Fitness and nutrition tips for athletes preparing for the World Dwarf Games 2017 By Ted Hannes, DAAA Vice President
We are about 10 months away from the 2017 World Dwarf Games. Start your training now! As a person with dwarfism, finding ways to exercise that felt appropriate for my body was a challenge. We must find ways to be active and healthy. Since the games are still 10 months away, your focus should be on getting into shape and improving your strength/endurance. Once spring arrives and the snow melts then you can start incorporating sport-specific training.
Disclaimer: The fitness tips below are suggestions (and opinions) only. I am not a personal trainer. I do however have a background in physical education and working with adults and children with physical disabilities. I’ve designed numerous strength and conditioning programs for myself as well as family and friends. These tips may not work for you. Talk to your doctor before starting any kind of new fitness regimen. The author and DAAA are not responsible for any injuries sustained related to these tips.
Starting at the gym? 1. Start easy and work your way up. The first few days and weeks at the gym are going to be difficult. You will feel sore and tired. Keep going, this is normal! It’s important to start slowly. Try starting with going to the gym 2-3 days a week. After you’ve gotten into this routine for a few weeks, try adding another day. Our bodies take time to adapt to any kind of new exercise. If you try to jump into an intense routine meant for the experienced gym goer, you have a higher risk of burnout and injury.
2. Choose exercises you feel you can do safely! This is where a personal trainer can help. He/she can help you create a routine appropriate for your body type and goals. One of the ways I design my routines is by observation and modification; what are other people doing to target a specific muscle group, and how can I modify it to be appropriate for me? If I’m trying something new, does it feel safe? There are also some great books and videos out there that can provide a wealth of information.
3. Being sore is OK! Any time our bodies change exercise routines there will be soreness. This is normal and should only last 2-3 days. Once you get into a good routine soreness days after a workout should be much less.
4. Set achievable goals! Break down what you want to achieve into smaller chunks that you can focus on. For example when I start a weight loss routine (usually around January 1st) I write down goals for the week and month. This can be as simple as going to the gym 4 times, eating salad with dinner, and going for a brisk walk the days I’m not going to the gym.
5. Get a workout buddy or join a fitness group! Find friends, family members, or other gym goers to team up with. Share your goals, find a time to workout together, hold each other accountable, and most importantly celebrate your successes!
What should I eat? As someone who likes to cook, finding healthy recipes can be both fun and infuriating. These are foods I try to target as well as foods I try to avoid.
Foods to target: Salad (easy on the dressing) Lean proteins (ex. chicken breast, 93% Ground beef, tuna, pork loin, eggs) Fresh or flash frozen vegetables (pass on the butter or cheese) Quinoa Whole grains bread and pasta (in limited quantities)
Foods to avoid/limit: Fast Food Fried foods Candy Processed sugar Soda White rice/white bread/white pasta
Start preparations for the World Games now! The longer you wait to begin training the less you can improve before the games! Ask questions and share your successes! If you need any help or guidance I can be reached at daaa.Ted.Hannes@gmail.com.
Copyright 2014 Dwarf Athletic Association of America