El Paso High teacher Clarissa Marquez | Photo courtesy EPISD

El Paso High Teacher seeks community’s help to land cover of fitness mag, win $20k

El Paso High teacher and fitness guru Clarissa Marquez needs your help to land on the cover of Ms. Health & Fitness magazine and collect a check for $20,000.

Marquez and fit women from throughout the world are competing online for the chance to be featured in the magazine and win the cash. So far, Marquez is in good shape holding steady at fourth place and expects to advance.

To secure her spot in the next round, fellow El Pasoans can help by casting their vote by 9 p.m. Thursday. Vote by clicking here.

The competitive body builder and roller derby skater hopes her philosophy of functional fitness rather than working out just to look good give her an edge with the competition.

“I’m not the cookie cutter version of what fitness is, in that, it’s just for the aesthetic value,” said Marquez, who’s been busy in the gym this summer. “I’m motivated to work out and be fit so I can do more with my body and engage in more activities rather than just to look good.”

Her favorite thing about fitness?

“It builds confidence and pushes us to keep improving. Fitness is not solely rooted in the body but with our emotional state as well. Fitness has rescued me from my darkest days and has given me lifelong friends along the way.”

Marquez also emphasizes moderation and consistency to maintain a healthy lifestyle,

“Diet and exercise are not punishment for the things we eat,” she said, admitting that ‘carbs are friends.’ “Moderation is key and rewards are necessary to nurture a healthy lifestyle. Transformation begins when a diet becomes a lifestyle.”

Marquez’s active lifestyle also includes teaching a pole fit class but she’s quick to reinforce the fitness and athleticism aspect of the sport not the exotic.

“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Marquez, who has competed in the sport within body building competitions.

The 28-year-old’s fitness aspirations also include applying for NBC’s “The Titan Games,” a fitness competition hosted by the Rock. Marquez was in the process for the show but then COVID struck and everything stopped. The application process also landed her in the pool as a potential competitor on “American Ninja Warriors.”

“The beauty of body building is that even though it isn’t about strength, you can focus on what need for whether it’s the ‘Titan Games’ or more derby stuff,” she said.

If Marquez wins the $20,000 prize, she hopes to pay tuition for the master’s degree she is currently seeking and purchase items for her classroom.

And most importantly, to “buy copious amounts of peanut butter,” she joked.

Story by Reneé De Santos – EPISD