Alana Clark, 51, from Bristol, has always had a health condition. She was born with cerebral palsy that became worse after she suffered stroke at age 36. The stroke was so severe it left wheelchair-bound and unable to talk.
Now the disabled mother of two has won several prestigious bodybuilding competitions.
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Clark regained her ability to walk and talk, but she still uses a cane to walk around.
Her physical disadvantages didn’t prevent her from engaging in bodybuilding, to the surprise of everyone. She says she dedicates her training to her late son, Tom.
Tom, Clark’s son, died four years ago in a car crash, he was 19. It left her devastated.
Clark said, “It was very foggy that night. When the police came I didn’t believe them and I hit the policeman. I didn’t believe him—he had only gone out for 20 minutes.
“When you lose a child that’s the worst thing. People say to me I have to get on with life and I think they haven’t got a clue, when you lose a child I feel like part of me has gone now.”
To distract herself from the pain of losing her son, she started exercising. Soon she became a regular in her local gym, and six months ago, her friends suggested she convert into a bodybuilder.
And she did, but she said, she did it for her and Tom, and not for anything else.
Tom, who passed away in 2012, was into exercise and he would always show off his six-pack abs to his parents.
After the stroke, half of Clark’s body was paralyzed and found herself unable to walk.
The doctors advised her to take up swimming and do basic exercise to help return to her strength, but it failed to bring back sensation to her left side.
And then she heeded the suggestions of her friends.
Clark went on a strict diet of chicken, fish, steak, spinach, and eggs as her personal trainer advised. She would wake up at 4:30 in the morning for her breakfast.
She ditched alcohol and sweets for the next six months and replaced her favorite glass of wine with protein shake.
Clark followed her trainer’s advice religiously and didn’t stray from her meal plan, not even once.
And her personal trainer had devised a specific routine that would fit her disability since her left arm and leg are shorter than her right.
She’s now a size 6 and has a six-pack.
In September, Clark won in her first bodybuilding competition in the disabled category. And in November, she won again first place for her class against contestants from 17 countries.
Clark was thrilled about her win, but on her mind, she’s thinking about her son.
She said, “He’s always in my eyes. He always says to me, ‘Go on, Mom, you can do it.’
“When I was on stage I couldn’t see the people in the audience, but I could just see him in my mind.”
She said Tom wouldn’t want her to be sad all the time, that’s why she’s doing it for him.
“I hope I give fellow disabled people inspiration. If I can do it they can too.
“Becoming a bodybuilder at 51, well, I think that’s pretty amazing.”