The Bodybuilder

The Bodybuilder

NAME: Mark Raines
OCCUPATION: TV / Film Production High School Teacher
LIVES: San Diego, California
INSTAGRAM: @california_thor
FACEBOOK: @markraines
TWITTER: @markaraines
TEDx TALKS: “Sometimes The Teacher Becomes The Lesson” & “Finding My Voice


I was born in Monterey, California, as the son of a Navy officer. My family moved every 2-3 years when I was growing up, but we always lived near the ocean. We lived in California, Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, and Hawaii. I graduated from the University of Florida, with a B.S. degree in Telecommunication. Fulfilling a lifelong dream to be on television, I worked for eight years as a local television reporter and anchor in Florida, Missouri, and Alabama. A part-time passion of working with teenagers in volunteer Christian youth ministry led me to leave my television career to become a high school television and film production teacher. When I started teaching I had no textbook, no curriculum, and no working equipment. With a VHS video camera borrowed from the football team, a small group of students, and supportive colleagues, we transformed the classes into a state and national award-winning television production program and the model for state curriculum. Since those first few years teaching, I have started and successfully run three award-winning television and film production programs, including where I currently work at a high school in San Diego, CA.


In 2011, I developed an adult onset speech impediment after an extended period of illness. I continued to teach while I fought to regain my speech fluency, through countless specialists and five months of speech therapy. After almost a year, an answer came through Parkinson’s medication. My speech problem still exists today — it’s just controlled by the drug, which causes drowsiness and fatigue. I now struggle with fear of public speaking, after nearly a lifetime of speaking in public, but I have been fighting that fear through sharing my story publicly, including two TEDx talks, the first one streamed live on the internet to teens watching around the world. Throughout my health struggles, I have turned to my faith, family, friends, and fitness to fight back. I started sharing the fitness aspect of my story on Instagram in November 2014 under the username @california_thor. The page’s success has led to sponsorships by multiple companies, and I now often appear at the biggest fitness expos on behalf of my sponsors – like Metabolic Nutrition (use discount code “California_Thor”)!


I am extremely passionate about life and that applies to everything I devote my time and energy to: faith, family, friends, fitness, food, films, fiction novels. I can be super organized when necessary, like for work, but I also love being spontaneous when it comes to weekends and free time, and I prefer to invest my money and time in experiences than in things. I love to travel, and I have been on multiple mission trips with Christian-based relief organizations.


I’m a 46-year-old single male living in a big Southern California city that also has a chill beach culture. I grew up skinny, non-athletic and super concerned about hiding my bony body. Discovering fitness late in life helped me feel more confident in my own skin and also in what I wear. My favorite regular attire is tank tops, board shorts and flip flops. In the gym, I love wearing old-school stringer-style tank tops with superhero characters, lycra shorts or Kapow Meggings. When I go out, I love wearing fitted v-neck t-shirts and/or hoodies and sweaters, jeans or meggings, and Converse. Hats and beanies also regularly help me keep my long blonde hair under control in the breezy San Diego weather. On special occasions, I still enjoy wearing a suit and tie like I did when I was on television. I just prefer a more-fitted suit now, and I will definitely go with a vest instead of a jacket whenever possible.


The beach is the best thing, place, and experience for me. There’s something about the water, the waves, the sand, the sounds, the smells that represent peace and joy in my spirit.


Motto: Never Give Up.
Quote: Ephesians 1:1-14 is the Bible verse inked at the bottom of my large rib cage lion tattoo, and at its core, this passage of scripture reminds me that I am loved, blessed, accepted, hopeful and so much more, regardless of circumstances.


It’s close tie between the Mermans and the Ronny Reagans