Leo Morales Q&A
MF: How did fitness help you after beating cancer?
LM: Discovering underwater freedom by learning to dive with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) was what changed my life; being free of prostheses, crutches or wheelchairs gave me back the confidence, faith, and willpower to start again. The sea and diving have given me the strength to beat cancer and live a life without limits and full of water adventures. Diving also keeps me healthy, focused, and able to enjoy life every day.
MF: What about mentally—how has maintaining a fitness routine helped you to stay positive?
LM: I learned that the limits are mental and not physical. While I was certified as a dive instructor, I was discovering my inner strength and realizing that there is no disability under water. It is the closest feeling to flying that I can imagine, which led me to establish two diving records: one of depth to descend 410 feet (125 meters) and one of permanence under water where I was able to be underwater for 8:15 hours and dive 10 miles (15.000 meters) on a single dive using a rebreather at 45 ft deep. I am currently preparing my third world record in a submerged cave for 2017!
MF: What was your fitness routine like before the accident?
LM: Before cancer, I had a lot of pain in the right leg and in my lower back. My health was not very good overall; I could only take short walks in the morning and do some cardio in the gym.
MF: What is it like now?
LM: Just after the amputation, I realized my new status and wanted to change the concept of disability. This is why I dedicated myself to train in the gym, learned to play golf, practice yoga and pilates to increase strength and elasticity, perform CrossFit and keep working on my cardiovascular fitness.
MF: What is your advice for guys who are struggling with any sort of obstacle?
LM: They should not surrender, they should go ahead with life. Each new day is a great opportunity to be the best version of themselves as human beings, as athletes and in all areas of their lives. Every morning we reinvent ourselves to be better.
MF: Your mantra?
LM: “Disability is mental, not physical” and “Dare to be your best version.”
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