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Pain to champagne: a new way to work out

Nathalie Huerta, co-owner of the Perfect Sidekick, exercises. (Bonnie Horgos)

“I don’t look like a Barbie doll trainer,” Nathalie Huerta said.

Not unless Barbie sported tattoos, all black and never gave Ken a single frozen-eyed glance of admiration. Oh, and if Barbie could bench-press 150.

Huerta co-founded the Perfect Sidekick, a personal training business aimed towards lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender hopefuls looking to shed a few pounds and maybe meet some cardio comrades over mimosas along the way. A current second-semester Masters of Business Administration student, Huerta is offering Mills students half hour training sessions for $29.

“The whole idea of the Perfect Sidekick kind of started as a joke,” Huerta said. “It was kind of like, instead of being a trainer, being the wing-woman—the perfect sidekick.”

And Huerta does seem like an ideal sidekick. Her tattoos alone are inspirational; she has “self-made” inked on the back of her neck to symbolize a person’s responsibility for accountability.

Another tattoo on her left shoulder proclaims “BEDOHAVE.”

“You need to be, you need to do, and you need to have,” Huerta said. “It’s there because I don’t want to have a chip on my shoulder.”

Keeping that philosophy in mind, Huerta started the company in July with her partner Mila Diane. The Perfect Sidekick now trains 13 people of various abilities.

One client, Andrea Laymon, has lost 50 pounds since July with the help of Huerta’s training, which includes weightlifting, cardio and good old-fashioned sit-ups.

So far the results have been wonderful,” Laymon, a warehouse manager, said. “I definitely feel the results and see the results.”

Laymon discovered the Perfect Sidekick when she stumbled upon an ad Huerta posted on Craigslist. Laymon said the business’s specialization in LGBT training was one of the Perfect Sidekick’s many selling points.

“It wasn’t the deciding factor, but it definitely was one of the deciding factors,” Laymon said. “But my main reason was I definitely wanted to get back on the market.”

And if there’s one thing Huerta knows it’s how to get someone back in their britches.

“Fitness is like dating,” Huerta said. “You have to go and find something that’s comfortable.”

Huerta herself has dealt with weight problems. Athletic her whole life, Huerta played basketball for Dominican University for two years before getting her bachelors of science in exercise and sports science at University of San Francisco. After college, however, Huerta gained 70 pounds.

“Gaining the weight, I didn’t want to go out; I didn’t want to be seen,” Huerta said. “So I went through the emotions of dropping all of that weight.”

Huerta said she thinks her ability to empathize with her clients makes her a more effective trainer.

“I’ve always said that just because you know how to work out doesn’t mean you know how to train,” Huerta said.

Huerta, however, knows how to work out and train; she’s currently preparing to run a marathon this December with her partner. And when it comes to training, Huerta likes to get creative.

The Perfect Sidekick hosted a free 30-minute boot camp, called Pain and Champagne, at Lake Merritt on Sunday. Afterwards, participants enjoyed brunch at bottomless mimosas at the Terrace Restaurant in Oakland.

“It’s a way for us to strengthen our relationships and to meet new people,” Huerta said.

The Perfect Sidekick’s next event is the Warrior Dash at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, a three and a half mile obstacle course.

“It’s easier for clients to work towards an event and have another sense of accomplishment,” Huerta said. “Otherwise, people just go to the gym because they’re a little fluffy.”