Gary Shields owns God's Gym, located at Broadway and 25th St. in Oakland.

On any given day, close to 90 clients come to God’s Gym for personal training from 49-year-old Gary Shields. Some clients lift heavy weights and work on their massive physiques. Others have more modest routines, toning or rehabbing injuries. The two-story storefront on the corner of Broadway and 25th Street is painted jet black from top to bottom. Images of two posed, flexing bodybuilders fill the front windows. One is a silhouette of Shields in his prime. Centered between the bright, bold white words of the gym’s name, is a painting of a buff, black Jesus breaking free of chains.

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