If ever there were a time to use the hashtag #noexcuses, this is it.

Carson Tueller is an instagram inspiration. Not because he’s a gay guy with great hair, or because this boy’s biceps bulge right out of the frame. I mean, all of that helps, but it’s not the reason. Carson is inspirational because roughly 4 years ago, this aspiring musician broke his neck and has been living with partial paralysis in all four limbs ever since.

“Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso; paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms.

I destroyed C6 and C7 when I broke my neck, but I was very fortunate to injure my spinal cord a level lower at C8, which is the nerve between the neck and back, and is a very rare level to be injured at.”

His injury has left Carson with a lot of physical limitations, losing strength and sensation in all four of his limbs and making life a struggle and exercise and training very different. Having said that, Carson still manages to look like this!

Carson regularly posts on his blog and on Instagram about his fitness and training goals, much of which involves re-learning what he knew before, and working his ass off to stay as strong as possible.

#noexcuses

Carson is the perfect example of how you don’t have to just accept the situation as it is. Though his life was changed forever by his accident, he works hard everyday and shows that it didn’t end on that day.

“My life would never be the same. It’s been an arduous battle for the last four years, and I have been determined to recreate a life that I love for myself. I have, through tears and grimaces, refused to give up, not because it’s the brave thing to do, but because I just can’t let what happened that day win.”

If anyone out there comments on this post with statements like “it’s all about good genetics” or #absprivilege I am going to go nuts.

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I’ve talked about the specifics of my spinal cord injury before, but for you new followers, I have a C8 spinal cord injury. This means I am paralyzed from the chest down, with really diminished hand strength. . I’ve been on a quest to weigh more than my previous, non-paralyzed weight, and it’s taken great problem solving. . My blessed core is the main perpetrator. I can only lift whatever weight I’m strong enough to compensate for in my antagonistic muscle groups. I can’t depend on core kicking in to save the day on that last rep. It has to be my tricep or lat, which fatigue much more quickly. . That being said, I can look a mess when I workout. I used to be so embarrassed about the way I looked working out, having been an “able-bodied” lifter like the other 99% of gym goers. . The best thing I ever did was go to the gym when I was embarrassed and scared. I fell many times. I watched people stare at my legs, and endured invasive questions. But I kept going. I learned to ask for help over and over from strangers. And I slowly began to get stronger and reach my goals. I began to see a difference. . Had I listened to my crazy brain telling me I couldn’t, or didn’t belong, I’d be in the same place I was five years ago. Struggling every day to get through due to musculoskeletal fatigue and neck pain (turns out your neck acts differently after you break and fuse it). . Listening to my brain is really tempting. I’ve just begun learning that it’s not reliable as a motivator, or reliable to get me where I want to be. It’s well intentioned and wants to protect me, but in the end sometimes keeps me from achieving my goals. . So I’m practicing listening to its input, its fears and considerations, thanking it, and then asking myself what I’m committed to getting, and taking action consistent with that. . I wouldn’t say I’m good at it, but it makes a difference when I take action in the face of fear and reason. You can count on me to keep practicing. I’m determined to get what I want in life.

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Complete injury and recovery training

When he broke his neck, Carson destroyed his C6 and C7, but fortunately the injury to his spinal cord occurred a level lower, at C8, the nerve between his neck and back. This means that his spinal cord injury is close to being considered “complete”, in which there is no motor or sensory function below the level of injury.

In Carson’s case, he still has limited sensation in a few areas below the injury, but no motor function.

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Many of you may not know that I am actually quadriplegic! Most individuals I run into assume that I am paralyzed from the waist down, but I actually begin losing sensation and function where my pinky is pointing to in this picture! I’m more paralyzed than most people think. 💅🏼💁🏼‍♂️ . Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso; paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms. . I destroyed C6 and C7 when I broke my neck, but I was very fortunate to injure my spinal cord a level lower at C8, which is the nerve between the neck and back, and is a very rare level to be injured at. 🦄 . C8 is what gives me the limited but useful hand function that I have today. Yes, it halted my music career, but I have the function to do 99% of what I need to do throughout a day. Having a C8 injury also means I have zero core stability or function, so I constantly use my upper body to compensate for my lack of core. . So what does recovery look like? Well, I have close to what is considered a “complete” (as opposed to “incomplete”) spinal cord injury. This means that there is no motor or sensory function below the level of injury. In my case, I have limited sensation in a few areas below injury (for which I am *very* grateful), but no motor function. . Because of this, recovery for me has been limited. I can strengthen and improve what already works (arms, chest, lats, traps, etc.), but have not regained function where I’m paralyzed, expect for in my hands. It’s typical to have improvement right at the level of injury, which in my case, is my hand function. . Even though I’m not regaining function, keeping my upper body strong has opened up a whole new quality of life for me. Having a more massive upper body means I have less musculoskeletal pain, and have far longer endurance throughout the day. You can definitely expect an ever-mass-gaining Carson.

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“Because of this, recovery for me has been limited. I can strengthen and improve what already works (arms, chest, lats, traps, etc.), but have not regained function where I’m paralyzed, expect for in my hands. It’s typical to have improvement right at the level of injury, which in my case, is my hand function.

Even though I’m not regaining function, keeping my upper body strong has opened up a whole new quality of life for me. Having a more massive upper body means I have less musculoskeletal pain, and have far longer endurance throughout the day. You can definitely expect an ever-mass-gaining Carson.”

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I would have never posted this 6 months ago. I would have decided that I looked too tall, too skinny, too paralyzed… . After my injury I started meeting friends like @jakejacob01 (and especially @jakejacob01) who I could tell simply didn’t see my chair. Paralysis was as relevant as my hair color to them. These friends challenged my thinking, they called out my bullshit when I said I couldn’t accomplish certain things, and they corrected my language when I wasn’t accurate. “Umm, no, you CAN do it. It just takes 30 seconds longer.” . These friends confused and frustrated me. Couldn’t they see that this made me less valuable as a human? Couldn’t they see that no one would want me like this? Why wouldn’t they validate the pain, and my irrefutable truth, that I was living in a broken body? . They could have, but they loved me too much. They refused to see anything but a perfect Carson, one who doesn’t need a cure, one who doesn’t need fixing. They refused to accept any other truth, and waited patiently until I caught up. . In many ways, I’m finally catching up. I am grateful for all the people who refused to believe me when I told them I was broken. Thanks for calling bullshit, thanks for loving me enough to risk looking insensitive or unaware. I owe you for the peace that I now live with, and for the kick-ass life I have today. I attribute so much of the success of my journey to you. Love you. #truefriends #beloved

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#Fitspiration

I will wholeheartedly admit that I began following Carson on Instagram because he’s hot and frequently topless, but his posts are so positive and life-affirming that it’s hard not to feel amazed and inspired.

Candidly talking about how tough life can be, you’ll only see him with a smile on his face (apart from when he’s at the gym with his game-face on).

Follow the guy on Instagram and tell him how awesome he is!

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