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Grand Rapids powerlifter inspires others despite challenges: 'It felt like freedom'

"I'm in a wheelchair, I have cerebral palsy, but I want to be like The Rock," Quinton Bunn said.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Quinton Bunn competed in his first powerlifting competition last weekend at Mary Free Bed YMCA. He placed first in his division.

Well, he was the only disabled powerlifter in his division who competed. Still, it was an incredible accomplishment for Bunn. Fitness was not something he prioritized a year ago. 

"That attitude comes from a lot of years feeling like I was nobody," said Bunn, "Back in the day, I used a lot of cannabis, alcohol, I vaped nicotine. I was really out of shape and I felt like my life had no potential, like I couldn’t go anywhere."

Three years ago, he was also diagnosed with fatty liver disease. That was motivation for Bunn to press the restart button on his life. He began watching what he ate, counting macros, getting into the gym and working with a physical therapist with Mary Free Bed. 

He had one goal.

"I’m in a wheelchair, I have cerebral palsy," said Bunn. "But I want to be like The Rock."

He said Dwayne Johnson is someone has always looked up to for his determination, kindness and willingness to give his goals 100%. 

Credit: Quinton Bunn

"So, from the very beginning, my trainer trained me like a powerlifter," said Bunn. 

He started out not able to walk and bench pressing about 30 pounds. 

Now, he has used his walker for the first time in more than ten years. His personal best on the bench is 90 pounds.

"Oh, it felt amazing," said Bunn, "It felt like freedom."

His physical therapists at Mary Free Bed made sure he could walk, and do the range of motion for powerlifting. 

"He made huge strides the first couple weeks and we haven’t stopped since then," said Alexis Cherven, his physical therapist, "He has exceeded my expectations." 

Bunn has documented his journey on his Instagram page, FourWheeledFitness.

Credit: Quinton Bunn
Bunn documents his journey through his Instagram page, @FourWheeledFitness.

He hopes to inspire other people to give their goals everything they have. 

 "It’s not about me being disabled and doing this," said Bunn, "I didn’t want to be the disabled guy who did amazing things. I wanted to just be the guy doing amazing things. It started from me wanting to put in effort. That’s something you can do under any circumstance."

Bunn said his advice is to take it day by day, be consistent with training, and not to give up on yourself at every opportunity. 

"I want them to take away that anything is possible," said Bunn. 

In the powerlifting competition, he competed in the bench press. Now, his goal is to continue working on his strength and hopefully compete in the deadlift portion. 

"I felt like God told me I had to change," said Bunn, "And I like to say I was playing a video game and God gave me a reset when he gave me fatty liver. So, I had to change my stars. I hope I can change other people’s stars, as well."

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