Sneakers pound the grass during shriek-filled games of tag. But this isn’t recess, it’s Portland Fit Camp, and the jubilant players aren’t children but women sculpting muscles during the intense, outdoor adult version of the classic game. With a max of 24 campers, the sessions have an intimate feel, and their participants are fueled by their collective energy and the motivational training of a certified instructor. For five days a week for four-week sessions, the groups meet in the park for muscle-shocking routines that change daily to avoid plateaus. Core-based, functional exercises such as agility ladder drills, air squats, and hill sprints are all taught to students, who break the traditional workout routine with games of tag or games of capture the flag taped to the squirrel’s back.
Though they didn't always know it, Katie Maclaskey and Noelle Bertram have been complementing each other's fitness interests for much of their lives. As children, they sharpened their motor skills on the slopes and by the surf, respectively: Katie tackled snow sports while Noelle jogged, rollerbladed, and steered soccerballs across California's beaches. Their families owned neighboring restaurants, yet the girls didn't personally connect until they met on a run and realized their shared enthusiasm for exercise. When they both moved to Portland years later, they decided to combine their knowledge and drive to lead other women toward better physical health.
As certified personal trainers and owners of Adventure Boot Camp, Katie and Noelle invent their own workouts within the renowned franchise. They might craft outdoor obstacle courses, cardio circuits, or core-tightening drills for their students, but the encouraging spirit of their lessons never varies—the Lake Oswego Review lauds the "atmosphere of enjoyment and achievement" that pervades every camp session. In their leadership roles, the girls also continue to play off of each other's strengths for their clients' benefit. Katie has earned her ISSA certification as a nutritional consultant, and Noelle is a Sivananda-certified yoga instructor, which means they can show students how to simultaneously cook and balance atop a head of cabbage.
Once a hostage to fad diets and poor body image, Emily Johnson turned her life around by embracing fitness. Today, the certified personal trainer and her team motivate clients of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels through Portland Fit Body Bootcamp’s 45-minute co-ed classes offered five mornings per week. Exercisers jump, sprint, and moonwalk across the gym’s floor, calling on suspension trainers to tone muscles. High-intensity cardio exercises promote maximum fat and calorie burning for lean physiques, while core and flexibility work keeps posture straight and limbs agile.
After the birth of her first child in 2001, Baby Boot Camp’s founder and certified trainer and spin and Pilates instructor Kristen Horler wanted a postnatal fitness program that didn't require her to leave her baby at the door. Her solution was to start a suit of programs just for new and expecting parents where mothers could bond with their infants while soaking up the support and camaraderie of their peers. During Strollfit sessions, certified trainers and Radio Flyers equipped with outboard motors lead ladies through innovative routines that incorporate baby-filled strollers into yoga, cardio, and strength training. For long-term fitness, coaches encourage aspiring runners to break through the tape during the 5K training program, and Kristen's own Nutrition Solutions teaches the benefits of healthy-eating habits during a four-week program designed by registered dieticians.
When he's not whipping the youth league of the Portland Timbers into shape, Waterfront Fitness's owner Jason Bell heads to the city’s riverside parks to shape up everyday citizens with rigorous athletic drills. He and his team of six trainers convene beneath Portland's sky during all but the coldest months, incinerating calories during one-hour boot camps held every morning and evening. Other group sessions include Box Fit classes, featuring high-speed punching drills and cardiovascular throwdowns beneath the boughs of mighty park trees, which quickly learn to never pick on any of Jason's students. The trainers also provide general and sport-specific personal training for exercisers in search of an intense, highly personalized regimen to build muscle or burn fat.
Caught in a flurry of kicks and padded punches, punching bags lurch back and forth while students gain endurance and build toned muscles in Fierce Fitness Kickboxing’s aerobic workouts. Combining a range of total-body fitness techniques, the gym’s instructors design classes that adhere to the “ABC” philosophy of aerobic conditioning, balanced nutrition, and core strength training. Elbows and knees join with hands and feet to form a percussive quartet that complements the high-energy music playing from the gym’s speakers and drowns out the cries of bags begging for mercy. Beginner kickboxers will have little trouble catching on to the simple routine, which an encouraging teacher demonstrates while shouting out instructions.
At Next Level Fit Bootcamp, Army veteran Casey Liddle helps clients achieve their personal fitness goals with a regimen that combines personal training, military-style instruction, and various fitness exercises. During boot-camp classes, participants get in shape with core and strength training, isometrics, plyometrics, calisthenics, lifting kettlebells, and powering through obstacle courses.