By Mark McConville
THIS Spina Bifida sufferer turned to the gym to help combat his painful health issues after having both his legs amputated.
Jose Crisol (32), from San Francisco, California, USA, took the drastic decision to have his legs amputated after seeing them as dead weight.
He believes it may have been the best decision he’s ever made as he is more mobile and independent since losing his legs, which has allowed him to focus exclusively on his now-powerful upper body.
Incredible video footage shows Jose working out in the gym and even improvising to get a workout in as he performs pull ups and dips using a row of chairs and some metal bars.
“With spina bifida, being paralyzed and having a compact anatomy, my organs do not fully function to their full capacity,” he said.
“It has caused severe nerve damage from the waist down, has left me paralyzed and dependent on a wheelchair. As I got older, gaining more weight, pressure sores or wounds soon developed on both of my feet, getting infected.
“Considering the lack of blood flow to both lower extremities, those skin issues never really healed properly. So, as a practical decision, since they were just dead weight, I agreed with my doctor to have them amputated.
“Surprisingly however, this drastic option proved to be one of the wisest decisions I have ever made in life. It has allowed me to become lighter in weight, more mobile and thus independent with all of my transfers, such as moving from my wheelchair to a seat.”
Jose admits going to the gym at the start was confusing because he had to adapt each workout for his own special needs.
“I am quite often prone to kidney, bladder or stomach issues, problems that have set me way back in achieving life goals,” he added.
“To combat these ill-fated circumstances, I began my journey through an active lifestyle, fitness and strength training.
“Being a self-motivated person who has known real struggle, hardships and pain, it has not been anything out of my zone.
“My experience in fitness has been challenging like everybody else who ventures on to something new but I love it.”
Jose’s workouts focus on bodyweight strength training which includes push ups, pull ups, planks, dips and handstands.
He hopes his fitness journey can help inspire other people in a similar situation to get out there and create a better life for themselves.
“The most difficult consequence of becoming a double amputee is the social aspect; how people react to seeing me,” he explained.
“My life has immensely benefited, improved and it has ultimately allowed me to excel in fitness or just living an active lifestyle.
“Being a resource for inspiration to other people who can relate to my struggle is the absolute ultimate end goal.
“If you really want to accomplish something, there can be no room for excuses, doubts, insecurity; just pure determination.
“No one ever achieves their triumphs alone. Every athlete has learned from someone else. BayLife Athletics Gym in San Leandro, California is where I learned about calisthenics.
“My coach, mentor and friend Johnny Garcia (the owner) played a big part in my successes.
“Without his knowledge, guidance and support in helping achieve my personal fitness goals, I would certainly not have reached this level of health, strength and experience all by myself.”