Hitting that snooze button everyday on the body of your dreams? We bet you won’t be able to make any excuses once you read about the journey of India’s Arnold.
Born and raised in Ludhiana, Anand Arnold was paralyzed below the waist at the age of 15 when he was diagnosed with cancer in his lower spinal cord. He quickly underwent an operation which left him paralyzed and bed bound for three long years. But Arnold was not one to let his disability define him.
Arnold followed his elder brother’s footsteps to the gym and found his passion for bodybuilding at the age of 13. He dreamt of becoming a professional bodybuilder, and call it fate or destiny, he was able to develop a spectacular physique. Within a few months of enrolling in the gym he soon started participating in local competitions with bodybuilders twice his age. By the time Arnold turned 15, he already had several students training under him, and his physique was a topic of conversation amongst the biggest bodybuilding names in Punjab. Arnold was moving towards his goal at full speed, and his professional bodybuilding dream seemed within his reach. Until one day, when he felt a shooting pain in his lower back and his life came to a halt.
The doctors diagnosed a full size tumor in his lower back and told him that he had only one week to live. Once the tumor was removed, Anand was bedridden and completely paralyzed from the neck down. Following three years of physiotherapy, Arnold regained sensation in his upper body but continued to remain paralysed from the waist down. Speaking of the time he spent on the bed he recalls, “It felt like hell.” He decided not to let his weaknesses hold him down and instead made them his strength. He began his training for body building from his wheelchair and from then on, there was no looking back. Understanding his new body and state, he slowly restarted his workouts and realized that this is what he was always meant to do-with or without his legs. It was just a matter of time before Arnold’s determination and hard work began reaping results.
Within a year of re-entering the gym, Arnold was back in form and began participating in bodybuilding competitions at the age of 20. He has represented India globally, won the Mr. India bodybuilding title three times and has been declared Mr. Punjab 12 times. Today he’s the official brand ambassador for two leading international brands in India, Hale Life Nutrition and Muscle Mania. American author Allen Woodman wrote a book on Arnold’s life and struggles, titled, Weightless: A True Story Of Courage And Determination. Arnold has won a number of bodybuilding competitions all over the world but his strongest muscle will always be his never-say-die spirit.
He now wants to inspire others to never give up on their dreams no matter what life throws at them. He says, “I don’t consider my wheelchair a weakness, I have made it my strength.” Physically, he is confined to a wheelchair, but his spirit can never be bound.
And he is just a reminder of how little our physical limitations mean once we set our hearts to something!