WiL Power Challenge

As part of the WiL Power Challenge, kids from around Phoenix, including these Ahwatukee Foothills kids, are learning the importance of nutrition and exercise throughout the 20-week program.

Travis Roemhild/AFN

Through a program prescribed by local physicians, kids are learning important facts about daily nutrition and exercising three times a week with qualified trainers.

The WiL Power Challenge is a 20-week course that involves three one-hour workout sessions at gyms around Phoenix. Eight local kids are currently in their 11th week at Foothills Acceleration Sports Training (FAST) in Ahwatukee Foothills, one of eight gyms across Phoenix participating in the program. Each location donates the time of the trainers and nutritionists, making the program free for participants.

“The goal for them is to ultimately lose weight and learn more about making the right eating choices in what is a free program,” FAST trainer Talya Smalls said. “At first it is hard to encourage their motivation, but now after (11 weeks) they are excited. They are learning a lot, they can do pull-ups and push-ups. They are noticing the difference.”

Local parent Lonnie Fairchild has had two children go through the WiL Power Challenge and speaks wonders of the program that impacts the rest of the family as well. His son Kevin, 11, is doing the challenge for the first time this year and Kevin’s sister completed it a few years ago.

“(Kevin) has been challenging the whole family to eat better and to exercise more,” Lonnie said. “I have seen that it is helping him with everything else, like baseball, he can hit harder, run faster. He’s been doing great so far and we are really proud of him.”

Part of WiL Power is setting goals. In May, there will be a 5K for participants, but more recently Kevin has set his own goal of completing 16 flights on a stair-climbing machine in under five minutes. On a daily basis, he uses what he is learning to make better food choices.

“They teach you that if you don’t know a term on the ingredients, it’s probably not good for you,” Kevin said. “I’ve been able to do more push-ups than I had, and I can catch my friend in a race. I couldn’t do that before.”

This is the sixth year of the WiL Power Challenge. To learn more or to donate, visit www.wilpowerchallenge.com.

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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