(KUTV) Salt Lake City - 14 September 2017

Jenn Diederich, from Lifetime Fitness, brought one of her biggest fitness inspirations, Dustin Shillcox, on to Fresh Living.

Jenn writes, "For a few years now, I have been watching a male in a wheelchair at LifeTime Fitness. I couldn’t help think to myself how awesome he is. He is in there all the time lifting and getting it done. But, at the same time, I found myself wondering what happened to him. I so wanted to meet him and ask him all my questions but I didn’t want to be rude. I also wasn’t sure how comfortable he would be with me being all excited to use him as motivation. Well, one day recently I was talking with a member and he mentioned Dustin’s name. By the way he talked about him, it was time for me to introduce myself. Wow! Just wow! I had to bring him on Fresh Living!!!

Dustin was in a car accident in August of 2010 and sustained major spinal cord damage, a broken upper arm, collapsed lung, broken ribs, cracked sternum & a mild brain injury. Dustin has a T-5 complete spinal cord injury (SCI) which means he has no feeling below his mid-chest. He was told he would never move below his waist again. BUT – after being part of an SCI research project at the University of Kentucky, he is able to move his legs and stand. He is also a spokesperson for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and Wings For Life.

Here’s the motivation part: He went through all the emotions you would expect someone who had something like this happen to them to have. He spent time being depressed and he didn’t just jump back into the gym the day after. He did, however, find the silver lining. He is a motivational speaker and brings awareness to spinal cord injuries. He motivates the lives of those who struggle. He has a foundation in which he is raising money to help those with spinal cord injuries by helping them with their own homes or by finding them homes. He has completed the New York City Marathon with a hand cycle. He has competed in body building competitions and plans to do so again.

So what exactly does Dustin do at the gym and what can you do if you are in a wheelchair? As mentioned before, he has competed in a body building competition and plans to do so again. While a lot of winning that competition is diet, he must still lift. Dustin’s first challenge at the gym was getting in and out of his chair so that he could get on to the weight lifting benches or get into the seats of machines. Since Dustin has no core muscles (they’re “shut off” due to his injury), this is something he had to continually work on for years to do. Once he mastered that, he usually has to lift one arm at a time because he needs to stabilize himself with the other hand holding on to the bench (again, due to the core muscles being “shut off”). He also makes use of resistance bands. This is likely where someone who is new to a wheelchair would start. Bands can be used, easily, while you are sitting in your chair for stretching but also for “lifting”. You might be surprised how much benefit you can get from resistance bands. They are cost-effective and can be purchased for below or around $10. They are used by beginners and experts and come in multiple resistance levels. You can work your arms, back, legs, core…. Basically everything with bands.

Remember, we all have things that we can allow to hold us back or put that feeling of “I can’t” in our minds. But, what if you tried? You might just find out you can do so much more than you ever dreamed."

You can learn more about Dustin at or on Facebook’s Dustin Shillcox Foundation page. You can also learn more about Lifetime Fitness by going to

Click HERE to read the full story.