Severe health conditions didn’t stop Ramos from carrying on, even when doctors told him he couldn’t exercise because his bones were too fragile. He will be participating in a bodybuilding national competition next month.
One day, Héctor Ramos was feeling sad and low. He happened to see a motivational video by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the way the Austrian actor encouraged fighting for one’s dreams made a definite impression on him.
Originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Ramos was born with skeletal dysplasia — a condition that affects bone and cartilage growth—and scoliosis.
Although he loved sports and exercise, his doctor would not allow him to engage in any physical effort.
“The doctors told me I couldn’t exercise…that I was going to be bound to a wheelchair. Because I had severe scoliosis, my legs were curved,” Ramos told The Americano. “I’m a miracle of God. I’m not even supposed to be exercising because my bones are [fragile] like glass.”
Ramos started his formal education in Puerto Rico. Health issues forced him to begin his schooling in the seventh grade. His enthusiasm prevailed, and by ninth grade, he was in the honor roll.
While in school, Ramos had to deal with bullying. He says his fellow students laughed at him because of his height.
“I was smaller than I am now…they also made fun of me as I couldn’t read or write that well,” says Ramos, whose height is 4 feet 4 inches.
In school, Ramos became interested in physical fitness. He ran, did push-ups, and exercised. He soon noticed an improvement in his posture, health, and self-esteem.
“Thanks to exercise and God, I have been healed. My health has improved, and here I am standing,” Ramos says.
The proud Floricua moved with his family to Florida in 2014 and settled down in Clearwater.
Nowadays, Ramos is a bodybuilder and he will be participating in the 2020 National Physique Committee (NPC) Florida State National Qualifier Championships in August.
“This sport has given me discipline. Your body changes and your self-esteem improves, but the most important thing is how strong your state of mind becomes,” Ramos expresses.
The bodybuilder says that strict diets and daily training make many people quit the discipline. He thinks, however, that dealing with the emotional part is even harder.
“All the things I’ve been through in my life have been emotional. This sport has helped me strengthen and overshadow the negative with the positive,” Ramos says.
After graduating from high school in Clearwater, Ramos began his studies to become a personal trainer. He also completed an associate degree as a medical assistant and plans to continue studies in sports medicine.
“I have seen so many people in need, especially children with disabilities. People who are overweight, who have special conditions, who have problems losing weight. I want to help because I am a living example that it can be done.”
Ramos now lives in Orlando with his family. He says that with the help of a personal trainer, he stays focused on his studies and bodybuilding.
“With the support of my mom and the church, I’ve been able to cope until this day. I am happy and proud of how God brought me into the world and thankful for the wonderful mother he gave me,” Ramos reminisces.