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SF's Hottest Trainer 2015: Jonathan Jordan of Equinox, Contestant #10

Jonathan "JJ" Jordan, Equinox Pine Street
Jonathan "JJ" Jordan, Equinox Pine Street
Photos: Mark Kuroda

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Most of us are captivated by stories where people overcome incredible obstacles and turn their lives around for the better. Well, Jonathan "JJ" Jordan, a Tier 3+ Trainer at Equinox Pine Street, is a poster boy for such a scenario. Basically, it was a trainer who saved JJ from his demons—by helping him to discover that battle ropes and kettle bells would lead him to a lasting, healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Now, this Virginia native is paying it forward and inspired to change the lives of others. And he’s definitely succeeding.

In one sentence, tell us about yourself.

I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach who delivers customized fitness programs that help clients (safely) look, feel and live better.

What inspired you to become a trainer/fitness instructor?

I grew up a very overweight (OK, obese) gay kid in the south, who turned into a crazy, overachieving, stressed-out, alcoholic jerk. I worked insane hours for a job that paid me a lot of money and that I was really good at but wasn’t my passion. I was unhealthy and ugly on the inside and out, and heading toward an early grave. For the one hour a day, three days per week I spent with my trainer, I was happy. I focused on my body and what I was feeling. One day it struck me: If I let go of my fear of failure and humble myself to start over, I could be a great trainer. I could change lives like my trainer changed mine. After months of studying, exams and learning everything I could, I took the plunge and haven’t regretted it for a second.

What advice would you offer to someone who is just starting in your class?

When in doubt, remember the four Bs: Breathe (don’t forget to do it); Brace (your core); Booty (squeeze it) and Body (listen to it).

Fun fact...go!

I have a camel with the number 24 tattooed on my arm as a reminder of my personal recovery. A camel can go 24 days without water and symbolizes that we have a choice every day. We can be good to ourselves and do the next right thing or we can choose to slip into old, bad habits.

If you weren’t in fitness, what would you be doing?

I can’t imagine not being in fitness. But if I had to do something else, I’d likely go back to school for an advanced degree in psychology and pursue counseling. I studied psychology at Duke University (many years ago now) and have found that base knowledge helpful in motivating clients.

What are your top three workout jams?

"+1" by Martin Solveig; "Raindrops" by SNBRN"; and Supernatural" by AlunaGeorge.

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