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Southern California Edit

Happy Tuesday Gritties!

We are popping bottles-excited to bring to the Outpost one of Grit's most-favorite couples: Mark Sankey and Richard Drewelow!

Devoted riders and THE best deck after-partiers since day one, Mark and Richard, are the toast of Orange County's hottest, hippest, and most-fun places-to-be.

Much to the dismay for all of us who love them at the Costa Mesa studio, the "boys" have recently re-transplanted back into Richard's hometown of Monarch Beach; which coincided perfectly with the opening of our Monarch Beach studio.

Richard and Mark are famous for their "aprés Grit" festivities; typically involving Rosé, sunshine, a pool party with fellow Gritties, and lots of laughter. It's always a good thing to be on their guest list.

We were lucky enough to have Richard put together some of his most favorite South County hotspots and activities for us.

As always he did NOT disappoint.

Because of this gorgeous weather, Richard and Mark often serve an evening family barbecue.

Richard says, "Mark is big in the kitchen and cooks up a storm for friends & family. We’re regularly caught throwing a clam bake on the bluff with the classic Rosé and croquet; a lot of the Gritty Babes are next door in Niguel Shores.  . ."

    Another spot they hit up frequently is  Eva’s Kitchen

Eva is a Grit team-mate and is the owner/chef at Eva’s Kitchen in South Laguna. She always treats Grit family members to her amazing Rum collection and epic Trinidad inspired delights! 

This post just wouldn't be complete if we didn't have an appearance by the pups AND the beach. Here are the famous Stinson and MyMy at Richard and Mark's favorite beach:  West Street Beach.  

Richard raves: "By the far the most beautiful beach for us is West Street.  Laguna also lets our puppies join us for backgammon and Rosé at the beach between September and June."

There is just one, last, gay bar in Laguna – Bounce.  On occasion, Mark and Richard venture out for some dancing with friends. Nadia and Brian, another Monarch Beach favorite couple, joined the boys out for at night of wicked fun.

When it comes to cuisine, Richard is our own walking-talking Zagat guide:

"For the best in fine dining in Monarch Beach, and a great spot for client entertaining, look no further than the elegant Stone hill Tavern at the Monarch Beach Resort

 For the best "happy hour" and a top "après Grit" gathering bar spot, Coastal Kitchen can't be beat."


Our Costa Mesa Instructor of the Month for August, Nicci Morris, lives by the motto, "SWEAT EVERY DAY"! You'd think that would be easy for someone who teaches indoor cycling, but for a stay-at-home mom, it's sometimes impossible to go take your favorite class when you can't find childcare.

Not a problem for our Nicci. A self-motivator like no other, Nicci is the queen of the home workout. She invited us along to so see just how easy, efficient, and convenient working out at home can be.

With two young, active, girls on the go, Harper and Finley, Nicci's schedule is always up in the air. She's often running to the beach, the pool, the OC fair, or hanging at the playground; she's never sure when she'll get a free moment to sweat, so when there IS a lull in the household, Nicci snags it; pops on her sneakers and grabs a home workout.

There's just no beating the convenience of home: all your clothes are already there, food, water, and the best: your OWN shower afterward.

Nicci's main "studio" is her garage. She has decked it out with everything she needs to get the job done; including her own personal "spotter" who provides encouragement and popsicle breaks.

"I get my playlists ready for the week ahead and jam out to them every time I work out.  I love to start out with running on the treadmill while cuing my songs for spin!  My neighbors think I’m nuts but it helps with my teaching!  I'll incorporate some TRX, floor exercises, free weights, medicine balls,  squats +lunges, and then  I might add HIIT training." 

What matters most to Nicci is being with her family. Working out in her garage allows her to both "sweat every day" and not miss a moment with the ones that are most important to her.

It's this tenacity and passion that make her such a Saddle Room favorite.


Happy Smokin' Hot Friday Gritties!

Have you seen?

GritCycle is a proud sponsor of OC Fashion Week,  and we're thrilled to be hosting ALL of the model auditions at our Monarch Beach location! Want to walk the runway this year? Fill out your Model Registration form HERE, and join us on any of the following dates! Aug 5th 12-4pm Aug 12th 12-4pm Aug 29th 12-4pm

To get you in your best "werk it" mode, we were fortunate enough to get our very own supermodel, Shannon Barker, a devoted Costa Mesa gritty, to stop by the Outpost and share her Grit story with us.

Read about Shannon's rise in the world of high fashion and how she uses Grit Cycle to keep her camera-ready:


First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to let us interview you. Can you give us the nitty-gritty on you? 

I was born and raised in Northern California, after graduating from high school I moved to Orange County, and have lived here now for 4 years. 

How did you get into the modeling business? 

In high school, I started a youtube channel that grew to 70,000 subscribers before I ever started modeling. Through my growing Social Media presence, I had the opportunity to work with brands such as BCBG and O'neill Womens as an ambassador/ influencer, and this exposure led to modeling jobs here and there without being signed to a traditional modeling agency. It wasn't until my photographer-friend introduced me to Jules Newmark back in 2014 that I wanted to turn modeling into my full-time career. After meeting with Jules we decided to work together and I have been signed to her agency NewMARK Models in LA ever since!

 Had you always wanted to be a model?

In a way yes, I loved watching America's Next Top Model growing up and I thought that I could do that one day, but I never really pursued it. I've always enjoyed performing. I did competitive cheerleading for 11 years and I also took acting and dance classes growing up. So you could say I've always loved entertaining people and putting myself out there, which lead me to start my youtube channel while I was in high school.


Who are some of the Supermodel Icons that you favorite?

Candice Swanepoel, Romee Strijd are my personal favorite models. They both lead healthy lives they show their workouts and clean eating on their social media which I really connect with! They also have both had amazing careers and a lot of success which is really inspiring.

How do you prepare for a job? Nutrition? Exercise?

To consistently work I have to keep my measurements the same and keep my body in the best shape. I always have to be "swim ready" basically be prepared to be in a swimsuit any day of the week. I do this through clean eating and working out as many days of the week my schedule will allow me to. My favorite ways to work out are taking Spin classes at Grit cycle as well as pilates classes. I also try to walk as many places as I can. I aim to walk 5 miles a day.  Power walking isn't just for soccer moms! 

Do you do prefer photo-shoot or runway?

As an LA based model, I'd say 99% of my work is photo-shoots. I do love runway but the only time of year I do runway is when I go to Miami every July for Swim Week. I would love to travel and work in a different market for a few months sometime in the future and that would probably include more runway work. 

What is the best thing about being a model? What is the downside?

I love how every job is so different! Almost every day I meet and work with new people at a new location. I never get bored! The biggest downside is probably the commute. Since I live in O.C. I have to drive to LA at least three times a week. 

How does Grit Cycle help you with modeling?

Grit helps me to not only stay in the best shape but It also keeps me mentally strong. The instructors at Grit are really great about giving you inspirational tidbits throughout the class that really stick with you all week long! The modeling industry can be really tough especially the toll it takes on your body image and self-worth. When I start to feel like I'm getting in a funk I schedule a class at grit. Those endorphins, as well as the instructors words of wisdom, get me back on track.

What is your favorite thing about Grit Cycle?

I love the way I feel when I walk out of a class at Grit Cycle! I never regret coming. I don't only get an amazing workout I also leave feeling so motivated and inspired!

Do you remember your first Grit Cycle class? What made you want to return?

Yes! The first class I took at Grit was in December of 2014! My roommate loved grit so much and invited me to go with her. I was hooked immediately! Even though I was in the back row and could barely figure out how to ride the bike correctly I was obsessed!

What advice to you have for aspiring models auditioning for OC Fashion Week?

BE CONFIDENT! In my opinion, confidence is Key! Smile, be friendly, make conversation and be excited! At the end of the day personality and confidence trumps looks.. even in the modeling industry! The casting directors are looking for that" it factor" not necessarily the girl who is the tallest or has the most model-like figure. Try to leave your worries at home and remember that if it everything happens when it's supposed to!