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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Disabled bodybuilder takes over at Cumbrian gym

A bodybuilder with one leg will take over the running of his local gym.

Jonti Wilson photo
Jonti Wilson at his gym

Jonti Wilson, 39, of Station Road, Aspatria, was born without his right leg because of spina bifada – but has not let that hold him back.

He will officially take over Presice Fitness on Tuesday when it will be renamed Jonti’s Gym.

He has overcome his disability to become a well-known figure within the bodybuilding fraternity and now wants to help others achieve their fitness goals.

He said: “The hardest muscle to train is the mind. If you can do that then you are halfway there.

“We have a motto here: ‘Never say never; there is always a way’. No excuses. If I can do it with one leg, then you can certainly do it with two.”

He added: “I have got my wish to have my own gym. Now I have got to make it what the community wants.”

His plans include re-decorating it, moving the reception area and opening an in-house supplements and clothing store. He also wants to transform unused space into a women only weights area and to support various charity events including Sport Relief.

Exercise classes including kettlesize, tone and sculpt and circuits will also be run from the gym.

When Jonti started training three years ago, he had a beer belly, low self-esteem and got out of breath easily.

Now in the best shape of his life, he will make a guest appearance in a bodybuilding show at Bolton, Lancashire, on Saturday.

In a month’s time he will also take to the stage at the two-day Hercules Olympia in Essex, a huge event in the bodybuilding calendar.

He won the UKBBF Championship in 2010 in the wheelchair section and has not ruled out competing in future events if they introduce more suitable categories.

When he made his debut at the South Lakes Classic in Ulverston two years ago, cheers and applause broke out from the crowd as soon as he threw down his crutches. Some have called him ‘inspirational’ but Jonti rejects the term. “People do see me like that but I’m just doing my thing”, he said.

He previously worked as a duty control manager for the ambulance service.

More recently he has been working for a company called Trauma FX which simulates emergencies to help train army and medical personnel. The job involved travelling around the country with a team of make-up artists who made it appear as if he had lost his leg in violent circumstances.

The aim was to help prepare soldiers for the horrors of war and to improve medical practices on the battlefield. But now he plans to run the gym full-time and is looking forward to his latest challenge.

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