By Bryan Geary
Most afternoons, you can find Nicholas Waring ’16 in the weight room of the Memorial Athletic and Recreation Center (MARC). Back home on the Hill six years after graduation, Waring is the school’s new (and first) Coordinator of Strength and Conditioning. He acts as a resource to students looking for a personalized training program, a coach for team strength and conditioning sessions, and an advocate for wellness as a staple of the culture at Tilton.
For Waring, this starts with access to the school’s training facilities. He worked with Director of Athletics Tara Brisson on a revised schedule that increased availability for in-season athletes, those working on off-season conditioning, and students who just want to exercise and be well. By facilitating this improved schedule, Waring ultimately hopes students don’t have to choose between hitting the weights and playing another sport, or simply trying something new.
“One of my biggest goals coming into this position was to provide the opportunity for students to participate in another sport or afternoon activity aside from what they consider to be their main sport,” says Waring.
In the past, he continues, the limited availability of the weight room led students to sign up for strength and conditioning as their afternoon activity. Students who consider a winter sport, for instance, to be their main sport may have chosen to focus on training instead of trying a fall or spring sport. Allowing students the freedom to choose both is a win for everyone, says Waring.
“I’m a firm believer in participating in more than one sport or activity,” he says. “It’s at the core of my approach to strength and wellness: the idea that specializing in movement or training industry it’s referred to as General Physical Preparedness. With this approach, students can develop a foundation of strength, conditioning, and proper movement that can then program they may want or need later in life.”
With Waring’s hiring this fall, Tilton is the only Lakes Region school with a full-time staff member dedicated to strength and conditioning. This investment, according to Brisson, is about community as much as it is about athletics.
“Ultimately, what we wanted was to create a position that teaches our entire community about healthy habits,” says Brisson. For some, it might mean creating baseline skills and habits that take their game to the next level now, but last far beyond their playing days. For others, that may mean getting time and working with Waring on a personalized plan. “We didn’t hire Nick to just target our athletes. We wanted to show everyone that you don’t need to identify as an athlete to move your body and take care of yourself in a way that will keep you healthy.”
In the big picture, this is about prioritizing fitness and wellness on an institutional level, and hiring Waring is just the beginning. Other current and future initiatives include the new Healthy Living component of the Student Experience Block and “Wellness Wings” — complete with fitness equipment and space for yoga and meditation — as part of the Knowles renovation.
“I hope students will learn that fitness and wellness can benefit everyone, whether you are an athlete or not,” he says. “Having the opportunity to come back and give students something that I wish I had when I was in their shoes is the reason that I’m here.”