After being told he’d never walk again, joining the gym has helped transform Ainsley’s life as he grows in confidence, gets married abroad and starts his own property development business.
Anytime Fitness gym member Ainsley Campbell’s incredible life transformation is the perfect example of not letting your situation limit what you can achieve.
At just 22 years old in 2016, he was a front-seat passenger in a car accident which left him paralysed from the waist down and having to hear the crushing news that he would never walk again. His life had completely changed in a heartbeat and what followed was years of intensive physiotherapy and in his own words, learning to live again.
In the following years, he adapted to his new life and got engaged to his long-term partner, Lauren. However, like many, the pandemic and the confinement that followed had a significant impact on Ainsley.
“Right before the pandemic, I moved to a small flat and was in the final year of my degree,” said Ainsley. I was classed as somebody that was vulnerable and unfortunately, I spent the majority of my time indoors with no exercise and suffered mentally.”
However, in April 2021, that all changed as Ainsley took the decision to change his lifestyle and join a gym.
“On the back end of the pandemic, I decided I needed to sort something out as I wanted to feel better,” said Ainsley. “I looked round a few gyms but because of what I can and can’t do, I needed a gym I felt was accessible and that I felt comfortable with coming to independently.”
Impressed by the accessibility and friendliness of the team, he was given a tour of the club by its General Manager, Chris Clarke. With Ainsley looking for guidance and support on how to adapt exercises in the gym, Chris swiftly became Ainsley’s coach and still works with him to this day.
“Initially it’s quite daunting to come to a gym as a wheelchair user and you feel you have eyes on you but it’s never been uncomfortable or intrusive here,” added Ainsley. “When I come in, I’m treated like everyone else and just because I have a physical disability, it doesn’t feel that way. If I’m in here by myself, the other members are great if I ever need help moving bars up and down or adjusting equipment; everyone helps each other here.”
Following joining the gym, Ainsley’s confidence quickly skyrocketed and the team were wowed by both his progress and his level of independence.
“Physically, it’s been so important to my recovery as the more physically fit I am, the more capable I am of normal things in day-to-day life. Mentally, it’s hugely helped my confidence as if you feel better, you feel more comfortable and able to have a better quality of life.”
As he continued to make improvements within the gym, it was what he was doing outside of it which was equally as impressive.
After completing his degree, Ainsley started his own property development business and is currently working on a significant project in Shropshire to convert disused barns into new-build properties. Working alongside his brother, the project is hugely rewarding on a personal level as he puts into practice what he’s learned during his education. He also enjoyed a magical wedding as they jetted off to Portugal in the summer to tie the knot.
His coach, Chris, had similarly glowing words to say about Ainsley.
“I’m so proud of him and I admire him more than anyone I’ve ever met,” said Chris. “The things he’s achieved have been incredible and I don’t think I could have done what he’s done. For Ainsley to get this recognition is incredibly well deserved and all the team and members here at Anytime Fitness Telford are delighted for him.”