Building more than muscle: Teen with neurological disorder not giving up on weightlifting dreams

Positively Tennessee

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Committing to a healthy diet and rigorous workout plan isn’t easy for anyone, let alone a 16-year-old who is battling a neurological disorder that weakens the major muscles in the body. But Wyatt Montalvo has done just that.

Wyatt is a regular at Workout Anytime in Sevierville. He makes pull-ups look easy.

“If you look at him, he’s just amazing because he pushes himself nonstop,” Wyatt’s father Ray said.

“Sometimes on Saturdays, I’ll get here two times a day in the morning, one at night,” Wyatt told us.

As his dad likes to say, “He has transformed his obstacles in front of him and turned them into positives.”

The biggest challenge: A debilitating muscle-weakening disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth. Wyatt has it, along with his mom and sister — who share his positive outlook.

“My first week of college he wrote me a workout plan,” Olivia Montalvo, Wyatt’s sister, said with a laugh. “He was telling me how to do curls with my backpack.”

“I wanted to be an inspiration for people with CMT and it just drives me, you know,” Wyatt added.

Wyatt was also motivated by bullies.

“When I was 13 years old, ” he said, “I was 240 pounds, and I had some people make fun of me.”

He took a “before” picture, believing in himself, knowing somehow, he would achieve the results he enjoys today, three years later.

“I weigh 175 right now,” he said.

It’s what happens when you don’t give up.

“If you have a dream, just push for it, just take the negativity that people give you and just use it as a fuel to strive for your dreams,” he said.

Wyatt has his eyes on his next goal: a bodybuilding competition. He’s taking his time, making a plan, and hopes to compete next year.

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