At the OCB Figure Competition

At the OCB Figure Competition
Leslie celebrates completion of her first competition!

Leslie's Story in Brief...

46-year-old breast cancer survivor

diagnosed in March 2009

final surgery on June 4, 2010

Professor of Health and Exercise Science at Rowan University

Pastor's wife (of Stuart Spencer, Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church in New Hope, PA)

Mother of Sam (age 12) and Miles (age 7)

Trained all through chemotherapy and radiation

Completed her first body building competition EVER on August 28, 2010!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

NROL Lou Schuler Interviews me on his blog!

I just finished reading the New Rules of Lifting and the New Rules of Lifting for Women, both by fitness author Lou Schuler.  This was one of those instances where I read the right books at the right time and heard the message that I needed to hear!

I had been running myself ragged this past fall, yet I continued to push myself to train on days that I was too tired to do it well.  This lead to some signficant fatigue for me and I ended up on the sofa for a week in both November and December.  Not a good way to manage life.  During my second week on the sofa, I picked up the New Rules for Women and read it for a second time (I read it the first time over a year ago).  It's a good book overall and I recommend it to any woman thinking about weight training, whether she is a novice or experienced.  The message that reached me in a powerful way was Lou's emphasis on the need to rest - between sets, between workouts, and even for longer periods of time between training programs.  This made such an impression on me that I emailed Lou to tell him how much I appreciated his book and share my story.  He responded by asking me for an interview to post on his blog, which you can view here:

I then read the New Rules of  Lifting (which came out before the one specifically for women) and was once again inspired by Lou's recommendation to make each training workout a little different, and more challenging, than the one before it.  My new resolution for the coming winter and spring?  It's in two parts:

1.  Rest in between sets, workouts and for a week between each new training program.  I have to remember that, in order to get bigger and stronger, I need to rest.

2.  Only train on days when I can do a quality workout.  If I'm too tired to make a good effort and have the workout be different and more challenging than the last time I did it, then I am better off resting.


  1. Hi Leslie,

    I was most inspired by your story. I had my first chemo for breast cancer on Jan 24, 2011 and it was terrible. I had read up on the side effects, but this was nothing like I imagined. I keep myself in good physical shape and walk/run regularly. I also do some light weights and yoga. My diet is excellent and has been most of my life.
    My plan was to exercise and still work, I am an RN, or try to through out this whole process, but I am re-evaluating my work. I may go off on sick leave so I can concentrate on my health as that is a full time job for me. Exercise is important to me and to work as well is just too much right now.
    My first two days post chemo was ok with just alittle weird feeling on my tongue. Day 3 I went for a run and was still ok but by that evening I was sick. I did manage 2 eight hour shifts at work, but then took the next 6 shifts off. I was sick and barely eating,scramabled eggs were good and went down well. I hurt from the back of my throat to my lower abdomin. so I too had about 10 days of not being well.

    I took 5 weeks off my chemo to get strong again, I am sure I am a little anemic and will know when I have my blood work on Feb 25. The chemo regimen was changed and hope this one is better tolerated. I was knocked off my feet by the first one and did not expect such an extreme reaction.


    British Columbia, Canada

    I will try your method of doing something everyday no matter how slow I am.

  2. I think it would extremely hard to gain weight over 5 days if you aren't changing anything. Plus every other med out there probably has 'weight gain' as a side effect. So I wouldn't worry about it.

  3. Laura and "Muscle Building",

    Thank you so much for your comments! Laura, it has been a few months since you've written. How are you now? Is chemo over for you? I would love to hear an update.

    I am about to revise and re-introduce my blog to be more supportive of the readers. I hope to hear from you again. You sound like a brave woman.

    And "muscle building", thanks for weighing in! I would like to hear more of your story, too...

  4. Thanks for the link shared. It is nice to read it. good interview. Btw, you really look a cool mom.
    Nice and keep posting.