Dinner dates, heavy breathing and wine country - THM03
The Nate Chambers (who will now be known as TNC because I couldn’t be stuffed writing it every time) is a fully qualified Gym Jones instructor who co-owns a gym in San Fran called Roarks Gym. They are a Gym Jones affiliated facility with sister and brother gyms in South Africa.
TNC has also invented the yolk out, a chiropractor tool for releasing fascia, the founder and director of Fit Factory, as well as GoBros which are the coolest singlets on planet earth. All that and his Dad is the mayor of Healdsburg CA. To add to all of these accolades, he has completed all of these around starting and building a human performance focused facility with a family feel AND he also builds and develops websites.
Just a slight underachiever. His sister is much the same. Their whole family is.
Do you know the worst part about all of this? They are really, really nice people. You can't even not like them. It's disgusting in the most delicious way.
As always though, these things are not him. They are by-products of who he is.
TNC is a friend and an integral member of a bigger family. He gets it. He understands the bigger picture and gives more than he takes. I made the decision earlier this year to do a day road trip to North Sydney and back to train with Nate and the Chocolate Box boys with whom I had never met. He was in town for the week and this was my only opportunity to meet with him and the boys and what better way to do it then to show them what fitness actually doesn’t look like. Laughs aside, we built a friendship on a deeper ‘why’.
TNC romanced myself and the boys at a burger joint called Roam. I think it is called Roam because all of the cash in my wallet went walk about after purchasing a burger and a beer. Or maybe it was called Loan burger for obvious reasons.
Knowing a local is invaluable when travelling. Knowing a man like TNC is like having a guide, a jester and brother all in one. All in a town that has all but one street that separates homelessness from wealth.
Once we finished our loan burger, we parted ways and fought our way back to our hostel. After taking turns on post to watch out for impeding dangers, we brushed our teeth and headed back to the shadow that was left of our mattress.
As mentioned in my first article of this tour, this hostel must have been featured in many horror films. Or documentaries.
It was weird, your body could rest but your senses were alive in this hostel. With the harmless lion snoring next to us, It felt as though we were on Survivor.
- Saturday the 10th of July -
We welcomed day 5 with the pleasing fact that we were all voted off the show. Once packing up our rations, we checked out and climbed the cement jungle to let Ellen free on the streets of San Fran.
We were on our way to the boys first experience of Gym Jones in the trusty hands of TNC.
For those of you who are not familiar with the tale of Gym Jones then allow me to shine a flickering candle on a mysterious street.
Gym Jones is an unspoken book of training laws for life and performance that is riddled with heavy breathing and structural strength.
At its core, it is a lifelong training regime that strengthens you by developing your grey matter first. if Gym Jones was a person, it would be the most interesting person in the room. With every question you asked it, you got a deeper insight into your own self. Their extensive intelligence would be based from real world experiences and dust covered books that hid in corners of library's.
In its more straight forward form, Gym Jones is a mental obstacle course executed through heavy breathing and functional strength.
No fluff marketing. No bullshit promises.
Hard, authentic work.
The training feels like real life, not a sometimes chore you do when motivation stumbles upon you.
BUT, before we ate iron and breathed fire, a wild Roop appeared for breakfast.
Roop Sihota as mentioned in an earlier blog is really a gentleman. It is refreshing to dine with a self proclaimed stiff Indian in a world that deems themselves fitness gurus. I say this because Roop is far more than what he claims. A long standing colleague of Kelly Starret, the founder of MobilityWOD, he is an intelligent leader of movement in the health space. In between chunks of omelettes and what must be mung bean coffee, we talked about the industry and our ideals.
Roop reminded me that I have comrades all around the world with similar ideals and goals for the fitness industry as myself. He reminded me that there are people out there who I share a vision with yet haven’t had the pleasure of shaking hands with . People out there waiting to meet people like me. People just like you.
Roop and myself organised a time to talk about the future of the fitness industry and having a free social sharing platform of knowledge to uplift the whole industry. I mean, Elon Musk said it himself, if the boat is sinking then you teach everyone how to use a bucket.
After breakfast was conquered, Roarks gym was next.
What followed was a myriad of handshakes, high fives and moments of self-reflection. A tornado of thoughts and emotions filled both head and stomach as a team workout brings to surface the pressure of playing your part to the best of your ability. To let someone else down is to let yourself down. So once I broke the cables of the Ski Erg on my first rotation of a 7km team ski, I have to admit I felt I had somewhat let our team down.
Roll out a rower and bob’s your uncle.
Cause you know, I love rowing.
About as much as I love the idea of rubbing chili in my eye and dipping my head in a bucket of vinegar.
But, apparently when you're in a team its not all about you. Its about stepping up, it’s about playing your part.. “It’s only one damn rower workout, Dave. Do you have to make everything so damn deep?”
Shut your noise hole. I hate rowing.
So after completing multiple rounds of deadlifts, push presses, pull ups, Kettlebell cleans, front squats, bear crawls, box jumps and renegade rows, we squared up to complete a 7k row in 30 second efforts and sets of 10 push ups between grunts.
I don’t know our time, I don’t know how far I rowed, I just know I worked. Diagnostics are good. They keep you honest, but you know whats better than that? Just doing the fucking work. Each day. Rock up and be honest with yourself. You can build anything from there.
After our post workout high 5’s and protein shakes, we fed Ellen some much need gasoline and hit the road to Sonoma County. California’s answer to The Hunter Valley. And I promise you, she did not disappoint.
TNC had invited us up to his friends place his family was house sitting up in gorgeous wine country. He invited me and my friends up to spend time with his family in his home town. This is why family isn’t always blood. Such a kind gesture from such an authentic and loving family.
Healdsburg is a cosy little town pinned a few hours off the Californian coast which is hugged by hills and has veins of vineyards that run all through the country.
Our home for the night was a beautiful mixture of a modern American home and an old fashioned family sentiment that felt as though it was forever seeping out of the air conditioning. There was no surprise that Nates dad was the Mayor of Healdsburg. There was also no surprise that Nates little sister Bea, told us that she went for a hike and then watched predator while doing push-ups before lunch. We weren’t bunking with a normal family for the weekend.
Nor did we want to.
The weekend consisted of a classic American barbecue experience full of ribs and sweet potato tots (best things I have ever put in my mouth), some fine local Lager that breathed a handmade story with a local flavour. Sunday was met with a breakfast that would please a king and a warm dose of vitamin D.
We were not yet a week in and I could of gone home happy.
Nate, if you are reading this, Thank you to you and your family.
For anyone else reading this, Roarks Gym in San Francisco is one of the locals secrets. Hidden away in an grey cement jungle, I beg you to find yourself there.
As for Healdsburg, its been great but we must go, Yosemite and the Nevada desert are expecting us. We have just one more stop in San Francisco with my man Roop before Ellens rubber burns the winding corners and the never ending straights of our trek in land.
Roop is a guy you do not want to miss. Like a local secret, he is hard to track down but an experience you won’t forget.
As for me at the moment of writing this, we are weeks ahead and I am headed to Metroflex gym in Long Beach California. I think I left some gains there...
Follow us, you know you want to...
Nate @ Snap & IG: Thenatechambers
Dave Nixon @ Snap & IG: ddnix
Rory Bourke @ Snap & IG: rory.activeinfluence
Brendan dunn @ Snap & IG: b_dunn13