My name is Roger Espina. I was born June 10th 1988 with Spina Bifida and has had many surgeries throughout my life 11 to this day to be exact which are 3 back surgeries and the rest in my legs. Right At birth it was when they discovered I had Spina Bifida. Well I pretty much been walking since the age of 2 (which Dr’s said I would never walk) but of course with some difficulty I’ve walked with a cane and also used a wheelchair for long distances but never on a daily basis.
At age 18 I had to go for my third back surgery due to my legs getting weaker throughout the years. I was told my legs have been getting weaker due to scar tissue building up in my back all the years of me growing. So I went with it and ended up coming out of the surgery even weaker even though the surgery was a success. I’ve been through physical therapy for many years and now I needed it even more even though it didn’t do much for me in my opinion. Well after the surgery I ended up walking with a walker and of course I needed the aide of a wheelchair even more for my daily living. Now I been into body building ever since I was 13.I was brought into it by my father to lose weight and get into shape. I started training to simply lose weight and get into shape and I trained a few times a week with new equipment my dad had bought and older ones he had throughout the years.
At age 15 I met a friend of my dad’s which was into body building and he showed me a book an Arnold Schwarzenegger book to be exact. I was so amazed by Arnold’s physique and this book he gave it to me as a gift and also gave me my first body building video I laid my eyes on which was Pumping Iron. Now I never knew Arnold was a body builder before then he was actually one of my favorite movie stars! Since I could ever remember I loved his movies! I didn’t even really know much about body building at the time I just lifted weights and exercised regularly because I just liked it. But how everything changed after reading that book and after watching pumping iron. I was so amazed at all these body builders that I saw on TV that I told myself that is how I wanted to look like one day. So that’s where my serious body building training started I looked up so much to Arnold and all the other old school body builders that I read everything about them.
When I turned 16 I decided to take my training further and started training basically every day which was crazy but nobody couldn’t stop me I had a goal set in my mind and I was going to accomplish it no matter what and no matter how long it took, at that age was when I also decided I wanted to compete because I wanted to be like Arnold and those other body builders so I kept training. So when I turned 17 that year’s summer I actually stepped into a gym for the first time and was amazed by all the weights and machines I never seen! so I joined right away to be able to take my body building training further to the next level. So at this gym I met a guy which became my first trainer and I told him I wanted to compete and that I was into body building and that’s when I first heard about wheelchair body building back in 2006 from him I actually went to the 2006 and 2007 nationals and was amazed by all these guys so I kept on training hard and the trainer I had at the time helped me out and taught me how to properly diet and how to properly train and body build for when I was 100% ready to compete.
Well in late 2007 I had to postpone my training and my dream of competing due to the back surgery I explained about earlier. So throughout 2008 I didn’t really train I was out of a gym for a year I lost a lot of muscle and gained some weight even had to fight depression, I went through a lot then, it was a very dark and hard time in my life I even went through 3 more surgical procedures for removal of a cyst which had grown in my right thigh. So then when 2009 came around I told myself I can’t keep going like this and I gained some courage and started the gym again this time even more surely than ever to compete and I even started a new gym and got a new trainer. So my training and dieting started again harder and more intense than ever and I had in mind on competing in 2010’s wheelchair body building nationals which I did compete in and won 1st place in men’s novice and 2nd place in men’s middleweight and I have in mind to compete in even more shows and hopefully one day become a pro which is my dream and I’m still training hard and never giving up and still moving forward to make my dream a reality
I was born with Spina Bifida and I have had in total 11 surgeries to date (3 back and the rest in both my legs)
At first to lose some weight and get in shape since I was pretty chubby as a young kid so my dad got me into body building and the rest is history I fell in love with body building.
When I first signed up to my first gym I ever trained in a trainer I had at the time spoke to me about competing in the wheelchair nationals at the time I didn't even know that there was such a thing I wanted to compete but I only just knew about the Mr. Olympia and Arnold shows so I was so excited to see how it was so I went to the 2006 wheelchair nationals in West Palm Beach, FL where I currently reside in since then I was so amazed by the wheelchair body builders that that's what I wanted to do and also since I wanted to compete I was like hey I can definitely do this and make my dream come true!
Like any other wheelchair body builder or body builder in general I train hard and when a show comes up I start dieting, I do cardio and train even harder and go compete.
Definitely the love of body building and wanting to compete and much of the old school body builders which I was a big fan of growing up like Arnold Schwarzenegger which is an idol of mine and much of the new school body builders too like Jay Cutler, Phil Heath and others.
Of course to never give up on your dreams and always to keep pushing and moving forward no matter what the obstacle is.
• Amateur Contest History
2015 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 1st Place
2013 NPC St. Pete Muscle Classic : 1st Place
2013 NPC USA Wheelchair Championship : 1st Place
2013 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 1st Place
2012 NPC Muscle Mayhem Championships : 1st Place
2012 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 1st Place
2011 NPC USA Wheelchair Championship : 2nd Place
2011 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 1st Place
2010 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 1st Place
2010 NPC Wheelchair Nationals : 2nd Place
• IFBB PRO Contest History
2015 IFBB Dallas Pro : 2nd Place