Mark Ryan is a self-professed athlete and tree-hugger. The 28-year-old Camarillo resident said those two things don’t normally go together, but he plays football and baseball as much as he volunteers with the Sierra Club.
The Orange County native wanted to combine his two passions into one business that would encourage fitness outdoors while serving the community.
“I never enjoyed working out in a gym, and in Southern California I don’t understand why people work out indoors,” said Ryan, who has worked as a personal trainer. “I thought, why not design a company that gives back to the area we’re working out in, like a cleanup for the beach.”
Ryan conceived of the company Element Fitness in 2007 when he graduated from the University of Southern California. The self-described “anti-gym minimalist” founded Element Fitness in October 2011 with the motto “Get fit. Give back.” The company combines fitness with social responsibility and gives 50 percent of its proceeds to a nonprofit organization every month.
Proceeds from July will benefit Friends of Camarillo Dog Parks. Miranda Patton of the Friends organization said her group is trying to get members involved so money can be raised for amenities such as shade, trees and benches.
“It’s a great way for our organization to raise money for our cause as well as for (Element Fitness) to build its client base,” Patton said.
Element Fitness has teamed up with national organizations in the past, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation. Last month it raised money for FOOD Share in Ventura County.
“So many people talk about giving back or getting fit and they don’t,” Ryan said. “This is a platform for them where they can do both of those things.”
Ryan’s fitness courses are a mix of yoga, pilates, outdoor sports and cross fitness. The exercise activities, or fit camps, are designed for all ages and fitness levels and are held at various parks throughout the county on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Locations are in Ventura, Moorpark and Camarillo’s Lokker Park near Carmen Drive and Las Posas Road. Each class is $20, or $99 for the month, which usually includes 16 sessions.
The fitness camp for Friends of the Camarillo Dog Parks began Sat., July 7 at Lokker Park. The camps are every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in July and August.
For more information, visit the company’s website or Facebook.com/CauseFitness.