Andrea Leonard, our May 2018 PFP Trainer of the Month winner, leads through her passion and perseverance. She leads her company, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, with an unwavering commitment to train and empower trainers to have real impact and influence in the recovery process for cancer survivors. Andrea has worked tirelessly for over 20 years with this mission and is now one of the most respected professionals in cancer prevention and recovery through exercise.
Here is how Andrea is raising the bar in our industry…
Business Name: Cancer Exercise Training Institute
Cancer Exercise Specialist; Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU® Specialist; NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist; BA, University of Maryland; Studying for ACE-CPT.
Year started in business: 1995
What inspired you to start your business?
My mother was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer and wanted me to help her avoid the debilitating side-effects of her first mastectomy; frozen shoulder, chronic pain, and narcotic addiction. In 1995 there was virtually no information on cancer recovery and exercise, so I set out to write “Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors” to help my mother and millions of other women suffering in the aftermath of breast surgery, treatment, and reconstruction. Eventually, I realized that I only had so many hours in a week to work with people, I wanted to create an “army” of Cancer Exercise Specialists around the world so that every patient would have access to one.
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
Don’t give up! As a personal trainer I have had many doors closed on me and noses turned up because I was not a doctor or a physical therapist. There were many times that I wanted to give up, but my passion for what I was doing would not let me. Now, 22 years later, the world finally recognizes how important exercise is for cancer prevention and recovery.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other trainers, what would they likely say?
In my case, I am going to refer to trainers who have gone through CETI’s coursework to become a Cancer Exercise Specialist. People have told me over and over again that my passion and sincerity for the work that I have done was the difference between our course and similar courses. I have also been told that the content is more comprehensive, easier to understand, and prepares the fitness professional to work with cancer patients whereas they did not feel that way following other trainings.
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry?
First off by providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive coursework that is available. No stone left unturned, as they say. Secondly, by requiring all Cancer Exercise Specialist to requalify every two years by taking another comprehensive exam. While this may sound off-putting to some, this is the only way we can ensure the competency of those who have undergone our training. It is impossible to have become a Cancer Exercise Specialist in 2003 and continue to call yourself that without any further training. The world of oncology is changing daily, and I want to ensure that we remain on top of it!