From left, Capt. (A) Charlie Heintschel, Warden Joe A. Lizarraga, Staff Services Analyst Karen Nash, Trainer Michael Miguel and Associate Warden Juan Cantu.

Led by Warden Joe A. Lizarraga, many of the Mule Creek State Prison staff members are taking the initiative to better their health through exercise and healthy eating.

Three times a week, Warden Lizarraga and a group of MCSP employees trade their lunch hour to work out at a local fitness center. Other employees trade their breaks for walking or working out in the MCSP employee gym.

Mary Wheat, owner operator of CrossFit Rugged Edge fitness center in Ione waived sign-up fees for MCSP employees and established noon-time classes to accommodate MCSP employees.  Her facility is less than 2 miles from MCSP, which makes trading lunch time for fitness convenient.

Led by Warden Lizarraga, many Mule Creek employees are embracing healthier habits.

Also, MCSP is in the forefront by working with the CDCR Employee Health and Wellness on their initiative to collaborate with Byte Foods, a “smart” self-service vending machine system that provides heathy food options through a sophisticated internet-based vending machine system.

Warden Lizarraga said he recognizes heathy employees call in sick less and are happier more productive people.  Staying in shape, eating healthy and juggling family obligations, all while being employed full-time can be extremely tough to balance.  With this in mind, Warden Lizarraga set out to involve as many employees as possible in healthy habits.

“We as a Department are obligated to promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “I encourage all MCSP employees to trade lunch time for CrossFit, other physical activity and to eat healthy.  It is my hope this article will inspire those employees who are uncertain about joining in on the fitness movement.”