Special Olympics Fit 4 Life Is Transforming the lives of athletes with disabilities

Special Olympics Fit 4 Life Is Transforming the lives of athletes with disabilities

By: Emily Stokes

We are excited to tell you about what the Tennessee chapter of the Special Olympics is doing with their Fit 4 Life program.

Special Olympics Tennessee Fit 4 Life is transforming the lives of athletes with disabilities through
fitness, nutrition, and mental wellness programs. In coordination with Special Olympics, the Fit 4 Life
program is designed to support athletes in sustaining a healthy lifestyle and bridging the gap between
competitions. The program provides a space for athletes to train consistently for their respective Special
Olympics sports and receive support in nutrition education, mental health strategies, lifestyle training,
and accountability. The finale of the nine-week program is a regional combine for athletes to compete
against each other using the skills and fitness training taught in the program.

“It’s bigger than just athletes going in and working out as a team. Fit 4 Life allows them to feel included
in an environment with high-level athletes doing similar things. That feeling sparks empowerment within
the athletes and confidence in their ability to live a healthy lifestyle and continue to train and work out.”
– Natalee Kamau, Health and Fitness Manager for Special Olympics

Get Involved! 

Community volunteers and partners are an integral part of the Fit 4 Life program. The program is
designed to, not only, transform the lives of the athlete but the volunteers as well.  Develop lasting
friendships and new ways of thinking and help our Nashville community to be a more accepting place
for people with disabilities. The nine-week program is run bi-annually with a fall and spring
session. Here’s how you can get involved in the 2023 spring session beginning February 23:

Fitness Partners 

Fit 4 Life is seeking Nashville-based fitness facilities to host weekly training sessions for the program. Facilities partners are asked to donate one hour per week of facility time and a fitness coach to facilitate the sessions. Fitness partners will get the opportunity to work with the Special Olympic athletes one-on-one and be a part of their fitness journey.  

“Partnering with facilities and their coaches increases their knowledge about working with this population and opens their eyes to the fact that our athletes and individuals with disabilities, regardless of what their abilities are, can do a lot of things that people sometimes don’t think they are capable of.”
– Kamau  
Please contact santiago.allaria@d1training.com for all fitness partner inquiries.

Program Volunteers 

Individual volunteers are also needed to support the head coach in training sessions. Volunteers will get the opportunity to work hands-on with athletes to support the program and the athlete’s goals

“The most rewarding part is creating a belief where there once wasn’t and that growing into a change in their lifestyle. They start to pay attention to hydration and nutrition, and they come into each workout and tell me how awesome their week was or how awesome their doctor’s visit was.”
– Santiago Allaria, Fitness Coordinator with Special Olympics 

Coaches  

If you have a passion for working with athletes with disabilities, the Fit 4 Life program is always looking
for coaches to join the program. Training certifications (preferably athletic training or strength and
conditioning) and experience are preferred, but no prior training experience with athletes with
disabilities is required. 

Show your support at the Music City Fit Expo 

Fit 4 Life will be hosting the combine games at the Music City Fit Expo on May 13, 2023. The fitness competition will take place in front of thousands of fitness enthusiasts and brands in the Nashville area. Special Olympics athletes from across Middle Tennessee will compete against each other in team
workouts similar to the protocol in their training program to accumulate points and compete in a team environment. Come out and cheer on the athletes on May 13 to show your support. The purchase of a Music City Fit Expo ticket will grant you access to the event.  


Find more information on Special Olympics Tennessee and the Fit 4 Life program on their website:
https://www.specialolympicstn.org/

NFM Staff
Author: NFM Staff

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