The coronavirus pandemic has created a host of new complications that we all have to negotiate, but to Jason Whiter, the hurdles were nothing new.
Jason grew up a fitness fanatic in Melbourne and dreamed of being an elite bodybuilder, only for a series of health problems to get in the way.
“By the time I was 25, I was really having trouble training because of fainting spells from hypotension. My vision deteriorated quickly,” he wrote in The Guardian
“It underlined the importance of staying fit. Back in 2005, I’d wanted to become a personal trainer and had completed a cert III in fitness at Tafe, but then the gyms I applied to work for told me I’d never get professional indemnity and public liability insurance.”
Jason tried his hand in other professions, such as acting and real estate, but his vision kept becoming a problem.
“Then my appendix burst and I nearly died,” he continued. “I hadn’t realised that there was an infection, because my nerves were that damaged from the diabetes.”
Despite battles with his health, Jason managed to get his real estate license and opened his first business in 2012. He was still making his way in the world and achieving his ambitions despite not being able to walk straight due to nerve damage in his feet caused by the diabetes.
Something was still missing though, and he decided he wanted to get back into bodybuilding. “My ophthalmologist didn’t want to give me clearance to go to the gym in case I fell and injured myself. I said, ‘It’s a bit late for that because I’m already going’. He said, ‘Oh well, in that case …’ The trainers there just kept a bit of an eye on me.
“It turned out that ‘I Compete Natural’ (ICN) Victoria had recently decided to include “physically challenged” as a category under “men’s physique”. It’s still about the symmetry and posing, but they take into consideration that you can’t train like an able-bodied person.” He’s even gone on to compete in the ICN World Pro/Am Championship.
So when the gyms shut this year, it wasn’t a big deal to him. He went ahead and built a home gym in his garage and got on with working out.