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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

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 + Certification

California State University, Hayward - Bachelors of Science

Los Medanos College - EMT - Emergency Medical Technician

National Academy of Sports Medicine    Corrective Exercise Specialist

National Academy of Sports Medicine    Sports Performance and Enhancement 

National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)

Group Exercise Instructor Certified- Cycling, Yoga, TRX, Pilates Reformer/Mat, Strength/Circuit/Sports Conditioning, Boxing Fitness, Resist-a-Ball, & BOSU

APEX - Nutrition Certified


Before fitness training, you were on your way to becoming a nurse.... Why the change?

While completing clinical rotations during my training, I started to see how antiquated our health care system really was.  Asad one of my co- trainer's at j+k are in total agreement with how dynsfuctional health care is in America...   I realized I couldn’t really help people the way I wanted to because our system is treatment based, which focuses on managing symptoms instead of preventing disease in the first place. I felt like a drug pusher when I saw how many medications my patients had to take and felt conflicted knowing they would only be prescribed more drugs to manage the side effects. Instead, I wanted to change the script and make a more immediate impact by championing fitness and preventative healthcare.


You've had ample experience teaching group classes from high intensity to yoga and a hybrid of all extremes on the spectrum of fitness.  How has teaching group classes informed your approach to one-on-one training.?

For me, personal training was a natural offshoot from teaching group classes. In fact, I was first compelled to go the group class route because of my own experience taking cycle classes. One instructor, in particular, pushed me to overcome my fears and step outside my comfort zone, and I knew I wanted to inspire others the way she inspired me. Even though I’ve been training for ten years now, I still get an adrenaline rush as I get ready to inspire others to reach for their best selves.


Describe your experience preparing for fitness competitions.?

I competed for five years, and it proved to be grueling on every level. Each show tested my mental and physical limits, and I took the self initiative to dive into all the finer details that would help me succeed: the science behind nutrition, training, and supplementation, and balancing recovery with intensity.  Most importantly, I learned what I was made of. I learned that I could do anything if I applied myself, and I felt empowered to motivate others who wanted to be healthier and feel better about their bodies. I’m a firm believer that self-confidence translates into all facets of one’s life, and in my workout programs, I try to guide our clients towards finding that for themselves.

You live in Oakland…what do you like most about it??

I love Oakland for its diversity and artistic vibe. My favorite place to go for a run or relax is Lake Merritt on a nice sunny day! It’s one place where Oakland’s neighborly feel comes to life and where a real sense of community is palpable.

What’s current on your playlist?

I actually grew up as a classically trained musician, and enjoy putting together playlists, whether they’re meant to calm the nerves or to get hyped for a workout. I’ve always been a house music junky for the energy it brings to an intense workout. However, some good hip hop or metal can be motivating as well. Desert Dwellers are a favorite for my yoga sessions!

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Education + Certification

Union College - Bachelor of Science Math and Physics

Ross University School of Medicine -  Doctor of Medicine MD

CrossFit Certification 


You have an interesting background as a trained M.D. What compelled you to tackle personal training after completing your residency?

The majority of the health issues we currently face are due to lifestyle choices, and this wasn't given due attention in medical school. How you eat, sleep, exercise and spend your free time can have a more immediate impact on physical health and longevity than your cholesterol levels. As a trainer, I'm able to directly facilitate a client's well being with specific exercise, lifestyle and dietary programs.


Where are you from, and what are some similarities and differences between San Francisco and your hometown?

I was born in Harlem, and grew up in New York. Both NY and SF are similar in terms of diversity and innovation. New York is a bit more fast paced and larger in scope and scale. SF has a definite vibe though - - people here seem to be more socially progressive and forward thinking. I find both cities to be intellectually enriching places to live, and that makes training clients here all the more rewarding.

You're of South Asian descent. What was it like growing up?

Luckily NY is so diverse and acceptance of different communities happens at a much faster rate. However ,I did have to go through a hazing period of sorts. Being ethnically "different," I had to navigate the complex social dynamics of high school and deal with some bigotry and racism - - experiences that tested my mental resolve and resilience. I had an extremely strong family life (something a lot of South Asians can relate to) and that kept me focused on just being true to myself. If you can learn to be nice and compassionate in NYC you can learn to be accepting anywhere.


You're very much into biology, biohacking, and understanding how vitamin intake, sleep patterns, dna sequencing, etc. can enhance our understanding of how bodies perform optimally.  What are you most excited about when you link up the human body with where you think the future of science is taking us?

I’m really excited about the future because I see health/medicine moving in a different direction altogether. Right now we operate under a model which takes genetic determinism as the rule. You are your genes and those are the cards you are dealt and you can learn to make the best of them. This view is losing ground as research in the fields of chronobiology, biophysics, quantum biology, and optogenetics is starting to reveal that epigenetics (otherwise, the environment you place your body in) is the most important variable for your health and well-being.

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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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Bard College                                                                                     

National Academy Sports Medicine    CPT

National Academy Sports Medicine - Customized Integrated Injury

Prevention 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....