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Education + Certification

San Francisco State University
Bachelor of Science  Kinesiology
American College of Sports Medicine 

I know one of your passions is Muay Thai.  How did you get into it, and how has it changed your life/fitness approach?

I've been very interested in Muay Thai training ever since the movie Ong Bak came out.  Unfortunately, there weren't any Muay Thai gyms in my hometown of El Cerrito.  In 2013 I stumbled across Chai Yo Muay Thai, an academy owned by the legendary Master Cheetah Chanthanao, and the rest is history.  Muay Thai can be very brutal, both in its fighting strategies and its training. But it is also a martial art that demands a lot out of you, both emotionally and physically.  I like to instill this relentless work ethic that I learned from my years of Muay Thai training into helping others.

You grew up in the Bay Area, and your dad is of Asian descent and your mom is of Caucasian descent. What was that like?

Unfortunately my mother passed away when I was only 5 years old.  Being raised by a single father had its ups and down, but overall my dad taught me to always be strong and to maintain a level head.  Despite all the challenges one would face in life, I'm grateful to have an amazingly strong and selfless father to support me and to help me become a better man.


You traveled quite extensively and it's a passion of yours. What are your favorite places to go and why? What do you like to do?

In 2018 I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand.  Since my dad was born in the Philippines, I am particularly fond of the country.  Being there gave me an appreciation for my heritage, not to mention the amazing beaches and cuisine. Nilagang baka, adobo, sinigang, and sisig are just some of my must-have dishes while I'm there, and I loved island hopping in Palawan and visiting the Kawasan Falls in Cebu and the Chocolate Hills in Bohol.


What do you do to stay in shape and what are your cheat meals like???

I workout twice a day, 5 times a week. In addition to training in Muay Thai, I love incorporating powerlifting and explosive movements like box jumps, split jerks/cleans, deadlifts into my workouts. These movements/style in training def help translate into my Muay Thai practice. Since Muay Thai is anaerobic with explosive kicks and punches. I also run a lot to keep my endurance up and will sign up for occasional half marathon’s. My cheat meals are epic! I like to eat ramen, donuts, cookies, vegan ice name it, I'll eat it…

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Education + Certification

California Poly San Luis Obispo -  Bachelor of Science Kinesiology San Francisco State  University -  Masters of Science  Kinesiology



Lucky for me, I had very loving and supportive parents who never pressured me into one career choice.  Instead, they always gave me the freedom to pursue what I was passionate about.  When I decided to become a health and fitness professional, my family was behind me all the way. 


Suffering a serious ACL injury playing football has given me an informed perspective on the rehabilitation process. It taught me patience and perseverance over the course of the recovery, two things I try to instill in clients who are coming back from injury.  My experience with injuries incurred through competitive football has allowed me to develop safe and effective exercise programs that steadily progress to get clients back to their peak fitness level.


Mexico City is one of my favorite places in the world.  It really has everything a city can offer: Amazing food, rich and diverse culture, beautiful architecture, and welcoming people.   My list of travel destinations seems to be never ending, but I'm thinking the next few places I'd like to visit are South America, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe.


I love living in the Mission. The dichotomy of culture, grit, polar opposites of people walking down the street. All the spectrums of people you wouldn't be able to see in other neighborhoods.  Great restaurants and bars on every corner, and it’s easy to get to any part of the city from here. I even get to walk to work and see it all...

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Education + Certifications

University of San Francisco Masters Degree Counseling Psychology American College of Sports Medicine 


How did you get into training and why j+k?

Personal training allows me to be in tune with my passion for exercise and for helping others. I am also training to be a psychotherapist, and hope to one day integrate physical fitness into mental health treatment programs. I truly believe beyond its physical benefits, exercise can also improve mental health, relieving anxiety and reducing symptoms of depression. As for my decision to work at J+K, I really connected with the studio's personalized approach toward its clients as well as Jae's compassion for everyone who walks in the door. 

Where are you from and what brought you to the Bay Area?

I am originally from Memphis, TN and I came to the Bay Area, knowing that a place so unique and accepting like San Francisco would push me to learn more about myself, others, and the world. I also went to graduate school at the University of San Francisco, earning a degree in Counseling Psychology.


Growing up in Memphis came with its own ups and downs as the city dealt with economic hardship, crime and poverty.  I saw my own family try to stay afloat despite a decent income and endure through hard times. Yet my family always set the tone that we would always be okay. For me this was a life lesson that I carry with me always...that no matter what struggle, set back, or failure happens, hard work, a hopeful attitude, and the acceptance of things beyond our control can make one stronger.

I know you enjoy exercising.  What it is about powerlifting and lifting a lot of weights that resonates with you?

Exercise is my therapy - -  It is the the one time of the day when I can relieve stress, feel empowered, and be my own superhero. I've always loved to run but it wasn't until college when I discovered weightlifting. Dumbbells and barbells were intimidating to me at first but over time, they became a staple of my routines. Now my heart is in Olympic lifting. The feeling of pushing my body through a clean or snatch is exhilarating.

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Education + Certification

Universiteit Gent   -  Linguistics Hogeschool Gent -  Nutrition Artevelde Hogeschool - International Business Management American Council on Exercise


You have a great transformation story Joe?   What happened?

Although I was underweight as a young child, I spent a good part of my adult life overweight due to serious digestion issues. I would have horrible cramping when I played sports, and the pain and discomfort I experienced while exercising kept me unmotivated to progressively train. After briefly shooting up into the range of obesity, I decided to make a change to better my life, beginning with a stricter diet and a regular aerobic exercise routine. I began seeing results and continued to refine my knowledge about nutrition and training to surpass each plateau I confronted. After a year, I had lost 127 pounds! I also began to lift weights to reestablish my body composition and correct postural imbalances.

What hobbies do you have outside of training? 

I played soccer growing up, and I have become obsessed with the sport as a whole. I will play or watch a game at any chance I get. After studying both Spanish and Dutch, I am also very interested in linguistics. I love the challenge of connecting with people and expressing myself through different languages. My deepest passion is probably bio-chemistry as I am absolutely fascinated with understanding why and how everything functions on a molecular level. 


What’s on your Spotify playlist right now? 

Netsky, Juno Reactor, Zhu, Chase & Status, Alina Baraz, Odesza 

You grew up locally in the bay area and also in Europe. How has that shaped you as a person?

While studying in Belgium for 4 years, I learned more outside of the classroom then while at my desk. Living in both the SF area as well as Europe, I've been immersed with people from all around the world, each showing their unique perspective. Taking the time to work through language barriers to express one's opinion has helped me become a better communicator. and understanding the subtleties of body language. 

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Education + Certification

Cuesta College Bachelor of Science Nutrition & Business Administration American Council of Exercise Certification


What led you to a Life of fitness and health?

I became a personal trainer mostly because the serious injuries I had, and being able to over-come them led me wanting to help people overcame their own obstacles. Being stronger, quicker,,and more mentally focused has given me the confidence to do things I would never imagine doing. And seeing a client transform the way I saw myself transform is the reason why we do this…..

You played basketball competitively, what responsibilities are there in Basketball relation to work and life?

Understanding basketball is a game of many moving parts and responsibilities. Being able to play with anyone regardless of their weaknesses or strengths, you learn how to adapt quickly. When to be aggressive or too defer. You’ll have better chemistry with some players more so than others but it’s most important to play collectively as a team if you want to win a game.

The game of basketball has translated into many aspects of my own life. You learn to understand people, and how they like to live their lives, which makes it easier to forge friendships. My curiosity in meeting different people from all walks of life has been fulfilling and one of the most enjoyable things in helping people.


You suffered a serious injury in basketball, what injury did you have and how has that experience help you as a trainer ?

While in college, playing basketball I suffered stress fractures to both of my shins which led to compensatory issues in my gait/kinetic chain. This later led to major issues with my knees. Through this experience I understood emotionally and physically what clients where feeling when they came in hurt. Through years of training and seeing every imaginable situation it helped me become the trainer I am today.  Persistence, hard word, accountability it does equate to results.


Last place you traveled too, what was it like?

I went to the Philippines over Christmas and it was my first time out of the country. I really enjoyed the feeling of being lost in a different place and not understanding a single word, it was exhilarating.. I fell in love with the culture, food and the smiles from the local’s

Which writer or book are you reading these days ?

Robert Kiyosaki, the failure’s in his life are what drew me to him... Which was the only way he was able to achieve his success. Sometimes you gotta experience some of that to get better

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Bard College
National Academy Sports Medicine    CPT
National Academy Sports Medicine - Customized Integrated InjuryPrevention Program World Kettlebell Club Coach Certified Blackbelt Tae Kwon Do  


what compelled you to pursue a career in personal training?

Initially I had dreams of working in multimedia design after graduating from undergrad school. I logged in long hours at a corporate design job, hunched over a computer with very little human interaction. It hit me quickly...this was neither the job nor lifestyle I craved especially since fitness had always been an integral part of my life and identity. I decided to make a career change, and worked as a trainer at a corporate gym. My parents – who are on the extremely conservative side and wanted me to work behind a desk for any established company– didn’t know about my career change for a long time.

How has fitness played a role in your life?

When I was growing up, sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, and tae kwon do had a huge impact on me.  As one of the only Asian American kids in the neighborhood, I was able to use sports to forge relationships and make friends. I also learned a lot about discipline, teamwork, and perseverance. To this day, they are still things I value in my personal life and work life.

Why did you choose to start j+k, and how did you get started?

Working at a corporate gym helped me understand what I wanted j+k to be, it was going to be the antithesis of that. I didn’t want people to feel like they were being herded into the same workout regimen because at the end of the day, people aren’t the same.  Their bodies aren’t the same. I wanted to offer training in a private and inspiring space that gave identities and bodies back to our clients. 

I also envisioned j+k offering a judgment-free environment, so that people could feel comfortable and confident working out. 


Both demand savvy problem-solving skills, the ability to find creative solutions, and an endless supply of passion. For an experienced designer it’s not just about making things look beautiful. He/she needs to assess clients’ tastes, preferences, and overall vision before producing results.  The same goes for fitness training to a certain degree…you listen to a client and what his/her goals may be. You consider their background and with all this information come up with a solution you’ll execute over the course of time.

In terms of your own workouts what are you doing these days?

Ironically enough I work with a mixed martial artist trainer to fine tune and learn the naunces of striking with both my hands, knees, elbows, legs and proper footwork.    It's been the most cathartic experience punching and kicking a pad.  I'm a firm believer in mixing things up so my body is always guessing. Sometimes a trainer needs a trainer....