Having begun weight training when he was twelve to initially build strength to overcome some of the limiting effects of his cerebral palsy, a disorder which to varying degrees affects motor movement of the body, Josh Dillaberry, now 34, is still pumping the iron, but now his goals, rather than being rehabilitative, are more aesthetically oriented. He is a championship winning bodybuilder.
Never a quitter, Josh was sick and tired of being tired and weak, and decided to fast track his strength in the best way possible: with a structured bodybuilding program and a sound diet.
Whatever he was doing worked because his muscles grew faster than he ever imagined they would and in 1994 he entered his first bodybuilding contest, the 1994 USA Wheelchair Nationals, where he placed an impressive fourth in the light heavyweight division.
Since then he has trained consistently, along the way taking first as a heavyweight at the 2006 Wheelchair Nationals and winning the first ever Debbie Kruck classic in 2005.
When he was born in 1972, doctors told Josh's parents that he would be a vegetable and would never amount to anything such was the brain trauma he suffered. The water on his brain, which contributed to his condition, resulted in Josh requiring 25 different surgeries over his relatively short lifetime. Around many of these he continued to train when he could and credits bodybuilding with boosting his quality of life.
Josh's last contest was the heavily contested, Debbie Kruck Classic, where he faced some formidable opposition but still managed third. Josh was happy with this result as he had achieved his best ever level of conditioning, but like most bodybuilders he still feels he needs to make some big improvements - in his case primarily in the mass department - to achieve his physical goals.
Whatever the case, Josh Dillaberry, like all bodybuilders who must overcome a disability to achieve physical greatness, is an inspiration and will no doubt continue lifting because it is, "in my blood." We at Bodybuilding.com salute Josh, and his commitment to being the best he can be.
[ Q ] How did your Cerebral Palsy affect you in your early years?
I used crutches and braces on my legs until I was about five years old.
[ Q ] How has your condition changed over the years - has it worsened? At what age did you need a wheelchair?
It has not really gotten any worse, but I did started using a wheelchair around 2000.
[ Q ] How did you initially deal with this disability over the years?
A lot of people would make fun of me but I figured that I was a person just like them. I have limitations but give me a chance and I might surprise you.
[ Q ] How did you become involved in wheelchair bodybuilding?
Two friends of mine told me about the wheelchair nationals a contest that was first held in 1994, my friend Phil Richardi and also long time successful bodybuilder, Billy Fraser.
[ Q ] What were your initial bodybuilding goals?
I start working out around 12 years old and got involved with wheelchair bodybuilding in 1994. I just wanted to get stronger initially.
[ Q ] What competition are you training for right now?
My next contest is the Debbie Kruck Classic in Daytona Beach, Fl August 18th 2007.
Editors Note: Josh placed third in this show in ultra-ripped condition.
[ Q ] What is it about bodybuilding that keeps you training?
I love training and doing what I can to stay in shape, naturally of course, but to be honest at one time or another I was a little concerned competing with some of these of great guys out there.
[ Q ] What are some of your key bodybuilding accomplishments?
- 2007 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 4th - Heavy Weight
- 2006 Debbie Kruck Classic - NPC, 1st - Wheelchair
- 2006 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 1st - Heavy Weight
- 2005 Debbie Kruck Classic - NPC, 1st - Wheelchair
- 2005 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 2nd - Heavy Weight
- 2004 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 4th - Light-Heavy Weight - Open
- 2004 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 3rd - Light-Heavy Weight - Novice
- 1998 Jax Physique - NPC, 1st - Wheelchair
- 1997 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 2nd - Light-Heavy Weight
- 1996 All-Star Classic - NPC, 1st - Wheelchair
- 1996 Mr. Florida - NPC, 1st - Wheelchair
- 1996 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 3rd - Light-Heavy Weight
- 1995 Greater Gulf States - NPC, 3rd - Wheelchair
- 1995 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 4th - Light-Heavy Weight
- 1994 Wheelchair Nationals - NPC, 5th - Light-Heavy Weight
Being the first Debbie Kruck Classic Champion in 2005 and finally taking first in my class at the 2006 wheelchair nationals.
Josh's Contest History:
1995 All-Star Classic
[ Q ] What do you like most about bodybuilding?
The competition and getting to meet all different kinds of people, and I hope maybe I help someone want to do I do whether they are in a wheelchair or not.
[ Q ] What gains have you made since you started bodybuilding training?
I have gotten a little more defined, but I feel but need to find a way to get a lot bigger.
[ Q ] Just how big are you right now? What body fat percentage do you get down to when you compete?
I weigh about 168 lbs right now and I am 6'3". I like to try and get down to about 5% but right now I am about 8.1%.
[ Q ] What are your main strengths as a competitor?
I like to have fun and entertain the crowd, and I am outgoing.
[ Q ] Describe your current training and nutrition programs.
I train heavy and get a lot of help with my diet from my good friend Laura Binetti.
[ Q ] How does Laura help you with your diet?
She sends me my diet and I follow her advice.
[ Q ] What tips has she provided you so far?
To just stay focused and mentally strong which I know is important anyway, but she just reinforces it. She is just great.
[ Q ] Which supplements do you use and why?
[ Q ] What improvements have you seen in your physique since you began taking these supplements? Which supplement is your favorite and why?
I like the 17-HD and the Nitrobolic the best. I feel like I have gotten stronger and a little bigger, but not big enough yet.
[ Q ] Many wheelchair bodybuilders use supplements for their convenience value. Do you find they are useful in that way?
[ Q ] As a wheelchair bodybuilder, what specific obstacles do you encounter? How hard is it for you to get into competition shape?
Making ends meet with my income can be a problem.
[ Q ] You say you are able to stand for periods of time. Are there any exercises you can do that involve standing? How do you maintain your balance with these?
Yes but most of my exercises I do I do sitting and with assistance.
[ Q ] What are the standing exercises that you can do?
[ Q ] What are the main training limitations as far as your particular disability is concerned?
I do most of my workouts sitting because of my balance and my back. Plus I just like doing my workouts that way.
[ Q ] What is your favourite exercise and why?
[ Q ] What advice would you give others who are trying to adjust to life in a wheelchair?
Do not let anyone stand in your way and get good people behind you.
[ Q ] How important is bodybuilding in your life? How has it helped you as one with a disability?
I love wheelchair bodybuilding and want to see it get bigger in any way it can. I just need all the positive support I can get from my family, friends and wife.
[ Q ] In your view what does wheelchair bodybuilding provide those with a disability?
It gives us a chance to show what we have and what we have accomplished.
[ Q ] What are some qualities the aspiring wheelchair bodybuilder needs to do well in this sport?
The qualities they need are to train hard, stay focused and have fun.
[ Q ] What are your current bodybuilding goals?
I would like to someday somehow win the overall in a natural state (I always stay natural anyway), which I plan to do sometime soon. I would also like to be a spokesman for a major supplement company someday to help me grow bigger.
[ Q ] Who has helped and supported you over the years?
My friends Richard Trache, Rob Nelson, Billy Fraser, Phil Richardi, Emily Roberts, Wendy, Teresa Meyman, my family and so many others.
Contact Josh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Out Josh's BodySpace Here.