By Errol Lim, Physiotherapist
After my efforts over the past 8 months and achieving my initial goal of losing 10 kg and reducing my blood pressure in hope of being more healthy, I set my sights on being as fit and healthy as some of the athletes I would be treating at The World University Games in Shenzhen.
I was amazed how injured and deconditioned some of our athletes were. I was even more amazed how well they performed despite their physical condition.
Sporting skill, sports specific fitness and a strong mindset obviously count for a lot.
So 3 weeks in Shenzhen: was I going to be able to keep up the good work in the stifling heat and humidity?
From previous university games experience, I knew the days would be long - opening the clinic at 8am and finishing around 10pm. Fortunately, we were well staffed with capable physiotherapists, doctors and massage therapists. Luck would have it that the Chinese provided a fully equipped gym (outsourced to a local company) in the athletes village. The first I had seen in the past 5 universiades. Exercising was now no issue.
With the sun rising early at 5.45am, there was now no excuse not to head to the gym daily. Seeing numerous athletes going through their routines was motivating. I managed a 7km run in 35 minutes, the first such run in the past 13 years. This says something about finding the right training partner or exercising in the right environment for that extra motivation. So the exercise component was covered.
What about food intake for the next 3 weeks?
At the last games in Serbia, the food was atrocious. Again, lady luck was on my side in Shenzhen. There was an abundance of food to choose from in the dining hall with many healthy options. Monica (my dietitian) would be extremely proud as I stayed away from the pizza, pasta, soft drinks and ice-creams, instead reaching for the lentils and legumes on offer.
The Chinese did throw up a big challenge. For the first time, McDonalds was at the universiade in the dining hall and it was FREE!
I made it through two and a half weeks without reaching for my McDonalds card. However, I wilted under the pressure of the golden arches succumbing after two weeks of solid exercising. The guilt did set in after the fourth consecutive day especially when I was sinking my teeth into a burger for breakfast.
However, it was fortunate that I was able to burn off the excess calories with no detriment to the waistline.
Final outcome: A successful 26th Summer Universiade for me and for The Australian team. The newly named Uniroos performed the best ever with a total of 16 medals (5 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze). It was an honour to be part of this team.
Errol Lim is a physiotherapist and a director of BJC Health.
BJC Health provides a connected care multidisciplinary team philosophy to deliver positive lifestyle outcomes through a holistic approach to those with degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, tendon injury and lifestyle diseases. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
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