player ha-ha.
Whatever it took.

Good luck brother, hope some of this will help.


Just wanted to say that you guys are a BIG inspiration.

Good luck fighting cancer, I have no doubt that you will smash its fucking face.


Thanks alot my T-Nation brothers. your help is much appreciated.

Iam. I must admit its makes it easier knowing someone has been through wat I have. I must admit all the things you did i couldnt do. That bit of chemo that knocks you off ur feet? (the last three weeks for you?) it hit me really earlier and i spent alot of time mopping around and sleeping bcoz it was the only time i wasnt in pain :confused: no nausea no bad stomach pains..you know the deal.

This time around i got a germ cell tumour (rhabdomyosarcoma) and the chemo protocol is only one a week every 2 weeks. So im hoping this will give me some quality of life back (hence why i started this thread). I will walk and stretch and do some body weight exercise and hope for the best. mayb i can lose some (or alot preferably) of my fat coz i just look like a old veteran who used to train these days....lol

Either way thanks alot for your words. I dont expect to many replies with this type of thread coz its usually in the "too deep" "too much for me" category but for those who did. once again thank you. God bless.



IM sure the fight in me, will help me in the future to get the body that i want!

Cheers, Misho


I hear you brother. Trust me, I know how you feel. Even though it hit me later in the cycle, it lasted for many months after that. I guess I had a delayed effect. Which is why I would not do what I did again. I was stupid to train through the pain and eat through the nausea. I should have rested a lot more.

I think your idea of walking and stretching and doing some light bodyweight exercises is a great idea. Keeps the blood flowing and will not make you tired. Try to eat as healthy as possible BUT eat as much as needed. Losing too much weight when on chemo is also not good.

Funny you mention you look like an old veteran who used to train. That was me. I applied for a new membership in January and the sales guy joked I looked like a bald Santa Claus ha-ha (we became good friends later). I was bloated, had a bright red face from the chemo and had build up a bit of a spare tire.

It will take along time to get back in shape but hey, beats the alternative. A year from now we will laugh at this and we will have moved on.

You have a good attitude and that counts for much. good luck and God Bless brother.



I'm writing this using my phone. So appologies for any typos. I'm actually hooked up to my chemo whilst I'm writing this.
I've just started to try and train again whilst on chemo. It used to be my life before this cancer business started.

Two things I've learnt so far:
1. Less is more. Take it easy with the weights as chemo compounds the soreness.
2. Be careful with high protein diets. Alot of chemo is very demanding on your kidneys. As is a high protein diet. Staying very hydrated is important.

Imo the fact you still want to train whilst having chemo is freaking awesome!


^^ Good luck, brother!

All the best,



I don't have anything to add. Just hope you recover well and fast man!


Gday matey, sorry to hear you've relapsed. I don't know anything of your backstory but that's a shitty deal right there.

The literature comprehensively supports an increased immune system as a result of MODERATE levels of exercise. This generally includes anywhere from 3 to 7 hours of training a week, depending on intensity.
I'd support weights on non-consecutive days, focusing on hypertophy and endurance rep ranges, rather than strength, and using common sense with volume.
On your off days 30 minutes to an hour of low to moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise. Walking, riding a bike, throwing a footy around would all be good examples.
I'd also leave at least one complete rest day per week.

If you've been inactive for quite a while you need to start even more conservatively, with one or two weights sessions a week and 20 minutes or so of walking on the off days. The watchword here is conservative.
I have two friends with immuno-compromised conditions who I have coached over the years and their health increased exponentially with the activity.
There's no reason you can't add muscle mass and improve your body composition with a relatively moderate exercise regime.

Keep eating good whole foods and limit the processed food intake. If you find it difficult to get enough protein with a clean diet then yes a protein supplement will be a plus.
I'm not well enough educated to comment on vitamins or other supplements, but get a referral from your specialist to a nutrician, which will be covered under either medicare or your private health insurance.

I hope that helps. I'm assuming you're experienced enough to write and perform your own program competently.

Best of luck mate. I'm on the Gold Coast - if you're nearby or there's anything I can do to help let me know.


Sorry mate i've just picked up that you're talking particularly about your treatment period.

If that's the case then everything holds true, but you need to be particularly conservative - listen to your body. If you're simply too fatigued on a given day then it's definitely better to skip a workout. In general though if you feel well enough to do the exercise then do it.


Hey man,
Ill start by stating I very little training/supplement advice to offer anyone despite their condition ....HOWEVER a wiseman once said its not what you achieve in life its what you overcome! A real boost tip for motivation that I've been taught of is to use an Ipod/phone/similar device to store motivational music, pictures and even readings/quotes etc. The great thing is it can be transported almost anywhere and can act as real pick me up to put one into the right mind set during challenging time.
Hope this helps ALL the best!


My friends in this position have done things like Ripcords resistance bands in the steam room. The steam while training helps feel like you're getting a 2 for one deal on your training. Just don't pass out!


I will start cancer treatment (33 radiation and 3 separate chemos) for neck cancer on 2/2. I have been powerlifting/bodybuilding for for years (56 years old.) I wanted everyone's advice on working-out during the treatments and the nutrition that will be liquid through the mouth or through a feeding tube. I will try a 3x5 2to 3 days a week and if I can not lift much I may do the century (100 reps) workout for light weight. Please advise...