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The Power of Fitness: Fight Back with Hope

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In 2019, following a routine mammogram, a woman received a phone call anyone would dread. Her doctor informed her that she had breast cancer. Terrified and emotionally reeling, she took one step at a time, one day at a time as she began treatment. However, her treatment plan not only involved radiation, but also joining Cooper Fitness Center’s Female Focus program. She didn’t join the fight to merely survive, she now had prevention on her side. She fought the risk of her cancer returning through a fitness and nutrition program tailored to her needs, designed for empowerment.

Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Colette Cole, MS, says Female Focus not only helped this participant fight her cancer, it also helped strengthen her bone density, which was significantly weakened due to the medication in her treatment plan. Cole had the privilege to watch relationships form as the other Female Focus participants came alongside the newcomer with compassion. “Other women in the class who were breast cancer survivors have served as her emotional support as she has gone through treatment,” said Cole. “They’ve motivated her to be consistent and have helped her achieve her goals just as much as the physical component of the program offers.” 

The relationships the women have built among themselves are overwhelmingly satisfying to Cole. Though some of the women are capable of putting the skills they’ve learned from the program into practice on their own, they keep coming back. They return to Female Focus for the relationships, the motivation and the encouragement they receive from fellow participants and the instructors. 

Community is just one of the many ways Female Focus aims to empower women, regardless of their life stage or personal goals. Tailored to each woman’s needs, the program is designed to meet the participants where they are physically and emotionally. Specific exercises are incorporated to aid in stability, balance and strength. Cole encourages the women to not be afraid of strength training and weights. Even though many women in the class have joint issues, the instructors show them how to build a program with exercise modifications that properly and safely strengthens their joints. The use of multi-directional and multi-plain movement patterns enhances balance and stability preparing participants for the movements and challenges of daily life.  

“Breast cancer is out of your control. Female Focus gives these women a sense of empowerment by showing them they can actually do something about it,” said Cole. “It enables them to get stronger and physically and mentally fight back against losing hope. It helps them handle the treatment better and reduces the risk of the cancer returning.”

Many people often desire to improve their health and lifestyle habits, but it sometimes takes a life-changing event in order for them to actually do so. In regard to breast cancer, Cole states, “It’s not just about fighting back, but conquering it. It’s about taking your health back into your own hands when cancer tried to take it away.”

Female Focus has personally empowered and impacted Cole as well as her entire team. “The program has been going strong for 13 years now. It’s difficult to absorb the fact that these women keep coming back year after year—some up to 10 years,” Cole said, choking back tears. “It’s incredible to witness how the program paired with consistency is making a difference in people’s lives — helping them not only become stronger inside the gym but remain strong outside the gym as they become the resilient women they are designed to be.”

For more information about the Female Focus program at Cooper Fitness Center, please call 972.233.4832 or visit