The Internet Made Me Do It!

My biggest challenge in writing this blog is making sure that I don’t come off as *that guy* that tells people what to do. I dislike those blogs that state opinions as facts. I have no desire to read the “I’ve been a coach for a decade so I have all of the answers to everyone about everything fitness and health related…ever” blog. Those writers exist and I hope to never be known as one. There’s also the “Here are 17 things wrong with [insert movie title] because I say so” blog that I have no desire to read. My goal in writing this blog sparked a few years back when I was the “new guy” cycling coach. I needed to build a following in order to keep my classes full (and keep a job that I loved). So, I asked people to sign up for my email list and I’d send them the music playlist. As I was writing the emails, I would note a theme or intention for each playlist/week and explaining that positive message grew into this blog that you’re reading now. In this blog, I will give suggestions, challenges, reminders and I’ll point out what has helped me in my training. This blog has also grown to encompass my entire life. So, you’ll receive the occasional erotic short story, body positive activism, rant, or general encouragement to challenge the standard narrative on various subjects. I try not to give the flagrant, finger-pointing guidance that screams, “YOU MUST DO THIS IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAT”, with a few exceptions, of course. Some exceptions: You must change your mind before you change your body. You must have more action than plan in your action plan. You must make time for what’s important or else it’s just not that important to you. That’s not a judgment, that’s just truth.

Let’s talk science and statistics, numbers can back up a lot of research. But, numbers are based on the people that were a part of the study, numbers don’t speak for every single human being. So, the next time you read a statistic that notes what 75% of people do (or don’t do), read the fine print. If one hundred people were surveyed, that’s not a true indicator of the entire population. So, it wouldn’t be wise to base your individual fitness routine on skewed statistics. Just to be clear, not all statistical-based advice is bad. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t jump on a band wagon trend just because of stats and “what they say”. (If you ever find yourself using the phrase, “they say”, be careful. You might be parroting information without fully understanding it.) Recently, a client pointed out that a study says it’s okay to workout in the morning on an empty stomach. I’ve seen enough people get light-headed because they tried to do an intense workout at 7:00am with no breakfast to think otherwise. Have I woken up and gone for a 5K run with no breakfast and performed well? Yes, I have! Does that mean that I’d tell everyone reading this blog to wake up and go for a run on an empty stomach? Hell no! Listen to your body and do what feels right.

When receiving any advice, please consider the source and stop to think if this person is giving advice beyond their scope of expertise. If I hear one more, “my coach said that I can only eat 10 almonds a week” scenario, I will figuratively lose my shit. It is my hope that all fitness coaches train within the scope of their expertise. It is my hope that all fitness enthusiasts consider the source of their training information. Training within your scope of expertise means that you should not create meal plans or give nutrition advice if you are not properly educated to do so. Reading a few books and taking a class at the Learning Annex does not qualify you to tell someone how/when/what to eat. It just doesn’t. Real life experience losing 100 pounds with a change in YOUR diet, does not (in and of itself) qualify you to design a diet for someone else. There are plenty of Registered Dietitians, TCM and HHP practitioners that are well qualified. Be advised, those aren’t the only sources for such information. I’m just reminding those that are under-qualified to train within the scope of their knowledge. I’d also like to remind all present and future fitness enthusiasts to consider the source of information. “My friend read a magazine article. I’m going to start brushing my teeth with Creatine!” Please don’t. “My cousin’s, best friend’s, uncle lost some weight. Who cares that he’s a different gender, race, build and age than I am. He must have the answers to weight loss!” He does have answers, for him. Remember, there is a difference between health (the state of being free from illness or injury) and fitness (the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task). Please train smart and train safely. Oh, there I go, telling you what to do.
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Be Here Now!

I saw it on a bumper sticker and I decided to get it tattooed on my body. I had survivor’s guilt. I was with Sparkly Devil just a few hours before she died. This happened in May 2013 and I’m just now able to type this out. We were all backstage, laughing, talking shit, and drinking. There was a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon being passed around. We all drank from it. We all thought her husband (who was driving) was fine and that he didn’t seem impaired. Fact: No one can “see” blood alcohol levels, especially if none of the telltale signs of drunkenness are present. Fact: His BAC was .18

When Sparkly Devil and Bones Padilla left for the night, her last words to me were “I’m getting stronger!” We were scheduled to run the Tahoe Tough Mudder together that year and she was excited about how well she was doing in her training. She was getting stronger and I was happy to hear how excited she was about that strength.

They never made it home that night. They were in a car accident and Sparkly Devil died on the scene. For weeks, I kept questioning what I could have done differently. What if I didn’t pass that bottle? What if I stopped them from leaving even though Bones “seemed fine to drive”? Why didn’t he die that night? (That may sound like an ugly thought. But, I’m being vulnerable here. Bear with me.) After all of the crying and guilt, I realized that I was doing something that a lot of us do… I was allowing my mind to be everywhere and everywhen else but here and now.

Some time later, I got a tattoo inside of my right forearm, where I’ll never be able to ignore it, the ink reads: “I’d rather be here now!” I saw it on a bumper sticker. I look to this ink when my mind drifts to the wasteland of “what if”. I look to this ink when my ego wants to time travel and make things (my definition of) right. I look to this ink when I need to be reminded that magic exists, here in this moment. I look to this ink when I need to express gratitude for the ability to be here now. There will come a time when I can’t change what’s happened. When that time comes, I’ll need to stay centered and be here now. There will come a time when the training will hurt and I need to embrace that pain to move forward on the path to strength. When that time comes, I’ll need to stay centered and be here now.


When I began using TRX to assist with my handstand/hand walking skills. I was training and misjudged my vector. I came down hard on the, thankfully, padded floor during rush hour at Equinox in downtown San Francisco. I wasn’t embarrassed because of the onlookers. (None of them seemed to give a shit.) I was embarrassed because I let my ego try a new move and gravity won, decisively. I lay on the floor laughing out loud until my inner voice told me to get some ice and plan better for the next attempt. At that time, I had to remember there is no such thing as an exercise that makes you feel weak. There is only an exercise that will show you the path to strength. #Jism Falling didn’t make me feel silly. Falling pointed out my flaw in execution and showed me the path to balance/stability. It’s my hope that you all have some positive/rhythmic phrase that you repeat when the pain comes. No matter what your mantra, I hope that there’s no other place you’d rather be than developing strength in your body, spirit and mind.

Just a thought… What if we all stopped comparing Superman to Batman, Lebron to Jordan, ex-girlfriends to next girlfriends or feelings of nostalgia to the present? What if we stopped complaining that apples don’t taste like oranges? What if we all breathed a sigh of acceptance to what once was and found the peace in accepting the things we cannot change? That would be a nice world to live in. If “remember when” is the lowest form of conversation, “should’ve been” is the sub-basement. Stay present. Be here now. Keep celebrating as you grow stronger.

I love you, Sparkly.

Ambition: A Fear of Mediocrity

Ambition is the fear of mediocrity. Ambition is the fear of being mediocre. You can apply this mantra to many aspects of your life. Fitness training: Did you put on your snazzy minimalist running shoes, moisture wicking shirt, and hustle to your favorite fitness class or training session just to put forth a mediocre effort? No. You didn’t. Don’t just show up, put in the work and reach your goals. Career path: Did you work over time and sacrifice your personal life to hate your job as it subtly sucks away your soul? The harder you work, the richer you’ll make the owners. You have to honor your gifts and talents by shunning the mediocre path for a path that ignites your fire inside. Educational efforts: Did you pay all of that tuition just for a class average curve or would you rather excel and learn something? Be afraid of the class average, embrace ambition and be a better student. Romantic efforts: Was there ever a time when you looked at your partner and thought of how lucky you were to have her/him in your life? Do you honor that lucky feeling with mediocre effort or do you express your love in ever-evolving ways? Steer clear of the mediocre love path. The path of ambitious love will help you to treat your partner the way THEY want to be treated instead of treating them the way YOU want to be treated.

You should be afraid of “good enough”, “getting by”, “just fine”, “alright”, and other synonyms for mediocrity. Step up and deliver more. I want to be clear. I’m not suggesting that you change your expectations of others. Don’t be that prick that expects above/beyond mediocre from other people after reading this post. When it comes to how we see others, tensions would ease up if we all chose to love more, judge less. That applies to how we feel about ourselves as well. Shunning mediocrity isn’t about judging ourselves harshly because any aspect of our lives is “normal” or status quo. That’s not what this post is about. I’m planting a seed that I hope to grow into a tree of stronger efforts from any and all who read this. What if good enough was no longer good enough? What if we tried harder by working smarter? What if we reduced the peripheral noise, static, drama, beeps, and buzzes from our lives in order to be better at the things we’re passionate about? Embrace your ambition. Step away from the crowd. Everyone has something that sparks their fire. Determine what that something is for you and burn, brighter.

Common sense disclaimer. Every corpse on Everest was once filled with ambition. Don’t be a dumbass. Use your ambition to improve the world, not to stroke your fucking ego. The pic you see of me sky diving was my own search for an adrenaline rush. I don’t (usually) take pics of my philanthropic efforts. Peace.

Accidental Motivation (Placebo Training)

Due to an injury, I’m not running ATM. So, this post (written about four years back) spoke to me today and I wanted to revisit it. Enjoy!

I’ve never met my favorite running partner, we go on long runs all the time. It happens without planning or engagement. I set out on a run and before I know it, I have a shadow on my heels that I can’t shake.

Sometimes, I run two laps around Lake Merritt. It’s 10 kilometers. Once, I set out for a run after doing some push-ups, I felt the blood pumping before my stride began. It had been two weeks since my last run. So, around mile two, I still hadn’t hit my rhythm. I kept pushing through it, thoughts scattered, lacking focus, then I caught a glimpse of orange in my peripheral vision. “Oh, this dude wants to pass me”, I thought. “I need to run faster” and “this ‘running partner’ has been sent here to motivate me”, was my second thought. My final thought was to run faster, smile and say thank you to whatever cosmic running coach sent this running partner to challenge me.

Orange shirt ran with me, pushing me to run faster as his pace was equivalent to mine, for about a mile and a half. Realistically, he probably never even realized that he was my source of motivation. We never spoke, we never engaged. I imagined that he was there to light a fire under my heels. Around mile 4, his run was done and mine still had 2.2 before completion. So, even though, I turned and realized that he had stopped running altogether, I imagined an orange shirt challenging me to run stronger up to the very end. There are times when fake medicine cures symptoms when we are told that it will. There are times when we are sent the motivation that we need because we believe that the ego stroke of winning will help to shake off the demons. I call it placebo training and you can write your own prescription. What do you need to see, hear or connect with in order to get you to push beyond your perceived limitations? When you’re lifting weights alone, do you imagine someone you trust spotting/encouraging you? When you’re on a long ride, do you imagine that you’re in competition with the other cyclists on the hill? When you go for a run, do you try to catch up to the pair of shoes in front of you only to run faster and try to catch the next pair of shoes beyond that? What’s your placebo for challenging your body through the power of the mind?

You’ve often heard me suggest that you create a training mantra. I still encourage that. (Think of a set of rhythmic, positive words that – when repeated – will help you conquer any obstacle, with your mind. Your body will soon follow.) This week, I want you all to practice your visualization techniques. See the person motivating you, make it real and break through your previous limitations. Set some new personal records. Motivation is all around us, it comes in all forms. It’s our perception that differentiates between obstacle and opportunity. Tap into the abundant motivation that the world has to offer and take flight.

Any of you that have trained with me, one-on-one, know that I don’t listen to excuses. There is always a way to reach your goals. Watch this 2m:30s video and remember, YES. YOU. CAN.

(Emotionally) Putting Out

Recently, a client explained that she’d decided to *big gulp + deep breath* “put herself out there” in regards to her dating life. Immediately I began to wonder, “WTF does that mean for her?” Hell, what would that mean for someone like me?!? In the age of Uber drop-offs, Tinder hook-ups, and Facebook break-ups, what does it mean for a woman to “put herself out there?” Well, I’ve never been a woman and I’m not going to front as if I have the slightest clue what it feels like to be a single female diving into the deep end of the dating pool, especially within the Me Generation that has a reputation for breaking up via text message. *shakes fist* “These damned, kids!” No. I’ll leave that blog post to someone else to write. I do know what it’s like to be a* Black/Heterosexual/Polyamorous/Male that’s been in the shallow end of the dating pool, wading towards infinity.

*It’s worth mentioning… Categories may shape my experience, but they do not define me as a human being. We all have more dimensions than any several categories.

As a [see above for a refresher on some categories provided to me by society] human, the concept of putting myself out there is interesting. The societal assumption** is that the male is supposed to approach the female in the courting process. “Hey girl! Hit me off with those digits!” “Hey girl! Do you come here often? Let’s go to my place and see if you cum there often!” Well, let’s all be glad that I’ve never been keen on the whole “approach some strange woman in a bar and try to take her home” thing. I’d be getting slapped on a regular basis! Yeah, not my thing. But, wait! If I’m not the Mack of Frama-Lama-Ding-A-Ling, holl’in mo’ game than a referee, then how am I supposed to put myself out there!?

**It’s worth mentioning… That some may view my musings as heteronormative. I don’t think (nor have I ever thought) that heterosexuality is the “normal or preferred sexual orientation.” However, I am heterosexual and I write from my own worldview. My good intention is not to offend. But, we all know what they say about paving the road to hell.

My understanding of the phrase means to let the world know that I’m available and interested in dating and/or pursuing a relationship. Since I’m Polyamorous, I’m currently courting a few people. But, I’ve decided to put myself out there to find a Primary Partner. Two recent conversations helped me to come to this decision.

When my father took ill a few thousand miles away my brother was there to help my mom deal with his deteriorating health. My brother is a single father and he talked about how difficult it is to balance that with watching the slow decline of our Pop. He mentioned how he thought it would be easier to deal with such challenges if he were married. Before he began to explain what he meant, I was picking up what he was putting down. We spoke in agreement about the luxury of a partner that could help with the emotional weight of life. [Update: This happened a few months ago. Pop is doing well and still talkin’ shit. The family and I agreed that it didn’t really make sense for me to come home. So, I call him once a week just to send some love through the phone.]

In a separate incident, not so far away, I was humbled by a conversation with a regular in one of my [Group Exercise] classes. After the class ended, a man walked up to me and introduced himself by name [we’ll call him Jeff]. I found the introduction odd because I had seen Jeff in my class dozens of times. At the time of this odd introduction, it did occur to me that I hadn’t seen him over the past month or so. The introduction got stranger when he asked for my name. Because I know how horrible I am at remembering names, I conceded and we shook hands as if it were a first time meeting. Jeff went on to explain that he had been in a car accident and lost some of his memory. He said, “My wife tells me that I used to come to this class often.” My jaw dropped and I’m sure that I did a poor job of hiding the change in facial expression. The re-introduction made sense and it was an emotional reality check for me. We’ve all heard the gentle reminder to be kind to people because we don’t know what someone’s going through.

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It’s a completely different feeling when you’re faced with the experience of learning what someone else is enduring. At that point, it’s no longer some cliché from a screen, it’s very real. I found myself playing the macabre version of what if after that encounter. What if I lost my memory? Who would help me put the pieces back together? Would I have to give myself a series of tattoos as mementos? It would be nice if I had a wife or a partner to help me with the emotional weight of recovery.

I’ve been adamantly independent since I left home at 18. I’ve certainly had plenty of help along the way. [For all of the friends and lovers reading this that have washed a dish, fed a cat, or just listened to me vent without interruption, you know who you are and I perpetually thank you.] But, with such determined independence I’ve grown accustomed to doing everything by/for myself. The two aforementioned scenarios have acted as stark reminders that, despite preparation, I’m not meant to bear certain types of emotional weight alone. So, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I started using the P[artner]-word again. With this post and two new online dating profiles, I’m officially out there, World!

It’s worth mentioning… I still don’t know WTF “out there” means. I was never hiding or hidden. I’ve never rejected the notion of a Primary Partner. I have certainly had my “Fuck-That-Shit!” moments of angst after a former Partner told me that she’d wait for someone better to come along (that’s not an exaggeration, that’s what she confirmed when I called her out.) But, I’ve always accepted love in my life in the spirit of friendship, aroused physical connections, or both. Now, I’m just showing a profile picture and writing about myself and my ideal her as if I’m shopping on Amazon. [Yes, it feels that weird to me!] So, if you see me on OKC or PolyMatchMaker.com, now you know why. I’m seeking a Polyamorous friend that will be there for me in more ways than I can possibly list. I’ll know her when I meet her.

Special Note: The last time that I had a dating profile was 2010 and I swore that I’d rather stab my eye out with a rusty metal dildo than ever fill out another one of those goddamned “this is why you should pick me” biographies. In my 24 hours back in this online dating world, I’ve noticed that women still do three silly things with their profile pictures. [Before anyone tries to derail this special note, I’m aware that men do the same or worse shit with their profile pics. But, I’m not searching for them, so write your own post about the dumb ass Bro photos. You can also read this post to understand why you will continue to receive dick pics.] 1.) Group Photos. I don’t know what you look like well enough to know which one is you. Furthermore, why is that your default pic? 2.) Faux Diversity Photos. That picture with your one Black friend doesn’t say anything about the diversity in your circle. That picture with the orphans from your trip to Africa also feels shoehorned. 3.) Self-objectification Photos. I understand that your profile states that you’re just here for casual encounters. But, when all of your pics are of your ass or cleavage (with no face) I’m dumbfounded. WTF!?

Back in Parochial school we sang the hymn, “No Man Is An Island” and I’ve often tried to remind my clients that accepting support and love is a sign of intelligence and strength. Strength is a choice and I’ve made the choice to accept the support and love of a partner because I’m following my own advice.

Never Nudes Go Home (or) The Necessity Of Nudity In The Now

Good Morning!

I hope that you’re naked while reading this. It’s Sunday Morning, you’re at home, relaxing, you rolled over just to read the Jet Set Weekly, why not be naked? More on that later. When people ask about what influenced me to perform burlesque, I have a stock answer. “I grew up in a naked house that was filled with all sorts of music”, I tell them. My parents weren’t nudists. But, they certainly didn’t shy away from being nude. My Pop would often walk from the shower to the bedroom whilst drying off his nuts. Nudity was never a weird thing. We were never conditioned to be ashamed of our bodies. Our parents always made sure that we felt loved and when I was teased by other kids my age because of my dark skin or big nose, my Mom taught me the mantra of “Fuck ’em!” We (my brother and I) have always been secure about our looks whether clothed or not. It’s for that reason that I enjoy being naked. Sometimes that enjoyment takes the form of my being 90% naked on a burlesque stage or 100% naked at home (within 10 minutes of closing the door behind me).

The most magical time for nudity is during an event I created called Naked Camp. In August 2012, I took a solo trip up to Harbin Hot Springs to just be naked and alone for my birthday. I couldn’t imagine a better way to clear my head and reset my spirit. By the time the trip had ended, I decided that the next year I’d go with friends. I put some feelers out (i.e. I posted a FB status update) and three friends got on board to travel with me. One of them suggested a different (less popular, family-owned) hot spring getaway. So, the four of us went there instead. (Don’t worry about where “there” is, just know that it shall be referred to as “Naked Camp” for the remainder of this post.) I’ve gone to Naked Camp with a revolving cast of friends on three separate trips now. I’ve created some rules (for lack of a better word) to ensure that Naked Camp is still the peaceful reset button that I seek. To avoid derailing this post, I won’t list all of the rules. But, I will list the rule that was the catalyst for this post. No never nudes allowed. On one of our trips, Naked Camp 2, there was a never nude wearing a sun dress and a sweater. Let me be clear, at a clothing optional resort someone wore a dress AND a goddamned sweater… in AUGUST… in (inland) California where the average temperature is 89+ in the shade. Do I even need to type W-T-F or have you already said it out loud? Well, we were all annoyed at the never-nude throwing off the vibe of everyone else’s nudity.

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It’s worth mentioning… For those of you unfamiliar with the pop culture reference, a never nude is (and this is the distilled definition) an insecure person. Now, before any Psychologists (amateur or professional) get up in arms, I’d like to acknowledge that never nudity is an actual phobia by the name of Gymnophobia (not to be confused with Gynophobia-talk about derailing a post with a typo). Now that you’re up to speed on never nudity, back to the post.

There are clothing optional beaches here in California that are open to the public. Many people frequent these sands and enjoy the ocean with/without clothes and no one gives a shit. Then there are private resorts that require a reservation and a fee to gain access to a safe place where one can be naked and not have to worry about the oddballs (e.g. public wankers). That’s the beauty of Naked Camp, we can make a reservation and pay a fee to be free in this space. That begs the question, why would you pay the money (the place ain’t cheap) and drive the distance (very few people live near Naked Camp) to arrive at a clothing optional resort only to wear a muhfuckin sweater!? Why?

Well, there’s a good chance that the person has some sort of anxiety over sexuality and their own physical appearance. The truth is, they could have a 3-page list of shit that causes anxiety. Hell, their Therapist may have even recommended they visit a Naked Camp in order to conquer their phobia. Well, I’m sorry, I didn’t volunteer to be a part of your healing process. Go and be clothed elsewhere. “Jet, you’re being a dick, what about compassion for those that are healing!?” Everyone at Naked Camp is healing. I don’t want to see you bundled up in a sweater at Naked Camp anymore than you want to see my wang hanging free in a Safeway. San Francisco recently banned public nudity. No problem, “we’ll go to a Naked Camp”, say the nudists. While I understand the difference between clothing optional resorts and nudist colonies, I’d like to invite all never nudes to turn their Gymnophobic asses around and go home! That means you, Bro in the Gap shorts. A comedian (I think it was George Wallace?) once joked about catching a handicapped person parking in one of “our” spots and then kicking his ass because of it. A never nude has the best options possible for laying next to water (you read that right, many of the never nudes don’t even get into the goddamned hot springs they drove so far to reach). So, with all of those clothing required options, why come to my church?

This post was fueled by the rage at reading the following article on the Bold Italic. To be clear, the article wasn’t intended to make anyone angry. But, I was annoyed that such an article even needed to be written. This post is my response to that article. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Vichy [Springs] proprietor Gilbert Ashoff offered this empowering never nude mantra for hot springs resorts: “One is no closer to nirvana with or without a bathing suit.” Vichy requires bathing suits.”

So, if you’re reading this (and you’re a never nude), head to Vichy Springs. They require a bathing suit and they also like to use Jack London as a marketing tool (apparently he considered Vichy to be his favorite). So, Jack London was a racist and a never nude!? Huh! Now, there are two reasons that we’ll never hold Naked Camp at Vichy Springs.

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Why am I so passionate about this? How does it effect me? I spend the majority of my working life reassuring people that they are beautiful and unique fucking snowflakes. Society has conditioned most of us to believe that we’re not spectacular specimens of human sexiness. So, as a Fitness Coach, I spend a lot of emotional energy trying to correct that. I’m able to recognize insecurities in other people and it’s a fucking drag. What’s the one thing that no one wants to be reminded of during their decompression/downtime? The emotionally heavy aspect of their career. That’s how it effects me. It effects my friends in other ways.

For the trans community that goes to Naked Camp to have the freedom of nudity that they can’t even experience on the clothing optional beaches, “Never Nudes Go Home!”

For the ladies that don’t want to be stared at by the jackass wearing cargo shorts, “Never Nudes Go Home!”

For those of us that don’t want to overhear you whispering (loudly) about our tattoos and piercings, “Never Nudes Go Home!”

I challenge myself (daily) to have compassion for all people, but not every place is for everybody. Never nudes (hopefully) haven’t been forced to be in a clothing optional resort. Never nudes, it’s easier for the rest of  us to have compassion for your condition if you don’t paint yourself into an uncomfortably nude corner. Never nudes, go home.

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The Necessity Of Nudity In The Now
In August (on the 20th), I’ll be performing in my first all nude show. That’s right, the full monty will happen on a stage in San Francisco. Stay tuned for more details on that. In the meanwhile…

Upcoming Burlesque Performances
Monday, July 6 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco
Friday, July 10 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco
Friday, August 14 – Hubba Hubba Revue @ DNA Lounge in San Francisco

Fitness Classes [Find me on the schedule at Studiomix, in San Francisco]
Mondays:
Studio Road Ride @ 5:45PM
Tuesdays:
TRX Bodyweight Burn @ 7:15PM
Wednesdays:
Studio Road Ride @ 7:00AM
Tabata Cross @ 5:45PM
Cross Mix @ 8:00PM
Fridays:
Studio Road Ride @ 6:15AM
Tabata Cross @ 8:30AM