To say Stacie Clark’s had a whirlwind year might be an understatement. America’s Next Fitness Star, as named by Women’s Health magazine and the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on August 14, was just finalizing her application video this time last year—on top of “the usual” training (both herself and her clients), growing a new business (Tiger Fit Studios, which opened at Vicksburg Plaza in June 2012), traveling to Mexico on one of her signature Fit Trips (she and husband Chris host 2–4 a year on the Riviera Maya in Mexico), and being mom to daughter Addison “Addie,” 13, and Caden, 10. Oh, and the former fashion director for Macy’s just turned 40, too.
But today that’s all in her rearview mirror, as she refocuses on what the next challenge will be. “If I’m not just a little bit nervous, in a good way, if I’m not pushing myself harder than I did the day before, I’ve just plateaued,” she says. The Clarks bring this mantra into every aspect of Tiger Fit Studios, not just in the business model but in the core of the training itself. What started as a private youth training business that was filling a niche need (kids ages 3–16) began to balloon in 2007, when the company started adding national clients of all ages (Stacie just trained E News’s Catt Sadler through her first half-marathon—the Nike in San Francisco—this past fall) and grew into the adjacent suite of their Plymouth location off Vicksburg Lane.
The gym specializes in “functional training,” working the body the way it’s meant to be moved (real-life movements) that get back to the simple basics of bending, pushing, lifting and turning exercises executed with the best form. The 12 trainers (which include the Clarks) emphasize all 10 components of fitness, but there are three ABCs they’ve been using since they trained kids by teaching them to move, and getting them moving through playful active games, that are relevant to all ages: Agility, Balance and Coordination. “Everybody is an athlete inside,” Stacie says. “Our intent is to find that athlete within you, so you can have that feeling, no matter the age.”
“The journey is essential to everything in life,” Chris Clark says, referencing both his wife’s accomplishments as well as those of any client at the gym. “I wasn’t surprised she won [the Women’s Health title] after watching her video; you have to fail many times before you reach those next levels.” Stacie credits her success to his coaching for the past 20 years (when he moved here from Bloomington, Ind.—where the two attended school at Indiana University and eventually met at, where else, a fitness studio—he split his time between Banana Republic and the Regency Athletic Club while he built up his personal training network; eventually he was recruited as creative director of programs at Life Time), but he confides she only really became the star she is today after she herself began working as a full-time athletic trainer about 7 years ago, when the couple made the risky decision to find new jobs that could put them more in touch with their young kids.
“Love” is a word the couple doesn’t use loosely; “we are a competitive family,” Stacie says, which sometimes makes work difficult, but in the gym they “remember your coach isn’t supposed to be your best friend,” Chris says. “We scream and yell at each other all the time, because that’s just who we are. But ultimately this job, this gym, is what keeps us together as a family.”
Three Exercises to a Strong Core: A work out courtesy of Stacie Clark.
Great dynamic warm up movement. Stacie Clark loves this move, because it’s a four-in-one, meaning you warm up multiple muscles/areas of the body (hamstrings, glutes, low back and core) in one movement.
The Core Pushup
A great total-body toner, this exercise works upper-body strength while targeting the core. It’s a perfect strength-builder for all fitness levels.
The Movement: 1.) Push up position, on toes. 2.) Lower chest towards floor in three counts. 3.) Drop to knees. 4.) Push up. 5.) Repeat.
Oblique Crunch Twist
This move targets several important abdominal muscles, working the internal and external oblique muscles—a great core and abs toner.
The Movement: 1.) Crunch or sit-up position with feet firmly planted on the floor, hands behind head. 2.) Lift chest as in a sit up, then extend elbow to outer side of opposite knee (left elbow to right knee, and vice versa), and extend opposite leg (if left elbow to right knee, raise left leg, and vice versa). 3.) Pause, then switch sides. The speed is not important—feel the movement! It’s important to make sure your shoulder blades are lifted at all times while performing a set. 4.) To increase difficulty, put ball between knees, and touch th ball with the raised elbow.
Did You Know?
Fitness and fashion are Stacie Clark’s two passions, she says: “I get to create all the products at TigerFit—even the jewelry—from design to execution that touts the gym. A recent favorite is wide-neck, off-the-shoulder sweats with phrases like “Be Tiger Fit” in bold jagged letters spilling down the back. Stacie is also pursuing spokesmodel opportunities with like–minded businesses, recently partnering with Morrie’s Luxury Auto.