1) CRITICAL BENCH: John, tell Critical Bench readers about yourself and your story!
My name is John Quinn, 31 years old from Wayne, Pennsylvania. I am a Christian. I work as licensed insurance agent for Kistler Tiffany Benefits. One of the largest benefits consulting and brokerage firms in the Philadelphia area.
In 1998 I was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident with a 10% chance to live. By the grace of God, I survived. However, I had two broken femurs, a broken arm, a broken jaw, massive head trauma and a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I had to start my life all over and learn how to live life in a wheelchair but I was determined to not let that stop me from being the best I can be. What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger. It’s just a roadblock to get through and with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ living in me nothing can stand in my way. He is the true source of all my strength.
After 3 months of extensive rehabilitation at Magee Rehab Hospital in Philadelphia, I returned home to begin my new life and it wasn’t easy. However, once my physical injuries began to heal I joined the local gym to gain the strength and muscle I lost due to the accident. One of the trainers there was a competitive bodybuilder. He introduced me to the sport of wheelchair bodybuilding. After seeing pictures of some of the wheelchair competitors out there gave me the drive and inspiration to want to start competing. I started training and in 2001 competed in my first show where I was the only guy in a chair. After all the encouragement from the other competitors and the response I got from the audience, I was hooked. What a great feeling of accomplishment I experienced that day. I felt like a new man and the wheelchair didn’t matter anymore. Next was the NPC Wheelchair Nationals in Florida where I took 4th place in the middleweight division. I continued to excel in the sport each year and most recently took first place middleweight division and won the Overall title in the 2007 NPC USA Wheelchair Championships in New Orleans. I’m taking this year off from competing to make some serious gains and come back for the 2009 NPC Wheelchair Nationals in Florida.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: What an inspirational story! John what gym do you train at and what is it like?
I train at Robert’s One on One Training Studio in Malvern, PA. I’ve been with Robert since I started competing and we have developed a unique way of training along with a great friendship. Robert Caltabiano recently earned his IFBB Pro Card after winning the NPC Mens Masters over 60 Overall title. Another IFBB Pro Brian Chamberlain is his head trainer. To be able to train with an IFBB Pro and learn from them is awesome. What else could you ask for? It’s a great atmosphere to train in.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you think of most of the bodybuilders in the game? Do most bodybuilders show you and wheelchair bodybuilding respect?
Everyone I’ve ever met is very supportive of one another especially the wheelchair competitors. We all know what it takes to get to this level.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your diet and what are your favorite supplements? How important do you think diet is in bodybuilding?
It’s all about the diet! You have to eat to grow. Right now I’m in my off season trying to make gains for next year so my diet is a lot of food/calories. Every 3 hours I eat a meal. I try to get 6 meals in a day. It’s not always easy but you have to do it if you want to grow. I eat a lot of chicken, turkey, steak, ground beef, eggs, oatmeal, potatoes, rice & fruit. I don’t really have a favorite supplement. I just take whatever is going to help me grow. Creatine, glutamine, amino acids, efa’s and vitamins are all a part of my diet. Of course plenty of whey protein isolate also.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: Give us your workout routine.
I workout 4 days a week. I train 1 body part at a time except bi’s & tri’s that way I can focus just on one muscle and hit it hard. We are always switching up our routine to shock the muscles. I do all my workouts out of my chair. I do all your basic movements but we have to modify my positioning to make it work. Not being able to use your legs makes it a lot harder to lift. You can’t cheat at all. Right now I train heavy to really get some muscle growth. As we get closer to a show we will change up the routine focusing more on the squeeze to really shape the muscle. It’s more like body sculpting.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
To continue to excel in my career & bodybuilding. Using bodybuilding as an avenue to reach out to others and encourage them to never give up or lose hope when things may seem impossible. To be that person who can be an inspiration to others. Ultimately to do the will of God for my life and spread the Gospel.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Very nice! Check out the Critical Bench “After Life” section. What do you enjoy doing away from bodybuilding?
After all I’ve been through in my life, I like to just sit back and enjoy the simple things in life. I love being out in nature enjoying God’s creation. Fishing, bike riding, and spending quality time with my girl. I enjoy spending time in God’s word getting to know Him more. It’s a miracle that I’m still alive and able to do what I do. I like watching all sports especially football. I’m really into cars especially custom hot rods. I love going to car shows, drag races & motorcross racing.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What are some of the biggest reactions you have ever gotten towards your physique?
People are always impressed to see a guy in a wheelchair be in this condition. They actually stare as I roll by and usually compliment me on my arms.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: What motivates you to be the best you can be even after going through all the adversities you have gone through?
God has a plan & purpose for my life and I want to be able to carry it out. It’s a perfect plan!
10) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for the younger bodybuilder who looks up to you?
Never give up no matter how hard it may get. Nothing comes easy. If I could do it so can you. There is a champion inside all of us.
CRITICAL BENCH: Thank you for sharing your truly inspirational story with all of us today. In closing who would you like to thank?
I want to first thank my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. He gave His life so that we may have life. Without Him none of this would be possible. He is the source for all my strength. Also my trainer Robert & the crew at Robert’s for all their help & support. Of course my girl Paige for all her unconditional love, support and preparing all my meals for me. I thank all my friends and family just for being there. Most of all my mom for giving me life and putting her life on hold to take care of me & get me through the hardest time of my life. She is a blessing.