Wheelchair-bound personal trainer is ultimate fit-spiration – and now he’s helping other disabled people to find their sporting passions too
This man didn’t let a severe spinal injury stop him from pursing his sporting passions – and now he works as a personal trainer to inspire others with disabilities into active lifestyles.
‘Mind over matter’ is the war-cry of Rob Ghahremani, 27, who suffered a T2 complete spinal cord break at just 10-months-old – but now it’s also the name of his personal training business.
Though completely paralysed from the arm-pits down, Rob has spent the entirety of his life indulging in sports – ranging from tennis, to hockey, to basketball.
Now, the Nottingham-based fitness guru hopes to inspire others with disabilities to follow his lead.
Citing fitness as his “coping mechanism” that has allowed him to live a happy and more independent life, the former professional wheelchair tennis star works full-time as a personal trainer.
Showcasing an incredible array of athletic abilities – including in-chair pull-ups – Rob seeks to show that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
Rob, who primarily works with disabled or special needs clients, said: “I cannot use my lower chest, core, lower back muscles or any muscles in my legs.
“This means I have very little balance and my condition affects every aspect of my life – like cooking and showering.
“[School] staff didn’t think I’d be able to engage in physical activity because of my disability, so they wanted me to do homework for my other subjects instead.
“I challenged this and was determined to prove everyone wrong.
“The gym has been a pivotal part of my lifestyle ever since.
“The stronger and fitter I became, the more independent and easier my life became.”
Driving to a holiday destination in 1991, a 10-month-old Rob and his family were involved in a nasty car accident.
Suffering a T2 complete spinal cord break high up his back, Rob’s family were told he would forever more be completely paralysed below his chest.
However, determined to push the capabilities of his remaining functions, Rob immediately pursued his passion of sport in secondary school, where he’d later go on to win a gold medal for Great Britain in athletics and zone hockey.
Graduating with a Law degree from Sheffield Hallam University in 2015, Rob quickly realised his dream of becoming a fitness instructor – and true to form, he didn’t allow his perceived disability to stand in his way.
Rob, who trains up to five time a week, said: “Becoming a personal trainer almost happened by accident.
“I decided I didn’t want to practise law as a profession, and so I decided to research personal trainers with disabilities within the industry.
“I then took my exams alongside my degree.
“When I first became a PT, the fitness community weren’t sure how to take me.
“Disability is still a taboo amongst society, and I’ve always grown up with people not knowing how to approach me.
“But over the last two years I’ve successfully managed to establish myself as a respected personal trainer – I find humour is the best way of disarming others.
“Fitness has always been my coping mechanism – it’s what helps me maintain a positive outlook on life.
“The great thing about fitness is it not only makes me physically more proficient, but it also improves my mentality and helps me to meet people.
“I want to prove to the world anything is possible with a positive outlook, hard work, and dedication – life can be better.
“It is always mind over matter.”
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