Andrea Leonard is a 35-year thyroid cancer survivor and PFP 2019 Personal Trainer of the Year. She graduated from the University of MD and went on to get certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist by The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Certified Personal Trainer by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She has also been certified as a personal trainer by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and as a Special Populations Expert by The Cooper Institute. She is a continuing education provider for NSCA, NASM, ACE, CPTN, PTAG, NFPT, ISSA, WITS, and AFAA. Andrea is the Chairperson for the MedFit Network Advisory Board. Andrea has written 16 books on cancer and exercise and has trained over 9k fitness and health professionals worldwide to become Cancer Exercise Specialists.
Andrea has/had twenty-three first-degree relatives diagnosed with cancer. In 2014 she lost her father, Morton, to complications of bladder and prostate cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome. Currently, her mother is fighting advanced metastatic breast cancer.
At the age of eighteen, Andrea was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent a complete thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment. It was through her own personal struggles that Andrea decided to become a personal trainer. She wanted to be able to help others, like herself, who struggled with the same issues of weight gain and poor self-esteem following cancer surgery and treatment.
Andrea began training in 1992 and worked at the National Capital YMCA in Washington, D.C. She quickly worked her way up to Director of Personal Training and ran the department for several years. While working at the YMCA, Andrea started Leading Edge Fitness and later, The Cancer Exercise Training Institute. During this time, Andrea’s mom was diagnosed, for the second time, with breast cancer. She watched her mother struggle through the trauma of multiple surgeries, reconstruction, a frozen shoulder, and addiction to narcotics in order to cope with the pain associated with her surgeries. Inspired by her mother, Andrea, along with the chiefs of breast surgery at Georgetown, George Washington, and Johns’ Hopkins University Medical Centers, set out to write “Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors.” The goal was to help the millions of men and women, like her mother, to gain back their strength, range of motion, and self-esteem (among other things), following breast cancer surgery and treatment. The book was published by Harvard Common Press in 2000.
Realizing that she was limited to helping a certain number of clients per week, Andrea founded the Cancer Exercise Training Institute and developed the Cancer Exercise Specialist™ and Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU® Specialist™ Advanced Qualifications for health and fitness professionals. Through these programs she has been able to pass on her wealth of knowledge, and enable health and fitness professionals around the world, to work safely and confidently with cancer patients. In 2018 Andrea partnered with ACE, NFPT, PTAG, FLS, FAI, and WITS to sell CETI’s courses.
Andrea has presented the Cancer Exercise Specialist Workshop across the U.S. and Canada and has been a guest speaker at Medical Fitness Tour, IDEA World, CPTN Personal Trainer Summit, IRHSA, TSI Summit, Medical Fitness Association Conference, Keiser Permanente Thriving with Cancer Conference, Winona State University – Survivors Unite, McHenry Community College, New York Institute of Technology, OHSU School of Nursing, Edwards Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital, Suburban/Johns’ Hopkins, Mennonite Cancer Foundation, South Georgia Medical Center, Cary Medical Center Lynchburg General Hospital, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Sibley Hospital, Memorial Hermann, Sandford Health System, Avera McKenna Prairie Cancer Center, Baptist Hospital East, Patricia Neal Rehab. Center, St. Mary’s, Baptist Health System, and Fort Bliss Army Installation.
Andrea has contributed to PFP Magazine, American Fitness Magazine, CUREtoday.com, NOU Magazine, US News and World Report, Club Solutions Magazine, Bethesda Today, Capital Gazette, NASM’s Training Edge Magazine, Lake Oswego Review, Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, The Tidings inHealthOhio Blog and News, Capital Style, The Examiner, The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, 4Wholeness.com, and has appeared in countless videos including the Heartflex Breast Cancer Recovery video and been a regular fitness expert on AMNW.
Visit her website, thecancerspecialist.com