Ace Morgan didn’t always conscientiously prioritize yours or his health, but no matter where he lived or what was happening around him, he always worked out. Starting at age 12 in his Uncle Dave’s homespun gym garage where the local football team trained, Ace learned weight-lifting fundamentals. In 1993, he drove his motorcycle cross country, parked it in San Francisco, and picked up a job at a print shop for record labels, then later assisting at and eventually managing a local photo lab. All the while Ace never stopped working out. In 2001, Ace quit smoking and ramped up his workout regimen, catching notice with friends and community. When the digital revolution rocked the world of debatably secure employment in photography, Ace had a revolution and revelation of his own – people wanted what he already had: a wealth of knowledge, creativity, and fervor for taking care of one’s body. And they were willing to pay for it. In 2005, Ace became a certified personal trainer, and began training at a small gym on San Francisco’s Market Street. Since then, Ace has helped countless people – queer, trans and everyone in between – to their fitness goals or just to simply lead healthier lives. For Ace, it’s personal. Working out not only saved his life, it’s saved the lives of people who’ve come to him for help. He’s so sure that exercising is inexorably linked to emotional well-being (scientific fact: it is), that his personal training company, Ace Morgan Fitness, bears the slogan “Move Better, Feel Great.”
Fast forward to 2012, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian named Ace Morgan “Best Personal Trainer – Best of the Bay”. I caught up with him for a quick interview and photo shoot at a gym on Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District. In between demonstrating mind-blowing exercises, e.g. windshield wipers (think Markie Mark’s abs-training sequence in “The Boxer”) and 4-limbed balancing on medicine balls, he explained his simple and straight forward philosophy on fitness and wellness: do something, however small, every day. It could be as simple as dropping sugar from your diet to reduce inflammation, drinking more water, or getting up and moving around every 30 minutes. Ace’s approach to physical fitness is not that everyone goes Hollywood, but that taking care of yourself is a gift from you, to you, that you deserve and ought to give to yourself as much and as often as you can. Looking at it this way, there is no failing, only succes and, ultimately, more self-love.Someone nicknamed him “Ace” many years ago and, when it came time to think about changing it, he decided to let it ride. He says it’s a lot to live up to. Looking at his rippling arms and chest, I ask if anyone who trains with him feels unable to measure up. His response is no, because when it comes to taking care of you, there are no judgments, only good work to be done. In a community that has what feels like an overwhelming share of body issues, Ace lives up to his namesake every day not only in how he lives his own life, but in how he relentlessly cheers for yours. Working with a guy like him – it’s not about his expectations and possible let downs – it’s all about lifting yourself up.
Tough guy Ace Morgan has earned his name, his reputation, and his new title of Bay Area’s best. OP celebrates guys like him in our community. To find out more about Ace – and to see his exercise demo videos – visit www.acemorganfitness.com. Go ahead and give yourself that gift. Right now.