Nick Chisholm works while communicating with trainer Shane
Waldron through an alphabet grid. Photo by Stephen
Nick Chisholm is more nervous about unveiling his muscled
new body than his wedding.
Fourteen years ago, the Kenmure man became unable to walk or
talk after a rugby injury.
His life took a turn for the better when, in January at
Larnach Castle, he kissed his new bride, Nicole, whom he had
met on Facebook.
Now, at 41, he may become the first person with ''locked-in
syndrome'' to compete as a bodybuilder.
''This is more nerve-racking than getting married, because
there's lots more preparation involved,'' Chisholm said.
In 2000, Chisholm was diagnosed with the condition where his
brain functioned normally but his body did not respond.
Paralysed, Chisholm was told he would not live but with
regular gym sessions he regained some minor movement.
''I'm not a quadriplegic anymore,'' he said during a gym
session at Sky Fitness last week, communicating by looking
directly at letters on a grid on a clear plastic board to
Trainer Shane Waldron (34) agreed Chisholm was calmer before
''You looked quite relaxed going into the wedding compared to
this,'' he said, laughing.
Chisholm said the motivation of a ''full recovery'' was all
he needed to train for the competition.
The road to recovery was long but Chisholm was progressing
''He's one in a million, this kid,'' Waldron said.
''He's fallen in love with the gym and his training.
''This is where he is free and can move his body. When he's
in the wheelchair he can't move his arms.''
Waldron reassured the ODT Chisholm was in great physical
The big reveal of his ''shredded'' body will wait until his
first competition - the New Zealand wheelchair Body Building
Federation - in August.
His trainer said Chisholm would become the first person in
the world with ''locked-in syndrome'' to pose in a
The online competition will have bodybuilders in wheelchairs
enter photos of compulsory poses for judging.
A month later, he will pose in front of a live Dunedin
audience for the South Island Body Building Championships at
the University of Otago College of Education auditorium.
Chisholm said the preparation included training for more than
12 hours a week, a strict diet and plenty of recovery rest.
He was in bed by 7pm most days. He was also growing a
''winter coat'' on his trademark red mohawk for the
The training was similar to his past rehabilitation work but
Waldron said the training was about packing on muscle and
removing body fat.
''As long as the body weight is coming off - and it is -