Liam Chandler
Liam Chandler Cordell Richardson

'He's so proud of himself': How this teen saved his life

WHEN Erin Chandler signed her son Liam up for a personal training exercise session, she had no idea an amazing transformation would follow.

Liam, 17, is intellectually impaired and has mild autism.

When he was a child, it was hard for Erin to convince him to eat anything other than chicken nuggets, chips and garlic bread.

For most of his life, Liam's diet was extremely limited and as he grew into an adolescent, his poor eating habits impacted on his body shape which in turn increased his social anxiety.

"He had low muscle tone and poor fine, and gross, motor skills," Erin said.

"Combined with his diet and lack of exercise, he turned into a rather unhealthy teenager.

"Once we got him into the NDIS program, I spoke to them about my concerns for his health and they funded us for personal training sessions."

In January, Erin and Liam met Brandon Campbell from Moore Results Personal Training Ipswich.

Brandon started working with Liam who at the time weighed 87kg.

Since then Liam, a student at Claremont State Special School, has dropped down to 75kg.

"He's so proud of himself," Erin said.

"He's so much fitter and healthier.

"He's so pleased with himself. It has done amazing things for his self-confidence."

For Liam, the exercise and subsequent results made him feel good.

"It's changed my life in a lot of ways," he said.

"I like how I feel and I have more energy."

Trainer Brandon said when he first met Liam, the teenager had struggled to even make eye contact.

But now he is fit, healthy and looking good - Liam is a whole new person.

"When I first met Liam, it was very hard to make conversation," Brandon said.

"He was shy and would never make eye contact with anyone but now he looks people in the eye when he's talking to them.

"He used to be embarrassed to take his shirt off, like at the beach, but now is so much more confident.

"I think he knows he is looking good."

When Brandon began working with Liam there were some basic exercises he couldn't complete but Brandon persisted and implemented some creative methods, like hunting Pokémon, to ensure exercise was fun.

"It was tricky for me at first but now he can do all the exercises I was trying to do with him at the start," Brandon said.

"I'm also his carer now and on the weekends he gets a lot of cardio in.

"I just kept his training simple and fun.

"Now he does squats, push ups, sit ups and running."

Before meeting Liam, Brandon had never thought of training clients with a disability.

Now, he has three clients who face similar challenges to Liam.

"If it wasn't for Liam I wouldn't have thought it was something I was interested in," Brandon <QL>said.

"But seeing Liam, with a smile on his face, being such a happy kid and so comfortable with himself, it's rewarding."