Brittany Hall, owner of Brittany Hall Certified Personal Training and Health Coaching LLC., offers up some personal insight on her career as a health professional and how it is she became one of the region’s only certified Cancer Exercise Specialists:
A few years ago, I acquired a new personal training client. She was painfully shy, hiding herself in layers of baggy clothes, so it was outside her comfort zone that she sought me out in the first place. Besides needing to be more active, she clearly needed someone to talk to. At our initial consultation, she revealed to me that she was in remission from a cancerous condition called MALT lymphoma, something I had never heard of. I was momentarily thrown for a loop. I had worked with clients in various states of physical distress before, but never one like this.
So what did I do? I did what I always do when I find a gap in my knowledge. I get to work on filling that gap.
We have been together ever since.
I am always astounded by progress in clients, which is probably why I love training so much. To see them go from sedentary and tentative to active and eager. There’s a certain inward light people get when they tap into their bodies and become more confident in their abilities. I saw all these things in my client. Exercise became not just movement, but an outlet. As she built strength and endurance, she also became excited for herself, about herself, and pushed the boundaries of what she believed she was capable of.
Then her lymphoma relapsed.
It’s been tough for her ever since. Treatments cause her energy to flag and she is more susceptible to illness due to her suppressed immune system. We still train regularly, though not as intensely, and are always mindful of her energy levels at any given time. She exercises as often as she is able and never regrets a workout. Cancer or no, her heart is in it.
In 2018, I attended the IDEA World Fitness Convention. It’s a massive convention attended by some 14,000 fitness professionals yearly. It’s a chance to network, try out all the new fitness toys, explore certification opportunities, and earn continuing education credits. Of course, I packed my schedule full of classes.
One class I was looking forward to in particular was being taught by Andrea Leonard, the founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute, who is considered the gold standard in cancer exercise. The Cancer Exercise Training Institute strives to continuously uphold its reputation by
being on top of the latest cancer research. Andrea is herself a cancer survivor and comes from a family with 20+ family members who have been touched by cancer. Needless to say, her class was on fire.
I left that class with a new determination to become a Cancer Exercise Specialist, and I did.
In addition to my experience as a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Health Coach, and Mind Body Specialist with the American Council on Exercise, I now hold the advanced qualification to train cancer patients and survivors.
Clients can be undergoing treatment via chemo, radiation, or may be post-treatment. Clients who have undergone surgery are questioned on the type of procedure involved, location of the surgical incision, and any musculature that may have been damaged during surgery. Client risk for developing lymphedema after lymph node removal is assessed, something that is not emphasized enough with patients by their healthcare professionals. All of these factors are taken into account during a client’s initial consultation (including health history) in order to create a safe and effective exercise program that best benefits the client.
With the closest Cancer Exercise Specialist residing in the Woodlands, I am fully equipped to service the East Texas community. And not only on the exercise front. Cancer is a challenging diagnosis for anyone and there is always a burden of stress attached. A Certified Personal Trainer can be a lot like a hairdresser or a bartender. Exercise is always easier with conversation.
In need? Feel free to reach out. I’m here to help.
- Brittany Hall is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). Known as "Pixie" to her patients at Dr. Evans' The Institute of Family, Preventative and Lifestyle Medicine; she is also an ACE-certified Health Coach. Brittany is an American Karate First Degree Black Belt, co-owner of Lionheart Krav Maga and Fitness, and is a Bikini competitor. She is currently training as a Krav Maga instructor with a special interest in women’s self-defense. She completed the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program through the American College of Preventative Medicine. She was also an attendee at the Active Lives: Transforming Our Patients and Ourselves conference presented by The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School.