A cancer diagnosis would be enough to put most guys down, but Rob “Dr. Z” Zembroski, 46, a chiropractic physician in Darien, CT, wasn’t one of them.

When he was stricken with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006, he dove into research, which he was able to understand more easily because of his medical background. The chemo left him wasted, but through exercise and proper nutrition, he began to remake himself.

“I started to go back to a perfect lifestyle,” he says. “I began weightlifting with heavy weights, undertook high-intensity training, and took supplements like vitamins C and D to would help me rebuild myself quickly.”

In 2008, doctors told him he still had a large tumor in his chest that had to be removed. Post-surgery, he knew what he had to do: “I realized that living was a lot more fun than being stuck in a hospital, dying. I thought, I’m the perfect spokesperson for people who go through this, so my motivation became a message: I need to get what I’ve experienced out to people.”

The crux of his message: Weight training and clean eating made it feel as though he’d never gone through months of chemotherapy and surgery at all. Dr. Z now wants to change the term cancer survivor. After all, he says, cancer “is a battle.” A “cancer survivor,” he says, should be called a “cancer victor.”

Dr. Z beat cancer through research and training. He hopes to bring his experience to the world with a new book, Rebuild.