Justin Andrews has been a Mission Cliffs member since 2011, and a superstar desk staffer and personal trainer there since 2015. Dancer, climber, and all-around badass, he’ll be taking the helm at Cliffs of Id in Culver City and we couldn’t be prouder! Get to know more about this fantastic human in this brief interview—and perhaps find some topics to chat about the first time you see him at the gym. (Hint: nerdy stuff!)
Please tell us a little bit about your background!
I grew up in Las Vegas, NV, where I went to an arts high school and majored in dance. I was also a competitive cheerleader for a few years, but that’s neither here nor there.
I went to school in Connecticut where I majored in dance performance, and after graduating, I Googled my way out to San Francisco, as I didn’t much care for NYC. A few very odd jobs and a hustle or two later, I ended up dancing for a company called ODC. After five years with the company, I decided to retire from professional dance. So, I obtained my NASM Certified Personal Training certification and got a job at Mission Cliffs front desk, which pretty much brings us up to speed.
Now, I enjoy doing all the things I couldn’t do while dancing, like skateboarding and riding a motorcycle, because you might break something (which I did, no regrets). I also enjoy climbing outside, teaching fitness classes, going to Cons (pre-COVID), and playing board games and video games. I also enjoy doing any of the aforementioned activities with my wonderful wife, whom I married on top of a hospital in 2020 because I broke my arm riding a motorcycle (still no regrets).
How did you get started at Touchstone?
My first experience at a Touchstone gym was at Sacramento Pipeworks while I was on tour with ODC in 2011. (I think? I guess I could check my waiver. But I digress!) After a few hours of ripping my skin off at Pipeworks, I was hooked on climbing.
A few other dancers and I ended up getting memberships at Mission Cliffs, and that was basically it. I didn’t go climbing outside too much in the first few years because I was still dancing professionally, but once I retired, I was all in.
What are you excited to bring to your gym now that you’re the manager?
Honestly, I’ve only been to Cliffs of Id once, and that was to run in, take a quick look, buy a pair of shoes, say “hi” to Remi if she was there (it was Saturday; she wasn’t), and get on the road to Red Rocks. I can say that I am so psyched to be the new manager of such a beautiful gym. (I’ve been giving myself the self-guided tour on the website for weeks!)
My main goal going in as a new manager, especially inheriting someone else’s gym, is to feel out the community, figure out the culture, and build on the foundation that Remi has laid. Of course I’m excited to get some kick-ass fitness classes up and running again (hopefully I’ll have time to teach one or two), and I’d love to get some friendly climbing leagues going, as well as community engagement programs, but none of that can happen until I get an understanding of the community and culture of the city, members, and staff.
As a gym, we’re here to serve the community by creating an inclusive space for both professional and recreational athletes to climb and get their fitness on, and it is my personal mission to make Cliffs of Id the best gym that it can be.
All that being said, I absolutely believe that as a gym, we’re here to serve the community by creating an inclusive space for both professional and recreational athletes to climb and get their fitness on, and it is my personal mission to make Cliffs of Id the best gym that it can be.
What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I don’t know yet, but I’m so excited to find out!!!!!!
What’s something you can talk about forever?
Star Wars, Magic: the Gathering, sci-fi movies, fantasy books…yeah, I’m a big nerd. 🤓 Just think nerdy things, and you’ll keep me talking for a while.
How would you describe your managerial style?
I attempt to lead by example. Whether it’s with a member or staff, I think the best first option is to approach situations as teaching moments. Having the knowledge of the situation gives you the power to react in a controlled manner, which means that you have the power to react without being reactionary—which in my experience, has always been a better road to take. So, if I can educate my staff and members in a polite and informative manner, hopefully they’ll carry that knowledge and patience to the next person.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Just that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take over what I already know is an awesome gym, and I’m ready for a new adventure! So long 2020!!!!!