Young Man Survives Cancer, Transforms Life!


He is 135 lbs lighter and healthier and happier than ever before!! (His hard work paid off!)

—- Note from Bill, before we begin: This is a pretty long story… but an incredible one at that. It shows that everybody is capable of making stunning changes in their bodies and lives; and it tells us that our greatest adversity can become our biggest blessing in life. Please, if you can make time, read and enjoy all of this story and do so when you can sit back, relax and take it all in. It’s a story that will uplift your life–I know because it has truly inspired mine. Please, if you enjoy this true story, share it with others — heart-centered, good news is rare in today’s media, but it’s exactly what most of us need in order to live with optimism and a positive mindset! If you’re interested in reading more real-life success stories and inspirational messages each week, please sign up to follow my blog right here. It’s FREE! —-


Perhaps the best Transformation I have ever witnessed

Over the past 20 years I have been fortunate to be a part of some incredible body and life transformations. I used to regularly feature heroic, real-life before to after success stories in the magazine I used to write and publish, Muscle Media. In 1998 I made a documentary film about how people can transform their lives through fitness, positive thinking, and setting challenging and exciting goals for themselves.

And of course, my book Body-for-LIFE was all about how ordinary people can experience extraordinary personal growth by renewing their health and building their lives on a solid foundation of fitness.

Ever since then, I have stayed active helping people make positive changes in their lives but mostly at one-on-one level. I love teaching and encouraging people in person and in a situation where I can help them grow over time… and that is what I now have the opportunity to do at my private Transformation Fitness Center here in my hometown, Golden, Colorado. It is here that I have the opportunity to put the key tenets I’ve learned over the years to work on a daily basis… all with the focused intention of helping real people make really, really incredible changes to their bodies and lives. I love my work and am so grateful I get to do this full time. I intend to be helping people transform, God willing, right up until my very last breath.


Such an easy question to answer as you might imagine.

I love this work so much because I get to play a small part in the miraculous life turnarounds of people like our NEW Honorary Transformation Champion, George Umbreit. As you can see in his before and after pictures here, not only did he completely change physically but he has literally become more alive! No longer is he carrying 135 lbs of extra (and unhealthy) bodyfat. And no longer is he carrying the weight of depression, self-doubt, and isolation.


From the Brink of Death, a New Man is Born

George (who will be 23 years of age tomorrow–June 8) is a reborn man: confident yet humble; happy and healthy; inspired and inspiring! Where he once was isolated (some days only leaving his room for ten minutes), now he has dozens of friends and lives an active lifestyle in the beautiful outdoors here in Colorado.

I can truly say that George’s stunning transformation is right up there with the top two or three I have ever witnessed (and I have seen hundreds of thousands of great transformations through my career in health and fitness). In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen it done better than this. Especially when you consider how far George has climbed to stand where he stands now. You see, when George was younger, he was told he may not live to see another birthday. Leukemia is a frightening diagnosis for any parent and child–George found himself in a brutal struggle to survive. Months of devastating chemotherapy and a nearly year-long stay in Children’s Hospital took him to the edge of life and death. No child should ever have to endure that much pain and suffering in my opinion.

Thank God, the doctors efforts and George’s incredible will to live pulled him through. I remember his wish being granted by our Make-A-Wish chapter here in Denver–when he got out of the hospital, he went on a Disney adventure he remembers well to this day.

The Cancer was Gone, but the Emotional Pain Remained

Physically, George was cured; but over the years, the emotional trauma of the disease simmered under the surface until it came out in the form of paralyzing anxiety and depression. He used food to ease the pain and calm the fear, like so many of us do at one point or another in our lives. Years went by and George’s weight climbed to nearly 400 lbs. (he is 6’4″). He felt out of place amongst peers of his age, trapped in a body that he didn’t like, isolated, lonely, angry and he almost lost all hope.

A Breakthrough Idea

One of George’s counselors, Charles, had been working out at my Transformation Center last summer. After seeing George struggle and knowing that he was not responding very well to typical therapy and treatment options for depression and PTSD, Charles had a idea. That idea was the breakthrough that saved George’s young life again.

Charles and I had talked about the remarkable scientific research which shows exercise, healthy eating, and community support is powerful medicine that heals body, mind, heart and soul. Our program is especially effective in this regard; it is designed to not only transform the body, but to help uplift the whole person. That’s because our program is positive, encouraging, unconditionally accepting, fun, practical, and empowered by faith in the God-given abilities that every person has within them to change–to heal–to transform their bodies and lives. It is a program that is not based on theory, but scientific fact. For these reasons and an intuitive hunch on Charles’ part, George was introduced to our Transformation Center.


Tremendous Community Support Made the Difference

I remember the first day George came in for a visit and his first workout. I could tell George had the inner strength to do this and do it right. After all, he had already survived a very serious and life-threatening disease–this, in comparison, was just another mountain to climb. That first day, I got a photo with him and posted it on Facebook page (find me at Bill Phillips Transformation on FB). I said to my friends and readers that George could do this but he was going to need a lot of support and encouragement. I asked for their help. The response was over whelming–thousands of people from all over the world reached out to help lift George up. Even iconic celebrity Jerry Seinfeld, who has been doing Body-for-LIFE workouts for a decade now, congratulated and encouraged George when he stopped by our Transformation Center recently!

Back in those beginning weeks, and still today, I am convinced that George’s success has had a lot to do with all those powerful prayers and positive intentions from people like YOU. I have been around long enough in life to see and believe in things like that. It makes a difference in ways our present day science can’t really understand.

Looking back now, I am SO happy that I followed my intuition and video-taped George’s first few days in the Center including his first workouts, weigh in, as well as the initial discussions we had about what it was going to take for him to make this incredible breakthrough in his life. George promised he would give it his all and not give up. And that is exactly what he did. The key for George has been his CONSISTENCY. His change didn’t happen over night, but then again he didn’t gain the weight over night either.

A Simple, Smart Plan, Followed to the T = BIG RESULTS

George attended our 3-day Transformation Camp last summer, and since he lives here in Colorado, he has been coming here to the Center, giving the best effort he can every week. He works out for 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week (following my 5-25 interval intensity method). He ate 3 healthy meals from my Eating for Life book along with 3 Right Light Nutrition Shakes (for extra protein and vitamins) each day. He planned his meals ahead of time and followed his plan day after day. He scheduled his workout times for the week ahead and all but one time, he was here exactly when he said he would be.

Now, ten and a half months after he began, George is 135 lbs lighter and so much happier and healthier that his before photo from last summer has become virtually unrecognizable to me today. He truly left that person in his before photo in the past. Each day, when I see George here at the Center, I see a healthy, authentic, smart, caring, outgoing, fun and strong young man. That is who he was all along I think.

Your God-given Power and Ability to Change

True transformation is said to be both an ending and a beginning–a death and rebirth. It means that old ways of thinking, old ways of seeing yourself, old habits, old limiting beliefs… all that must go… it must die to make room for the birth and growth of a new mind. A mind that has faith in God-given abilities and strengths that promise us all that WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE, and no event, no person (not even ourselves!), can ever take that away. I’ve discovered that it sometimes takes significant adversity to break open those powerful and transformative abilities. They are always there though… always.

In George’s case, I can clearly see that his humble confidence, his great inner strength, his grateful and joyful approach to life… it’s here now because of the pain and suffering of his past. Let me say that again: George’s transformation is so incredible because of the adversity he has faced, not in spite of it. Lesson: Your biggest obstacle at this time may turn out to be your greatest blessing a year from now. George is proof.


It’s been an Honor and Privilege to Help George Transform

When I told George that he had been selected as our Inspirational Transformation Champion for this year, his eyes lit up at first and he was truly surprised! But just a few moments later, he became real serious.

“Can I talk to you for a minute Bill?” he asked. We went to my office, sat down, and he leaned forward.

“I appreciate this award very much. It’s really awesome and I don’t want to disappoint you.” he explained in a soft, sincere tone.

“I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but is it alright if I don’t accept the prize money?”

Now I was the one who looked surprised because this has never happened before! I asked him why he didn’t want it.

“I didn’t do this for money–I did it because I wanted to have a new life–to feel good about myself and have friends just like everybody else. I have that now. It wouldn’t be honest or right of me to accept money for it.”

I smiled, nodded my head in agreement. His eyes then lit up again and he said, “I would like to keep the gold medal though if that’s okay. It’s really cool!” I smiled even more, then put the blue ribbon over his head (something I need a small ladder to accomplish; he is 6’4″ and I’m 5’8″) and the gold Champion’s Medal rested appropriately over his renewed, healthy heart.

What I See

Yes, in all my 20+ years of helping people transform their bodies and lives, this experience has inspired beyond compare. What an honor and blessing it has been to be a part of this incredible young man’s rebirth. I am so proud of George and even though he has accomplished so much this past year, I know full well that THIS is JUST THE BEGINNING for him.

Go George go–I, and thousands of your new friends reading this from around the world are with you in spirit and behind you all the way!


  1. Stefanie says:

    Our teenage daughter has AML and is going through some of what you must have experienced. I sent her this testimony as inspiration. You are a blessing to us all. I pray for your continued growth in grace and strength. Thank you for sharing

  2. Robert Baker says:

    I would like to know how many times a week should I do the 5-25 program

  3. Matthew b says:

    If we only follow the program 5 days a week what would the schedule look like ? Thanks bill!

    • Monday: Upper Body
      Tuesday: Cardio
      Wednesday: Lower Body
      Thursday: Carido
      Friday: Upper Body

      You will get a lot of lower body work on cardio days, especially if you use a spin bike.


  1. […] Inspiring True Transformation Story (a must read!) […]

  2. […] P.S. You can read my blog about George’s stunning transformation by clicking here. […]

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