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Wheelchair Bodybuilder Of The Month, Reggie Bennett - April.

Reggie is a professional wheelchair bodybuilder and executive director of his own fitness organization. Learn about what happened to him and what he has done to turn his life around as well as what he does to help others!

At 13, Reggie Bennett was like any normal, adventure-seeking boy of his age. However, when a stray bullet from a gun Reggie was playing with found its mark, the youngster was left with a debilitating injury.

As a result, he has since lived his life in a wheelchair. Not that this has slowed him down. As you will read, Reggie, despite, or perhaps even because of his disability, has gone on to live the kind of life that has inspired many.

A professional wheelchair bodybuilder (he won the Nationals in 2001) and executive director of his own fitness organisation (Team RAGE), Reggie, 36, has made it his job to coach and motivate people with disabilities to achieve all they can to the best of their abilities.

Naturally Reggie uses health and fitness as a motivating tool to inspire those with whom he works. Based out of Las Vegas, Reggie has, as a motivational speaker, mentor and lecturer, become famous for his ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds.

In addition to his motivational work, Reggie, as certified under the American's with Disabilities Act, advocates on behalf of the disabled in his community to access the technology they need to live a dignified life.

Between all of this he finds time to train. As for bodybuilding competition, his next show being the 2007 Nationals (wheelchair professionals do not, as yet, have an official event to compete in). As his photos show, Reggie has made tremendous progress and without doubt belongs among bodybuilding's best. What he has accomplished with determination and strong focus can serve to inspire us all.

[ Q ] What series of events led to your disability?

    As a 13-year-old kid I was shot when playing with a gun. I was trying to leave the room when the accident occurred.

[ Q ] How did you initially deal with this disability?

    As with any new injury you never know what the future will hold. When my Physical therapist and five brothers challenged me, I had no other choice but to deal with what I had and move on with my life because there were people that cared enough to want me to be the best at what ever I did.

Reggie Bennett
Click Image To Enlarge.
Reggie Bennett.

[ Q ] How did you become involved in wheelchair bodybuilding?

    After an elbow injury playing wheelchair basketball, Quincy Taylor, a long time friend of mine, challenged me to start training with him.

Quincy Taylor
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Quincy Taylor.

[ Q ] What were your initial bodybuilding goals?

    To become a pro bodybuilder and I accomplished that in 2001 at the wheelchair nationals in FL.

2001 Wheelchair Nationals
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2001 Wheelchair Nationals.

[ Q ] What is it about bodybuilding that keeps you training?

    It is the ability to sculpt my body and to have a healthier lifestyle along with the desire to challenge myself on a physical level.

[ Q ] What are some of your key bodybuilding accomplishments?

    Actually finding out what kind of person I was and using my body as a tool to motivate other spinal cord injury patients to take pride in what they do and not put limits on what they can accomplish.

[ Q ] What has been you greatest moment in the sport and why?

    When I became a pro bodybuilder, as I made it with hard work; and others in the bodybuilding world acknowledged that wheelchair bodybuilders work just as hard to be the best in a sport we all have come to enjoy.

    Reggie's Contest History:

    • 2002 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 2nd - Middle Weight
    • 2001 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, Overall & 1st - Middle Weight
    • 2000 United States Natural Bodybuilding - ABA, 1st - Physically Challenged Seated
    • 1999 United States Natural Bodybuilding - ABA, 1st - Physically Challenged Seated
    • 1999 National Natural Champion - ABA, 1st - Physically Challenged Seated
    • 1999 America's Natural - ABA, 1st - Physically Challenged Seated
    • 1999 International Forever Natural - ABA, 1st - Physically Challenged Seated

    2001 Wheelchair Nationals
    Click Image To Enlarge.
    2001 Wheelchair Nationals.

[ Q ] Describe your current training and nutrition programs.

    I train six days a week and eat about six-to-seven-times-a-day. Of course they are small-portioned meals given under the guide of a nutritionist.

    Reggie's Current Diet Plan

    High Day

      7:00 am

      • 2 scoops of protein
      • 1/2 cup of oatmeal

      9:30 am

      • 1 scoop of protein powder or 3oz. of lean meat
      • 1/2 cup of rice or potatoes

      12:00 pm

      • 1 scoop of protein powder or 3oz. of lean meat
      • 1/2 cup of rice or potatoes

      2:30 pm

      • Same as meal 3

      5:30 pm

      • Same as meal 3

      8:00 pm

      • Same as meal 3

    Low Day

      7:00 am

      • 2 scoops of protein with 1 tsp. of flax
      • 2 cups of steamed vegetables

      10:00 am

      • 2 scoops protein or 7oz. of lean meat
      • 2 cups salad
      • 1 spoon of sunflower oil and apple cider vinegar

      1:00 pm

      • Same as meal 2

      3:00 pm

      • Same as meal 2

      5:00 pm

      • Same as meal 2

      9:00 pm

      • Same as meal 2

[ Q ] As a wheelchair bodybuilder, what specific obstacles do you encounter? How hard is it for you to get into competition shape?

    I think the hardest part is giving up my family time and my dedication to the consumer I serve under my foundation RAGE (Rebuilding Athletic Goals with Energy) Inc. As far as me getting in shape, I try and stay in shape year round by not eating to badly - a burger here and there and maybe even a pizza, but nothing too crazy.

[ Q ] You are also certified by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Compliance Team of America. What is your role here?

    The compliance certification allows me to be more aware of the ADA and allows me to act as an advocate in assisting consumer and business owners in the Las Vegas community to better understand compliance with this civil right law.

    Americans With Disabilities Act:
    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights act for people with disabilities. On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the ADA into law as wide-ranging legislation intended to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The act is divided into five titles:

    1. Employment:
    Businesses must provide reasonable accommodations in all aspects of employment to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.

    Learn More... Back Next

[ Q ] I understand you worked as a television host and producer. Tell me more about this?

    As TV Producer and host, my mission was to touch as many consumers and providers in the community who where not able to find out about a services program that could assist them in staying in their home. Doing this would lower their risk of being placed in a nursing home.

    From time to time I like to say that the show was a cross between Larry King and Oprah, because the show brought a lot of views together to learn more about people with disabilities in our country. The show opened doors to service providers to come and talk about what they did and they put a face to a name. Many consumers in the disability community only have the chance to talk with providers and never see them.

[ Q ] You currently work as a motivational speaker. Tell me more about what you do in this field.

    As a motivator you have to practice what you preach and that is what I do. I practice working hard to show others with limitations that no matter what happens in your life you have to work hard at it and realize that you can do anything you want if you put your hard work and time into it.

[ Q ] What advice would you give others who are trying to adjust to life in a wheelchair?

    My advice is life has to continue and it has to start with you dealing with the limitation and understanding that limitations can be modified to your advantage.

[ Q ] How important is bodybuilding in your life? How has it helped you as one with a disability?

    Bodybuilding is extremely important because I think the human body is an unbelievable creation given to man. Plus, it teaches you discipline and dedication. Bodybuilding has helped me become a better person with my disability, which allows me to challenge my physical ability in a gym that is not designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

    Reggie Bennett
    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Reggie Bennett.

    E-mail Reggie: