For many years I’ve wanted to find a way to implement personal exercise training into cancer patients’ protocols.

I’m partial to personal training over physical therapy, not because I believe PT doesn’t play a valuable role – it does – but because personal training gets people out of a clinical setting and in to normal, everyday life.

Enter Doug Staley.

Doug Staley Power Lifting

An accomplished athlete and long-time personal trainer, Staley owns and operates a training facility in St. Paul called Competitive Wellness, located about twenty minutes from Conners Clinic. I was referred to Staley by another well-respected Twin Cities trainer, who had nothing but rave reviews for Doug as a human and as a professional.

I now understand why.

Competitive Wellness is different from other gyms in the Twin Cities Metro because of what it offers to people who are either in remission from cancer or are still in the midst of their cancer journey.

For starters, Staley is ACSM/ACS certified to train cancer patients and cancer survivors.

Several years ago Staley wanted to expand his personal training expertise and became a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer {CET}.

The certification, offered through the American College of Sports Medicine {ACSM} & American Cancer Society {ACS}, enables a trainer to administer fitness assessments and create exercise programs tailored to a person’s cancer diagnosis, treatment protocol, and current health status.

Second, Competitive Wellness partners with the non-profit Survival 2 Strength.

Survival 2 Strength is a MN-based organization which offers 24 weeks of 1-on-1 personal training sessions for cancer survivors or current cancer patients. The sessions are of no cost to the client and once the 24 weeks are complete there is zero obligation to continue training sessions {though many choose to do so}.

And third, Competitive Wellness offers a phone-based training app to easily support clients who don’t live near the Twin Cities.

As business grew, more and more clients who lived in other states wanted to work with Competitive Wellness. Staley saw the app as an opportunity to provide accessible training programs, FaceTime training sessions, and accountability, without needing the client to be in-person at his own gym.

The popularity of the app took off and Staley sees it as a big part of the success of his business. Now his clients can travel for work or go on vacation and still use the app to guide their workouts and connect with him remotely.

This means that ALL of Conners Clinic’s distance patients can access Competitive Wellness’ personal training services from the comfort of their own homes or local exercise facilities.

Not only that, but qualifying applicants can benefit from Survival 2 Strength’s financial support and have their first 24 weeks of training covered. Given the high costs often associated with a cancer diagnosis, this is a huge win.

To kick off CC’s relationship with Competitive Wellness and provide potential clients with a detailed overview of Staley’s training history and business model, I requested an interview and he jumped at the opportunity.

Here is the YouTube link:

I walked away from our conversation appreciative of the heart he has for his clients. Staley’s passion is palpable and his knowledge is worthy of respect; both are reasons I’m willing to entrust patients into his care.

Doug Staley Personal Training for Cancer

My Interview with Doug Staley – link imbedded

Just to be clear, Staley’s expertise goes far beyond working with cancer patients/survivors. He has close to a decade of experience training collegiate and olympic athletes, he’s both competed and trained in the power-lifting arena, and he has a solid educational background {he holds a Master’s Degree in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Minnesota}.

All the fanfare aside, he’s also a down-to-earth guy who loves people and wants to encourage them to stay healthy at any age or fitness level.

If you, or someone you know would be interested in connecting with Competitive Wellness or Survival 2 Strength, each entity’s contact information is listed below.

Competitive Wellness

Doug @

Survival 2 Strength

Clare: cpoulose8 @

Phone: 651.470.1644

**As we move forward in our referral relationship with Competitive Wellness, both Doug Staley and I {Michelle} are open to creating more content – both educational and exercise-related – to help some of our patients “find their footing” as it pertains to weight training. If there are topics you would like to see addressed, please email your requests to and put Attn: Michelle in the subject.

Additional CC Blogs on Exercise & Cancer: