We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Harari and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, can you talk us a bit about why you love what you do?
Fitness training allows me to combine several of my passions into one common goal. People. Motivation. Creativity. And Change. I’m not someone who can sit behind a desk from 9a – 5p and be happy. Understand, there’s NOTHING wrong with that lifestyle! I’ve done it…and if I had to do it again, of course I would. But for me, happiness comes in the day to day interactions with other people. I like the socialization aspect of teaching fitness classes and building relationships with my clients. I look at them as friends, and I’m excited to see them each day! During this COVID-19 shutdown, Ive realized just how important those people and relationships are to my day to day happiness. Moving the classes to an online platform has given me “purpose” each morning to get up and be there for my clients. It not only helps them feel great physically, but it helps both of us maintain that important emotional connection. I LOVE listening to motivational speakers, quotes, leaders… I enjoy doing my personal workouts in the mornings before I teach my classes and train clients. I use that time to focus on myself, both mentally and physically, so that I can give to others the rest of the day. Sometimes I listen to music during my workouts, but more often these days, I listen to motivational talks to get into a positive mindset for the day. The key, however, is to take action. Motivation and inspiration, alone, are nothing without taking action to move yourself in a positive direction. I take it upon myself to get into a positive mindset each morning so I can share it with my clients and hopefully get them into a positive headspace for the day ahead. Yes, teaching fitness classes is partly about getting a great workout…AND, I feel that the mental component is just as important. I tell my clients each day, “Your goal to day is walk out of here feeling better and stronger than when you walked in.” And I mean it! My degree from the University of Texas is in creative advertising. I NEED an outlet for my creativity, as I feel most people do. As a fitness professional, I’ve never been a proponent of “routines”. I don’t like doing the same movement to the same music each day…so I don’t. My creative outlet comes in the form of developing new classes for my clients each day. My goal is to give each client a new experience every time they walk in the door. Is it more difficult than just learning 5 routines and rotating through them by memory each day? Sure. But I know that I, personally, would not do that for my own workouts…so I wouldn’t expect my clients to settle for that either! Change. Change is inevitable. But POSITIVE change takes effort. I live for the moments when a client says, “That’s the first time I….”, or, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t think I could….”. Those moments are why I love what I’ve chosen to do. The body is capable of SO much more than the mind realizes. My job, my purpose, is to lead my clients to a moment of discovery for themselves. I want them to have those revelations of knowing that their hard work is paying off. That they are seeing and feeling positive changes in their bodies and minds. And THAT makes all of the hard work worthwhile.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The road from a degree in Communications (creative advertising) from the University of Texas to owning a fitness studio in Los Angels for 13+ years has a LOT of twists, turns, loops, and cliffs along the way. I moved to LA in September, 2000 pursuing a career in acting (because that’s why you move to LA, right?!). I earned my certification and began teaching fitness classes and training clients in 2004. I felt there was a place in LA for an “intense” class, but highly focused on form and positive motivation. I began working on a business plan – literally downloading various business plans from the internet for research. It took almost a year to get the business plan completed and approved by the SBA for funding…then came the search for commercial space, planning, design and buildout… it was significantly more than I ever imagined. But, I felt confident and excited about the challenges and opportunities! I opened Pulse Fitness Studio in Sherman Oaks in February, 2007. Fox LA voted Pulse the “Best Fitness Studio in LA” in 2007. We were off to a fast and furious start…until the market took a hit in 2008. We (thankfully) weathered the storm, and continued a steady growth pattern for several years to follow. Along the way, we’ve had some fantastic press and celebrity endorsements of the studio. It’s amazing how social media has changed the game! When we first opened, Facebook was in its infancy. No Instagram, YouTube… so we poured a lot of money into marketing. Val Pak, newsletters, local flyers… all forms of media that are fighting to exist these days. It will be so interesting to see where things go next! The Pulse Fitness Studio brand is truly built on relationships. We don’t have a scan card system or a finger print analyzer….we want to know YOU. That’s what I feel is most important in building a successful studio. Over the past 10+ years, boutique fitness studios have popped up on every corner of this city. And, quite honestly, you can probably get a pretty darn good workout at most of them! So what keeps people coming back to a particular place? Relationships. I want people to feel like they are truly part of our family here.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
After 19 years in Los Angeles, I finally discovered El Matador beach. Such a beautiful area to spend a day. Sure, there’s Zuma, Manhattan, Huntington, Santa Monica…all amazing areas. But everyone I’ve sent to El Matador seems to have felt something a little extra special there. Dining – I’m not a big “foodie”. Which is unfortunate in a city like this, I guess. But my go-to place to take friends and family is “Barton G” on La Cienega. It’s such a fun, creative experience. The food is great, and you can just sit and watch everyone’s faces as their crazy orders arrive to each table. It’s a fun one. I’m also a fan of Brazilian Steak Houses. Fogo De Chao tops the list there, and Samba at Universal Citywalk is a fun spot as well. I’ve been trying to be a bit more experimental of the downtown area, too. So many new, fun spots have popped up downtown! The Farmer’s Market on Fairfax is a fun afternoon/evening as well. I love the local vendors, and it’s a pretty low-key atmosphere to relax, walk around, and enjoy. There are some great hiking trails all over the city. From Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, to Fryman in Studio City, to some great trails in Malibu…there’s a lot to explore.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A HUGE shoutout to everyone who has been a member of our Pulse Family over the years. I’m so very thankful and appreciative of our staff, trainers, and clients who have made this journey so special for me. The studio isn’t called “Mark Harari Fitness” because I’ve never wanted it to be about “me”. This is 100% a TEAM effort, and without them, I wouldn’t be here…no doubt!
FWUEL Media Jen O’Dell Photography