Mark Reifsnyder’s journey at HAC began a little over a year ago for health reasons, evolved into avocational reasons, and continues for both reasons. And it is a journey rife with discipline and transformation.
A mortgage officer by day at Horizon Bank in downtown Holland, Mark is a certified lifeguard during the early-morning shift at HAC. But before he donned a red t-shirt, whistle and first-aid kit, he entered HAC waters as a guy who just wanted to get healthier as HAC was opening its new $26.3 million renovation and expansion.
“I was overweight, and had been for years, and I had a pelvic injury. I decided I needed to take care of me and my family. So, I joined HAC and finally got into the water to do something to take the pressure off my pain and get moving,” he says. “I liked the water, but I had never really been a lap swimmer.”
Until, that is, he became one. Mark now swims at least six days a week. He also worked with Rachel Schlatter, HAC’s community wellness manager, last June to begin a weight-lifting program in the fitness room, plus he bikes, surfs and does yoga. Stir in an altered diet with his active lifestyle, and Mark reached a milestone just last week that he has been committedly seeking.
“I’m down 100 pounds from a year ago,” he declares as a satisfied smile slowly emerges, one that displays equal parts pride and satisfaction.
No doubt Mark is one of a few career bankers who happens to be a lifeguard. He trained and became certified last September when he realized there was a need at HAC. “I love mornings, and I heard those were tough shifts to fill. Plus, the morning crowd is so cool. The Masters swimmers are fun to watch. Warm zone folks are enjoying their time there. It’s great to see people start their day with exercise. . . I would strongly encourage anyone to consider joining here. HAC is so much more than swimming and the value is huge compared to the small financial investment.”
The dramatic lifestyle changes that Mark Reifsnyder made for the good of himself and his family turned out to benefit HAC, too. But any way you look at it, his story is one that helps and inspires all who hear it. And he has some advice for those who care to listen.
“Discipline beats motivation any day,” he explains. “Start with small, simple steps that you can accomplish each day and build from there. Making smart decisions is easier once you start making some. Also, seek out accountability but don’t rely on it. This is your journey and no one else’s. And last but not least, stop making excuses. Your future self will thank you. “
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARK
Favorite movie: Field of Dreams (which makes sense because his second favorite sport is baseball. Swimming is now his favorite sport, of course!)
Favorite place in the world: The beach
Thing that brings me joy: Summertime at the lake with my family
Bucket list item: Surf Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii
Best advice: Act as if.
If I could live anywhere, I would live… in Hawaii
Biggest fear: Not taking a leap
What attracted me to work at HAC: “The timing of wanting to get lifeguard certified and HAC needing more guards was perfect!”
What I like most about working at HAC: “I love it at HAC! World class facility, friendly and genuine staff, and engaged members.”
At Holland Aquatic Center, our facilities are awesome and so is our staff. In this We Are HAC! series, we will introduce you to the people who love to teach, coach, protect, serve, and inspire here. Our amazing team, more than 100 strong, is passionate about empowering healthy, connected lives through aquatics and wellness programming.