Pushing Past My Comfort Zone; Competing with Cerebral Palsy

"Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time.

People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments."

(Read more about Cerebral Palsy here)


My name is Lawrence Mendoza and I am a wheelchair bodybuilder.

It all started in late 2016. I was contemplating on life and how I could improve myself, while making a difference in the world. I made a phone call to ANB (Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association) saying I wanted to compete in bodybuilding. That moment was the game changer.

Early last year, I picked a coach that I could trust; Michael Lee. I was so excited to join Mike's team. During my first consult with Mike, we discussed what comps I wanted to do and how long I would need to prepare to reach my goals. It was nerve racking, yet it excited me. 


Being my first comp prep and stepping outside of my comfort zone, I will openly admit that it was a struggle. What helped me keep focused was the promise I had made to my coach. I had promised that I wouldn't let him down and I had also promised myself that I was going to accomplish my goal of stepping onto stage.

I trained every single day, busting my ass, always grinding in the gym. I was determined and I had my goal in mind. Meal prepping was hard. I wasn't used to it and I was always hungry. It took me a month or so to get accustomed to my new diet. The biggest challenge was not being able to eat a lot of the food when I went to see my family and friends at gatherings.


During prep, I broke up with my girlfriend and stopped training. I lost my appetite and I went off track losing my motivation. Thankfully, my teammates supported, encouraged and motivated me to get me back on track. Before I knew it, I was back on with training and my dieting.

During peak week, (the week out before stage where a lot of competitors decrease calories and/or increase/decrease water intake} I had a lot of anger in me. My mood swings were intense and I took it out on the people closest to me. Luckily my teammates had my back, especially when I needed them the most. It is super important to surround yourself with people that encourage and motivate you to be better. I am grateful that I had an amazing team of supporters around me.


Show day in Wollongong came and I was a nervous wreck. Was I really doing this? Was this really happening? Was this the moment I have been working so hard for? I was anxious. I was nervous. I was scared and I was shook. I finally got on stage and it felt incredibly amazing. That feeling of accomplishment. That taste of winning. I was addicted. I fell in love with the sport.

I did 4 more comps that year. It was a roller coaster. There were many ups and downs but that year was one of the best years I have experienced. I pushed past the fear, the voices in my head and the noise of doubt. I kept pushing through, well past my comfort zone. More importantly, I met so many amazing people along the way. The journey so far has been incredible and I am so happy to be in a position where I can inspire and motivate others.

This year, I have already competed in 2 comps and even though doing them back to back was tough as anything, I did it. Must I say that it was the best feeling ever. Despite my condition, despite my doubts, despite my fears, I pushed past it all and accomplished what some would say was impossible. If you put your mind to something, nothing is impossible. Season B, I am coming for you!

I would like to thank @theartwork @mike_Team who have been there for me since day one. 

Written by Lawrence Mendoza

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