A SF Love Story With Erica Stenz And Tommy Stracke

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Valentine’s Day is just nine short days away and to inspire you with the spirit of all things love, I reached out to my favorite San Francisco couples to find out how they keep the romance alive. First up: Barry’s Bootcamp royalty, Erica Stenz and Tommy Stracke. As two of the cult workout’s beloved instructors, the dynamic duo are stars in their own right—who teach sold-out and packed classes on a weekly basis. He’s tall, dark, and handsome. She’s petite, blonde, and adorable. It goes without saying that both are in impeccable shape. Their friendly welcoming personalities make them incredibly likable. She is the Barbie to his Ken, he is the Danny to her Sandy. Together Stenz and Stracke are the ultimate #relationshipgoals. Here, in their own words, are more details about their inspiring and sweet partnership.

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How long have you been together? 
Erica Stenz: We’ve known each other for three-and-a-half years and we’ve been official for the last two-and-a-half years. We met and had an attraction immediately, but didn’t make it official until we established a solid friendship for a year first.

Where did you meet: 
ES: Crunch Fitness on Chestnut Street. Tommy was working as a personal trainer and I had the task to recruit trainers for Barry’s Bootcamp. I set up a one-on-one session with Tommy without ever meeting him because Adam Shane’s wife, Tara Shane, [the Shanes are the owners of Barry’s SF] told me about this HOT trainer I had to meet. Within minutes of meeting Tommy, I was in the storage room closet with my shirt off so that he could measure my body fat. Not the most comfortable first meeting, but I rolled with it and he put me through an awesome workout and our connection was established.

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First date: 
ES: Our first unofficial date was a run along the Lands End trail back to Tommy’s place.
Tommy Stracke: We were like two animals chasing each other.
ES: I survived Tommy’s home court trail run—his route was grueling! We got back to his place and he made us protein shakes. Our first official date was a few months later. We went to our favorite restuarant, Kokkari, where we like to eat at the bar. After dinner, Tommy took me to the Hidden Vine, a wine bar, where he ordered wine and dark chocolates and we sat on the cozy couch. That’s when he asked me to ‘be his teammate’ and we had our first kiss.

When did you know you were in love?
TS: When we taught for Barry’s Bootcamp London. It was our first big trip together abroad and we felt like teammates traveling together. It was not only the day in and day out—it was being able to travel together and support each other in unknown circumstances.
ES: For me it was a little before then when we went snowboarding together in Tahoe with Brian Tschida and Vanessa Ouellette (both amazing Barry’s instructors). Tommy, who was born and raised in Florida, had a hard time keeping up with us on the mountain, but that made me love him even more. I realized at that moment, I truly loved every single thing about him—especially his willingness to pick himself back up and be there with me.

Name the three best qualities about your partner:
TS: Erica’s confidence and self-esteem, her hard work-ethic and independence, and her love for life.
ES: Tommy lives his life to give unselfishly to others because he genuinely cares about people. He makes me appreciate the present moments of life. He constantly makes me laugh and feel special.

Favorite thing to do together?
ES: We really like to be active together. Trips and days off together include workouts, scuba diving, hiking, biking, yoga, and yes, Barry’s classes. We also enjoy having a cheat meal together at a restaurant in the city. But since we are always on the go, the best part of the week is finding our relaxation time together.

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Go-to date night spots:
ES: Spruce is our favorite burger. We prefer the ‘cocktail cuddle couch’ because it’s way more intimate. If we score a bar spot, we also love Kokkari for the food and atmosphere. Often times our go-to date night is cooking together at home.

Last romantic vacation:
ES: Before living together, we used to do small little weekend staycations all the time in the city or just outside the city like Napa, Carmel, Monterey, Half Moon Bay, and Sausalito. But since we’ve been living together for a year now, our most romantic vacation was Hawaii this past October. It was a trip of a lifetime and truly our happy place. Maui and Lanai lent itself to many activities, good food, beautiful scenery, and a true feeling of connection.

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First to apologize after a fight?
ES: I’m usually the first to apologize. Tommy can be stubborn and I can over-react, but for the most part we don’t really fight.

Valentine’s Day plans:
ES: We are both teaching at Barry’s Bootcamp on Valentine’s Day, but we are going to Spruce to get take-out burgers to bring back to our place for a cozy night in together.

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