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Gym promotes fitness and adventure for veterans

Troutdale's CrossFit RMR (for River, Mountain, Rock), started by five veterans, offers discounts to veterans


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - At the new gym on Marine Drive, veterans and regular clients try out the CrossFit program.Five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans celebrated Veterans Day on Monday with the grand opening of their new gym in Troutdale — CrossFit RMR (for River, Mountain, Rock) — focused on promoting a healthy, active lifestyle for veterans and clients.

Andy Hamilton, Jarrod Evans, Josh Walker, Ricky Haro and Shane Conrad did not all deploy together, but served separately in the Army, Air Force and Marines.by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Andy Hamilton, Army veteran and co-owner of CrossFit RMR, hopes to combine fitness with outdoor skills training.

As soldiers returning home, they share a similar nostalgia: They miss the thrill and adventure of serving overseas, and the strength that being in the military requires.

Better put, they love the outdoors and staying fit.

“Personally, as a veteran, I miss the constant action and thrill, and pushing myself through a hard workout,” Hamilton said. “I also miss the outdoor adventure — rock climbing, mountaineering and multi-day backpacking.”

Located in the industrial center on Marine Drive, CrossFit RMR offers a combination of hardcore workouts and outdoor adventure opportunities in mountaineering and rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and rafting.

“You’re not just getting overall fitness, you get ways to use that fitness in the outdoors,” Hamilton said.

Originally from North Carolina, Hamilton moved to Oregon on Christmas 2010. After serving in the Army from 2002-2008, he eventually left his hometown to reunite with some of his military buddies who lived out here.

“I fell in love with the mountains and rivers and all the cool stuff here,” said Hamilton, who turned 30 and got engaged a week ago.

The Boring resident enrolled in the Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education program at Mt. Hood Community College.

Hamilton came up with the idea of starting a gym that combines the CrossFit program with outdoor adventure activities last year when he was working as a fitness coach at CrossFit Mt. Hood in Gresham and as an outdoor guide for Rare Earth Adventures, a Portland-based mountain climbing guide company.

As a CrossFit coach, Hamilton said people at his gym were only using fitness inside the gym and were not doing anything new, such as outdoor experiences.

On a climbing trip, Hamilton met Evans, Walker and Haro, all Air Force veterans, outdoor guides and co-owners of Rare Earth Adventures. Around the same time he met Conrad, a former Marine and co-owner of Stout Creek Outfitters, a Sandy-based whitewater rafting and kayaking company.

Hamilton decided to combine his two passions for fitness and outdoor adventure by opening his own CrossFit gym. He included the two outdoor guide companies as co-owners, hence the RMR for River, Mountain, Rock.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The gym is located in the industrial center across from the Troutdale airport at 892 Northwest Corporate Drive.Founded in 2000, CrossFit is a rapidly growing fitness program that has popped up in more than 65 different locations in the Portland area. Most are privately run and promote a community-oriented work environment.

The 6,000-square-foot, veteran-owned gym at 892 N.W. Corporate Drive in Troutdale appeals to veterans, but also clients interested in the CrossFit program.

“CrossFit makes you fit for everyday life,” Hamilton said. “Every day the workout is different.”

Workouts emphasize using movement you do every day, he said — bending down, picking things up, running, jumping, but at an intense and varied level — and includes power and Olympic lifting, gymnastic and sporting movements.

Membership at CrossFit RMR will include access to guided trips throughout the year. Rare Earth’s land-based mountaineering trips have included Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and local climbs such as Smith Rock, while Stout Creek provides whitewater kayaking, rafting and stand-up paddle boarding instruction.

Working with local veterans’ organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the Veterans Department at Mt. Hood Community College, Hamilton said, “We have extremely good discounts for veterans.” Ideally, veterans will be able to work out for free, he said.

At the gym, Hero Work Out of the Day competitions are named after military members who have died in the line of duty. The workouts are more intense, Hamilton said.

“Keeping in mind that this person died pushing themselves in combat,” he said, “is something to reflect during the workout.

“You’re pushing yourself in honor of them.”




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