Be Smart About Safety

Testimonials for UCD’s WorkStrong Program - April 2013

The UC Davis WorkStrong program changed my life!

For years I had been telling myself I need to exercise more and eat better. Every New Year I made those same resolutions. But somehow I never got around to it, until I was invited to participate in WorkStrong. With Stacey’s help, I was able to set both short and long-term goals that were realistic, measurable, attainable, and that I felt strongly about. They were personal to me, not just things I “should” do. And with Bob’s expert guidance, I learned exercises that allowed me to gain strength, balance, and stamina, and that, very importantly, I could do at home without expensive equipment. Bob and Stacey both encouraged me to meet my goals, and with their help I stayed on course, developed new healthy habits, and met my short term goals.

If you are interested in changing to a healthier lifestyle, WorkStrong will give you the tools to do it! I’ve made improvements in my diet and exercise habits that I expect to last a lifetime. Because of WorkStrong I discovered that I do have the ability to make those changes.

This program is very beneficial, and I hope many more people will be able to join the program. It worked for me, and I am very grateful for being allowed to participate.

UC Davis Extension

After a work-related shoulder/arm injury, I was lucky enough to participate in the WorkStrong program.  This program challenged me to develop a regular strength and cardio exercise program, better eating habits, and stress-reducing skills.  I can truly say that the program changed my life for the better because I have grown in all three areas. 

Although I was already following a home strength exercise program, the workouts with Bob Randall increased my knowledge of the different strength exercises that can be used and aren’t as stressful to the joints (i.e., the bands which were used for various exercises).  I have now purchased and used these bands at home on a regular basis.  I was able to see my body changing with the 12-week workout schedule.  And these changes were verified by the intermittent weight and measurements recorded by Occupational Health. 

I was challenged by Stacey to find a cardio exercise that I would commit to on a regular basis.  At that time, I was not getting any cardio in my workout.  I knew I wasn’t a runner, so I was at a loss of what I could do.  We finally agreed I would try to ride my bike 3 times a week for 45 minutes in the morning before work.  Wow, I am so glad I started doing that.  I now have found a way to get regular cardio and I enjoy it so much!  Every morning that I ride, it is so peaceful and makes me feel so happy.  I know I will continue this for the rest of my life!

I already have fairly healthy eating habits, but Stacey encouraged me to include more vegetables, which have been my downfall.  Just to fulfill her request, I started eating a baggie full of spinach, broccoli, and carrots every day.  I continue that habit to this day, and I am so proud of myself.  It is, along with my bike riding, a part of my regular routine now.  I pay more attention to the way I can include vegetables in my other meals, too.

Once again I was challenged by Stacey to make sure I found time to de-stress.  She held me accountable to listening to meditation or inspirational speakers.  Because I was being held accountable, I started doing this just to fulfill her request.  But I also have made that a part of my regular routine during the morning when I am getting ready for work.  Even my husband has noticed that I am much more calm when I keep up this practice. 

My pain has gone away (after a year of pain).  I am healthier in every sense of the word – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this WorkStrong program – thank you!

Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI)

What a fantastic program Workstrong is!  I felt depressed and disgusted in the way I felt and the way I looked, I was not physically fit or felt very active. Due to some previous injuries I was not able to or motivated enough to exercise, until the opportunity to enroll in this program came along. 

I went from 255lbs when the class started to 231lbs at the end of it, by, in addition to my normal training regimen, I also started  riding a bike, and following some nutrition guidelines that Stacy had set up for me.  I gained better balance and straighter posture because of the training and learned how to lift properly.

I continue to stay motivated to continue to work out as I don’t wish to be where I was before my opportunity in this program came along.  Everyone, either healthily or not should be given the opportunity to have access to this class.  I feel that all will benefit in some way or another from this and will take something away from the program.

Thanks for a wonderful program and the opportunity to start my life over

Primate Center

I feel the program helped me right from the start.  For various reasons, not all work related, I could not walk up a flight of stairs without great difficulty.  After just one workout I was able to walk up 2 long flights of stairs without holding on to the rail.  I guess I had forgotten how to do it after a previous injury.  Now I am so proud I go out of my way to use the stairs whenever I have the opportunity.  It is a big deal for me.  Also I broke my habit of drinking too much sodas and now grab for water instead of soda.  My trainer was excellent and I was able to do things I never thought I could before.  I could feel my strength increase from the exercises.  Also the moral support I received at the weekly meetings was very helpful as well as the hour long noon seminars.  I was able to learn about and make use of The Academic and Staff Assistance Program which has also helped in my family life. 

Plant Sciences

I feel so lucky to have been a part of the WorkStrong program. When I started, I was ready to make a change in my life, but was unsure if I could really do it. With the support of Stacey – my wellness coach, Matt – my trainer, and the rest of the people who make WorkStrong possible, I am truly at a better place in my life. I am stronger, healthier, and feel all around better. I went from barely being able to do a push up to being able to do 24 knee pushups and I am now actually able to do a full push up. I never thought I would be able to do that. I also raised my HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol as they say. Another thing I never thought I would do. I also was able to take my body fat percentage from around 45% to 33%. This is an exciting time for me. I didn’t even realize when I started this program that I was eating 3 times the amount of daily recommended salt. No wonder my blood pressure was a problem. I am still on medication, but for the first time in a while I think eventually I may not be. I feel that not just the personal training, but also having someone encouraging you, coaching you each week makes a huge difference. Making goals and accomplishing them makes you that much more successful. Thank you Stacey, Matt, and WorkStrong! I would definitely recommend WorkStrong because it will change your life for the better! 

Before I started training with Matt, I could barely do a lunge without needing to hold on to something. My family would joke about how weak I was and never ask me to help when any heavy lifting was involved. Now I can do 20 lunges with over 50lbs of extra weight, do a 110lb dead lift, over 20 push ups at a time, and so much more. My family definitely includes me in all moving projects now. I feel as if I am finally strong. What I enjoyed about working with Matt was that he was always willing to answer questions. He was always encouraging. Some other exciting changes were that I went from barely being able to hold a plank for 18 seconds to holding one for 83 seconds. I never thought that I would ever be able to do that in my life. The most exciting part of this process for me has been the building of muscle. I have lost over 30lbs of fat and replaced it with muscle. I couldn’t have done this without Matt. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement! 

Art Department

I wanted to get into this program to strengthen my left shoulder and neck so I could improve my health and not have so much pain when working at my computer all day.  I believe I have improved the strength in those areas, although I think I will always have some pain.  This is a GREAT program and I hope it continues for others.


Bob Randel is an excellent trainer – I thoroughly enjoyed my workouts with him. He created a relaxed atmosphere with a challenging yet achievable program. He motivated me to work hard using encouragement when it was difficult and kudos when I had improved. He individualized the basic exercise program keeping my carpal tunnel, arthritis and past injuries in mind, and he developed an exercise program that I have been able to continue on my own. Thanks to his training, I am stronger and more flexible, I have better balance and most importantly, working out has become a fun challenge.

After finishing the program (I wish it didn’t have to end) I feel younger and have better self esteem due to the weight loss and increased strength, flexibility and energy that this program has helped me achieve.

Thank you!


The Work Strong program has absolutely changed my life. I was surprised and delighted to be invited to the program at the end of last year and jumped at the chance to improve my health, eating habits, and mental well-being. I had no idea how poor of shaped I was actually in. At 27 years old, I was significantly overweight, stressed at work, and more prone to injury because I wasn’t taking care of myself properly. I had a vague sense of those things already, but what really got my attention after the initial testing was that I had very high cholesterol, so high that a medical doctor would have prescribed medication for it. I was 27 years old! You’re not supposed to have high cholesterol at 27! Yet there those inflated numbers were, prompting me to take a hard look at my life and really commit to changing it.

I couldn’t have asked for better support or advice than what I received through the Work Strong program. From the start, Stacey Brezing has been supportive, understanding, caring, and encouraging. Our weekly meetings have helped me reform myself, one attainable goal at a time. I’ve improved my eating habits drastically, I look forward to exercising, and I am more calm and at peace with myself and my surroundings than I’ve ever been before. Bob Randel has been an incredible training coach. He too has been encouraging, understanding, and a constant source of information and helpful tips to getting my body fitter and stronger. It was through his stories and encouragement that I picked up running regularly. I couldn’t have done it without visiting him twice a week and taking advantage of the ARC’s equipment, but when I finally worked up the courage to run outside, I was shocked by how easy and good it felt. Now I’m hooked.

I know that my mental acuity has been sharpened by my new found ability and enthusiasm for taking care of myself. I am performing better at work, I get more done in a day, and I am excited to take on more projects. I’m a healthier, happier human being. I’ve reduced my chances of heart disease and I will continue this healthy lifestyle now that my time with Work Strong is coming to a close. I can’t thank this program enough for what it’s done for me. I can’t the UC enough for caring about its employees and looking out for their well being. This is a fantastic institution that I’m beyond grateful to be apart of. Thank you.

Laboratory Manager, Center for Neuroscience, UC Davis

I really enjoyed the Work Strong Program. I have a reoccurring low back issue that gives me problems in my daily life. The WSP helped me work out some of those issues. It made me become more aware and conscious about what I am doing or about to do in my work and personal life. Taking a little more time in performing a duty safely is more efficient than getting hurt and being down and out for a while with an injury. UC Davis is a great place to work and really is caring about their employees’ health and wellbeing. Meeting with the coordinator helped me get a base to start from and the weekly check-ins and goals was a great way to keep the motivation and focus on track. The personal trainer (Bob) was a great help as well. He created training sessions according to your strengths and weaknesses to help tie them together to showcase them  and strengthen the areas that needed improving. I found this was a great program. It wasn’t just targeted towards people with injuries, it was offered to all types of people of all age groups and gender as well. The classes were a nice way to inform and educate folks about their diet, stress, habits, sleep issues and other issues as discussed about the room. I would recommend this program to everyone! I took away many practices and exercise from this program and I teach what I learned to people that I know might benefit from what was offered to me….. Thank You Work Strong Program.

Sr Building Maintenance 

The WorkStrong Program for me was a beneficial tool both personally and for work. It taught me the importance of working out and building a strong core to help in my daily life home or at work. It taught me proper workout form so that I would not reinjure myself. Being aware of my body fat was important as well as meeting with Stacey weakly, setting weakly goals and discussing why or why not I didn’t meet them. That accountability helped me to achieve my goals. The program offers so many tools, meetings, classes, and outings to learn about different foods and the benefits it is something I still talk about to co-workers and friends. Everyone is very helpful and I am glad I did it. It has helped me to lose more weight and change my workout patterns.  Thank you for offering this program I hope it continues I know everyone that is offered the opportunity to join will have no regrets. Thanks to the staff of this program they are knowledgeable and very supportive.

Fleet Services

I want to thank all of the staff members of the WorkStrong program, especially Stacey Brezing and Bob Randel. Thanks to their training, support, and encouragement, I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am able to work my regular schedule without being painful at the end of the shift – just this made participating worthwhile.  I have even been able to work additional hours which has not been possible for me in the recent past.

The accountability of discussing, setting and monitoring goals with Stacey was a great motivator for me. We discussed ways to work healthy choices into my diet at home and at work as well as fitness goals. This has enabled me to continue to lose the weight that I had gained due to past injuries and other health issues.