Bodybuilding is a sport many people admire and would want to participate in it. However, only a few actually make it in this highly competitive sport. It involves a lot of resistance exercises to achieve muscularity and good physical shape. Most importantly, it involves the coordination of virtually every body part and organ to achieve the desired results. However, it is unfortunate that some people lack some of these parts due to accidents and illnesses or are unable to use them like everyone else. What’s more amazing is that some of these people have found a way of overcoming their various disabilities and do things like normal people, sometimes even better. To prove that disability is not inability, here are 10 bodybuilders who defied all odds to become some of the best in the world.
Scott was normal for the first 16 years of his life, until a horrific car accident changed his life forever. On that fateful day, Scott was behind the wheel, heading to an undisclosed location. Then his car lost control and veered off the road, flipping several times before landing in a ditch. He came around after some time, only to realize that he couldn’t feel his body from the waist downwards.
The doctors would later break to him that he was paralyzed from the waist. Scott had to take painkillers to ease the excruciating pain he was feeling but again it meant he won’t leave the hospital where he could access the drugs easily. He didn’t like this and decided to do without the painkillers, the first battle he had to win in his new condition. Scott left hospital later on and had to withstand the pain until he healed completely.
Scott’s next assignment was to pursue his passion despite the situation he was in. He began a bodybuilding career that saw him become an inspiration to many people. Scott is referred to as ‘the best’ because he outdid many people with otherwise normal bodies throughout his bodybuilding career.
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Anand Arnold is an Indian professional bodybuilder who, like Scott, overcame all obstacles to realize his dreams. His love for bodybuilding started at a young age. He was only 13 when he started following his brother to the gym. By the age of 15, he was one of the few rising stars in bodybuilding in India. However, this was to be brought to a screeching halt by a fist-sized tumor in his lower back. He underwent surgery to remove they cyst but he became paralyzed due to neck down paralysis. Doctors said he’d remain bedridden, something that put a test to his bodybuilding career.
Anand Arnold refused to be confined to his bed by the partial paralysis and decided he would pursue his dreams regardless. He started going to the gym on a wheelchair and continued doing what he loved most. The determinant was so good at bodybuilding that he went ahead to win a Mr. India bodybuilding title among many other awards.
This man walks in crutches but possesses a body many people only dream of. Sanona says he has God to thank for his incredible spirit of determination that inspires many. He knows that he must work harder than everyone else and it is this determination in training that has seen him become one of the best. People who have seen him train at the gym think he overworks himself with the many intense exercises. Additionally, Sanova is known to stop at nothing until he achieves a particular objective he has in mind. Sometimes he even puts down his crutches and run on the treadmill harder than most of you fully functional folks. The legend cites people with disability as the reason he works so hard, just to prove to them that disability cannot stop them from realizing their dreams.
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Sham Singh Shera
Sham Shera is a victim of polio which made him partially disabled. However, this did not put him down and decided he want to do bodybuilding at the age of 15. He was very disciplined in his training routine and diet.
His efforts eventually paid off with several bodybuilding awards coming his way. For instance, he won the IFBB World Championship on two occasions; in 2011 and 2015. He also became North India Champion three times, a fete very few people have achieved. Sham Shera continues to be a household name in bodybuilding corridors, inspiring many to go for it even when disability seems to get in their way.
A motorcycle accident broke many of John Quinn’s bones and nearly shattered all his dreams in the process. He is a staunch Christian who believes the accident was God’s plan to make him bigger than his former self. It is this kind of belief that shaped his life as far as bodybuilding is concerned. Quinn has a strong mind that has seen him work to strengthen his body as well. He advises people to chase their dreams irrespective of the situations they find themselves in. Most importantly, he believes impossibility is only in the mind and that people can overcome challenges by changing their mindset. John Quinn is a successful bodybuilder with an admirable body and is worth following on his various social platforms.
Sophie Butler who is in her mid-20s met her fate in the place she enjoyed being the most, a gym. On that fateful day of July 2017, a loaded Smith machine fell on her back, severing most of her bones. She was taken to hospital where she underwent surgery. However, she ended up becoming paralyzed from the waist down. For once she though all her dreams have come to an end, but decided otherwise after coming to terms with her situation. She continued going to the gym on a wheelchair and would do all sorts of exercises, five to six days a week.
Not even a post-traumatic stress disorder she developed after the accident could prevent Sophie from pursuing her passion. Her caregivers at hospital and rehabilitation center where she was recovering encouraged her to go to the gym. Thereafter, she went home and her family moved to a new town. Sophie’s dad found a good gym for her where she started working out. Long story short, Sophie is now a full package of fitness coach, influencer, and advocate for people with disability. She is currently based in the United Kingdom.
Reggie accidentally shot himself with a gun he was playing with at the age of 13. The incident left him unable to walk and affected many aspects of his life. However, he decided to turn things around for himself and those living with disability like him by becoming a bodybuilder. Expectedly, he had to work harder than fully functional people and he was prepared to do just that.
Apart from active bodybuilding, Reggie is also a motivational speaker with a huge fan base. He uses this platform to inspire and motivate people to pursue their dreams even when the situation is not favorable. The bodybuilders does everything on a wheelchair, which makes him more of an inspiration. Most importantly. He advices people against giving excuses and do the impossible instead.
Matt Elson suffers from a rare type of cerebral palsy that impairs one side of the body. Hemiplegia, as the condition is known, has paralyzed Elson’s left side. However, he has decided to put the healthy side of his body into good use by becoming a bodybuilder. Elson started by building his confidence and mental strength to prepare for the task ahead. He also took care of his emotional strength by starting a family in his early 30s. Despite having a career in marketing, Elson decided to throw all his strength into bodybuilding. He came to know about disability bodybuilding and did his best to create a name there.
It took him a little over 5 years to become an elite bodybuilder with many admirers. He went ahead to qualify for many bodybuilding contests including PCA Hampshire, BodyPower, British PCA finals, among others. Elson won many titles including the recent PCA European Championship. Winning an American competition is his biggest objective at the moment.
Last on our list is James Sutliff, a bodybuilder who doubles up as a disability fitness coach. Everything was just fine until James woke up one day and found he is unable to speak and move his hand normally. He would later learn that he is suffering from Dystonia, a condition that causes the body’s muscles to contract uncontrollably. Despite this sad realization, James refused to let it change his life for the worst. He capitalized on this rare type of disability to become one of the best bodybuilders. Most importantly, he used his experience to change the lives of others through coaching and motivational speaking. James adapted to his condition quickly and turned it into an inspirational story that encourages many people in similar situations.
Disability and bodybuilding are two things many people don’t think could work together. However, the bodybuilders discussed above have proven beyond reasonable doubt that anything is possible through hard work and determination. This article is meant for everyone who is afraid of pursuing their dreams because of disability. It can be done all you need is a strong mind and determination to overcome any situation you find yourself in. Please note that the article is not meant to shame people who consider themselves normal but are not performing as they should. Rather, it sends a general message that all of us have what it takes to make it in bodybuilding whether they are disabled or not.