Pauline Goloubef: The Journey to Becoming a CET

by | Oct 30, 2018

“Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.”  – Anonymous,


Have you ever wanted to accomplish something but had no idea how to start? Felt paralyzed by the unknown? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. In 2015, my friend, Julie Grosvenor, a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer (CET) by the American College Sports Medicine (ACSM) approached me about her job. Julie worked at the YMCA teaching a fitness program for cancer survivors: The Living Strong, Living Well program. The program is designed, sponsored and managed by Stanford Health Improvement Program. It’s a twelve week fitness program offered to adult cancer survivors through the YMCA at no cost. The goal is to improve muscle strength, build muscle mass, increase flexibility, reduce the side-effects of their treatments and fatigue, increase their overall well-being, and so much more. Julie asked if I’d be interested in becoming a trainer at the YMCA for this program. I said of course I was interested, but at the time I was working at Alkalign teaching classes, taking on the new role of Development Coach, bringing up two active boys in high school and my husband traveled a lot for his job. The timing wasn’t right. However, I decided to write my GOAL down and also shared my goal with my friends of becoming a CET. It worked!


In October of 2017, Julie called again, she offered me the opportunity to teach a weekly class for cancer survivors. I jumped in with both feet. After shadowing a few times, I started teaching the Exercise for Health fitness class sponsored by Stanford Health Care (delivered by Sunflower Wellness) in November. This would be the gateway to my end goal: ACSM Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer.  In January 2018, I decided to set a deadline to take the exam; I scheduled it for the first week in March and then planned out a study schedule. As the exam date approached I realized I was heading to the finish line to attaining my certification. March 9, 2018 I sat down at the desk, started to answer approximately two hundred questions over three and half hours. At the end of the exam, I hit the “complete” button and instantly felt a little nauseous. Did I study enough? Did I learn enough while shadowing cancer exercise consultations? The word PASS popped up on my screen! I felt a wave of satisfaction and accomplishment and then a realization: I’m not at the end of my GOAL but at the beginning of my next GOALS.


The Certification Cancer Exercise Trainer provides me the opportunity to meet with cancer patients and survivors to develop an individualized exercise program for them to ward off side effects, combat fatigue,  improve bone density, increase muscle mass and decrease the possibility of depression and recurrence. I have completed numerous hours of shadowing the exercise counselling consults and now conduct the sessions on a weekly basis.


I love how my work as a Development Coach and fitness instructor at Alkalign Studios aligns with my goal of training and providing exercise counselling to cancer survivors. Alkalign Studios  focuses on the 7 functional movements (squat, lunge, walk/gait, push, pull, hinge, rotate) and educates our clients to make the connections between how they use these movements in their daily lives. I feel there is a common goal of Alkalign Studios, Sunflower Wellness and the Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program to help clients improve muscle strength, joint flexibility, mobility, range of motion, mood (increase happy endorphins) and cognitive skills, as well as reduce anxiety, fatigue, and depression. I am happy to be a small part in a client’s, and survivor’s, day where I can educate, motivate and support them regardless of where they are in fitness or in their health journey. Thank you to Alkalign for my foundation in fitness and thank you to Sunflower Wellness and Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program for the opportunity and support you’ve given me during this journey.


Pauline Goloubef 

Development Coach, Alkalign Studios

Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, ACSM, Sunflower Wellness, Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program



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