By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator

The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) is a local organization whose mission strives to empower newcomer families to integrate into the wider community through affordable transitional housing, programs and services. 

This year, they partnered with Sport Manitoba Performance to bring virtual programming to IRCOM youth through nutrition and performance education and physical activity sessions.

Najma, a participant of both sessions, said she felt the programs were beneficial. 

“Most of us, we exercise and don’t know ways to make it efficient and last. But then with the help of the coordinators, both in the food and nutrition aspect and the exercise aspect, they were really good and helped us a lot.”


Intro to Nutrition & Performance

This session introduced the athletes to the four pillars of Sport Manitoba Performance:

  1. Strength & Conditioning
  2. Testing & Monitoring
  3. Nutrition
  4. Mental Skills

The Introduction to Nutrition portion focused on macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), energy systems, and how your body utilizes food for physical activity.  

The session also suggested considerations for consuming simple and complex carbohydrates, introduced the glycemic index, and provided examples of pre- and post-competition meals.

A few things some of the participants learned?

“Get hydrated and eat healthy before you start [a game or workout],” said Marta.

Najma added she thought the discussion on Ramadan in the nutrition session was particularly helpful and Jacob learned the importance of a good night’s sleep for an athlete.

Overall, a key takeaway for Oussama was staying focused on your goals.

“I learned that you’ve got to keep working and take care of yourself,” said Oussama. “Keep working on yourself and you’ll get what you want.”


Virtual Workout/Mobility

Staying active during the pandemic can seem challenging, boring, and basic at first, but there are still many options and modifications that you can make to challenge your body. 

This session took athletes through a variety of movements, exercises and creative ways to maintain or build fitness from home. Adjusting tempo, focusing on core movements, and mobilizing the muscles were just a few initiatives that were worked into the session, all requiring little space and equipment. 

For Jacob, he appreciated the tips and coaching from Sport Manitoba Performance Coach, Dean, during a challenging but rewarding workout.

“When you do something wrong, he tells you,” said Jacob. “So you can do better on the next one.”


More Sessions Ahead

Moving forward, the aim is to get both IRCOM’s male and female groups in the Performance Centre on a monthly basis, once pandemic restrictions allow.

In the meantime, virtual sessions are a great way to connect, learn, and get physically active.

Ganni Hassen, who works in the After School Program with IRCOM, said sessions like this are important for youth. 

“To educate them, to give them opportunities, and also to build relationships,” said Ganni. “This is really nice and I hope moving forward we can collaborate on a lot of things. It’s a good opportunity.”

Sport Performance Specialist Neal Prokop, who led the sessions, said Sport Manitoba Performance is excited to begin this partnership with IRCOM.

”The athletes were engaged and eager to learn. We look forward to working with the athletes on-site at a later date, helping them to develop and realize their athletic potential through accessible services and high-performance guidance,” said Neal.

To learn more about IRCOM, visit their website. For more information about Sport Manitoba Performance programs, visit our website.