Gold Medalist James Kropp on Staying Fit

My name is James Kropp, and I am a Special Olympics athlete competing in bocce and bowling. I have won many medals, including a gold in bocce. Each one of my medals required many hours of practice, and hard work to make sure my body was in the best shape for competition.

Special Olympics athletes playing bocce

I started going to the gym regularly when I was in high school. After that, I followed my passion for fitness and attended Mt. San Jacinto College, where I got an Associate Degree in Physical Education. I attended classes along with all the other students, and I learned a lot about nutrition, biology, body movement, and even public speaking. I went one step further and got certified as a personal trainer so I could help other people in my community reach their fitness goals.

Photo of James Kropp

When Special Olympics rolled out their Fit5 exercise cards, I decided to add them to my workout routine. I met with many athletes to show them how to do these exercises, and how to track their progress. There is no way to get that gold medal if you don’t keep your body fit, and Fit5 can help you do that.

A Special Olympics athlete working out

The best part about working out is that you don’t always have to go to the gym. I like doing burpees and push-ups, and I can do them anywhere. Also, I work as a lot attendant at Home Depot, and walk between 12,000 and 18,000 steps a day helping customers. I load 80-pound bags of concrete, mulch, drywall, and other items people buy, so my work often becomes my workout.

James Kropp at work

Because work, practice and competition put a strain on my body, I need to give it the right fuel. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and I avoid food that’s high in sugar. Occasionally, I drink soda, but I mostly stick to water.

LETR runners

If you don’t know where to begin your fitness journey, start with something small. Maybe take a walk around the block for ten minutes a day. After a couple of weeks, make the walk longer, and add some simple exercises, like a couple of push-ups or jumping jacks. Fit5 does offer several ideas for exercises you can do at home. The main goal, of course, is to get started.

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