“People assume you won’t be able to do most things so that makes me want to prove them wrong and try and do everything myself. My advice to anyone in this situation is to just push yourself twice as hard. I can still do anything I put my mind too” – Josh, now representing Australia in the Australian Wheelchair Basketball Team
On Grand final day 2011 I fell off a balcony and broke my back at T5, leaving me a complete paraplegic. I have no feeling or muscle movement from my chest down.
Before my accident I was working 6 days a week as a bricky, looked after my 2 kids with my wife and played footy each Saturday, training twice a week along with basketball once a week. Life was busy as my wife and I were also planning our wedding in October 2011.
My wedding was put on hold as I had 4 months of rehab ahead of me as well as 3 clots in my lungs. I got down to 87kg in hospital from 96kg. Then up to 103kg within 2 months of being out of hospital as a result of my changed lifestyle.
My tshirts weren’t fitting, I was struggling to put my shorts on and the wheels began rubbing on the sides my chair. Being in a wheelchair is no excuse for holding back. It’s a choice whether I choose to or not. I will prove this to myself and anyone else who wants to make a lifestyle change”.
Matt had offered Josh some training after his accident so when he took up the offer, Matt got him started with a 12 week program. Josh set a few goals for himself:
- 1. To be able to fit into his wheelchair without the side of his chair hitting his wheels.
- 2. To do 400m around the Croydon Running Track under 2 minutes.
- 3. And a long term lifestyle goal to ensure he can be “self dependent when I’m old and grey”.
In his first 12 weeks Josh lost 12.5% body fat, gained an extra 3kg in lean mass and lost 11kg on the scales. This guy was unstoppable but his achievements go on!
By week 3, Josh had beaten his PB in his sports wheelchair around the running track by 4 seconds so the week after, he stepped things up and got himself a hand cycle and set off on his first ride.
In week 7 he and his team won the A Grade Wheelchair Basketball Grand Final and he also got League Most Valuable Player for the season.
In week 8 Josh got to attempt his first set of unassisted chins and knocked out 3 sets of 8 body weight chins.
In week 9 Josh started training with the Victorian National Team (wheelchair basketball) and ended up making the team.
In week 10, Josh did the 35km Eastlink Recreational Bike Ride and then the week after he increased his bench press by 30kg for 12 reps from his week 1 weight!
Week 12 finished with another test time at the Croydon running track which Josh wanted to get under 2 minutes. He got his hand cycle time down to 51secs for the 400m track, beating it by 69 seconds!
Josh shares his overall 12 week challenge achievement.
I’ve lost 11kg and not only fitting into my chair easily but I can now do pull ups with my wheelchair attached (14.5kg) 6 RM and I find I am now able to transfer myself more easily from my chair.
My goals for this challenge has helped me to be more independent I’m not sitting around and twiddling my thumbs doing nothing. I’ve also achieved training with the Victorian team for wheelchair basketball 3 times a week so that keeps me very active.
I’m able to pick up my kids a lot easier and play with them and don’t get puffed out like before when I had the weight on. I’m also a lot more confident in myself with the way I look, all my clothes are actually getting too big for me, I also think my wife finds me a lot more attractive which is a good thing!
My arms and shoulders don’t fatigue anymore when I transfer out of my chair into the car or onto the couch, it just makes life a lot easier not lifting all that excess weight with me.
I also like showing people that if you have a disability you still can do everything that an able body person can do because people told me ‘you won’t be able to do most things.’ It only makes me want to try and do everything myself just to prove them wrong.”
This has been the attitude that has seen Josh become such an inspiring member of our community.
“Sometimes I have days where I feel like I can’t be bothered, then I think about Josh turning up week after week in his chair pressing huge weights, doing chins with his chair attached and I snap out of it. He’s so inspiring. What the hell is my excuse!” said one of our clients after posting up footage of Josh training.
Josh was given an honourable mention for his outstanding achievements in the 2012 Metabolic Precision Transformation Challenge and continued to train with Matt on and off for a few years. He experienced a meteoric rise to fame, culminating in his debut for Australia in a friendly tournament in Belgium in 2014 after making the Rollers squad representing Australia in the Australian Wheelchair Basketball Team and competed at the 2014 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Incheon, South Korea. Josh and his team mates took home gold medals, defeating the United States 63 to 57 and says this is his greatest sporting moment to date.
He was selected to tour Great Britain for the 2016 Continental Clash. His impact was felt in the Netherlands match-up when he and fellow guard Matt McShane opened up the lanes at the offensive end and fed their front court. Following their defeat to the United States in Game Four, the Australian team claimed silver.
The only limits in life are the ones you place upon yourself!