Tampa bodybuilder born without legs, one arm teaching message of motivation with fitness

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For an extraordinary young Tampa bodybuilder, workouts can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. 

But that’s not because he doesn’t have the drive.

For Nick Santanostasso, he’s filled with enough motivation to power an an entire city. This extraordinary young man has challenges of a different kind.

He was born without legs, without an arm and he only has one finger.

But, don’t ever tell Santanostasso that he can’t do something. His strength comes, he says, from being different. There is no weakness here, just willingness to be better, to be stronger, to be himself.

“From the moment I was born, there was a long list of things that my parents were told I couldn’t do. My whole life. So, the biggest motivational speech you can give me is telling me I can’t,” Santanostasso told News Channel 8.

The word “can’t” doesn’t exist for this remarkable 21-year-old born with a rare genetic disorder called Hanhart Syndrome. It affects the growth of limbs and babies. The survival rate is slim.

But, for Santanostasso, who weighs all of 83 pounds, but builds his workout around pushing a giant, 200 pound tire, his life is not about surviving, it’s about thriving.

His motivation? His parents.

“The one thing they always said, ‘Nick the world is not going to stop, not going to change, because you were born like this. You are going to have to do things this way,'” he told us.

While the world may have told Santanostasso his entire life what he can’t do, now he is doing exactly what he wants to do. His life’s dream and life’s work is about motivating others with fitness, with being different and most of, all living with the power of positivity.

He says he fell in love with wrestling at a young age in high school. Right then and there, he says, he realizes that a positive attitude is within all of us.

“You can be different in a full body, you can be different like me. That’s what sets me apart. My tattoo says,’ you laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you were all the same.’ I am real. I’m the real deal.”

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