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New gym offers solution to New Year's resolution


Beyond 50 Fitness caters to older, less experienced clientele.

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Clients at Beyond 50 Fitness often visit every day. The gyms low-impact workout can be accomplished in about half-an-hour, said gym coordinator Gary JelinekTucked in a large business park off Hall Boulevard, Beyond 50 Fitness isn’t what you expect from a local gym.

Soft, classical music plays from a sound system.

It’s a small gym, but managers of the one room facility — which opened its doors three weeks ago — have plans to get many of the area’s 50-and-older population back in shape.

“When I heard about this place, I couldn’t believe it,” said Gary Jelinek, 65, as he pumped his arms on a rowing machine.

“And when they asked if I wanted to be involved, I said, ‘Gosh, yes.’”

Jelinek helped open Beyond 50 Fitness three weeks ago.

“There is a need for people of a certain age to have a safe, comfortable, secure place that they can go get a workout that’s not going to cause further harm to themselves,” Jelinek said. “Something that they can utilize until they are 100 years old.”

The gym has a small, dedicated membership — patrons who make frequent stops at the gym several times a week.

“At a normal gym, you might come in maybe once or twice a week, but people here seem to come every day,” Jelinek said. “Many of them like the idea of that short, quick workout that they can fit into their regular schedule.”

It’s low impact, Jelinek said, and designed so a full workout can be done in about half an hour.

To spread the word, the gym is offering a three-month free membership to newcomers.

Check it out

What: Beyond 50 Fitness

Where: 12154 S.W. Garden Place, Tigard

How much: First three months free. Yearly memberships begin at $59 a month.

For more info: Call 503-430-0940 or visit >www.beyond50fitness.com

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Gary Jelinek, 65, helped open Beyond 50 Fitness off Hall Boulevard. The gym, which opened three weeks ago, is meant to be a home for Baby Boomers looking to get back to the gym. “We want to get to 100 members,” Jelinek said. “Then things will skyrocket from that point.”

‘People feel safe here’

Beyond 50 is meant to be an alternative to the traditional neighborhood gym, which can make some people — particularly those who aren’t used to working out — uncomfortable, Jelinek said.

“I can’t tell you how many people I know who will not go to the gym because they feel like they are in competition with ‘those guys,’ who are really fit and work out all the time,” Jelinek said. “They don’t want to be there, they don’t feel comfortable with that. But people feel safe here. They aren’t in competition with anyone, and they can work at their own pace.”

Jelinek works with members to set up an exercise regiment based on their personal health history, and people can work through the small assortment of equipment at a leisurely pace.

“We have set up a program that isn’t going to push (people),” Jelinek said. “If you are out of breath here, you’re overdoing it.”

Despite the name, Jelinek said, Beyond 50 is open to people of any age.

The equipment is designed for people who aren’t used to working out and those whose range of motion isn’t what it should be, Jelinek said. That includes older clients as well as younger people who aren’t accustomed to working out regularly.

“Maybe they haven’t been working out all their lives, or they had injuries that are on the mend and they want to get back in shape,” he said.

The gym also works with physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to treat patients who have been released from the hospital.

“If (patients) go back to bad habits, that can be a problem,” Jelinek said. “So we set up individually designed programs for them.”

Jelinek said he can already see a change happening in the gym’s clientele.

“There was one woman who I had to help lift her leg onto a machine the first couple of times, but she came in this morning and said, ‘Gary I can get my leg up on my own now.’ She is already getting the results she is looking for,” he recalled.

Place of enjoyment

The gym is one of three in Oregon run by owner Andy Baxter.

Baxter’s two other gyms, located in Medford and Ashland, also cater to people middle-aged and older.

Beyond 50 is a departure from the sort of thing Jelinek is known for.

By night, Jelinek teaches political science at Pioneer College in Wilsonville. Jelinek also made a career in politics for years working on political campaigns, including serving as the national campaign manager for Dennis Kucinich’s presidential run in 2004.

In 2009, Jelinek made headlines after spurring a group of Portland-area doctors to go on a six-week cross-country tour to promote healthcare reform.

But Jelinek said the gym’s main goal isn’t political, it’s about keeping people healthy.

“I used to work out a lot, but I don’t do that kind of workout any more. I can’t,” he said. “My body screams at me if I try to do anything like I did when I was in my 20s. But I can do this circuit, and I feel great.”

Jelinek said he has kept his membership at 24-Hour Fitness to play racquetball. But he finds the atmosphere at Beyond 50 much more inviting.

“Years ago there used to be barbershops where you could go in and it was a joyful place where people knew each other,” he said. “It was a time for conversation, and that’s what happens here. We talk about the weather, the holidays and politics. I really look forward to this every day. This is a place of enjoyment. The members are in an out in half-an-hour, and they feel relaxed.”

Editor's note: This story was corrected from an earlier version. That story incorrectly stated that Beyond 50 Fitness offered the first three months free with yearly memberships begin at $59 a year. The correct price is $59 a month.