Aug 25, 2020
WA Strength Coach Fueling High School Athletes

A Washington state high school strength and conditioning coach is counting on more of the right calories to build strength in student high schools.

Colby Heefner, the Oak Harbor High School strength coach, working through a contract with IRG Physical and Hand Therapy, recognized that his student-athletes were not consuming enough of the right foods to perform at their best come game time.

Photo: Bioversity International / Creative Commons

According to an article from the Whidbey News-Times, Heefner, along with a pair of Oak Harbor alums, created the non-profit organization Whidley AthlEATS Foundation to help meet the nutritional needs of local student-athletes.

“Lifting weights and conditioning is only half of the battle in being successful in sport,” Heefner told the Whidbey News-Times. “At the high school level, I feel that nutrition is often overlooked as a way to help progress the athlete in their development in sport and in life.”

With the added stress on getting access to proper nutrition brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heefner has seen that lack of access hinder the strength-building process in some of his student-athletes, according to the story.

As the Oak Harbor facilities will not be re-opened until mid-October, Heefner and his team have been hitting the road and feeding his student-athletes at local parks for conditioning sessions. He’s struck a deal with Gatorade, which will provide a refrigerator at the high school and Heefner will keep it stocked with Gatorade, protein bars and shakes, prepackaged snacks, and sandwiches.

Heefner pointed out to the Whidbey News-Times that the participation numbers have seen an uptick than in previous years, a spike he contributes to AthlEATS.

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“Food is a great motivator for teenagers,” he told the paper. “The kids love (the program). They look forward to the food.”

While the primary goal is for athletes to receive proper nutrition, it also helps them maximize their return when working with Heefner in his conditioning program.

To read the full story from the Whidbey News-Times on Heefner’s AthlEATS nonprofit organization in Washington state, click here

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