MEDIA NEWS:

Mark Bryant is interviewed on King 5 News by reporter Allen Schauffler. Mark has been leading the "EnhanceFitness" program at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center each weekday morning for almost four years. Two days of the week are devoted to seniors who need to sit while exercising. Bryant's students nominated him for EnhanceFitness' National Instructor of the Year honor, which he won in 2007.

Mark Bryant of Seattle is a nationally recognized fitness expert and a powerlifting champion. He brings a lot of joy and good health into the lives of others, and now he's getting a little help himself. Bryant keeps folks moving at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, pushing them to do more than they think they can do. There are some other things you should know about Mark Bryant. He's martial artist, and a good one. He's been doing kung fu since he was 11. He's a former world champion powerlifter. He's also legally blind and has a degenerative hip that needs replacing. And in the Southeast Seattle Senior Center community, he is much more than just the fitness instructor.

 

 

Enhance Fitness teacher Mark Bryant, leading a stretching class last week at the South Seattle Senior Center, uses humor, respect to encourage health in South End seniors. Bryant has been a fitness trainer for the past 25 years. The folks who form a human circle around fitness trainer Mark Bryant during a Friday morning workout session at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center are, to a person, smiling. Many of them laugh. Each of them has his or her eyes glued to their instructor, who is a whirlwind of constant movement. And as he bounces around inside the circle offering advice and cracking jokes, Bryant-recently named Enhance Fitness Instructor of the Year for the whole United States.          
Working it out.  The loud thumpy-bumpy, feel-good music fills the big room. It's one of many exercise classes, from stretching and chair exercise to the more vigorous "Enhance Fitness" classes held at the center five days a week. The latter are tough-love sessions led by Mark Bryant and accompanied by his constant encouragement and enthusiasm. "Work it out! Work it out, class! Show us YOU CAN DO IT!" Bryant shouts, his eyes scanning the crowd. Bryant, a former champion weightlifter, is keenly attuned to each person's aches and pains. Bryant, who has been through a lot himself, including a hip replacement in 2008, knows that recovering from injuries and staying strong take determination.           

Not only is Seattle the birthplace of the award-winning fitness program, it’s also home to one of EnhanceFitness’s most notable instructors. Mark Bryant, a certified instructor who teaches regular classes at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, was named National EnhanceFitness Instructor of the Year in 2007. “[Bryant’s] classes are incredibly popular,” said Southeast Seattle Senior Center program coordinator Yvonne Paschal. When The Seattle Times published a profile of Bryant highlighting his nomination for the EnhanceFitness award, it inadvertently publiccized another part of the athlete’s life: His increasingly painful degenerating hip.

           
Mark Bryant endured the pain for a long time as he led workouts at a senior center, but he'll finally be getting the new hip he needs. It takes a lot for fitness instructor Mark Bryant to miss the daily classes he led and limped through for more than three years at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center. But seniors understand they'll have to do without him for the next three months as he recuperates from his wish come true: a new left hip. It started when Connie Ward, a Seattle microbiologist, read a Dec. 31 Seattle Times article about how Bryant helped seniors stay healthy despite living with constant pain himself and not having health insurance or the financial ability to mend his crumbling hip. She saw it as the cruelest of ironies and asked her friend, orthopedic surgeon Howard Chansky, to consider helping Bryant. About a month later, Chansky examined Bryant, and, after finding severe degenerative arthritis, offered to perform the surgery.