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As the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2016, Mark Richanbach can look back on 2016 as the year he reclaimed his health. Since joining the DAC in May as part of Morgan Stanley’s corporate account, Mark is down 20 pounds and proudly proclaims, “I had to buy all new clothes since joining!”

As a first degree black belt in Kenpo Karate and a third degree black belt in Taekwondo, it was hard coming to terms with the fact that those activities were no longer an option for Mark following a knee surgery and a back surgery.

“I just got out of shape,” Mark admits. “I’m a member of the Eugene Country Club and I was playing golf all the time, but I wasn’t in shape.”

In May 2016, Mark’s employer, Morgan Stanley, hosted a wellness month highlighting their DAC corporate account to show their investment in their employees while enjoying the benefits of lower healthcare costs, increased productivity and increased morale that comes with healthier employees.

During the program, they invited the personal training staff to come and speak to employees. “I started talking to Sandra (Hentze) and asked if she was a trainer. She said yes. I asked if she would train me. She said yes, again. I told her she was hired.”

Mark joined the DAC and started training twice a week. “Sandra was very good about slowly ramping me up to the hard work.” One of the major factors Mark attributes his success to is the accountability of personal training. “I can assure you, I wouldn’t be doing the workouts that she puts me through if I were left by myself. Even when she writes them down for me, I need her there correcting my form. When she tells me to move my elbow just a little bit this way, it’s a completely different exercise.”

While getting to the gym was half the battle, Mark knew diet was the other half. “At that time my doctor was telling me, you have to get your cholesterol down! These days everyone takes medicine for cholesterol and blood pressure, but I want to get off that.” Sandra counseled Mark on healthy nutrition and worked on sustainable changes for his lifestyle.

Sandra encourages Mark to forget the scale. It’s not about pounds, it’s about shape. “Well, I’ve gone from a 38 waist that was snug to a 34 waist that actually fits. I’ve had all my pants taken in. I had them taken in twice and finally they told me, look, you need to buy new clothes because there’s only so much we can do.” His motivation is bouyed by the encouragement he receives from Sandra and his fellow DAC members.

As Mark’s fitness journey continues into 2017, he has bumped up his training to three times a week for the winter and has a fresh set of goals for the year. “I want to get to 185 pounds, and if I could get to a 32 waist, I would be ecstatic. I’m already on track to get off of blood pressure and cholesterol medicine, so following through with that is on my list. I’m having my left hip replaced in early January, so another goal is to recover and be back in training shape as quickly as possible.” If the last six months are any indication, Mark should probably build in a large clothing budget for the New Year too.

Thank you to Mark Richanbach for sharing his story.

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