Most guys who get featured on the cover of Men's Fitness are pretty shredded. No surprise there.
But for Ben Mudge, who landed on the cover of the January issue of Men's Fitness UK, fitness isn't just a way of life—it's a way of living.
Mudge has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease that leads to a thick buildup of mucus in the lungs and internal organs. Cystic fibrosis not only makes breathing difficult but also traps bacteria in lungs, which can lead to life-threatening infections. It also affects the pancreas, where mucus buildup prevents the body from absorbing nutrients in food, and the liver, where it can cause liver disease. It's also exceedingly rare—only about 70,000 people worldwide have it.
Then there's Mudge. At 25, the Belfast native is in epic physical condition at an age when many cystic fibrosis patients struggle to simply go about their everyday lives. He's also a trainer, an occupation he only picked up after an erstwhile gig on the set of Game of Thrones in rugged Northern Ireland, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) a sponsored athlete for several fitness brands.
"I'm addicted to working out," he told the Daily Mail. "Exercise forces me to use my lungs, which helps beat mucus buildup."
That's not to say Mudge is symptom-free. “It just slows everything down, makes everything harder,” he said in his interview for the magazine's "Get Inspired" issue. "[Cystic fibrosis] affects the production of mucus in the body—for most people it’s like water, but for me it’s more like wallpaper paste."
Nevertheless, Mudge's fitness routine (five days a week, in case you were wondering) is paying off in a big way.
“We spent weeks considering many brilliant and unique individuals when making the choice, but in the end there was no better person to lead our ‘Get Inspired’ issue,” Joe Barnes, the editor of Men’s Fitness UK, wrote.
Our new issue is out today and it's a banger. Get yours on the way home and prepare to GET INSPIRED! pic.twitter.com/A6Ehacfqem
— Men’s Fitness Mag (@MensFitnessMag) November 25, 2015