Bad back man Matt is champ weight-lifter

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

AMAN with suf­fered from ter­ri­ble back pain has de­fied doc­tors to be­come a weight-lift­ing cham­pion.

When he was a teenager Matt Ni­chol­son was warned by spine ex­perts that lift­ing heavy weight could crip­ple him.

But af­ter en­dur­ing chronic pain for a decade Matt was de­ter­mined not to end up in a wheel­chair.

He re­searched and de­vel­oped a fit­ness regime which built up his strength grad­u­ally.

Now Matt, who lives in Win­cle, has de­fied the odds by storm­ing to vic­tory in a power lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

The 29-year-old who weighs 90kg took dou­ble gold by dead lift­ing 180kg and bench press­ing 140kg.

The achieve­ment in front of thou­sands of peo­ple, in­clud­ing some of Matt’s weight-lift­ing he­roes, is a dream come true.

He said: “When I was 18 off doc­tors told me that a disk in my spine had col­lapsed and de­hy­drated. They com­pared it to that of a 90-year-old.

“I was told not to lift heavy weights or risk caus­ing sever dam­age and end­ing up in a wheel­chair. There was an oper­a­tion which cost £35,000 in Ger­many which may have helped, but oth­er­wise I was told this would be for the rest of my life.

“Af­ter many years of chronic pain I couldn’t ac­cept this di­ag­no­sis. I de­cided to help my­self. I worked on tech­niques to strengthen my back and slowly it worked and the pain just dis­ap­peared. It was amaz­ing. It was cured.”

The new con­fi­dence in his strength in­spired Matt to en­ter a pow­er­lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Jan­uary and he was blown away when he won.

The vic­tory means he has a place in the Bri­tish Power Lift­ing Union’s fi­nals in Septem­ber.

This was fol­lowed by his dou­ble gold at the Body Power event in May.

Matt said: “Com­pet­ing in front of thou­sands of peo­ple was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and is some­thing I will re­mem­ber for the rest of my life.”

Matt, who is the owner of the Academy Group Trans­for­ma­tion Cen­tre in Mac­cles­field, wants to share his story to in­spire oth­ers.

He said: “Ev­ery­one is unique so I can­not ad­vo­cate ev­ery­one with back prob­lems try­ing to lift heavy weights, but my journey was about un­der­stand­ing my body, my in­jury and de­vel­op­ing ex­er­cises to help my­self. I can now lift weights I never once imag­ined.”

Matt has run his fit­ness busi­ness at Wa­ter­side

●● Pow­er­lifter Matt John­son has earned him­self a place in the Bri­tish Power Lift­ing Union’s fi­nals; left, Matt, right, with Ice­landic strong­man Benedikt ‘Benni’ Mag­nús­son

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