How To Strength Train After A Mastectomy

It had been about six months since my breast reconstruction surgery and bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. I was at the gym, following an old training program I wrote. Back to training for months, I’d mostly avoided chest training until recently. I glanced down to see which exercise was up next: Push-ups. I felt a little flutter in my stomach and made a spur-of-the-moment decision: I would try push-ups this time instead of skipping them. Since it would suck to lower myself down and choke at the {Read More…}

Starting Over After A Training Layoff: One Year Later

I just realized that it’s been one year since I returned to training after my surgeries.  Wow. Returning to strength training wasn’t a seamless sort of thing. No “Bam, it’s time to lift heavy again.” After four months without heavy lifting, it took weeks just to feel comfortable in the gym again. Then I had to regain enough flexibility and neuromuscular control to lift heavier – much longer than I thought, actually. Coming back was a slow process. My upper body changed fundamentally after having my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy with {Read More…}

5 Tips for Returning to Strength Training After a Mastectomy

If you’re a woman who lifts weights and find yourself faced with having a mastectomy, you’ll have a lot of research and reading to do. So for Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to share the top five things I wish I’d known as a woman who strength trains and has had a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in March and May of 2015, respectively. When considering these surgeries, of course I was not happy about the prospect of losing muscle and enduring a {Read More…}

I’m Not So “Strong” – I Just Got F*cking Goals, See?

Not counting a couple of interruptions due to a car accident and the birth of my daughter, I’ve been lifting weights for over 15 years. Weightlifting’s been my mama, spanking my ass one day and wiping my tears the next. But four months off is not gonna kill me. It’s been two weeks since my exchange surgery and I’m on fire, taking one-mile walks and doing bodyweight squats. And today I’m doing split squats. For 10 weeks I had awesome, immovable jugs installed in my chest to stretch my skin to a smooth shine and {Read More…}

Why Am I Plateaued? Training Q&A with Suzanne

You got questions, I’m answering ’em in my new Nirvana Training with Suzanne Q&A feature. You’ll get my perspective on strength training and nutrition for your goals, along with insights into my own training. To participate in next week’s mailbag, post your question on my Facebook page, ping me on Twitter, or drop me a line! Q. I’ve been following a popular strength-training plan consistently. Why have I plateaued? A. When people come to me for help and say they’ve been following {Read More…}

Why Comparing Ourselves is a Losing Game

Today continues my series that gives you a peek into what it’s like to have a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction and how my lessons learned apply to everyday life. In the early weeks after my mastectomy, I was nauseous, dizzy, and in pain, unable to put any weight on my arms or even take a walk without help. There were long drains coming out of my armpits that kept me in constant discomfort, and I could barely dress myself due to limited chest and shoulder {Read More…}