Coach Sam here. This is NOT about me, but I love this picture. This was exactly one year ago. I was 15# overweight. I was bald. But don’t I look happy? I was. Why wouldn’t I be:

  • I had the love of my life in my arms
  • He claimed he still loved me even though I was chubby and bald, LOL
  • I was still doing work I loved
  • I was around people who didn’t judge me or look at me funny for being “different” than my norm
  • And…I had a new project (I love projects!): lose weight, get my strength back, and oh yea,…grow hair fast!

Yes, I had breast cancer.  But this year, one year later…I’m the same person…lighter, stronger, and yes, I have hair. What a great example of recovery right? Right. Now I know, not everyone is lucky, and things can “happen”, cancer can come back, I can get sick from the treatment versus cancer. I get it. But right now, I’m in control, and that’s what our Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts focus on – the things you can control. 

Today we post our Breast Cancer Awareness Month event and a few of the details as to why we do it, and what will happen near the end of October. So read on!

Barbells for Boobs
Workout: Grace: For time: 30x C&J 135/95 (65 and under) *

9:00 a.m. Dr. Paula Lundgren will speak

9:30 a.m. (ish) Heat 1

Heats every 15 minutes until complete

*Workout scaling: 115/75, 95/65, 75/55, 65/45, 55/35, 45/25, 35/15 and yes, PVC’s and half reps for those needing more assistance in scaling.

This year, we use the Barbells for Boobs title/name literally…we are lifting barbells to raise awareness that 1 in 8 women will develop “boob” (breast) cancer. The organization we formerly supported by the same name is no more, and we don’t have details on that, so we’re not going to beat that dead horse. Rather, we’re running our traditional event with the goal of raising awareness….but of what? Here we go!

Promptly at 9:00 a.m. we would love everyone to be present as we have Dr. Paula Lundgren on-site to kick things off with us. Dr. Lundgren is a breast cancer surgeon for the Baycare Health System. She was actually the physician of one of our athletes and friends who recently completed breast cancer treatment. It’s nice to have an expert from our local Baycare Health system because of their comprehensive focus on breast cancer. As most of you know, Ed and are…I struggle to find the right words because I can’t use words I used to (they make the young generation’s ears cry😂)…so let’s say “militant”, or “rigid”, or “strict”…those are good! We can be MILITANT about the health of our friends and family. And you should see that as good…we could be saying “eat what you want, don’t train, be lazy, be unhealthy”…and lemme tell you what that does:

  • it may CAUSE certain types of cancer.
  • it DEFINITELY makes your ability to tolerate treatment for any illness WORSE.
  • it does not promote happiness, health, and a high quality of life….shall I go on? That’s really enough – simple is better.

So, pardon our aggressive approach to our profession, our athletes, our friends, and our family – we want to promote health, happiness, and a high quality of life. We can’t do that by being OK with sedentarism and fueling your body with processed foods. Sorry – if you know us, you know over the past, probably 20 years, that’s been our focus professionally and our lifestyle. So by association, you’re going to be healthy-ish, or we’ll be a pain in your arse!

But back to the program….some facts about breast cancer to highlight this special month and the kickoff of our event:

#1 – Most breast cancers are treatable.

I’m not sure if we can say “curable” so for terminology’s sake, let’s say treatable. Statistics indicate that 240,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer every year. 42,000 will succumb to it. If the breast cancer is invasive and located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of women with this disease is 99%. ( About 66% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at this stage. Next to skin cancer, breast cancer in women is the second most prevalent cancer in women in the U.S.

What I read from this is “if the cancer is invasive and located only in the breast”…so it hasn’t spread… it’s highly treatable. And why would it spread? Because it’s been there a while and was not detected in many cases. Early detection plays a huge role here.

Our local health systems do have options for those without health insurance or the means to afford screening mammograms. We’re CRAZY about screening mammograms. That’s where it’s at – get it done. Get a clean scan annually and move on. The earlier you find a problem the odds are that the greater the treatment effectiveness and it lessens treatment many times!

If you don’t have insurance or need financial assistance, get on your phone and Google it. There are options.

#2  – Your health plays a role in both preventing and surviving breast cancer.

“From the mid-2000s, invasive breast cancer in women has increased by approximately half a percent each year. This is likely caused by an increase in excess body weight in women overall, as well as a drop in fertility rates and rising age for first births.” ( You had to know I’d go here. Maintaining ideal body weight which to me means maintaining adequate strength and muscle and ideal body fat percentage, is in our control…and no, I don’t believe “it’s in my genes to be overweight”. Sorry guys, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has thrown that excuse at me who is also in control of their diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity. You have to control those factors and check for progress before you can throw out the “it’s in my genes”. Eliminate the causative lifestyle factors and THEN seek a medical cause.

#3 – Your health plays a role in how you will tolerate treatment for breast cancer.

You had to know I’d go here too! I feel like a broken record. Yes, from personal experience recently, and our OG Rebels past with Moana, Janette, and Tracy,  once I get a whiff of something amazing, I’ll do all the research both anecdotal and published to both understand it and promote it. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of research out there on how well a “healthy person” will tolerate chemotherapy or other treatment options as compared to an “unhealthy person” because we don’t have a great definition of “healthy” in our country. Unlike our CrossFit standards (pretty black and white!), and the numbers under the Wellness Curve (see below), the modern definition of a “healthy person” today may be that your bloodwork is normal, but you may still be sedentary and overweight. It takes time for “disease to cook” and youth has a great way of masking the percolation and path to disease. If you’re in our network of friends and family then you’re more attuned to a broader level of health statistics and herein lies our goal with our work.

I could go on and on, but it’s the same message, and it’s consistent with what we preach at the box.  For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we preach screenings and health. That’s it!

If you screen for breast cancer (self-exams, annual gynecology exams, and mammograms when indicated based on your age or health history), you’re doing your part there.

Then, if you subscribe to the healthiest lifestyle you can muster – it may be more for some and less for others – but in the end…

  • more of your diet should be whole foods than processed, and amounts/calories should support your activity level and body weight, but not more,
  • you need physical activity every day and the older you are the more you need (you heard that right!),
  • you need to sleep, well and enough,
  • you need people – friends, family…COVID is over – no more isolation…bring back your community or tribe,

then you’ve done your part there.

That’s it. It’s a simple and powerful message, and it’s not hard. And it’s the foundation to everything, including, for our purposes here today: preventing breast cancer, early detection of breast cancer, and being as strong as possible if you do have to tolerate treatment for breast cancer. 

And….back to business. Saturday the 21st, our Barbells for Boobs event will kick off at 9:00 a.m. – BE THERE. Hear Dr. Lundgren’s message. Support those attending who’ve had and beat breast cancer. And then be there for workouts! Members of the box will likely know someone in every heat. Yell for them – help them get through it. Friends and family of the box can get on the schedule by texting Sam (so old school, we know!) or stopping by during open hours to sign up. The 9:30 and 9:45 heats are already full, so hop to it!

If you sign up to do Grace, you’ll also be committing to scorekeeping for an athlete before or after you so plan on that.

We’ll continue heats until all our athletes, friends and family are through. 

Plan on being there. Participate. Spectate. But join us! We should be done by noon. 

To donate to the Morton Plant Mease Foundation, specifically to send your funds to help women who can’t afford screening mammograms, click here: