Fitness coach helping breast cancer survivors in the gym

Scott Keppel is an Arizona certified personal trainer.

It’s hard initially when it’s all first happening,” Melissa Keppel said. “You don’t see the future. You’re stuck in I have this diagnosis, what am I going to do?”

Melissa has battled breast cancer twice. She was diagnosed the first time in July 2011.

“My last week of radiation, I called him and I was like, ‘I’m not going, forget it,’” Melissa said. “I’m not going because you get the weekend to feel better and then you know Monday is coming and you’re going to get sick again.

“He just knows exactly what to say and motivate you to get there,” Melissa continued.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better support system, a better partner,” Melissa said.

“I wanted to know how I could help her during this process,” Scott said. “So I could be a better support system because I felt that was going to be crucial in getting her better.”

Scott not only helped Melissa emotionally on this journey, he was also able to use his expertise as a fitness coach to get her back to exercising safely.

He got certified in a breast cancer recovery exercise program.

“What I found out with women who get diagnosed with breast cancer is they tend to be self-conscience of that area,” Keppel said. “Some of them dislike that area or even hate that area because that’s what changed their life.

“A lot of the exercises [I do] work on those postural changes,” Scott continued. “We work on opening up those shoulders, strengthen the upper back and shoulders, while being mindful of any exercise to the chest. This definitely took a play when she got diagnosed the second time.”

Melissa decided to have a double mastectomy after being diagnosed a second time in January 2014.

“We still have to do a lot of exercises, work on her range of motion, especially for her since having the double mastectomy and complications and having to have a re-surgery,” Scott said. “She was mentally, physically and emotionally drained having to battle cancer twice in less than five years. So the last thing we want to do is start off an exercise program where all of a sudden she’s going too hard.”

“A lot of women have told me that he should be a counselor,” Melissa said. “He understands what the women are going through because he went through it with me.”

“They feel empowered again and that’s my goal with helping any client, but especially a woman who has just gone through something like this, is helping her to realize how strong and beautiful she is,” Scott said.

His certification is just the beginning of how he helps women battling breast cancer.

Scott is bringing awareness to the disease with his annual Busting Butts to Save Breasts 5K race and a new e-book called “A Fit Guide to Post Breast Cancer Recovery.”

“I know there were times Melissa didn’t have much hope and I know some of the clients I have helped in the past that have gone through this at times they felt they didn’t have hope,” Scott said. “If any of that can just help someone that one moment when they maybe feel weak feel strong again, then that’s what the purpose of Melissa having cancer was.”

“Emotionally it’s still very hard, but you got to do what you got to do,” Melissa said. “I’m alive and I’m happy to be alive, happy to be a mom again, a better wife, and a good friend.”

If interested in signing up for the Busting Butts to Save Breasts 5K race  or buying “A Fit Guide to Post Breast Cancer Recovery,” visit or