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Snowboard champ Kelly Clark's fitness and motivation tips

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Fit tips from an X Games champ

Reigning X Games champion Kelly Clark was the first female snowboarder ever to win three consecutive gold medals at the Winter X Games. She first made history in 2011 when she uncorked the first 1080 by a woman in competition. We asked her to share her best fitness and motivation tips with SheKnows.

Kelly Clark

Fitness: It’s easier than you think

If you think getting — and staying — in shape means having to live at the gym or spend a fortune on a personal trainer, you’ll be glad to hear you’re wrong. “General fitness goes a long way,” affirms Clark. “You don't need to be on an intense weight program like we're on to be fit. A combination of cardio, stretching, core and body-weight workouts will make a big difference in your everyday life,” she says.

Along with a cardio routine that works for you and your schedule (walking, running, swimming, biking, etc.), strength training is also a must — but it doesn’t have to be daunting. “Toning is easily done. Stay with high reps and simple exercises,” says Clark. “I do a lot of body-weight exercises like dips, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. Those are a great way to gain general fitness, and if you up the reps you can get really toned.”

No-brainer nutrition

What Clark does: It’s not so much what she eats, but rather that she eats enough. A fast metabolism combined with lots of daily activity mean she needs to keep her energy up constantly. Her off-season training days consist of a road-bike ride, a weight day at the gym, mobility and core — around four hours of activity in two sessions.

Forget fad diets and focusing too much or too little on specific food groups. The key to good nutrition is listening to your body. “I would say you have to go with what your body responds best to, and that is something only you know,” says Clark. “Pay attention to your output. If you’re working really hard, you can up your intake, but if you’re having a mellow week and don't get to the gym too often you may want to back off the amount you are taking in,” she explains. “It’s a simple way to give your body what it needs and a way to stay away from excess.”

Kelly Clark snowoarding

Maximize your motivation

We all have days where going to the gym seems like the last thing we want to do, but if you really want to reach your fitness and health goals you have to look at the bigger picture, says Clark. “I have vision; that is the best motivation. If I want to go to the Olympics next year but I don't feel like going to the gym today, I remember where I want to go and it helps me make day-to-day choices to capture that vision,” she explains. “It can work in every area of life.”

Overcoming obstacles

Having grown up in a male-dominated sport, Clark is no stranger to striving for what she wants. While she didn’t feel pressure directly, she did feel it from other areas. “We don't find obstacles from the men that compete in our sport. We find it rather from the event organizers that don't have a women's division or the television networks that don't choose to display our sport like the men's field,” she explains.

Despite the struggle, she has made a name for herself and had a huge hand in making a name for women in the sport. In fact, Clark also helps kids just like her follow their snowboarding dreams with the Kelly Clark Foundation, an organization that provides youth with the resources and opportunities to achieve their highest potential through snowboarding.

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