The Perfect Sidekick is a queer woman’s dream gym


With an origin story straight out of a movie I present to you: The Perfect Sidekick—an Oakland gym organically grown from Natahalie Huerta, a lesbian trainer turned wing woman turned gym boss. With classes titled: Core Whore, Oakland Booty, Hard Core Homo, Tip Tops for Top Surgery (to name a few) and social events such as Pain and Champagne and Beers and Queers—it’s a gym that’s as social as it is fit. Oh, and did I mention they have a DJ and a disco ball?   

Perfect Sidekick facade

While interviewing Nathalie, I was delighted to learn that building a community, gender awareness, and inclusion is just as important to her and TPS as is being healthy. Tell me about The Perfect Sidekick!  Where did it start, where did the inspiration come from? 

Natahalie Huerta: I never had a “plan” to start The Perfect Sidekick. It has all happened organically. Back in 2010, I was in grad school and was working a full time job from seven to seven, then going to class until 10pm. That sucked ass! I had taken a break from training and decided to go back to it, but didn’t want to work in big corporate gyms. I’d been an independent trainer here and there in the past, so decided to look into that. I posted an ad on craigslist in the “lessons” sections, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to cut it because there were hella trainers on there. I need to be different.

So then I was like, “Hmm, how am I different? I’m a lesbian—maybe that’s a thing!” I went to Google it and just got back a bunch of porn and Jillian Michaels. (This was before she was out). I thought I was on to something so I changed the title of my ad to LESBIAN PERSONAL TRAINER and moved that shit over to the women for women section because I KNOW every lesbian cruises those ads. I was fucking right! In the first week, I got my first five clients! 

The clients just kept on coming and, within six months, I had rented a tiny place in Oakland, added group training and staff. By that point, we were pretty much a gym. I designed TPS from that point on based on my own experience as someone who has gone through a significant transformation (I lost 70 pounds), a personal trainer and a party lovin’ queer.


AE: My transformation put me in tune with making a gym welcoming by not body shaming, not showing a bunch of skinny bitches on our advertisements, getting rid of mirrors, knowing how to overcome the mind fucks and know the emotional journey that goes along with getting healthy.

NH: As a personal trainer, I knew how to make the gym efficient in giving results. And as a queer, I knew what my people liked and how to make them tick! With all of that, in the past five  years, I’ve kept tweaking and evolving TPS into what it is today.

AE: Where did the name come from?

NH: I kept finding myself going out to bars and clubs with my clients. I’d help get them in shape, but in their head, they were still that out of shape lesbian who didn’t have the confidence to meet new people. I’ve always been a social butterfly so I never turned down a bar invite.  I was going out as the wing-woman enough to make me Google “lesbian wing-woman” as a business concept. I wasn’t surprised to see that there were already wing-woman services for (straight) men, but none for lesbians. I decided to test it out and put an ad on Craiglist advertising myself as a lesbian wing-woman. Guess what? That worked too! 

I’d meet chicks up in the Castro, tell them the do’s and don’ts and how it all worked and for $30 an hour + covers and drinks (if they offered), I’d be their wing-woman for the night. That shit worked! People were into it!  Now I needed a name. What do you call a lesbian personal trainer/wing-woman?

I wasn’t having any luck with a name until I went to an entrepreneur met up. The icebreaker was saying your name and then describing your self in two words. Some dude described himself as the perfect sidekick and I was like, “Oh shit! That’s it!” I asked him if that was a thing, like the name of his business or something and he said no. I told him I as going to name my business that and BAM! That’s how I got the name. When I began to look further into it as a business concept the insurance liability for the wing woman part was crazy high so I dumped the wing-woman part of the concept, but kept the name and the training side. 

The name at that time reflected me as the perfect sidekick because it was a one-woman show. That’s no longer the case. Now I have a team of badass personal trainers, but the concept of the perfect sidekick now reflects the company as a whole: If you want to be a happy, healthy homo, we’re your perfect sidekick!


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