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S3 Episode 38

Episode 38: The MS Fitness Challenge


Meet David Lyons, bodybuilding champion, media personality and founder of a global fitness training program. Did we mention David also has MS? Through the MS Fitness Challenge among many other endeavors, David has dedicated his personal and professional life to helping people with MS of all abilities learn how to overcome their physical challenges and lead healthier lives.  



  • Welcome to Living Well with MS, David! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and anything our audience should know to get a sense of who you are? 

  • You’re the creator of the MS Fitness Challenge. What exactly is that? 

  • What are the key things people with MS are missing when it comes to fitness, in your view? 

  • Does the MS Fitness Challenge program work for people with different kinds of MS, different levels of mobility, etc.? 

  • How does your approach to helping people with MS improve mobility through exercise and strength training differ from other offerings out there? 

  • Have your methods been part of any scientific research or published studies that support their efficacy? 

  • If you could give someone with MS 3 quick hacks to fitness that would allow them to see a difference in the way they feel relatively quickly, what would these be? 

  • You established an MS Fitness Challenge as a nonprofit organization. How come? 

  • What is the difference between MS Fitness Challenge and your virtual personal fitness program, Optimal Body Personal Fitness? 

  • What’s next for you in the MS fitness space? Any new programs or ideas on the horizon to enable you to reach more people with MS? 


David Lyons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2006 at the age of 47. A bodybuilder and former owner of fitness centers, Lyons made the choice to fight MS head-on through bodybuilding. He founded the MS Bodybuilding Challenge in 2008, and in 2009, at age 50, competed in his first bodybuilding contest with MS, winning a Most Inspirational trophy. He went on to be presented with the Milestone Award by the National MS Society for his accomplishments. In 2012, Lyons and his wife, Kendra, a registered nurse, created the MS Fitness Challenge to support people with MS in their efforts to stay as fit as possible, overcome limitations, and keep their bodies moving. The cause also educates trainers on fitness for MS.  

In 2013 Lyons received the Health Advocate of the Year Award alongside fitness icon Lou Ferrigno and in 2015, he was honored by bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger with the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016 Lyons received the Lifetime Fitness Inspiration Award from the Global Bodybuilding Organization, an international fitness federation, and in 2017 was acknowledged by the National Fitness Hall of Fame (NFHOF) with a Special Recognition Award. Later that year he was asked to be one of the Founding Partners of the NFHOF Institute for education and in 2019 David was the only fitness expert with MS to be inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Lyons has been named the Most Dedicated MS Fitness Expert worldwide by both Global Health and Pharma and Global 200 in 2019, 2020, and 2021. He was voted as one of the Top 100 Healthcare Leaders by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare in 2020. 

Lyons is the author of David’s Goliath, an autobiographical story of his journey with MS, and his fitness book, Everyday Health and Fitness with Multiple Sclerosis, a #1 New Release on Amazon is for anyone who wants to get in top shape while battling physical or emotional obstacles to getting started. 

David is engaged in many fitness initiatives for MS, including being the author of the MS trainers’ courses for both the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) and the MedFit Education Foundation; and speaking on MS and fitness at the nationwide Medical Fitness Tour

In his latest branding venture, David has created a unique fitness website for the MS community under his OptimalBody brand called the OptimalBody Training Program for MS. This interactive platform educates and trains people with MS in his one-of-a-kind training methods that create neuroplasticity, muscle fiber activation, and brain to muscle reconnection.  


Coming up on our next episode

Join Geoff on July 12th for the 19th instalment of Living Well with MS Coffee Break, beaming to you straight from Portugal, as he welcomes Joia Lewis, a writer and former professor of philosophy who shares her OMS journey with PPMS.  

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