Training During Chemotherapy/Cancer, Advice Wanted

Well I have been lurking these forums for about 6 months but haven’t registered until now. This is gonna be a hell of a first post though. I didn’t know really where to go so here goes…

I am 19 years old and have been working out for about 6 months now following WS4SB3 because I wanted to improve my sports performance and a bit my aesthetics (bodybuilding). I have really started to enjoy bodybuilding/lifting weights.

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago I had a painful lump in my mouth. After many tests, I have been diagnosed with a cancer, ‘‘Rhabdomyosarcoma.’’ This is obviously life changing and I have been told I must undergo approx 45 weeks of Chemotherapy with surgery and radiotherapy.

Obviously my main concern right now is just getting through this ruff obstacle in my life…
The thing is, another reason why I worked out was for emotional/mental health. It’s kept my mind off stressful things in my life.

Basically I am just looking for some support from people who might have info concerning this situation or know people who have had cancer and had to do chemo.

Were you able to continue to workout? I would love to because it would keep my mind of things and make me feel less of a vegetable…

Maybe this is an odd question but what kind of routine did you follow? Obviously my goal is not to become Arnold or anything but basically just to maintain a decent health and feel better about my self…

Did you have to invest into a home gym? I’ve heard that you probably cannot go to public gyms because of the weakened immune system.

How bad was the chemo? How did you feel throughout? What helped you get through all of it? What did you do to keep busy?

Basically I’m just looking for any input from anyone who has experienced something like this or knows someone who has experienced something like this.


(Feel free to change the forum section didn’t know where to post).

holy shit. Lets see what we can do to help ya out…

Maybe this will give you some inspiration:

Read through it and you’ll know why.

Dude, look up stompinghorse on this site, he might have some incite for you. (He posts in the brotherhood of iron group)

Otherwise, I wish you the best. And congratulations on having more balls and heart than most of the healthy people on the planet.

firebug9 also posts here occasionally, or you can PM me for info. She just battled breast cancer, and managed to continue competing in powerlifting during her treatment. Best of luck, and kick its ass.

[quote]badger91 wrote:
This is gonna be a hell of a first post though.[/quote]
Geez, understatement of the year, bro.

Alwyn Cosgrove went through cancer twice, you might want to contact him.

Alpha has mentioned having a brain tumor (not sure what his treatment situation is) and he continues to train with redonkulous intensity.

I definitely get how training can be a sanity-saver, so I’d say prioritize and do what you can, but don’t overlook your doctor’s advice regarding what/when/how much.

That’s about all I can think of. Take care, get and stay healthy, and keep us in the loop.

Thanks for the replies. Thanks for the names, might send a few PM’s. I was thinking of buying 5/3/1 and following that if possible because you know the progression and stuff is easy and would help me stay focused on something else. What do you guys think?
As for a home gym, would a powerrack with some weights be enough to follow 5/3/1?

I will probbably start a log too.
Next Wednesday I have surgery to have it removed. Its pretty major, they have to take veins in my arms, skin and to facial reconstruction and stuff… I am supposed to not be ‘‘mordibly disfigured’’… Wish me luck…

Good luck bro!

5-3-1 should be good for you: it allows for “less than stellar days”, assistance is completely up to you (even the “I’m not doing jack shit” template :-), and it works perfectly in a home gym set-up.

Again, good luck!

Wow, kudos for giving er shit through hard times!

Kick ass man!

Bob Youngs over at Elitefts has just come back from the very brink(even read his last rites). Ask him some questions, he encourages them. His log gives detailed workouts from a program Cosgrove helped design for him.

Lance Armstrong’s books are also inspring stuff.
Also Download a stack of comedy series and films, laughter is huge.

God Bless and good luck.

Only saw this now. My son is your age and battling sarcoma (Ewing’s, in his case). It is difficult to predict exactly how you will feel. For example, not all chemo will induce projectile vomiting and other spactacular affects. Surprisingly enough, the most agressive chemo was the easiest on him.

I would echo what has been said on here. Expect down-days and use the good ones fully. A squat rack is a good investment as you will be living in purdah for a while. A squat cage is even better as you can add pulls more easily. 5/3/1 or New Rules of Lifting are good programmes.

You can probably back off on clean eating as you need your calories. Just make sure you get enough of everything.

Most importantly, take it day by day, and enjoy them.

Fuck Cancer


I can sympathise here dude as i had testicular and stomach cancer when i was 19. However, i only had 2 ops and 10 weeks of chemo. At 45 WEEKS of chemo and radiation, that is a long haul for you to say the least.
I too kept up my training from a few pieces of equipment i had at home.

This was more for my sanity than anything else as you can probably guess. Bar some very low days when getting out of bed is a challenge, youl be able to. Youre very young so that a plus rather than a negative.
As for what got me through, id have to say video games:). Im being serious. If you can get lost in something from day to day, i highly recommend it, be it books, movies or anything that takes your mind off reality.
Otherwise, having family and friends etc is a big help also.

Also i wouldnt worry too much about program selection. Instinctive training is a good move here, maybe using 5x5 if you demanded a system. As said, 5 3 1 could also be nice too, especially mentally. Go by feel from day to day. And as said above, dont be eating too clean either. just dont go the opposite and MickyD it every day. I feel bad having 2 a week even now let alone how i felt back then after eating that crap.
But hey, maybe your different. What it boils down to is to do exactly what makes you feel good on any given day. Whatever goes down, think positive and someday it will all be over. I was 154 pounds during my chemo and now im 275. I think its safe to say im over the worst of it:)

Take care dude