Fighting Disease and Illness with Fitness

Staff sergeant's cancer is in remission.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Worley, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems craftsman, works out on April 18, 2017, in Valdosta, Georgia. In January 2012, Worley was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, an uncommon form of blood-cell cancer that starts in the blood-forming, bone marrow cells. He’s currently in remission. (Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson/U.S. Air Force photo)

We have heard that daily exercise and eating a healthful diet can help you fight many diseases and illnesses to include diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and even cancer. I had the honor to meet a woman in Tucson, Arizona, who donates her time to help people fight cancer through exercise. The "Sarge," Anita Kellman, runs the Beat Cancer Boot Camp and has used many of my workouts for ideas to train more than 700 people over the past five years.

I was honored that a product of mine was instrumental in helping people get healthy and fight cancer while on chemotherapy, getting radiation treatments or in remission. As you know, I write books to help people pass fitness tests for military, law enforcement and firefighting professions. To think that the Beat Cancer Boot Camp and Kellman gave more meaning to my workouts than I ever thought possible is humbling. It is a great idea, and if you are trainer or want to help fight cancer, you should consider putting on a Beat Cancer Boot Camp event in your city. See the official website and learn how to help in the cause.

Beat Cancer Boot Camp 5K obstacle course

I witnessed more than 300 inspiring participants (cancer patients, survivors, and family and friends) in the first Beat Cancer Boot Camp 5K run and obstacle course in Tucson. I was honored as a special guest and prepared the large group with a quick warmup/stretch before the event. Here is what we did:

Repeat 3 times

Jumping jacks: 10

Toe touch, down dog, into push-up position

Push-ups: 10 (wide, regular, close push-ups)

Squats: 20 (squats, half-squats, sidestepping squats)

Stretch arms/legs

8-Count body builder

Push-ups: 10

Lunges and torso stretches: 10 each leg

Toe touch/down dog/push-ups: 10

Reverse push-ups: 20

Birds: 20

Arm haulers: 20

Swimmers: 30 seconds

Plank pose: 30 seconds

Arm circles: 10


Hi, Jack/hi, Jills: 10

Leg/arm stretches

After this little warmup, the 300 racers ran the 5K complete with pull-ups, wall climbs, low crawls through a mud pit, fire-hose drags, tire runs, and other strength and agility obstacles.

The Marines and Army recruiters were there, and many of the ROTC students from the University of Arizona, firefighters and police officers volunteered or raced in the event. There were even some Olympic athletes signing autographs and motivating the racers over the obstacles. Overall, it was one of the most inspiring events I ever participated in.

Check out the site at and listen for an event near you soon in the future.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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