Why do you exercise? For native Portlander Kimberly Alexander, fitness is a way to explore the world.
“I’m not training for anything specifically, but I’ve been able to experience a lot of beautiful places because of a fitness level I’ve maintained through my life,” she explains. “I was always fit enough and strong enough to do anything. If someone was like, ‘Do you want to go kayaking in the ocean for this trip?’ I could say, ‘I’ve never done it but I think I can do it!’”
In 2013, Alexander co-founded POINT Gym and Kitchen (formerly known as Portland Indoor Outdoor Nutrition and Training) with Melissa Sher. Together, the duo strives to share their body-positive fitness mentality with Portlanders of all ages and abilities.
“We opened up with the idea that you train indoors and play outdoors, so you’re actually using your body for a purpose, not just to look good,” says Alexander. “We’ve never talked about using this as a way to lose weight or get your body ready for bikini season.”
Instead, Point emphasizes all the fun there is to be had out in the great outdoors, whether it’s walking in Forest Park or hiking Mount Hood. Sher and Alexander have helped members run 5Ks, climb South Sister, try stand-up paddleboarding, and even enter a cyclocross race. But if all you want to do is keep up with your kids, that’s great, too.
“You don’t have to be an outdoorsy person to come here,” Alexander says. “You just have to put your focus on coming to the gym not just to get fit, but as a tool for what you do outside the gym.”
POINT Gym's #trainindoorsplayoutdoors PHOTO CONTEST! Check out @schreinerashley putting her training and body to work in the outdoors! Here she is showing us exactly why we run with medicine balls and do step ups with weights...because you never know when someone (in this case her children) is going to get tired and need a lift on the trail. Smith Rock Canyon had nothing on her! Badass! To enter email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Located at 1155 SE Salmon Street, POINT’s boxy orange warehouse space is filled with medicine balls, bars, weights, and other free equipment. (Fun fact: Sher and Alexander built the whole thing out themselves over a weekend because, you’re know, they’re badasses.) A wooden climbing wall separates the room into two spaces for group classes and personal training.
Classes For All
In addition to personal and partner training, POINT offers two types of high-intensity, functional cross-training classes. PDXFit builds strength via an assortment of barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, and bodyweight movements, while PDXT focuses on agility and plyometrics. “PDXT days are the classes that translate specifically to movements you would do outdoors,” Alexander explains. “In trail running, for example, there’s a lot of lateral movement, and your ankles are really unstable, so we’ll do a lot of one-footed stuff, so you can get your ankles and knees strong enough to be able to withstand twists and turns.”
Sher and Alexander are both certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and offer services ranging from comprehensive nutrition plans and evaluations to grocery store shopping tours, kitchen assessments, and in-home cooking sessions. “We do a whole questionnaire because there’s bio-individuality for each person,” Alexander says. “A lot of other people have these blanket ideas that everyone should eat kale and whatever, but really it’s totally individual.” Indeed, clients range from folks with gallbladder polyps and gastric sleeves to an Olympic-level marathoner.
For those seeking a more communal experience, POINT offers an E.A.T. challenge—that’s Eat Actual Things—four times per year. The four-week program includes recipes, shopping lists, and an online support group. The gym also hosts monthly presentations on hot topics like fermentation, sports nutrition, and container gardening.
Folks can opt to pay $125 per month for unlimited classes or $20 for a single class. (First two classes are free!) Partner training runs $35-65 per person, while personal training is $50-75 per hour. Those looking to add nutritional counseling to their gym package can expect to pay $75 the first month and $30 per month after that. (Find a full list of nutrition offerings here.)
The Bottom Line
“So what if you can squat whatever! Who cares?” Sher exclaims. “What you’ll remember is getting to the top of this, or doing that with your kids. That’s the stuff you’ll have a story about.”
“Sometimes,” Alexander adds, “You just need someone to tell you that of course you can do that! It’s only a big deal in your mind, so let’s break that barrier and do it.”