For many of us, there’s an inevitable disconnect between wanting to develop a consistent fitness regimen and actually putting this plan into action. David and Cindy Dentel, the husband-and-wife team behind Fitness Creators Studio (1420 NW Lovejoy St, Studio 421, 503-241-2844), have been successfully helping clients to bridge that gap for two decades. This year marks the 20th anniversary of operating their private personal fitness studio, which is located in a light and open fourth-floor studio inside the Pearl’s handsome and historic Marshall-Wells Lofts building, at the corner of NW Lovejoy and 14th.
“We love the Pearl and are excited to see it continue to prosper each year,” says David, who explains that Fitness Creators Studio (FCS) began with a rented space inside the nearby Irving Studio Lofts. “After a few years there we learned of another building under development, a few blocks away, that allowed the same live/work arrangement. Since we had such good experiences with this arrangement in the ISL, in 2003 we purchased a unit at the Marshall-Wells Lofts to operate our business. We’ve been here since.” Cindy adds, “our unique setting allows us to focus on helping customers without the typical distractions of a membership-driven exercise facility.”
Both David and Cindy, who are certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), have extensive backgrounds in wellness and athletics. Their studio is outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, including TRX systems, kettlebells, a boxing apparatus, and a full complement of flexibility, strength, and cardio equipment. FCS offers personal training, and it operates without memberships—you just schedule your appointments, and you’re charged only for the time David and Cindy work with you—the rates are quite reasonable, at $60 an hour, or $40 for a half hour. One way to motivate yourself to stick with a program while also coming up with a flexible workout routine is to prepay for 8 to 12 sessions, and the schedule them over a few weeks.
We asked the Dentels a few questions about the story behind FCS, and how this studio has become such an effective and successful resource for so many clients over the years. –By Andrew Collins
The Pearl: Can you tell us a little bit more about your backgrounds and also explain what prompted you to open the studio 20 years ago?
David: As a youth I was involved in many school sports (e.g., basketball, soccer), but in high school I spent the most time using the school weight room and then working after school. Before college I spent three years in the army with the 82nd Airborne, traveling the world and jumping out of planes. During college I studied business and the sciences while working at local gyms as an independent personal trainer. After four years I acquired a B.S. in exercise science and began thinking of continuing my studies to become a physical therapist. At the same time personal training was becoming more known and popular in Portland, and my business took off. From that time I focused on my personal-training business, married my college girlfriend, and purchased property to operate our business from.
Cindy: Most of my childhood I was active in sports and enjoyed basketball and track. I focused on running and basketball through school and continued to play up until college. Always an avid runner, I enjoyed Portland marathons and the occasional tri-sport events. During college I wanted to apply my experiences with sports while becoming more knowledgeable about the human body and found the exercise science degree to be a good fit. While studying at Portland State University I met David, who was studying the same degree but working as a personal trainer. He helped me with my workouts and educated me about the business, and though I had thoughts of continuing my studies toward becoming a physical therapist, I found myself enjoying helping others getting into better physical condition. We married years later, combined our independent businesses, rented space to operate from, and eventually purchased property and started a family.
The Pearl: Among first-time or new clients, can you tell me what some of the most common goals are?
Cindy: In our experiences the most common goals first-time exercisers are wanting is to be educated to help themselves become in better shape and not getting injured,which then leads toward a specific fitness goal, such as weight loss and strength training. Exercises, equipment, even developing their own personal body awareness are all new experiences to many clients, and we take them through the process carefully and at their specific pace. New clients can be people who are new to exercise or are needing help based on an injury they have acquired or are just needing a new routine or even a new trainer and gym. We find we attract clients who want a private setting, and we’re able to guarantee that they receive uninterrupted workouts that are focused toward there fitness goals.
The Pearl: On a related note, do you see any trends in terms of the backgrounds of your clients? Do you find that you draw clients from all ages?
David: In the past few years we have noticed the population here in the Pearl District to be more and more younger professionals, from 20 to 40 years of age. Though we have always worked with clients as young as 14 and as old as 90, we have not noted any changes to the clients that choose to have us help them with their fitness goals. We relate this to our comfortable setting and years of experience in the profession.
The Pearl: Can you describe a couple of client situations you’re most proud of, in terms of how you were able to help people attain their goals?
Cindy: In 20+ years of being a personal trainer and operating a gym we can think of lots of examples. Many can be found under the testimonials section of our website, and we’re proud to share them with everyone. Many are examples of meeting weight-loss goals to be ready for a wedding, while others have worked up to running and/or finishing the Portland Marathon for the first time. We even have clients who still tell us each time they come in that “we’ve kept them alive.” Those folks we know definitely have stressful lives. Many clients find our services to be part workout, part therapy, though we don’t typically view ourselves as “counselors” nor are we licensed this way. It’s just nice to know people are getting more out of our services than just a challenging workout.
The Pearl: For those who might be interested in signing up for classes with you but don’t feel they have enough time to commit or hours to spare, can you explain how you’re able to customize a routine that might work for even very busy professionals?
David: We don’t offer classes specifically but rather sessions. We offer 30- and 60-minute sessions, which can be purchased in packages or individually. But yes, it is not uncommon for us to assist clients interested in getting help with very specific goals that makes the regular, frequently scheduled sessions unnecessary, for example:
- Developing a different exercise routine.
- Creating a more effective core (or other body part) routine.
- Creating a stretching routine for the whole body or specifically for a particular sport (e.g., running, tennis).
- Creating a home routine with the clients’ home equipment.
- Performing body measurements, such as body compositions (fat testing), circumference measurements, and weigh-ins.
All of these examples can be performed within one to three hour-long sessions. Some of them can be performed with a single 30-minute session.