Quadriplegic personal trainer now helps people with disabilities get into shape
Ben Clark was a promising swimmer, with his sights set on making the 2012 Olympics
Clark moved to Australia to further his sporting dreams but a horror swimming accident upon returning to England left him a quadriplegic.
Now, some even years later, Clark is a personal trainer helping people with disabilities lead healthy and happier lives. He enjoys a growing social media following and this provides an essential platform for spreading his message.
Clark told JOE how he helps people with debilitating injuries improve their fitness and wellbeing.
Quadriplegia is defined as having "total or partial" paralysis in all four limbs. Clark has regained some feeling and movement in his arms, upper back and upper chest, which forms the basis of his workout programme.
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What do you see when you think about a personal trainer? A 20-something in prime condition is normally what springs to mind. . I'm not here to fall in line with expectations of what a quadriplegic should be, no I'm here to subvert that thought and break the mould. . Your friendly neighborhood quadriplegic Ben 🤟 . . . . . #subvertexpectations #breakthemould #dreambig #getstrong #buildingmuscle #spinalcordinjury #wheelchair #disabled
Clark says his transition to fitness was initially driven by a willingness to get back in the pool.
"I spent seven months in a rehab hospital learning about my new life and how to operate my new body. For the first four weeks I was lying on my back staring at the ceiling.
"During this time I heard other patients going back and forth from physio and overheard gossip of a swimming pool downstairs. Safe to say my interest piqued! The doctors caved to my demands and allowed me to swim (about 2 months sooner than they would have preferred)."
Becoming a fitness coach
After leaving hospital and falling out of love with competitive swimming, Clark turned to coaching instead thanks to his local swimming club.
"I decided to give it a go but with a slight alteration - I'd do the strength and conditioning side rather than the swimming.
"It's the part of training that always fascinated me the most. So I asked the head coach if I could pop along and help. They jumped at this as, at the time, they had no strength and conditioning coach and thought my experience would be of great use to the swimmers."
This coaching opportunity turned out to be the Eureka moment that kickstarted Clark's personal training career.
"I started and instantly fell in love and got that spark I was looking for all along. In that moment it all clicked and realised that the human interaction and having a purpose is what I had been missing all that time."
Social media platforms have become a powerful tool in Clark's personal training arsenal. Through his YouTube and Instagram channels in particular, he offers insight and tips into working out around his disability.
Building a fitter future
Clark's positivity knows no bounds, and he complements his gym-based features with life advice on issues such as getting dressed and showered as a quadriplegic.
There is no doubt that his enthusiasm and passion for fitness can help others in a similar situation.
Speaking about his motivations for the future, Clark says:
"I want to reach more people, to help them lead happier and healthier lives no matter their circumstances. I say I like to do this in 3 different ways:
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