From her days in the Navy to a love for yoga, Terri Chadney has always been into fitness. In 1994, she and her husband, Jay, opened West Coast Fitness to share that passion with her old neighborhood, which until then did not have a gym. "She wanted to reinvest in the neighborhood," Jay says. Here, the duo leads a staff of experienced trainers, who do everything from one-on-one training to group fitness classes such as yoga and spinning. As the yoga director, Terri requires that each yoga instructor have at least five years of teaching experience, thorough training, and a perfect letter B imitation. The rest of the staff boasts similar credentials, such as the Zumba instructor who has been dancing professionally for most of her life. And because they're not contractors, the trainers care about every aspect of the gym, not just making a sale. "They really invest themselves with the members," says Jay, "Our [trainers] come in, hang out, take classes, bring their dog."
For Jay and Terri, the most rewarding part of owning West Coast Fitness has been "seeing changes in the members," says Jay. He sees members who are in better shape than when they first joined 15 years ago—and Terri loves to see the seniors in her yoga classes up on their feet and doing strength-training exercises after coming in with crutches or walkers.
The St. John's location's spinning studio includes a 6-foot screen, sending riders on virtual trips via instructive DVDs even when a class isn't in session. Members can also log in to ActivTrax online or at the clubs' kiosks for custom workouts based on their goals and experience, as well as meal planning and progress tracking. The staff members engage parents' little ones with baby-sitting services in a colorful playroom. They have also stocked the gyms with tanning booths, and massage therapists help soothe stress and exercise-induced aches; the saunas and HydroMassage beds also help members unwind.
Bouldering differs from other forms of rock climbing in a variety of ways, such as its heightened social element. When top roping, for example, climbers are more isolated, relying on a partner below to maintain rope tension. But because bouldering is done on lower courses that don't require a rope or harness, climbers are free to scale walls at will, often resulting in people sharing walls and striking up conversations in between surmounting terrain such as verticals, slabs, and roof climbs?overhangs that put climbers' bodies parallel to the floor.
That's how The Circuit Bouldering Gym got started. Some bouldering enthusiasts crossed paths at a local gym and found they all wanted to expand Portland's bouldering options. Today, they welcome guests to surmount courses?including a hanging boulder?ranging from 8- to 17-feet high and surrounded by crash-pad flooring. Boasting three of the largest bouldering-only gyms in the world, they also designed many of their simulated climbing stations as top-out boulders, letting guests experience what it's like to stand atop a boulder in the Rockies or on the moon. Additionally, they instruct guests with programs such as 90-minute intro courses, advanced clinics with professional climber athletes, and programs tailored for kids including birthday parties,summer and winter-break camps.
Between climbs, a lounge area lets visitors relax and swap tales of defying gravity's relentless bullying. The third and newest location in Tigard offers more than 19,000 square feet of brand new boulders. To further build the bouldering community, the gym's team organizes an annual fundraiser benefiting local charities. All locations also have a full weights area, allowing for workouts and CrossFit training between climbs. .
After spending time in Quaking Grass's furnished loft studio, you learn why some of the yoga, Zumba, and holistic-dance instructors refer to the space as their "big living room." Once inside the studio, you find yourself in a sprawling, high-ceilinged loft. Natural light spills in from tall windows and onto green walls, where African art and decorative Asian fans hang. Scanning the room, you see plush furniture, a kitchenette, and a massive Native American dream catcher, painted white and hanging 6 feet to the floor.
Quaking Grass is home to the Healing Arts Collective; many of its members left positions as businesspeople, teachers, and lawyers in favor of a more relaxed lifestyle. According to director Heather Straube, they each felt called to help others through techniques such as massage, yoga, and dance. Instructors lead students through progressive poses in Vinyasa yoga, dances set to Latin and Caribbean beats in Zumba, and blends of meditative martial arts and freeform movement in Earthquake Ecstatic and Nia dance. Though they guide some classes step-by-step, instructors emphasize free exploration over adhering to a strict routine—reminding students that they can meditate silently, pair off with partners, or dance alone to practice leading and following at the same time.
Once each month, Quaking Grass's members also host an open community clinic, experimental salon, and potluck. Practitioners stationed throughout the space introduce curious guests to basics of tarot-card reading, massage, hypnosis, quantum touch, and a host of other holistic methods—with the hope that visitors, like babies balancing their first checkbooks, experience something new. Individual members, artists, or community practitioners may also lead workshops or lectures explaining their craft.
When licensed therapists at Skyline Integrative Medicine listen to clients' medical histories, they look beyond the immediate cause of pain, seeking to understand its underlying causes and its consequences throughout the body. With this information in hand, they address problems, such as migraines, back and neck pain, depression, and TMJ with massage, acupuncture, and other services derived from traditional Chinese medicine. Treatments also address bad habits and addictions, helping clients lose weight or quit smoking without the need for faddish gimmicks.
Skyline Integrative Medicine boasts a team of qualified practitioners and acupuncturists, including Lori Petras, Jeff Olson, and Jennifer Fletcher. With more than 25 years of practice, Dr. Fletcher has developed an integrated approach to natural medicine from training that spanned the globe. In addition to studying rehabilitation and podiatry in the U.S., she has trained with medical and holistic doctors from Korea and China. Receiving Tuina training at Samra University in the greater Los Angeles area in 1987, Dr. Fletcher later practiced the art by hand rolling small bags of beans to strengthen her skills. Jeff Olson practices acupuncture with a specialization in sports medicine and chronic pain, while Lori. Petras specializes in motor vehicle accidents and nonsurgical facelifts. They also treat painful foot and hand conditions, and offer relief from many forms of arthritis. Skyline Integrative Medicine also holds classes in traditional Chinese medicine and qi gong practice.
For seven years, Dr. Jonathan Preiss dealt with recurring bouts of excruciating pain. Sharp stabs would shoot across his back, often keeping him from walking. Cringing, he tried to shrug off the pain, even waving off suggestions to see a chiropractor. Preiss believed this pain was something he would just have to live with. Finally—after repeated urgings from his landlord—Preiss gingerly hobbled to see a chiropractor. The decision not only realigned his ailing spine, but also the course of his life. After one adjustment, the pain had almost completely dissipated, and Preiss, who had been in the process of applying to veterinary school, immediately began looking into chiropractic schools. He settled on Western States Chiropractic College, now known as University of Western States, for its “rigorous and comprehensive program.” After graduating with honors, Dr. Preiss practiced chiropractic in Tucson before moving to Portland, where his Chiropractic Art & Science has built a foundation on the guiding principle that health is a human’s most valuable possession. At his practice, Dr. Preiss calls upon his personal experience with pain to make sure each client receives the treatments that will help them balance between relief and wellness care. He addresses pain and aches as the body’s signals of distress, and he and his staff apply gentle, tailored adjustments to relieve discomfort that nags like a pop song warbled by a melodious washing machine.
At Pil-oga-robic, flat stomachs are at the end of a carefully formulated exercise equation. Instructors draw from Pilates, yoga, and cardio techniques to compile their signature one-hour workouts, demonstrating the techniques in their loft-like studio for small student groups. They place special emphasis on customization: each class has three levels of difficulty and modifiable actions for any fitness level. They also schedule monthly meetings with their clients to discuss wellness goals, advising on topics from weight loss to enhanced athletic performance. Regardless of their aspirations, guests stand to gain lean muscle, balance, and bendiness from the adjustable routines, which helped earn the venue a Best of Citysearch award for yoga in 2009.
In addition to these classes, Pil-oga-robic hosts more specialized yoga and Pilates sessions. Inversion and aerial seminars allow yogis to flout gravity as they stretch, and outdoor boot-camp drills test endurance amid the elements. Alternatively, workshops might cover tips for safer trail running, such as monitoring your stride and refusing to stop at Gatorade stations run by bears. The onsite massage therapist, Cori, can deal with your stress during her personalized bodywork sessions.