Entering The World Of Bodybuilding; Competing In A Wheelchair

Hi, my name is Troy and I am the first ever seated competitor for the ICN ( I Compete Natural Bodybuilding Competition). I am born with Spina Bifida which is a lower back degenerative condition that causes thinning of the spine. From what I have heard, it normally starts degenerating at 40 years old. Right now, I am 28, so that tells me that I have 12 years to get my body as strong as possible and build as much muscle around my lower back to prevent the degeneration's severity.

Can I stop it? Probably not, but what I can do is dramatically slow the process down so that I can live a healthier lifestyle for as long as possible. I only have 3 joints that work at 100%, both knees and my right hip. I am uncertain if my joint issues are due to past injuries or my condition but after 18+ surgeries to try and improve my situation, (I have actually lost count of how many surgeries I have had over the years) it is now all up to me to get off my ass and do the work. No one else will do it for me. It is my choice to better myself.

I work out 5 times a week which includes 4 heavy weight training sessions designed to build as much muscle around my back, chest, arms and legs. I also do one intense 30 minute cardio session made up of several body weight exercises designed to burn fat. My training adds up to a maximum of 3 hours a week. That's 3 hours a week out of a 168 hour week to work on me and make myself the best I can be. I have been doing this consistently for over 7 years.

In early October last year, I made the decision to compete for the ICN in their second ever physically challenged division physique category. Putting myself on this journey has been the best decision I have ever made. Training for a bodybuilding competition has given me an achievable long term goal to work towards. It keeps me motivated, accountable and drives me towards my goals. 

Being born with Spina Bifida, I understand that I need to keep my lean muscle up, otherwise my body will degenerate at a faster rate as I age. Entering the world of bodybuilding, for me, is like killing two birds with one stone. It has helped me mentally and physically strive towards my goals. Regardless of our circumstances, we can always choose to allow our challenges to make or break us. I know which I choose.