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The 7 Fingered Diabetic Powerlifter – Chris Ruden

Limitations Are Self-Imposed

Posted by ChrisRuden - August 12th, 2016

My name is Chris Ruden, and I am the only 7-fingered diabetic record-holding powerlifter and motivational speaker you know!

 I was born with 2 fingers on my left hand and a shorter left arm. Being different led to me getting picked on, in trouble for fighting, and severe depression. I was 130 lbs in highschool and was always made fun of for being small.

I was always told I'd be limited in my physicality, but I never like to listen. I learned to adapt. I mastered the drums, dancing, and martial arts—all with one hand. I started to get into lifting as it was a huge challenge for me to grab anything like “normal people” did but I stilI struggled with body image issues and confidence growing up though, often turning to drugs or alcohol to hide my problems.

 I was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes 6 years ago and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I really believe diabetes saved me from going down the wrong path and inevitably saved my life.

I was in school for law but soon after diagnosis changed my major to exercise science because I believe you teach best what you need to learn most. I felt I needed to help other people in order to help myself.

I found ways to adapt and modify exercises and I started building muscle my way.

 I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from Florida Atlantic University and started my career helping people feel confident, lose weight, and live healthy.

Because I love competing with myself, I wanted to find something that would really challenge me so I got into powerlifting. I won my first powerlifting meet and continue to compete every few months.

I currently hold 4 state records in powerlifting, including deadlifting 622 lbs at a bodyweight of 181 lbs (and with one hand). Now, I get hired to speak all around the country by schools, businesses and organizations like the American Diabetes Association to inspire people, showing them that all limitations are self imposed.

My next goals are to hit a 650 lb deadlift and then compete in a bodybuilding show just to say I did it!

I work with a few different companies that are amazing as well. I Am Adaptive is helping and revolutionizing the adaptive community through support and innovation. They are an amazing organization and I love representing them! I also am sponsored by Nutrex Research and they have been amazingly helpful and supportive as a supplement company with clinically dosed supplements which really helps when you have diabetes (I hate guessing what’s in my supplements).

I just overall love helping people find ways to succeed.

I run an online nutrition and fitness coaching business where I've helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds and recently launched a fat loss ebook titled "The Art of Losing Body Fat". Through my struggles, I have made success. Diabetes is not a death sentence. I am not “dis-abled”, rather, I am enabled to inspire others to lead a great life and overcome their struggles.

Diabetic. Adaptive. Strong!

Thank you again, Scott, for helping all the people you do and allowing me to share my story with your community!

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Your story is awesome man! Inspirational stuff!! Love your 'Limitations Are Self Imposed' slogan. 


Such an amazing story of triumph bro!!  So proud of you!