Rose Hollermann preparing to shoot a basketball


How to train like a Paralympian

The 2021 Paralympic Games are right around the corner. Athletes have trained and prepared for their upcoming competitions. Paralympians demonstrate what it means to push through, overcome and conquer challenges. Just like a Paralympian, you too can train towards your goals. Keep reading to explore eight tips on how to train like a Paralympian.

Create a workout plan

Many Paralympians train five days a week. Create a workout plan that is effective and achievable for you. Incorporate workouts that will challenge you and help accomplish your goals. Whether you’re training for strength, balance, endurance or flexibility, following a workout plan can ensure each exercise will benefit your wellness goals and improve your performance.

Find a workout buddy

Training with another person can be valuable throughout your workout journey. You’ll have someone to hold you accountable, workouts will be more enjoyable and you’ll have a friend to keep you motivated. Team USA wheelchair basketball Paralympian Abby Bauleke shared her experience training with other athletes and how she stays motivated.

“Adaptive sports are so important because being around kids who are going through similar things as you when you’re young can be life-changing," she said. “You learn how to push yourself and those around you. Having a team and building it into a family is one of the most rewarding feelings.”

Maintain a healthy diet   

A balanced diet is just as important as your workout plan because your body needs healthy nutrients to fuel and recover. You can eat like a Paralympian by choosing healthier options high in energy and carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, yogurt, pasta, whole grain meals and more. Get the most out of the hard work you put in at the gym, one rep and one bite at a time.

Learn how to eat your way to a better workout.

Stay hydrated

Sweat and determination are two ingredients to make your wellness goals a reality. It's important to stay hydrated while training to help maximize your performance. Your body needs water and fluids to maintain energy. Remember to always hydrate before, during and after training.

Some athletes have anhidrosis, the inability to sweat normally. If you have this condition, don’t overdo it and be extra careful about maintaining your body temperature during workouts.

Get your rest

Make your dreams for gold a reality. Getting an uninterrupted night of sleep will help maintain energy, build muscle and allow your body time to recover. Rest and recovery between workouts can also help you improve performance and avoid injury.

Have trouble sleeping? Schedule an appointment to find treatment options right for you.

Be consistent   

Consistent training can help you develop a routine and maintain momentum. You’ll find yourself forming new habits that can be challenging, but ultimately, they will get you towards your goals. Taking a rest day and missing a workout is okay. Making time to recharge your body and avoiding burnout is important.

Stay focused on your goals  

 Paralympians work toward specific goals. Chuck Aoki, a member of the Wheelchair Rugby team and a Courage Kenny alum, is preparing for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics and working hard to earn a gold medal. Chuck stays motivated by remembering the hard work he’s put in throughout his career. "I had bronze in London, silver in Rio, so now I’m trending in the direction of gold in Tokyo,” said Aoki. As you begin your journey, remember what your goals are. Make your goals specific, measurable, realistic, relevant and time-bound. Each day you train is a day closer to reaching your goals.

Enjoy the process

Whether you train from a gym, home, a dance studio or in the park, don’t forget to enjoy the process. Throughout your fitness journey, you may encounter obstacles.  Remember to have fun and work hard toward your goals because your dedication and time will pay off. Once you’ve achieved your goals, you’ll feel the reward of success.


By the end of your training journey, you’ll be stronger and healthier, just like a Paralympian. Every day won’t be easy, but with determination, the support of others and consistency, you’ll feel the reward of winning gold. 


  • Adaptive fitness at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

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