clark-bartram-40-400Having appeared on more than 130 magazine covers and developed his own line of fitness products, Clark Bartram embodies what every gym rat hopes to be. Except him. At least not at first. “I was forced [into training] by a bunch of people who saw genetic potential in me, but I didn’t really want to do it,” he says. “They thought I should be a bodybuilder, and I thought it was kind of disgusting back then. They forced me to do a show, and I ended up winning the whole thing the first time out, so I stuck with it.”

Bartram retired from the bodybuilding circuit in 1997, and his training and nutrition evolved as his body matured. “I know exactly what I can get away with: how many chips I can pound, how much dip I can eat,” he says. “That is one of the beauties of aging.” In the gym, he’s training instinctively and pursuing better mobility instead of size. “I’m not concerned about slapping five inches on my shoulders,” he says. “I’m more concerned about being able to run, jump, twist, squat, and do all those things at a very high level.” These days, Bartram is working with a company called Saba to promote their “State by State, Saving Our Country One Pound at a Time” initiative. “I…show people how to exercise from the privacy of their own home using body-weight exercises or partner exercises,” the 49-year-old says. Who knows—he might be grooming the next Clark Bartram.