Battling the Body – Hasan Banks Shares on Competing with Ataxia Disorder

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My name is Hasan Banks. I’m an NPC Men’s Physique Competitor, and in 2009 I was unfortunately diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Spino-cerebellar Ataxia type 7. This disorder affects the part of the brain that controls motor skills, thus causing issues with my walking, balance, coordination and speech. My Ataxia has no cure, and after being told that there is no help for me, I spent 2 years in a deep depression before realizing that I needed to be proactive. I realized I needed to re-evaluate my life, and that decision led me to bodybuilding to challenge myself and to fight my disorder. I want to use the sport as a platform to show my son and the world to never take short cuts and never give up. I also want to raise awareness about the Ataxia disorder.

The start of the journey began with guidance from my coach, Jason Giardino, who pushed me past my limits and told me to never lose sight of my goal. Together, we decided in August 2013 that, in order to really tell my story to the masses, I would need to compete on a national stage. In 2014, I qualified for nationals by placing 2nd at Tim Gardner’s Tampa Pro. With this victory, I decided to challenge myself by preparing to step onto one of the world’s biggest stages – the 2015 Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Although I did not place in the top 5, the support I’ve received ever since that day from our fitness community from around the globe has been overwhelming. I’m honored and blessed to show people that nothing is impossible unless you tell yourself it is. Despite being on a fixed income and my lack of finances to support my training and competition, the grace of God has put the right people in my corner, including my sponsors, GIALABS and Work2flex. It is because of their belief in my mission and their support that I will have the opportunity to compete at Jr Nationals in Chicago on June 12, 2015. Follow me on my journey, and I hope to see you all soon!


ILS:  How and when did you get involved in bodybuilding?

Banks: I always loved and followed the sport but started competing in 2012 at the Southern States championship.

ILS: Looking back on your early years, what parts were difficult for you and what parts were easy for you?

Banks: The most difficult part is coming to cope with the fact I’m competing as a disabled individual, which makes contest prep more difficult. The easiest part was getting motivated to compete.


ILS: How did you do in your first few competitions?

Banks: I placed 4th in the Bantam weight division in Bodybuilding. However, due to my disorder causing balance issues, the transitions from poses presented some difficulties. Based on that, my coach Jason Giardino and I decided in order to continue competing and to be an advocate for Ataxia, it would be better to switch to Men’s Physique Division starting in 2013.

ILS: Looking back over your NPC career, your conditioning has improved greatly. Is that from learning better how your body responds or did you start working with someone who guided you through your preparation and training?

Banks: I knew my body, however I also knew that to be competitive, I’d need more guidance. That’s when I began working with my current coach, Jason.

ILS: As far as training goes, how would you describe your training style?

Banks: I’d have to say it’s a mix of both traditional and unconventional methods, but it’s always really intense. Every session, I treat it as if I were a going into a battle not knowing if I’ll make it out alive.

ILS: What’s been your hardest body part to develop?

Banks: My legs. Due to my disorder, it’s hard to make them grow.

ILS: Have you found anything special that has helped that body part grow?

Banks: I have found that higher rep counts and also pyramid type sets work best. Also, my situation is different, so I train legs 3 days a week as it helps with my balance.

ILS: Thank you for sharing with us, Hasan. Is there anyone you would like to thank?

Banks: I would love to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to show people that nothing is impossible and my coach, Jason Giardino, for being there to help me stay focused. He’s not only been there as a coach, but we’re like brothers now. He keeps me grounded with everyday life outside the gym as well. I’d also like to thank my sponsors, GIALABS and WORK2FLEX – without them behind me, my journey to Jr. Nationals wouldn’t be happening.

Hasan Banks

Hasan Banks

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    business intelligence

    May 14, 2015 at 05:36

    You’re a among a kind blogger in this field. Continue the work. It’ll pay off.

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