Born in Grants, New Mexico, JJ’s father died 2 months before he was born and was raised by his mom. He is the youngest of 8 and has several, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great great nieces and nephews, “We were taught strong family values and have a close knit family structure”, says JJ. Family played a huge part in his growing up and keeping him off drugs and out of gangs. He was always active and began playing sports at the age of 9, “Nowdays that’s about 3 years too late”, he says. He moved to Albuquerque at the age of 10 and attended Van Buren middle school. JJ played football at Highland his freshman year and also ran cross country.
He finished his junior and senior year at Los Lunas high school where he played football, basketball and ran track. He lettered in all those sports and was a decent athlete. JJ has always been competitive in nature and “that is crucial in sports” says Blea.
He had to work harder to compete with others who had more natural talent. JJ attended UNM and graduated with a bachelors degree in Economics. He has worked in both retail and the restaurant industry. He has been a general contractor for the last 15 years. JJ has always lifted weights and stayed active.
He is a cancer survivor for almost 5 years now. He is the father of two, Jared 14 and Hannah 11. JJ participated in a BTC similar to ours 6 years ago and lost 40 lbs, ” I have maintained that weight loss for those 6 years now, through Kettlebell training and proper diet”, he says.
10/10 – Leader
By Taylor Sadler /Firebellz, Albuquerque
JJ was my instructor in the very first firebellz class I went to. He showed me and helped me through every move. JJ is an amazing person and I always try to do my best in his classes. He really knows how to lead a great workout and how to have fun at the same time. Amazing!
10/10 – Inspiration
By Jill Vice /Albuquerque, NM
JJ introduced me to kettlebells a year ago. He broke down every movement into understandable steps. He patiently re-taught each movement as many times as I needed until I was able to do it with the proper technique. His workouts are focused and intense. You always finish feeling stronger and better!
10/10 – Dedicated and Professional
By Maureen Santangelo /Albuquerque, NM
When I started Kettlebell training in January of this year JJ was the instructor who introduced me to it. He was and always is very patient and will to work with me to get all of my movements down right and pain free. I can always count on JJ to help me with my training and make any adjustments needed. Every class he teaches is challenging and he knows exactly how to push you to your highest level. I am very blessed to know JJ and have such a knowledgabel and caring instructor!
10/10 – STRIVE TO DO BETTER TO BE GREATER
By Deborah Solis /Albuquerque, NM
I started with Firebelz in December of 2010 and since then JJ is the instructor that I have had the most classes with . When I first started classes it was very dificult for me physically due to the extreme back pain that I had. I feel that because of his knowledge, patients and compasion I was able to eventually work through the pain. JJ was always working with me to correct and improve my form and to this day he will always say that he would rather see 2 good swings than 10 bad ones. I took that to heart and stayed focused. . As of today I am pain free and getting stronger with every class i take and JJ has alot to do with that. Thank you JJ. and looking foward to more of your classes.
10/10 – Pushes you to your limit!
By Barbara Sanborn /ABQ, NM
JJ is very intense and pushes you to your limit. He is never tired and has endless energy. I so enjoy all the classes and feel better about my self. All the instructors make you feel that you are the most important person working out and they give all they have to make your workout the best!!
10/10 – Great guy, Great Class
By Sean Leffler, HKC /Los Alamos, NM
I was in ABQ for the holidays and decided to do a drop in at Fire-bellz.
The xmas morning class that JJ was graciously leading was obviously a dedicated tight knit group. The camaraderie definitely pushed me to dig deeper.
JJ did a great job of leading the class and motivating us do get those final reps in. Afterward he made a point to shake everyone’s hand, thank them for coming, offer tips and advice and generally make everyone feel good that they showed up.
Ya know what else? He didn’t charge us for the class! He was like, “I needed to work out today anyway, so I decided to open the gym for anyone else that wanted to come.” Nice!
Before class I mentioned to him that I was going for my RKC soon and that if he saw anything egregious, to please yell at me. Afterward he said I looked good, but needed to work on my dead cleans a bit. Its true. I really don’t like them, as such, I don’t practice them as much as I should.I will use the tips he gave me and make a point of re-grooving the DCL. Thanks JJ!
10/10 – Excellent instructor!
By John H. /Albuquerque, NM
Outstanding teacher. When I started training at FireBellz 6 months ago I was in bad shape. Just doing the basic movements correctly was difficult. JJ’s patient corrections to my form kept me injury free and his words of encouragement kept me motivated to continue. I’ve left over 50 lbs behind and am stronger, more flexible and in better cardio shape than I’ve been in many years thanks to JJ. JJ’s classes are always challenging and will take your endurance and cardio to the next level. Whether the class is large or small JJ watches each individual and give the coaching they need to maintain proper form and push beyond their limit. When you don’t think you have anything left JJ knows just the right encouragement to help you push through and get the most out of each session. If you want to safely get stronger, faster and more flexible train with JJ. Thank you JJ.
10/10 – Movie Star!!
By Fred Payne /Albuquerque, NM
Workouts in JJ’s classes are posted up on firebellz.blogspot.com or Facebook and some how I am in the videos. At first I hated to see myself, but it was motivation to see that I needed to make changes. Seeing myself moved me to push through tough times and make better choices! JJ is able to talk in class I know he is talking to the class, but it seems he is talking to each of us in a way I am able to understand! And if I think about stooping I look up and some how I see him looking at me! Thanks JJ!
10/10 – Natural teacher!
By Deborah Elder /Albuquerque
JJ really is an excellent teacher. He’s taken the initiative to help me be comfortable in an environment where I really am out of my league athletically. He pays attention to make sure everything is done just right, which I really need as I learn. Thank you for your patience, JJ!
10/10 – Great instructor
By Nancy Caress /Albuquerque, New Mexico
I love JJ’s classes! He is so motivating and helpful. He pays attention to everyone in the class and makes sure that you are doing all of the movements correctly. JJ will push you past your comfort zone, but will make you laugh as you go. Thank’s JJ for all of your help!!
10/10 – Excellent instructor
By J. Garcia /Albuquerque, NM
JJ seems to really pay attention to the people in the class and how they are performing the exercises. Each time I have a class with JJ, I learn something new in technique and how to improve my form which I feel is extremely important. He seems to give individualized attention even in a class setting. I agree with the other reviewer in that he gives excellent cues. He is one of the most helpful instructors.
10/10 – Awesome!
By Brian Miner /Albuquerque, NM
I had JJ as my instructor for the first time it this evenings all level class. He was patient (its been a while since I have been to the studio) and really helped me fine tune my form. JJ offered modifications (I have had an ankle reconstruction, and meniscus tear). In addition to the great atmosphere, JJ delivered an insane workout, nothing shy of what I expected from his studio. Thanks JJ!
10/10 – Jason Morin
By Jason M /Grants NM
Training with JJ and the rest of the Fire-bellz staff was awsome. He realy helped me fix my form. I only wish i lived closer to the studio.
10/10 – Great Cues!
By Ryan Harmer, RKC /Westfield, NJ
JJ was an assistant instructor on my team (Team Franz) at the RKC San Diego. He had some great cues to teach some of the finer points of the techniques learned that weekend. It was a pleasure to work with him!