Allison Warrell is an inspiration. A little person with achondroplasia dwarfism—standing at 3’11”—she has devoted herself to becoming as fit as she can, competing in body building competitions and transforming two very obese little people in a docu-series called “Big & Little” on TLC. She also manages a support group for Little People on Facebook called H.E.L.P.- Health and Exercise for Little People. We talked with her about what wellness means and what inspires her to be fit.

Catch Allison at the following events on October 13 at the Wellness Your Way Festival:

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Overcoming Adversity: Diversity & Inclusion, Speaker Series @ Inspire Stage

1-2 p.m.: HIIT Bodyweight Workout with Allison Warrell, Fitness Session @ Fitness Area

3-3:30 p.m.: Beauty Café Chats with Allison Warrell, Speaker Series @ Beauty Cafe

What does the term “wellness” mean to you? 

It is a balance between mental, physical and social health for your own wellbeing. 

What inspired you to get into bodybuilding? 

 In 2011 I started my weight loss journey to avoid potential surgeries that are common with achondroplasia dwarfism. Carrying extra weight on our frame can cause neurological and bone issues. At the age of 35 I was surgery-free.

After seeing the pounds come off over the few years and my body changing, I decided to challenge myself to compete. I changed my lifestyle, dialed in my diet and gave myself a year to get ready. After seeing the potential of what I could do, I got hooked to be the best version of me. I have now competed seven times against average-sized women, placing top 5 in every competition. We are all judged on the same criteria.

It is one of the biggest mental challenges I’ve faced, yet I continue to push myself and defy odds daily. Currently, I am the shortest women at 3’11” to compete in the NPC (National Physique Committee) federation.  

Tell us about your Facebook page H.E.L.P. – Health and Exercise for Little People. 

I started my group in 2014 to show other Little People like myself that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. I was getting lots of questions from individuals on how I was transforming my body, which is what lead me to create H.E.L.P. A gym is not made for someone our size. I have learned how to adapt and modify equipment to use effectively. I share all of this information with Little People from around the world. My group is one of the largest support groups for little people. 

And tell us about your show on TLC, “Big & Little.” What are some of your favorite aspects of helping other little people with their health and fitness goals?

This opportunity was one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do. I know to this day I helped save these two individuals lives. Showing them, along with the world, that just because we have dwarfism, we should not let that stop us from conquering dreams and goals.

The concept of the show was leaving the two individuals in their home environment and showing them a healthy way to live and working out at the gym. Over the nine months I trained and coached them, they lost over 100 pounds combined. They both overcame the “I can’t” excuse and said, “I can.”