TJ's Gym Weekly News 08/16/2018



We are super grateful to have Lars back in the gym after a major bike wreck a few weeks ago. While it has not been scientifically proven, we are pretty sure his fitness helped. Stay safe, Lars! Great to see you doing so well! P.S. Be like Lars and always wear a helmet.

Message from TJ:

Samuel* (name changed for privacy) was a client of mine a couple of decades ago. He was born to a single mother in another country. Based on Sam's account, his mom was possibly the toughest mother I've ever heard of, a sort of Catholic school nun combined with prison guard. Sounded fun. She had one goal for her only child: to get him to the United States. Somehow, some way, she was successful. Through a series of almost miraculous events, she was able to get him into a private school back east when he was 13 years old. From day one, Sam's mother made him speak his native language, along with English, even though she didn't speak English very well. I joked that if I ever had anyone leave the outgoing message for the gym I was planning to open some day, it was going to be him. The mix of his accent, bass tone, and eloquence, would make Morgan Freeman blush. He graduated from Stanford, earned his MBA, started working for a major corporation in the Bay Area, and settled into life in San Francisco. He climbed the corporate ladder and eventually became a senior vice president. Well done, Sam.

Sam was in his late 50's when we met. He was referred to me by another client, and I immediately fell in love with him. He was a wide-open, honest, laugh-out-loud human who immediately brought you into his life by making you feel like you were the most interesting person he knew. His care for his friends was his greatest gift, and he  welcomed me into his world as one of his oldest friends, even though we had just met.

Sam needed me to know his story before we ever started working out. He was HIV positive. You have to remember that this was 1995. There was no cure, no protocols, and, 20 years into the epidemic, very little hope for a cure. Sam was loaded up on steroids and Testosterone and was told by the best doctors in the world to gain 20-30 pounds of muscle in case he became sick and started to waste away. The protocol back then was to have more of you, to buy time, just in case a cure was developed.

Most folks didn't last very long back then. Some were blessed with the ability to genetically fight the disease for a longer period of time, but many died in under a year. Sam's partner had died of AIDS in just a few months, a year before I met him. Sam didn't know he was HIV positive until after his partner died.

For five years, I had the absolute honor of spending time with this great man. He taught me about life, love, and being a man. I was a 25-year-old knucklehead just rolling through my days when I met him. He helped me realize that I had more to offer. He helped me figure out that Allison was the one. He helped me become who I am today.

He wasn't able to make it to our wedding, but he gifted us two first class plane tickets for our honeymoon as a gift.

Shortly after that, Sam's health deteriorated rapidly. His eyes jaundiced. His cough worsened. His energy depleted daily. The "cocktail" for HIV had been discovered, but it was too late for Sam. His death was very heavy for me and the rest of his friends.

I'm sharing my story about Sam, because I had a rough patch recently, and those patches will sometimes make me think of him. The memory of his ear-to-ear smile every time he saw me helps to pull me out of my funk. In the midst of my most recent fog, something absolutely beautiful happened.

Hyden is one of our members. He just graduated from high school and is taking a gap year before he heads off to college. He's working in the city to gain experience in the "real world." He is incredibly witty, smart, and driven.

I helped Hyden work on his senior project--a proposal to bring fitness to kids at the local community center. I helped him set up the program and told him what to expect and how to navigate the red tape of local municipalities. While the outcome of the project didn't end up exactly like he had hoped, we both had a great experience connecting around it.

Hyden is thoughtful and kind, moreso than most adults, probably.  He gave me this gift:

This is a journal that HE MADE HIMSELF.

I write this blog to tell stories that, hopefully, make you take stock of your "haves" and "have nots." I do it to differentiate this community from all others. I do it to try to give something back to the very best of you who constantly work at getting better every day.

I also do it to acknowledge the pretty amazing people I have the honor and pleasure of knowing. While I have thanked Hyden already, this is my true thank you note.

Hyden, Sam would tell you that you have so much more left to give and that you can't stop trying to give it. He would tell you a story of how vicious the gangs were in his home country, but no where near as nasty as the corporate boardrooms he would one day encounter. His point would be that you are developing tools when you struggle as a young person, and you will use those tools later in life to help you succeed and find happiness.

Sam would be proud of both of us.

You have brought back many tear-filled memories of a wonderful friend of mine. I wish he were here to meet you, but selfishly, too, I wish he were here to be able to see what THIS knucklehead has become.

Thanks for confirming that Sam was right and that I'm doing the right thing. ~TJ


The MAKE-IT-HAPPEN Fall Lifestyle and Nutrition Program with TJ.

This one's going to be good, and so are you! You won't want to miss out. STAY TUNED!

Labor Day Schedule


SUMMER Session goes through August! 

*Mill Valley - Tuesday/Thursday (12 - 16) 4 pm

*Corte Madera - Monday/Wednesday (ages 12 - 16) 4 pm *Corte Madera -Tuesday/Thursday (10 - 13) 4:30 pm *Mill Valley - Wednesday 4:30 (12 - 16) - Girls-only *Corte Madera - Saturday (12 - 16) 11 am

FALL Session starts in SEPTEMBER

Our next Teen/Tween session on Tuesday, September 4th

Here are the details :

Session Dates:  September 4th - October 28th

Session Pricing - 8 Weeks

$176 (one day a week)*

$320 (two days a week)*

$430 (three days a week)*

Please reply ASAP to secure a spot. As always, we also have monthly options available for our year-round members.

Fall Schedule Our current class schedule will always be posted on our schedules page HERE.

*Corte Madera - Monday/Wednesday (ages 12 - 16) 4 pm *Mill Valley - Tuesday/Thursday (12 - 16) 4 pm *Corte Madera -Tuesday/Thursday (10 - 13) 4:30 pm *San Rafael - Tuesday/Thursday (12 - 16) 4 pm **(New offering!) *Mill Valley - Wednesday 4:00 (12 - 16) - Girls-only **PLEASE NOTE NEW TIME *Corte Madera - Saturday (12 - 16) 11 am

*Classes expire at the end of the session. Make-ups can happen as needed throughout the session. Schedule subject to change based on registration numbers.

Email to register.


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