Chris Clark has always been into fitness. As a kid, growing up just outside Columbus, Ohio, he played hockey and football—sports that demand a high level of physical fitness to be competitive. But as a college freshman at Ohio State University, Clark felt a void in his life.
“I had played hockey my whole life, and because I didn’t continue to compete in college, I needed to fill that gap with something physical,” Clark told Marriott TRAVELER.
Many athletes are familiar with the feeling. What’s next after their high school heyday, anyway?
For Clark, 24, “that’s when I really started to focus on working out,” he says. “I even took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”
Rounding his senior year of college Clark decided to create a fitness-based Instagram account. Enter ClarkFit.
“The plan was to use (the Instagram feed) for my own accountability and to hopefully inspire and motivate others,” Clark says. “I didn’t really expect anything to come of it.”
Well, something definitely came of it. Clark has generated a growing fanbase, which recently encouraged him to launch a YouTube channel.
After graduating from Ohio State, Clark packed up his gym bags and moved to Los Angeles.
“I moved to LA for a new adventure,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet and I knew LA was a fun place with a lot of opportunity.”
I think people should travel to learn about other cultures and to really try to understand them. It just opens up your eyes.
Clark turned to something he knew well, and now joins the ranks of other digital entrepreneurs, coaching others online to help them achieve their fitness goals.
There he’ll offer up motivational quotes like: “Mindset is everything. Whether you’re skinny and trying to pack on muscle or overweight and trying to shed some pounds, you have to want it. In your mind, failure should not even be an option and if it is, you’ve lost.
Approach your diet and workouts with both realism and optimism. Rid yourself of any negativity. It’s time to change and it’s exciting. Be excited. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be worth it. Let’s get it.”
But as a Fit Traveler, Clark stresses on his Instagram account that “I don’t only fitness,” promoting his travels to places like Palm Springs, Calif.; Banff, Canada; and a big favorite, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
We gave Chris a ring to learn more about him, his new home city of Los Angeles and how he keeps fit on the road.
You could live anywhere. Why do you choose to live in Los Angeles?
I really like L.A. because of the weather and the creative vibe of the city. There’s just so much creative stuff going on here.
What are some things you have to do when visiting LA? Where do you take your friends or family when they’re in town?
I always recommend hiking Runyon Canyon. It’s not too long of a hike and it’s a really good view. Heading down to Muscle Beach (in Venice, Calif.) is another good one. There’s also a really, really famous gym called The Mecca. It’s a Gold’s Gym in Venice. I’ll always take friends there if they’re into fitness.
What are some of your favorite restaurants and bars in LA?
I really like Sugarfish, it’s a sushi place. Mainland Poke Shop is another really good one. As far as bars I like The Standard downtown. It’s got a super cool rooftop bar. There’s another one with an awesome rooftop called E.P. & L.P.
What’s something about LA people may not know about?
Hmm … Well, what everyone says about the traffic is kind of true!
Why should exercise be important to people?
I think it’s essential people at least stay active to maintain a healthy body. Exercising in particular is great because it allows you to set personal goals and challenge yourself.
What do you tell the person who may be overwhelmed with the idea of hitting a gym?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed I’d say set small goals. Promise yourself three days out of the first week to hit the gym. Setting small goals for you to strive for and hit will help fuel motivation for you to hit your end goal.
Do you have a favorite gym or place to work out in LA?
What’s your secret for staying fit while traveling?
I always tell people to have a pretty good understanding of how to get a workout in without using any equipment. If you can make sure you’re at a hotel that has a gym to get your workout in, that’s great too.
As far as food goes, I would say stay away from fried and fast foods. Try to get a complete meal in two to three times throughout the day complete with proteins, complex carbs and veggies.
I always tell people to have a pretty good understanding of how to get a workout in without using any equipment.
What’s your favorite exercise right now?
Dumbell, single-arm snatch.
How do you resist the urge to splurge on a new city’s best bites?
I feel like I’ve made it a lifestyle now. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t have that many cravings, and when I do it’s not like I’m super restrictive. I’m a big believer in listening to your body. Sometimes your body might be telling you that you need more fat, you know?
There’s also a really popular dieting style that people have seen a lot of success with recently called “If It Fits Your Macros” or “IIFYM.” The whole idea behind it is to get 65-75% of your calories from good foods—and then you can complete the rest of your macros with a little bit of unhealthy food like ice cream or something like that. As long as you’re hitting your macro level and getting the majority of your calories from those foods you should be fine.
What’s your favorite travel memory?
Exploring Cancun. No one single memory stands out, but just exploring a place you’ve never been before is pretty awesome in its own right.
Where has been your favorite place to travel to?
Probably Cancun, Mexico.
Where have you been recently that really impressed you?
I was just in Philadelphia and got to run up the Rocky steps which was awesome. That was a really big movie for me as a kid.
What’s the next place on your bucket list?
I really want to go to Europe with my girlfriend. We want to start traveling more together and we both think Europe would be a great start.
Why should people travel?
I think people should travel to learn about other cultures and to really try to understand them. It just opens up your eyes—traveling is such a learning experience.
What’s next for you? Where can people find out more about you?
I’m headed to Cabo for Christmas, and then I’m headed back to Los Angeles where I plan on attending TheFitExpo, in January.
I’ve been thinking about moving down to San Diego, so after TheFitExpo the next thing on my agenda is to really sit down and consider that move.