Everyday Mark lives his motto, Never Quit, Never Fail. Mark believes drive is a gift. He has a desire to make a difference. Mark’s first recollection of these concepts was at the age of 12, when an ice arena opened near his home in Lansing, Michigan. His mother asked him if he might be interested in learning the sport. Mark’s first year playing hockey was a “learning” experience. Not knowing anything about the game or equipment needed, Mark was outfitted with used equipment that made him look like a misfit. The other players made fun of him. He played 3rd line on a house team and could barely skate let alone play the game. Despite the rough start, Mark kept playing. He enrolled in summer hockey camps, performed stick drills in the garage, including mastering how to keep the tennis ball away from his dog, Cinder. The nearby ice arena was a blessing. It offered Mark the most precious resource all hockey players seek-ice time. Mark got a job as a “rink rat” at the new ice arena. He would be on the ice everyday sometimes up to 10 hours a day during the open skating periods. Mark learned to skate. The next year, Mark tried out for the travel team and was told he made the team, but because other families had been in the league longer the coach didn’t feel comfortable placing Mark on the travel team for fear of reprisal. Though the news reeked of political cowardness, in hindsight it was probably a wise move as it allowed Mark another year to develop his skills and confidence. Mark’s second season was much different. His team finished first in the league. Mark was leading scorer and MVP. He racked up hat tricks on a regular basis and the team placed first or second in all its invitational tournaments. By Mark’s third year, he was skating for the Midget A travel team and never looked back.

Mark leads a very active lifestyle. At age 53, and after two shoulder surgeries, Mark began training and competing in powerlifting. At age 55, Mark returned to competitive swimming after a 37-year hiatus, and is currently nationally-ranked as a US Masters Swimmer. During the 2020 lock down, Mark starting riding a bicycle for exercise. Shortly thereafter it was not uncommon to find Mark riding in pelotons up and down A1A in Fort Lauderdale. Like his hockey days, Mark was dressed as a misfit. His gear consisted of a cruiser-style bicycle, tennis shoes, shorts and a t-shirt when everyone else was decked out in road racing kit and carbon-fiber bicycles. Once again, Mark knew it wasn’t the gear that made the rider, it was the drive! Now, Mark is using more traditional gear and rides regularly with an informal cycling club where many of the members are triathletes and road racers 20-30 years younger than him.

Mark continues trying new things with recent endeavors including rock climbing, surfing, river kayaking, and day trekking.   He is already accomplished at wilderness canoeing, hiking, and any sport where skis or blades are involved. Expect to hear more about these pursuits in future blogs.

Mark is passionate about eating “clean.” Clean eating is not some fad. It is a lifestyle built on common sense. High lean protein (1-2gram/pound of body weight), high fiber using low glycemic index carbohydrates and low fat is how Mark defines “clean” eating. Mark will talk more about this important aspect of his lifestyle in future blogs.

Lifestyle is all about staying active, trying new things, pushing yourself outside your comfort-zone so you stimulate the mind and body. It is about disciplined eating to fuel your body so it can support your lifestyle. It all works synergistically and the outcome is good health!