New gyms opening around Portland have more in common than powerful names like Crunch and Twist.
They're smaller, offer more classes and, according to their owners, offer better workouts than traditional gyms.
Crunch Fitness in Gresham is among the newcomers. The club on Northeast 223rd Avenue has classes, cardio and weights -- nothing more. Co-owner John LaRosa, who opened Crunch in September and plans to open a second location near Washington Square this fall, said the model allows his staff to be more service-oriented to people who use the gym.
"We're a different model," he said. "We're not your traditional club."
LaRosa knows about traditional clubs, having been a staffer at 24 Hour Fitness and Gold's Gym.
"When you work under huge monsters like that," he says, "there are certain limitations."
His club doesn't have a pool, a basketball court or a sauna -- and it's better for it.
"That's not to say that clubs like 24 Hour or Bally's or LA Fitness don't have their strengths," LaRosa said. "This is a simplified model."
Other new gyms in the metro area, such as Twist Sport Conditioning on Capitol Highway in Southwest Portland, offer appointment-only training.
"One thing people can't do is just come in and use the equipment," said Josh Hunt, Twist owner. "Everything is either designed for them in a class, or they can come in and do a private one-on-one training."
Hunt said his club, which trains Wilsonville and West Linn high school teams as well as noncompetitors, differs from the typical health club.
"We don't use machine-based training," Hunt said. "Everything in here is movement-based. It transfers out to the playing field or the ski slopes."
Twist has five locations in Canada; its Portland location opened in June and is the first in the United States. Hunt said the clubs are based on the idea that the health club model doesn't work well.
"When you sit down at a machine that has a predetermined path or motion, that's not really how your body is designed to work," he said.