Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

Sandy River Delta: Got Dog?

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Sandy River Delta ParkWhat’s to Love:  1000+ acres of no-feepublic trails, mud holes, bird blinds, beach access (Columbia & Sandy Rivers), and HUGE open fields for your dog to be off-leash!  There are only two areas where dogs must be on-leash (Confluence Trail and the parking area).  Otherwise, your dogs can experience a tremendous amount of freedom running free with other dogs and having a great time in what feels like a wilderness setting.

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ComedySportz “4” Kidz

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What’s to Love:  ComedySportz “4” Kidz is an improvisational comedy show that will have the whole family laughing.  I’ve seen the regular “ComedySportz” version before, but this was my first time to the “Kidz” version – it did not disappoint!  I can’t say enough about these performers who get up in front of families without a script and pull off such an entertaining show.

Haven’t seen the show?  Luckily, ComedySportz hosts the “4 Kidz” special once per month (3rd Sundays at 2PM).  You’ll want to attend soon with your family, and luckily, ComedySportz is giving away 4 tickets to one drawing winner via Portland Family Adventures.  Make a comment at the bottom of this article or on Facebook by Wednesday, April 25th (12PM), and I’ll enter your name in the drawing.

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Elemental Fitness Lab

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Sick and tired of the same old gym atmosphere? Looking for a space to work out with your partner where you’ll be supervised closely by a certified strength and conditioning coach? If so, I’d like to introduce you to Elemental Fitness Lab (EFL) owner Chris Bathke.

My wife and I visited for a personal training session where Chris did an initial assessment, worked through some common movements and exercises, and put together an exercise program for us. We enjoyed the personal touch and the pleasant environment inside the EFL. We think you will as well! Chris was also gracious enough to answer some of my questions for Portland Family Adventures (PFA).

PFA: Before I ask you some specific questions for parents, could you tell our readers a little bit about your credentials and experience as a personal trainer?

Elemental Fitness LabChris: I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which is still the gold standard for certifications in the U.S.. I also hold certifications from the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, the World Kettlebell Club, and am pre/post-natal certified. Before starting EFL I was training trainers at Equinox Fitness in Santa Monica, along with regular clients since 2006. Before that I taught some martial arts and trained a few people part-time while working in the music field. I was fortunate to get to know some of the smartest individuals in the health and fitness world around 10 years ago who encouraged me to go into training full-time. I started going to conferences, workshops, and studying as much as possible and haven’t stopped since.

PFA: Your business, “Elemental Fitness Lab,” is a unique space in the world of fitness. When I walked in, I immediately noticed the open-space and lack of more traditional gear like barbells, dumbbells, and rows of fitness machines. Of course, you have some of that equipment, but it seems like Elemental has a different philosophy when it comes to working-out. It seems that larger gyms try to fill their space with as many machines as possible. Your gym has open space. Can you talk a bit about your philosophy and equipment?

Elemental Fitness LabChris: My philosophy is to help people move better first, then look at other qualities. If a person lacks hip mobility, has shoulder pain, or is limited by core strength then having them do the latest “hardcore” metabolic workout can potentially do more harm than good. And for those reasons I don’t use any machines that lock you into fixed planes of motion. It’s simply not as effective in improving movement quality, not to mention strength. Over the years I’ve used just about every piece of equipment out there, and keep up on the research, so what I choose to use here is simply what I have found to work the best.

PFA: No doubt, many of our readers are probably involved with group fitness classes. What are some of the differences between semi-private training/small group training and group training? What are they missing that you can provide?

Elemental Fitness LabChris: In general group classes are less effective in that everyone naturally has different levels of strength, endurance, mobility, injury history, or other limitations so what may be a good workout for one person may be way too easy, too hard, or even injurious for another. The nature of group classes limits the ability to improve strength as it’s not possible to safely coach technique with that many people at once, and since strength is a fundamentally important aspect of improving fitness then. I’ve seen more people get injured in cardio classes than those who lift really heavy weights. What we do is write programs designed specifically for each individual so that not only is it safe, but more effective.

PFA: How do these individualized programs work once inside EFL?

Elemental Fitness LabChris: The way EFL works is everyone does what we call semi-private training where there are 1-3 members with each coach per hour which cuts the price by about 1/3 of a normal 1 to 1 personal training session. Each person will be doing a different workout than another using the program designed for them yet enjoy the camaraderie of training together with others.

PFA: The first thing we did at EFL was the “Functional Movement Screen” (FMS). After the FMS, you put together a workout based-on the results. For our readers, what is it? Why do you use it?

Elemental Fitness LabChris: The Functional Movement Screen is just one part of our assessment process, but is vital in allowing us to gauge how well a person moves. It was developed by physical therapists Gray Cook and Dr. Lee Burton, and is now pretty standard among collegiate and professional athletic programs. Yet the beauty is it is the screen is a measure of human movement, not just athletes. Athletic programs use it because they recognize it has real value in helping to keep their clients improve.

PFA: When we walked in for our appointment, a couple of parents were finishing up a private workout with your supervision. If parents want that type of workout, what can you offer them in the Elemental Fitness Lab?

Chris: We have quite a few couples that train here, some together, and some separately depending on schedules. If two people wish to train together than that fits in perfectly with our semi-private training structure. Both people can enjoy training together yet using a program designed for each individual. It’s much more efficient, and safe in that everyone does exercises that will benefit them most. We are all busy so it is better to avoid wasting time and energy on cookie cutter “workouts of the day” and instead do something that will help you achieve your goals.

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Hiking Angel’s Rest

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Angel's Rest Columbia River GorgeWhat’s to Love:  Since moving here to Portland in 1999, my wife and I have hiked Angel’s Rest too many times to count.  To this day, it remains one or our favorite hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, and it’s one of the first hikes when entering the Gorge from Portland. While we carried our oldest son up the hike when he was younger, this was our first visit to hike the entire 4.8 miles (round trip) with both kids.

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Little Big Burger

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Little Big BurgerWhat’s to Love: Portland has some great burgers, and we’ve sampled many of them.  Is “Little Big Burger” Portland’s best?  I don’t know, but it’s currently my favorite spot to indulge in a burger and fries.  My kids love it too, and even though very cramped, it’s a kid-friendly spot (two locations).

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Curious Comedy Theater

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What’s to Love:  My band for kids and families (The Toy Trains) recently had a show at The Curious Comedy Theater with other local “Kindie” artists Johnny & Jason and Mo Phillips.  Check-out the video clips below in the text of the article.  I wanted to do a short write-up about this wonderful little (non-profit) theater that provides a wide variety of comedy shows and special shows just for kids and families.

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Soccer – Portland Timbers

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Portland Timbers' SoccerWhat’s to Love:  I have to confess – I’ve spent most of my 42 years not caring too much about soccer, and I still don’t know much about the game.  However, when the Portland Timbers joined the ranks of Major League Soccer and the old PGE Park was renovated (becoming Jeld-Wen Field), I found myself drawn into the Timbers’ incredible fan base.  I watched footage from the first game on YouTube and now find myself listening to the games on a little radio I purchased.  As I listened, my curiosity kept growing – I needed to know more about what was going on inside that stadium!  

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Marine Drive Bike Path

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Marine Drive Bike PathWhat’s to Love:  The weather is getting nice!  If you’re looking for a relatively-flat, straight, paved, bike path for a nice family cruise, the Marine Drive section of Portland’s “40 Mile Loop Trail” is a good option.  The roughly 12+ miles of paved path parallels Marine Drive in North Portland, right alongside the Columbia River.  

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John’s Incredible Pizza

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John's Incredible PizzaWhat’s to Love:  Open just a couple of weeks now (Grand Opening on Tuesday, March 29th, 3PM to 9PM), we spent nearly 3-hours at John’s Incredible Pizza playing games, enjoying the rides, and eating.  This place is HUGE (46,000 square feet) with over 110 games, but it’s the little things that actually make John’s worth a visit.

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Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)

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What’s to Love:  Love art at home but hate the mess and clean-up?  Simple solution – turn your kids loose inside the Art Factory of the Children’s Healing Art Project.  It’s sort of like being inside Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but with paint, brushes, push carts, and colorful smocks.  Don’t be afraid to make a masterpiece or a mess.  All the while, know that your dollars are helping fund an innovative nonprofit that helps ailing children and their families.

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