Q: Tell us where you are from and a little about your background.
A: I grew up in Menlo Park and lived here most of my life. I went to Menlo High School and then to Stanford. I’ve lived a few places in between but ultimately settled here and now work in San Francisco.
Q: Where do you work in San Francisco?
A: I work downtown in the Financial District and I live in Hillsborough.
Q: Can you tell us how old you were when you first started at Fernside.
A: I think I was probably sixteen because I don’t think I did it before I could drive but it was right around my sixteenth birthday when I started.
Q: Can you tell us about Gary and how you were introduced to the Riekes Center?
A: I was introduced through a friend. A friend of mine had started working out with Gary and said it was fun and it was a great workout. That’s how I got interested. Gary used to have these kind of informal workouts at local high schools where we would basically do a running workout and anyone could come and I came once. And he said, you should come workout [at Fernside]. One thing led to another and I kind of came and he put together a workout and I really liked it.
Q: What were your first impressions of Gary, and the Riekes Center.
A: Well it was kind of different. It was his house, it was just stuffed full of gym equipment and so it was a little different. But it was cool because he had a bunch of different machines that I’ve never seen before. His approach to workouts was different, too. And Gary was always pretty funny, always cracking jokes and making things fun. It was interesting, there was a lot less science kind of rigor behind the methodology, the training regimens. And he was definitely way ahead of his times in that regard which was pretty noticeable right away.
Q: Do you remember what your first goals were?
A: I guess just to gain weight and get stronger.
Q: Did you accomplish those?
Q: Can you tell us about how the Riekes Center has impacted you?
A: It was a great experience, for me it was a part of the high school athletic experience. It’s blended very much. The same guys I would lift weights with or that I played sports against were working out at the Riekes Center. It was just kind of fun and social. We were all trying to get better and we were all competitive but it was done in a way that was fun for everyone. It was a very positive experience.
Q: How would your friends describe you?
A: They probably would say I’m a little quiet. They would say I’m competitive. I guess I would try to do my own thing.
Q: What are some of your favorite books, movies, music?
A: I love music and actually just started taking piano lessons again. I played when I was a kid until about sixteen and then dropped it. I’m doing that again and it’s actually really fun even though I never played a song I’ve ever heard on the radio, it’s a bunch of random classical stuff. It sounds good on a piano but it’s not the type of thing I would listen to. And music has always been important to me. I always have music playing because I feel like I can get energy from music.
Movies? I try and see movies pretty regularly although I rarely see them in the theater. I like laying on my couch and renting them and being able to pause them. But movies are hard for me..
Q: Any books?
A: I’m trying to read pretty regularly. My wife is pretty good, she’s in a book club. So she kind of passes to me, the one’s that are good to her. I probably read about half as much as her but that’s about as much as I can handle. I end up traveling a lot for my work so I like having a good book to read on the airplane. I just finished one that’s called Garden of the Evening Mist, which was excellent. I recommend it. Or maybe one that would be more relevant for this group would be The Art of Fielding which was really good.
Q: Can you tell us a little about what makes you laugh? Do you have any memories from being a Fernside that you look back on and it makes you laugh?
A: It was just very funny, Gary’s back was bothering him a lot then so he spent a lot of time in bed, so he would have video cameras in the room. He would watch you and yell down the hall “hey! You’re taking too much rest” or “you’re form is terrible, do those again” type of thing. And you look back at those and it’s kind of funny, the whole setup was kind of bizarre. But it was fun because everyone was friends and it worked out.
Q: So Zoe (your daughter) is going here now and that’s kind of a full circle, we always love to hear about how that came to be.
A: I was hoping it would happen. I didn’t want it to be me saying she should do it, I want her to come discover it on her own which I think is how it happened. There’s always a good cohort of kids from Menlo who are here so she knew about it and came to check it out and has really enjoyed it. I know she’s really enjoyed it because she’s down here a lot and I think she likes working here just as much as she likes working out here, which I think is terrific. I don’t hear a ton, like I don’t hear a ton about most things from my teenage daughter but I know she likes it because it’s always “oh I’m going to go to Gary’s for like 6 hours” Oh really? That’s really a long workout. So there are things she likes here.
Q: Could you describe any moral value that’s been instilled through volunteering here? Or did you see any susceptible shift?
A: Well it’s hard to say but I think the fact that she likes people are given responsibility here. There’s an ethic that everyone is expected to take part in and be a part of. I think it resonates with her. It’s a good thing and she’s happy to be a part of it.
Q: You did a good job getting her ready. Is there anything else you would like to add about the Riekes Center?
A: I think it’s a great thing that Gary has put together and the philosophy behind it and it’s really powerful if it can sustain itself and take hold, which it has. So it’s a tribute to him and what it does for people personally, as well as physically. It’s a great and a unique connection.