(WVUE) - A Marrero man shows his strength every day. Brian Simmons lived his whole life with the odds against him. Now, he's remaking himself and redefining what it means to never give up. He pushes himself in the gym, striving for perfection. All of this, and Brian Simmons can't walk.
Brian looked like a healthy baby, but grew up with challenges. First he walked with a limp. Then, he depended on a cane and later a walker.
In 2004 he had health issues that landed him in the hospital. After a surgery he said he could not walk again. He was in his mid 20s when he became wheelchair-bound.
"Not moving around, staying at home, eating everything in sight my weight ballooned overnight i went basically from 200 pound to 275 pounds in a year," he said. "My breaking point was the end of 2005. I started working and seeing pictures of myself looking disgusting and I said I gotta do something it's out of control."
That something eventually led him to trainer Dalton Hunter, an old family friend. He began a transformation at Rack City gym in Harvey.
"He really didn't talk much. I said this guy has greatness within him. We just need to get it out of him," Hunter said.
Brian said he was winded all the time when the workouts began. He had to modify exercises for his condition. Dalton has to hold Brian's legs sometimes to help him through the workouts. He saw results in about a year.
"It was like I was staring at a different person. I didn't recognize myself," he said.
He decided to compete in wheelchair body-building contests. He said he placed first in a couple of competitions, and with Dalton's help, he tested his strength by pulling a truck behind his wheelchair.
The tough guy tears up when he thinks about how far he's come. He wants to share his journey with others.
"I tell them, If I can do it, you can do it."