Meet our moderator, Stephen!

Join us on June 4th, from 8–9pm ET / 7–8pm CT / 5–6pm PT for our first Cancer and Exercise AppChat! Caregiver and Exercise Expert, Stephen Cerne from Fully Functional Fitness will be leading the discussion on the GRYT App. We’ll be chatting on everything from guidelines, to exercise programs, and different ways to alter and adjust exercise to accommodate different needs.

Get to know our moderator, Stephen by reading his bio below. We’ll see you on the app!

Stephen Cerne
Owner/President of Fully Functional Fitness, Inc.

My journey into health and fitness started from a very young age. For as long as I can remember, I always aspired to become a physician. I was also, and still am, very physically active, participating in various team and individuals sports. My athletic career ultimately culminated in my participation in Division I cross-country and track and field. While I continued to play intramural basketball, softball, and racquet sports, college athletics allowed me to ease some of the financial woes of student loans. As I continued through my first year of college, I became much more interested in the role of strength training and nutrition as it applied to athletic performance. Not only was I on the pre-med track, I began to take electives directly focused on various health topics, including nutrition.

Eventually, I came to realize that becoming a physician would limit my ability to work with a variety of age groups throughout the lifelong journey of achieving a healthy lifestyle. My focus then shifted to preventative health and sport-specific training.

After graduating from Notre Dame College with a degree in Biology, I became a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in 2007. Soon after, I started to work for Bally’s Total Fitness. After 3 months, I was promoted to Fitness Director/Assistant Manager. In this role, it was my job to develop the skills of the personal trainers under me, as well as maintain the level of services members had become used to. After 6 months I had become bored, doing more damage control rather than having an impact on people’s fitness level. I stepped down from the position and began branching out while maintaining my clientele base. That fall, I became the strength and conditioning coach for the track and field team at Notre Dame College. During both indoor and outdoor track, multiple individuals and relays qualified for national on the boys and girls teams.

My business Fully Functional Fitness, Inc., was started in 2008 and was based on a specific program that I had developed. The goal of this program and its ancillary business is to define functionality in regard to health-related fitness components. It was at this time that I began contracting with The Gathering Place, a cancer support center that provides various services free of charge to individuals who have or have had cancer, their family members, and caregivers. With the financial help of my mother (a two-time breast cancer survivor) and another donor, an in-house program was developed following a research program, Moving Forward, which studied the effects of strength training on cancer-related fatigue. Over two years, the general and research programming grew exponentially to the point where The Gathering Place brought me on staff. I have since attained the highly regarded American College of Sports Medicine/American Cancer Society Cancer Exercise Trainer Certification (6 in Ohio, only individual in Cleveland).

In early 2011, The Gathering Place opened The Richman Family Wellness Center to accommodate our exercise programming. I worked directly with the architects and operations director to design the space, layout, and purchase equipment. In addition to the various general exercise classes we offer, we also are currently studying the effects of exercise on African-American breast cancer survivors in collaboration with University Hospitals and Case Medical Center. I have since moved my personal business to the Wellness Center in an effort to offset operations costs for the organization.

During this same time frame, I began coaching distance events for the Solon Boys Track Team (2008 to 2013). Since then, two individuals and one relay team have qualified for the state meet. During the fall of 2008, I assumed the position of head coach for the Solon Boys Cross Country Team. The team was the regional runner-up for the first time in school history. In addition to qualifying as a team, three individuals qualified for the state meet and placing 2nd, 7th, 15th, and 24th respectively. In the past five years, four teams have qualified for the state championship meet and finished 11th, 13th, and 5th, and 13th. These have been the four fastest teams in the school’s history. Five individuals have qualified in those five years, the highest finisher being Conner Paez, a state runner-up.

I have applied the same principles with these young men that I do with my private clients and the participants at The Gathering Place. I strive to provide a structure for self-improvement and progress; a safe, comfortable environment; and a knowledge base that leads to personal accomplishments.

It is really the work that these individuals do that make me a success!

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