Four New Portland Gyms to Get Your Butt in Shape

From self-defense-focused training to a boot camp run by yogis, these new studios offer something for everyone.

By Katelyn Best October 26, 2015

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Bold & Badass 

Emily Corso, the undefeated Portland MMA pro behind Bold & Badass Fitness, threw a “re-launch party” for her fitness with a self-defense twist personal training business last weekend. Operating out of Form and Function at 1338 SE 6thAve, Corso leads group, semi-private, and one-on-one weight training, self-defense, and general fitness classes incorporating training techniques she’s learned over almost 10 years as a cage fighter. Her goal as a trainer is not only to beef up clients’ strength and cardiovascular fitness, but also to help them find the inner toughness that will keep them from being victims in everyday life. “People should be stronger than they need to be,” says Corso (“The Mantis Shrimp” to fans), explaining her belief in what she calls “preventative fitness.” “Especially women go, ‘why would I lift weights? I’m just a mom, I have a day job.’ But we can get in trouble if life needs us to be Level 10 strong and we’re only Level 8.”

Pricing: $197/month for unlimited group workouts; $397/month for unlimited “semi-private” (tailored small group) coaching; $697/month for unlimited one-on-one training, including nutrition coaching and a self-defense workshop for 20. Through the end of October, you can start your first month for 50% off, and all proceeds will go to the Portland Women’s Crisis Line.

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Image: Allison Jones

Warrior Room Portland

Milwaukie’s Warrior Room, a kettlebell-focused gym offering small group training, has come to Portland, with a new location at 2043 SE 50th Ave (in the former Yoga Union space). Kettlebells, a species of cannonball-shaped weight originating in Russia that the Warrior Room calls “devastatingly effective,” develop strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, and flexibility all at once. In keeping with that philosophy, the Warrior Room also offers clients the chance to toss around sand bags, sledgehammers, and battle ropes. Their small-group classes offer a balance between the one-on-one attention of a personal trainer and the affordability of a group class, and workouts are constantly evolving from day to day. They’re also the only Portland studio with International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation-certified kettlebell instructors. Classes also include an outdoor boot camp, and a half isolation/half Tabata workout combining low weight/high volume weight training with the Tabata protocol, a form of interval training. 

Pricing: Your first class is free (they recommend taking Kettlebell Basics first, so you can learn to heft these weights around without sidelining yourself). After that, you can take four classes for $40, eight for $72, 12 for $99, or get a month of unlimited access for $128. 

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Health Club

Billing itself as a “worker-owned, body-positive, community-centered barbell gym,” Health Club isn’t slated to open until November, but its creators have big plans for the future. The brainchild of a nurse practitioner, an RN, and a musician, Health Club’s mission is to bring barbell training to the people. Although weight lifting offers a wide array of benefits, including stress reduction, increases in balance and strength, and improved heart health, it often feels inaccessible, especially for people who have struggled with body image or eating disorders. Many people “don’t even set foot in a gym because they feel judged by how it’s marketed to them,” says Leah Franklin, one of Health Club’s founders.

In contrast, Health Club is a proponent of the Health at Every Size movement, which aims to shift the definition of health away from measures of weight and BMI, to instead entail factors like “life-enhancing movement” and “eating for well-being.” As for the gym itself, once it opens its doors later this fall, members will have access to barbell equipment and a community of fellow lifters for support and encouragement. After their “hard opening”—which will likely happen early next year—small group classes and organized activities like hikes and scavenger hunts are planned. 

Pricing: Memberships are $45/month, but work-trade options are available for those with limited budgets. Supporters of the IndieGoGo campaign can get discounted memberships.

Align Fitness

Sellwood Yoga’s new high-energy sister studio, Align Fitness, offers a range of cardio- and strength-based classes at their recently-opened SE 17th and Spokane location. “Sellwood Yoga is the yin,” explains co-owner Bill Wyland, and “Align Fitness is the yang… the key to everything is overall balance. If you’re just doing yoga, you should probably add some cardio to your routine, and if you’re just exercising, you really need to do some yoga too.” To that end, Align offers boot camp, interval training, TRX, and barre. Wyland notes that while the types of training offered at Align are quite different from what you’d find at a yoga studio, the instruction model is the same: classes are “community-based,” and clients can either sign up for a series or drop in.

Pricing: You can pick up a new student starter pack for $25, which will get you two weeks of classes (up to one a day). Memberships are $105/month if you sign up for 3 months, or $95/month if you commit to 6 months. Finally, you can buy individual class passes: a single class for $15, 10 for $140, or 15 for $195. All passes and memberships are good at both Sellwood Yoga and Align Fitness

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