Kris Claborn is well-known in Ada’s health and fitness community, having inspired and coached countless groups and individuals to live a happier, healthier life. Today, in Ardmore, she takes her “Body Positive” campaign a step further as she competes for the title of Mrs. Oklahoma.
Claborn grew up in Ada and graduated in 2011 from Ada High School, where she was an all-state soccer player and no slouch on the basketball court. She earned a marketing degree from East Central University while playing soccer under Riley Bailey.
At 19, Claborn founded KFIT, a health and fitness business designed to allow her to make a living doing what she loved: helping others be the best version of themselves.
“Fitness is important to me, because when I was a kid, I experienced some trauma that later developed into me not knowing how to love myself or (having) an understanding of love from others,” Claborn said. “And so, because I didn’t understand how love should work I, in turn, hated myself. With that, I started to eat really bad and not care about taking care of my body and, on top of that, I just really spoke really hateful to myself.”
No longer able to bear her self-loathing, Claborn decided it was time to do something about it.
“I really got tired of it and when I decided to make a change, I decided to educate myself on fitness, health and emotional well-being to be able to change my life,” she said. “When I saw the results of that, that’s what made me want to help others do the same, because I was broken and I was able to get out of that. Now I want to share that experience with others.”
Claborn took her fitness techniques and her positive attitude and put them to work through contracts with ECU and the Chickasaw Nation.
“I was a contract worker for (the Chickasaw Nation) and I had a hand in coaching their employees and coaching and training their citizens at the Wellness Center, at Tushka Fit, and I was able to do those kinds of programs,” Claborn said.
Her health and fitness classes with the Chickasaw Nation grew from a few interested individuals to more than 60 participants. She won a fitness competition in Dallas and began traveling as a national fitness presenter at fitness and health conventions across the nation, speaking primarily to women about health, fitness and confidence. But even as her success grew on a national scale, she never forgot her roots.
Claborn continued her “Body Positive” campaign here at home, speaking to students from pre-K through high school about what it means to be “Body Positive.” She worked with students in Latta, Ada and Byng public schools
Now living in Oklahoma City with her husband of five years, Chad, Claborn said her heart remains in Ada with her KFIT family.
Much like the course of events that propelled Claborn to success as a health and fitness coach, entering the Mrs. Oklahoma contest began with self-doubt.
“When I was first told about it, I instantly doubted myself,” she said. “I instantly thought I wasn’t capable or worthy of something this grand, on this level. But when I really put some thought into it and spoke to my husband, he asked me, ‘Well, why can’t you do that?’ And I started answering that question, like, ‘Right?! Why can’t I?!’ So, I was already failing before I even started, and that just sparked this passion in me to lead by example, because I constantly am telling other women to lead by example, to get uncomfortable — just do it, own it! And here I am, not doing that.”
Faced with a familiar cognitive dissonance, Claborn became determined to rise to the challenge.
“I just decided to go for something that I thought was scary, but if I set my mind to it I could become whatever I wanted to be. So, I really just decided, again, to lead by example,” she said.
For Claborn, being “Body Positive” is about more than working out or physical fitness. It’s also about emotional well-being, and that, she said, means being able to believe in yourself.
“We are capable of whatever we set our mind to,” she said. “No matter where we come from. No matter what we look like. No matter our religion, our political status, we are capable of whatever we take control of, and there are no limits unless we set them for ourselves. Reach for the stars, because nothing is impossible.”
While Claborn strives to lead by example as she undertakes her next great adventure, she said she has a message for her KFIT family in Ada: She takes them with her, every step of the way.
“I came from a small town, and really, the family I created — KFIT, the group of women there — has been the backbone for my drive,” she said. “Without them, I don’t think I could be here. I didn’t do this alone. There’s a community, a village of people that have backed me and supported me and loved me. I really want to shine light on my KFIT women, my KFIT group, because I wouldn’t be here without them.”