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Photographer: Marco Marezza @marcomarezza

Clark Lichty is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. As an in-demand international model, he takes you with him on his world travels—he has visited over 30 different countries in the past 2 years alone! He also provides a lot of much-needed gym inspiration with photos of his impressive physique.

I was fortunate enough recently to have the opportunity to interview Clark. I found him to be a very focused hard-working guy with a great sense of humor to boot. He is an Iowa farm boy at heart and has kept grounded even while finding great success as a model and actor.

We chat about how he stays in such amazing shape, his personal style, and his busy life as a male model. Get ready to learn a few tips from the best and laugh along the way.

Special thanks to Q Management in New York for arranging this interview!

First let’s talk about fitness. As all of your 76k Instagram followers know, you have an amazing physique. Tell us how you stay in such great shape.

Thank you. It’s been a long road. As you can see, I was a 225 lb football player in college. Losing muscle wasn’t easy. I spent countless hours in the gym—swimming, jump roping, doing martial arts, high reps, low weight, you name it. I tell people that losing muscle is harder than losing fat. It took years to get where I wanted to be. Now it’s maintaining it, which isn’t always the easiest.

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Left: Clark in 2006 as a college football player | Right: Clark today, 10 years later

Wow! That is an amazing transformation. So how do you train these days?

For me, I find it easier to have someone telling me what to do, whether it’s a workout class or yoga or a friend who I’m boxing with. I need that superiority and structure to ensure the best workout possible.

I know you are an all-around active guy. What other sports or activities do you like to throw into the mix?

You always have to put yourself in the best position possible. You never know when that phone will ring for an underwear shoot.

I played 4 sports in high school. I played 3 sports in college. I even played a short stint of pro arena football. The drive to compete never goes away.

Lately, I do a lot of boxing and kickboxing, not competitively, but workout wise. I compete with myself. There are also times where I’ll be a sub in different leagues—sand volleyball, flag football, and baseball. Anything to compete and stay active is important for me.

What are your thoughts on healthy eating when it comes to staying in shape? Any favorite foods to fuel your workouts?

I am very strict except for one day a week where I literally allow myself to eat anything so I can fulfill all my cravings. Life is meant to be lived!

There are 168 hours in a week. If I work out one hour a day, that’s 7 hours of workout per week. That means for 161 hours of the week, I am not working out. How important is eating healthy then? The most important!

A good balance is necessary: protein, carbs and fat. Yes, your body needs fat. Research good fats over bad fats; you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Prior to working out, I need some type of carb, such as steel-cut oats, and caffeine, such as black coffee. I love coffee. Both have been known to fuel workouts and increase fat burning.

Is it all healthy eating all the time or do you ever treat yourself? Do you believe in cheat days or cheat meals?

Absolutely cheat days! I take one day a week to allow myself to eat the cravings I have. I don’t overdo it, but it’ll sort of reset my body and my mind. I am human after all, and life is meant to be lived!

I grew up on a crop and livestock farm in Iowa, so eating was a way of life. I still crave those sweets and mom’s baking, but try to limit myself as to the amount eaten.

Do you do anything differently in terms of your routine right before a photo shoot?

Yes I most certainly do, especially if it is a body or underwear shoot. I take about a week and go low carb, low sodium, and high/low water intake. I try to flush out all the salt and water, which maximizes your lean muscle look—much like a bodybuilder would do before a competition.

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David Magazine editorial | Photographer: Paolo Musa @paolomusa

You are often on the road for photo shoots in all sorts of interesting locations. How do you keep up a good diet and exercise routine while on the road?

This part is difficult, because you never know what’s going to be around. I starve myself. I’m kidding. A lot of the time, shoots are in smaller cities, which don’t have a lot of food options. You have to be creative and plan ahead. I always take a bag full of healthy bars or fruit.

Workout wise, you have to be creative as well. I was a certified personal trainer years ago so I have a vast array of knowledge on exercise. With the Internet and YouTube, however, anyone can be. A combination between cardio and body weight exercises will give you a good workout and elevate your heart rate.

Who or what inspires you to keep so active and keep in such great shape? 

Thinking about how far I’ve come inspires me. Many don’t think about their past and don’t acknowledge their accomplishments. I do. I know how hard it was. I know how hard it is. To compete at the level needed to in this business, you always have to put yourself in the best position possible. You never know when that phone will ring for an underwear shoot. Maintenance is key.

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Photographer: Blake Ballard @iblakeballard

Now let’s talk about style for a bit. You have worked with some of the top designers in the world, everyone from Calvin Klein to Dolce & Gabbana to Armani.

When you are not doing a fashion shoot, what’s your favorite thing to wear?

Besides being naked?

Haha! Yes, besides being naked…

Hmm. I actually prefer the hippie-ish or artist look. I love the comfort of a pair of joggers or a sweater. You can do a lot with these items to “style” them to make yourself actually looked polished.

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Photographer: Marco Marezza @marcomarezza

What do you like to wear when working out?

I love a fresh pair of sneakers, a tight shirt, and a well-fitting pair of shorts. The fitted look will give you inspiration when you’re working out so you can see definition.

As an international model and actor, you have travelled to quite a few places around the world. What is a memorable location that stands out in your memory?

Thinking about how far I’ve come inspires me. Many don’t think about their past and don’t acknowledge their accomplishments. I do.

This is a great question. I think I’ve been to 30 different countries in the past two years alone. If I had to narrow it down to two, I’d say South Africa for the mountains, sea, and rustic vineyards. And Italy for the history, culture, and of course, food.

I have great friends all over the world and am blessed to have had such an opportunity to travel while working.

Finally, are there any upcoming shoots or projects that you are looking forward to?

I just had an editorial for a Berlin-based magazine called Toh Magazine come out that I loved. Torian Lewin shot and styled it, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome because I look different than any other shoot I’ve done.

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Toh Magazine editorial | Photographer: Torian Lewin @torianlewin

I also just had a Zegna lookbook come out that I’m excited to see all the images.

I’m also looking forward to fashion week in Milan again. I’ve had the opportunity to work for the three amazing designers: Armani, D&G and Zegna. Excited to reunite with them!

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Clark walking the SS2016 Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan

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Clark and designer Giorgio Armani in Milan

 

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