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Getting Fit At CrossFit Mean Streets

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Monday, October 11, 2010, at 11:01AM
Ronnie Teasdale of CrossFit Mean Streets Pamela Rouse

Ronnie Teasdale of CrossFit Mean Streets

A random stranger steps into a roll-top archway near 2nd and Main and inquires rather timidly what this place is that just opened. The owner, Ronnie Teasdale, late-20s wearing a half mohawk, hands the man a card listing his website. "We don't talk about what we do here."

While Teasdale's CrossFit Mean Streets isn't really a secret, he says that long before he opened as a gym, the basement was used to shoot horror and other films. including, as rumor has it, some of the scenes from "Fight Club."

Whether true or not, there is a sign near the entrance warning, "People get their ass kicked in here, and you are no exception."

Originally from Michigan, Ronnie Teasdale played hockey for about twenty years before moving to Los Angeles. With degrees in exercise science and psychology from Oakland University, he has used his education and experience to train others over the last four years.

Teasdale started as a one-on-one trainer in an 8'x8' living room with one piece of equipment. As his clientele expanded, he grew his operations accordingly, changing the size and space and adding trainers to help him teach his classes. Located on Main Street near 2nd, CrossFit Mean Streets is the fifth incarnation of his gym.

Currently with six trainers on staff (including himself) Teasdale says they cater to the athlete. "We're here to train people to be athletes. So everything that goes on here is real fitness. The object is to get people completely fit."

Teasdale's regimen focuses on ten elements: cardio, strength, speed, power, coordination, balance, accuracy, agility, flexibility, and stamina. With a combination of gymnastics weight-lifting, cardio, "the goal is to get people good at everything." At the end of the training, one should have accomplished at least eight of the ten elements.

Teasdale creates the training program. Training changes from day to day, and despite the training schedule being posted beforehand, Teasdale says you won't necessarily know what exactly you'll be doing when you get there. "You need to be prepared to do the unknown, the unknowable."

"We keep track of all the workouts. Every workout there's a score that you get," he says. "Whether it's the the time it took, the weight you did, the reps." The training goes beyond the gym, to lifestyle and diet. If you go with the program, he is a proponent of the Paleo Diet, which is known as "the original caveman diet."

He explains that our ancient ancestors were moving constantly, whether gathering food or running from predators. "We were escaping things on a daily basis, we had to do exercise."

Teasdale says that it's not how you look, but how fit you are. "It's a whole life thing here. I make sure people are eating exactly how our bodies are made to eat, and that people are doing the physical activities that our bodies are physically optimized to do."

"I want people to do great things. I don't care so much about looks. If you go towards fitness, then the looks follow." He says if you can dead-lift 200 pounds and run a five minute mile your body will be formed to function.

"My clients run marathons," he says. "We go do events because we think they're fun." He notes that if you are training with him, you should be able to do those things without training for them. Your body will be fit to respond accordingly.

One-on-one training sessions run for about $100/hr, but a client can take a single class for $20, twice-weekly classes of 2 to 20 people run $150 month, or $200 month for unlimited CrossFit. Discounts for the unlimited program are available to military, law enforcement, and firemen. Classes run in the mornings and the evenings, but other arrangements can be made. Introductory classes are free, but you have to call ahead before showing up. They don't take clients off the street.

There are no "men only" or "women only" classes at CrossFit Mean Streets. "There's not a 'women's only' world," Teasdale says.

One of his oldest personal training clients is a middle-aged woman that's been with him since the beginning. He gets neighbors from the historic core, as well as firemen and marines. The clients showing up for the 7pm class were of every age and sex, all training together, and at different levels of skill.

"I'm training people to be secure and to be as much real life as possible," he says. "In here I don't sugar-coat anything."

The impression one is left with is that it's much more than a gym, much more than a simple diet but a way of living. A program that takes commitment, or a willingness to commit.

CrossFit Mean Streets / 265 S Main / 213-290-2367

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