Jennifer Pattee, Basic Training

Jenn Pattee: Founder of Basic Training – fun outdoor workouts, not boot camp

Also see: Jenn’s campaign for a Pop-up Fitness Hub in Hayes Valley, San Francisco.

Show Notes:

The Basic Training Philosophy

  • The classes are meant to show people that they already have everything they need to be fit, and creates a community to encourage them to work out, create opportunities for them to be healthy.
  • Trains individuals in groups and groups of employees.
  • Uses the whole city as their outdoor play space/gym.
  • It’s a workout, but the main objective is to have fun.
  • The point of working out is to create an experience you want to repeat again and again.
  • You don’t need to drive across town or go to a gym, you can get fit where you are right now.

– The Physical Health Aspect:

  • Health depends on sustainability > performance
  • The more likely you are to return to your workout, the more healthy/fit you’ll be
  • High intensity workouts are popular, but you can get injured more easily and will be less likely to want to come back to working out.
  • Consistency is the most important part about getting visible results with working out.

– The Social Aspect:

  • It’s hard to find a sense of community in San Francisco, as it’s a transient city with cliques, but the Basic Training classes create a community for people who seek it out.
  • They take away your phone and keys so you stay present, and introduce you to new people so you have a friend in the class.
  • They give you a conversation biscuit so you can connect with a new partner and it won’t be as awkward to start talking.
  • Once they connect you with a neighbor/partner and with your own body, then anything is possible.

– To stay consistent with coming back to working out:

  • Everything in the classes are intentional. Each class is different, surprising, full of new experiences. We are driven by pleasure, and as the classes each time are new, clients want to come back consistently.

On Working Out Healthily:

  • Training running and soccer with the men’s soccer team in college changed how Jenn saw herself as an athlete and as a woman; men aren’t always better at running than women are, like she previously thought.
  • Going to the gym feels like work, and you already work all day.
  • Basic Training tries to give people the most bang for their buck: cardiovascular exercise, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, mindfulness training/meditation, assisted stretching; all the components they believe a fit person should have. You get all the components of going to the gym but with much more.
  • A series of exercises that help you think more creatively and clearly, see parts of the city you’ve never seen before, go on an adventure, make friends; all in less than an hour.
  • You don’t have to do all your exercise in one sitting — you can spead it out to little workouts throughout the day: pullups at home or at a playground, doing small sets of situps, etc.
  • There are easier ways to get to your goal than pushing too hard.
  • Listen to your body, do what feels right, and don’t overdo it.


  • Run by feel.
  • Run every day, but run less if you have to. Get as many cumulative quality miles as you can.
  • Attach meaning to running: increases sustainability. Running has its own built-in reward system: using it to quit smoking and replace that bad habit also gives you great health benefits.
  • Start anywhere with running; start small and when it becomes uncomfortable, stop.
  • Sign up for a race with a friend, make it fun.
  • On running ultra runs:
  • Getting around mental blocks: tricking her mind that tries to trick her.
  • Her friends asked her questions that helped her keep going: have you accomplished everything you set out to do?

Eating healthy:

  • Jenn only eats what can sustain her lifestyle. She’s a vegetarian and eats organic food. Our society sets up the food system so that we make bad decisions on eating and eat animal products that are unhealthy for us.
  • When going out with friends, just focus on your own philosophy of what you want.
  • As long as you truly enjoy what you eat, then food isn’t necessarily good or bad.