In 2017, Sophie Butler was just your average college student with a passion for all things fitness. Then, one day, she lost her balance and fell while squatting 70kg (about 155 lbs) with a Smith machine at the gym, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors told her she'd never be able to regain her strength-but for the past year, she's been back at the gym, proving everyone wrong.
Recently, Butler shared two side-by-side photos of herself-one from six weeks after her injury and one of her today-to show just how far she's come. "In the first pic I was suffering with my core real bad, I had no power in it," she wrote. "I couldn't even sit up in bed. It was prolapsing due to the paralysis which really affected me mentally because I was so fit and active before my injury." (Related: I'm an Amputee and Trainer-But Didn't Step Foot In the Gym Until I Was 36)
Losing her mobility and strength was difficult for Butler both physically and emotionally. Everyone around her kept telling her to accept her new reality. "I remember talking to someone in rehab about it and they basically told me to accept my 'new body and physique' because it would be almost impossible to regain my old aesthetics and fitness levels," she wrote. I remember thinking, 'you clearly don't know me.'" (Related: This Woman's Viral Post Is an Inspiring Reminder to Never Take Your Mobility for Granted )
From the beginning, doctors told Butler that she would never walk again; however, that didn't stop her from doing everything she could to get some of her mobility and strength back. "I have been working on my core consistently from the second I got to rehab," she wrote. "If you scroll through my old post you'll see me practicing learning to sit up in bed, boxing with sit-ups, and just last week, I was in physio doing one handed planks."
Today, Butler has regained a lot of her strength and feels more comfortable and confident in her body than she ever thought she could following her accident. "I'm so fricking proud of the strength I've regained in my core," she wrote. "I know now everyone likes to push the 'it doesn't matter what you look like' message on IG, which is TRUE, but I'm so fricking proud that I'm at the point where I'm so confident in my body and my aesthetics again." (Related: How an Injury Taught Me That There's Nothing Wrong with Running a Shorter Distance)
For the foreseeable future, Butler will be in a wheelchair, but you better believe she's determined to walk again, even if it takes her years. "I love my body, I'm proud of my body, but I'm even more proud of the WORK it's taken to get here," she wrote. "No shortcuts, no photoshop, no secrets, just hard work and patience."