While Michael Carter was training to become a professional MMA Fighter, his dream was crushed when he was diagnosed with Ataxia, a hereditary brain disorder. Unable to continue his dream of going pro, he turned towards weightlifting and bodybuilding – and his faith – for solace. Carter has now become a beacon of hope for those who are also disabled. He has become a personal trainer and helps both disabled and those without disabilities to reach their goals. During his own time, Carter, along with his services dog, Buddy, works out everyday to train for upcoming weightlifting competitions in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Michael Carter spends most of his time training for his upcoming weightlifting competition at Parks and Recreation in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Carter will be competing in two categories, dead lift and bench, during the December 12, 2015 competition.
Every morning at 7:00, Carter starts his first workout of the day in an efficiency apartment in the basement of his parent’s house. Carter pays them rent twice a month.
Carter started his own business for disabled athletes, and has made merchandise like this poster to sell at weightlifting competitions.
Buddy Hackett, Carter's service dog, stays with him 24 hours of the day and helps him out when it comes to opening doors.
“I've been working out with Michael for seven months and he has helped me lose a lot of weight,” said Katie Miller Phelps. Phelps is one of Carter’s clients he trains at the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation fitness center. He also trains Alex Embry, who has Down syndrome, and another person with Ataxia.
Even though a person’s first thought when thinking about someone disabled driving may not be good, Carter has proven that he can drive successful and safe. “The only time I avoid driving is when it gets dark outside,” said Carter.
After being diagnosed with Ataxia, Carter's faith in God kept him strong through the process. He now spends his sundays at Fairview Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. "We are called to worship and serve God as often as we can."
Carter always prepares his food the night before each day to manage his time properly. He is less concerned about watching his calorie intake since he has streamlined his diet. “I don’t count calories anymore,” said Carter. “I always know exactly what goes in my body.”
At the end of each day, Carter relaxes for an hour before heading to bed at eight o’clock. He spends his downtime answering emails for work and watching Star Trek on Netflix. "Before Ataxia, I use to be extremely comedic, in a slapstick Jim Carrey kind of way, but now after Ataxia, I am overly introverted to a fault. I would say I have a social onset of being agoraphobia," said Carter.