Lou Ferrigno is a Real-Life Superhero Amongst Us: How Childhood Disabilities Shaped His Mr. Universe Persona

Above all else that Lou Ferrigno is known for, he is a real life superhero. Not simply because he played one on the big screen in The Incredible Hulk or The Avengers. Nor because he has held the Guinness World Record for Youngest Mr. Universe for 40 years! But rather because within his own life, Ferrigno has overcome every obstacle thrown his way.

lou ferrigno

Ferrigno suffered a series of ear infections when he was an infant, causing him to lose 75 percent of his hearing. That disadvantage made the star an introverted youngster who, he claims, “wanted to build [his] self-esteem” in order to become a strong, confident man. Fortunately, disabilities do not mean impossibilities for this larger than life personality.

Ferrigno started to weight train at 13 years old, throwing himself head first into athletics, pushing himself to be the superheroes he idolized in comic books and on television. Ferrigno describes how he turned to The Incredible Hulk and Superman for inspiration because he wanted to be just like one of them. When asked who he thinks children can look up to today, he cites himself, noting that he “gave [himself] respect because I wanted to be a hero.”

These days, Ferrigno’s focus is still on fitness, nutrition, and health. Alongside his daughter Shanna, he has organized a free six-week training class called Ferrigno FIT, beginning this Saturday, July 12 on the Santa Monica Pier. The training focuses on diet and getting in shape, and will also include a Q and A session with Ferrigno and his family.

He is also big on the scene for ComicCon. Coming up during the first few days of August, Ferrigno will be joining Wizard World, the Comic Con in San Antonio. The event will take place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center August 1-3.

“I give back a lot because I didn’t have any one to pat me on the back,” Ferrigno told us, adding that he has used his knowledge and inspiration to help everyone become a superhero, no matter what obstacles may be in their way.

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image provided by Wizard World

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