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Personal Trainer Bios


Brenda Alexander

"What can I do to help you do what it takes to get what you want?"

Brenda Alexander in the weight room

About me: It only takes desire, determination, consistent effort and time. What is it that you desire? How strong is that desire? What are you willing to do to get it? What is really stopping you?

#1 - Designing exercise programs can be challenging when faced with limiting factors. I learn something from each and every client I work with. First I demonstrate the exercises in a particular sequence, discussing the rationale behind each. Then I allow you to practice mastery independently or with my supervision. I follow up with a review and modifications. Sometimes a completely new program is warranted if you bore easily, plateau or set new goals. Repeat this process again until your goals are met. Sounds simple, yes?
#2 - Motivating is a far more difficult task, for it involves the mind more than the body. Attitude is everything. If you hate exercise, I can make it more fun. However, it is still hard work and only hard work (or prolonged easier work) will produce results. Depending on your genetic factors, this progress may be faster or slower. There are drugs and surgeries available, but they are expensive and carry risks. You can NOT change the fact that your body requires movement to sustain health; you can however change the methods of movement as well as your attitude towards movement.
#3 - Consistency is crucial, for no plan in the world will succeed if you are not consistently following it. Most people need some support. I can only hold you accountable when you are physically with me or by an available attendance binder. I can “check in” on you from time to time, but I can’t MAKE you exercise when you’re determined not to. Hold on to your strong desire and refer back to #2.

This is what I love to do: I have knowledge and I have experience. I’ve been “addicted” to weight training and sports and I’ve been more relaxed and casual too. I’ve been able to maintain an active lifestyle regardless of my changing attitudes and circumstances. I’ve had my own small gym and I’ve had nothing but a broom stick and milk jugs. I’ve worked at 24-Hour, YWCA, YMCA and here at PSU.

I love this stuff! I want you to learn to love it too. My ultimate goal is to empower you to take ownership of your health.
Please allow me to offer you my professional services, share my experiences, have some fun and get you moving in the right direction.

Experience:

  • 7 years as a professional trainer
  • Various ages and populations
  • Lumbo-pelvic stabilization
  • Shoulder and knee rehabilitation

Credentials:

  • ACE Certified Personal Trainer
  • YMCA Fitness Testing Specialist

Contact:

Phone: 503-261-3907 - Does not accept texts.
Email: Brenda.alexander@pdx.edu


 

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Chris Loveless

“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there." – Bo Jackson


Chris Loveless smiles for the camera on the Rec Center court.

About me: Born in southern California and raised in the Portland metro area, my life has been centered on physical activity and competition. I attended Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon where I captained my Varsity Football, Wrestling, and Lacrosse teams. I am now in pursuit of my Bachelors of Science in Nursing and later plan to continue my education to become a physical therapist. Now that my life has moved away from competition I occupy my time outside of school by staying outdoors and being active. As of now I most look forward to snowboarding, mountain biking, fishing, disc golfing, basketball and Netflix.
My background as a multisport athlete provides me with various perspectives on activity, movement, recovery, and the different ways health can be achieved. The knowledge I can provide spans from rehabilitation of strength, balance, and stability to high performance/ competitive training. Keeping exercise fun and constantly progressing is how I stay focused and motivated.

Training Philosophy: Choo! Choo! All aboard the Gain Train!
My goal is to help you create the best athlete possible. To go from underachieving to exceeding expectations.  This means establishing sustainable habits, creating a strong mind-body relationship, and working toward a well-rounded level of fitness. This is how one can truly maintain quality of life no matter their age or current health. Let’s get better together!

Experience:

  • 5 years in Olympic lifting
  • 10 combined years of varsity level athletics 
  • Knee Rehabilitation

Certifications:

  • WITS Certified Personal Trainer
  • American Red Cross CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer & First Aid Certified

Contact:

Phone: 503-270-8275
Email: ochris@pdx.edu

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Evan Cox

“If you're afraid to fail, you'll never succeed." – Dan Gable


Evan Cox stands in front of tree with arms crossed.

About me: I was never the biggest, fastest, or most coordinated kid on the field, but that never stopped me from being active. I never excelled in any of the team sports I tried, so when my mom signed me up for wrestling, I was timid and afraid. I will never forget the feeling I had after my first match, where I first felt empowered by the realization that I was no longer afraid, and because of that, I could finally succeed. It is this lesson that has stuck with me after all these years. In addition to teaching me valuable lessons about life, wrestling also sparked an interested in health and fitness that has persisted to this day. I enjoy training for the most optimum balance of strength, endurance, mobility, and flexibility, and I believe finding that balance is crucial regardless of your current fitness level. I enjoy working with anyone seeking to become better versions of themselves, no matter what your goals are. Whether you are an experienced athlete or someone stepping into the gym for the first time, I will help you get there! I remember what it was like to step into a situation feeling anxious and unsure. With me, you’ll get the knowledge and support you need so that you’ll feel empowered to keep reaching your health and fitness goals.


Experience:

  • Strength & Conditioning
  • Mobility & Flexibility
  • Corrective Exercise - shoulder/hip/knee rehabilitation, stabilization, and strengthening

Certifications:

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine - Corrective Exercise Specialist - In Progress
  • American Red Cross CPR/AED and First Aid Certified

Contact:

Phone: 971-221-7547
Email: evcox@pdx.edu

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Gabe Feit

 "If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi


Gabe Feit lifts a barbell in the weight room.

Introduction: Are you new to the gym and looking for some guidance and support?  Or have you been going to the gym for years and want a new perspective?  Maybe you're somewhere in the middle. They are all good places to be!  Just reading this bio means you have made the choice to address and improve your fitness in some manner.  Good decision! The path to physical fitness is a journey that can transform your body and mind. It presents itself differently to everybody, but one thing is for sure, it takes hard work!

Why do it? Aside from disease prevention and physical health, those old chestnuts. Exercise encourages the brain to produce chemicals that help us deal with stress (norepinephrine) and make us feel happy (endorphins). Exercise also helps improve cognitive function and alleviate depression.  Not to mention how good you'll feel when you look in the mirror!

 

About me: My philosophy is that even hard work should be fun! Idealistic? Yes. Unrealistic? No WAY! I love to play! From organized sports such as ice hockey and soccer to weight lifting to frisbee in the park. It is so important to have fun...Seriously!  Playing encourages curiosity and helps us problem solve.  It strengthens our connections to other people, the world around us and perhaps most importantly, ourselves. I am a nurturer by nature. I love to help people become the best version of themselves. In the gym this translates to a focus on helping you achieve your goals through a combination of guidance, external motivation, helping to keep you on track and overcome personal challenges.  College is a time of exponential growth that often leaves little time for play.  But the benefits couldn't be more relevant to a student's needs. Even the act of working out regularly, keeping a schedule and tracking your results are skills that transfer directly to college and the rest of life. The path to physical fitness is right in front of you.  You have already taken the first step.  Let's work our way down the path together for a bit!


Certifications: 

  • World Instructor Training Schools - Personal Trainer
  • American Red Cross - CPR, AED & First Aid for the Professional Rescuer

Contact:

Phone: 503-866-2470
Email: gfeit@pdx.edu

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Justin Porter 

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." -Oscar Wilde


Just Porter smiles for the camera in his play shirt.About Me: Raised in Boise, Idaho, I grew up active playing in as many sports as I could from baseball, football, lacrosse and wrestling. I joined the United State Air Force out of high school and spent the past 6 years traveling and encountering different people from all over the world. Throughout my time in the Air Force I discovered my passion for health and fitness. Once my enlistment ended I moved to Portland and decided to take my passion and knowledge for fitness to help others achieve their goals and become their best self. When I am not training or in class, I like to spend my time trying to better myself through reading, exercise and staying grounded by being outdoors.

 

My Philosophy: I am a firm believer that movement is the key to our health, whether that is playing sports, running, walking, yoga or resistance training. If you plan on losing or gaining weight depending on your goals, other benefits you will receive in addition to the physiological effects of exercise are increased energy, stress relief and reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases, which are just another reason to stay healthy and active. As a trainer I am here to help you achieve your goals and help you push past your limits. My goal as your trainer is for us to work together and create a program that works for you. Exercise and gyms may be intimidating when you are new to it, but it is my job to make it fun and enjoyable. I am here to answer your questions, educate, motivate and help you live a healthier life. Your best investment is always in yourself!!!  


Certifications:

  • W.I.T.S. Personal Training Certification
  • American Red Cross CPR/AED First Aid
  • B.S. Applied Health and Fitness (Expected 2019)

Contact:

Phone: 208-515-6772
Email: porter25@pdx.edu

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Ric Newell

"There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better." -Tom Robbins


Ric Newell curling a dumbell.

About Me: Born and raised in Oregon, I’ve spent the last few years living in San Diego and before that, Seattle, enjoying the beach, the ocean, the mountains and everything that the outdoors had to offer. After a move to Portland a few years back and a recent return to school, I decided to take my love for being active to the next level by dedicating myself not only to improving my own physical fitness and health but also helping others to meet their own fitness goals.

I recognize that many people are at first intimidated by the gym or might not share my enthusiasm for being active. My main goal is to assist my clients towards integrating health and fitness into their daily lives, where exercise is something that they look forward to. I am currently a Health Studies major with a concentration in Physical Activity/Exercise. I also teach Group Fitness where I get the opportunities to work with participants of diverse fitness backgrounds as well as utilize a variety of different fitness equipment. Whether you’re a long-time gym member or a first timer who has yet to discover your inner athlete, my focus is to provide you with a challenging and engaging program individualized to meet your specific goals and needs.

Certifications:

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer
  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America - Certified Primary Group Exercise Instructor
  • TRX® Group Suspension Training Qualified Trainer
  • American Red Cross - CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers with First Aid

Contact:
Phone: 971-570-5595
Email: rnewell@pdx.edu

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Sabrina Wilken

"Every artist was first an amateur." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sabrina Wilken smiling on the beach.

Training Purpose: In my experience I have found that many people are intimidated by working out at a gym for fear of being judged. My goal as a personal trainer is to help people overcome any personal inhibitions and to help them reach their full fitness potential. No matter what ability level you are at I hope to help you feel comfortable and confident at any gym.

 

Athletic Background: Participating in dance and gymnastics in my youth, my love for fitness developed at an early age. In high school I began my career as a competitive cheerleader for four years and went on to cheer competitively at a collegiate level for two years as well. After retiring from my cheerleading career I sought out other forms of exercise such as weightlifting, distance running and Zumba. I have always had a passion for fitness and I hope to inspire others to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle as well.

 

Certifications:

  • American Red Cross CPR/ AED and First Aid certified
  • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • WITS Certified Personal Trainer

Contact:

Phone: (503) 490-4561
Email: swilken@pdx.edu

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Story Heath-McKee

"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." -Art Williams


Story Heath-Mckee laughing in front of a waterfall.

About me: As a kid, I was always very active; I played sports my entire life. From grade school kickball into college as a member of the PSU Crew and Lacrosse teams. However, I wasn't into so much the logistics of fitness and health until my sophomore year at PSU. I have always loved to be active and compete to be the best, which is why I decided to move my focus from competitive sports to actually training and learning about the body. I became a personal trainer so that I could begin to spread my knowledge and love of health and fitness to others!

I love to be healthy for myself and my life; I love helping others reach their fitness and health goals as well. Nothing makes me happier than to have the opportunity to work with individuals who are motivated and ready to make a life change that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, if done right and consistently. I look forward to the opportunity to work with those who are ready to make a change and enjoy the benefits of physical fitness. Together we’ll build a workout plan and set goals that are enjoyable and fun while still being beneficial and progressive toward improving your fitness and health. I only ask that you come ready and willing to work hard and give it your 100%.

Qualifications:

  • WITS Certified Personal Trainer
  • American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/ AED 
  • Certified BA in Health Studies w/ Minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Contact information:
Phone: 541-380-1268
Email: Story2@pdx.edu

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Tayler Larson

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind


Tayler Larson headshot

Training Philosophy: 

Fitness for me is about allowing yourself to live the best possible life you can live. It is not a “one size fits all” experience. Every individual has different needs, goals and ideals that can be achieved through the many avenues of physical activity. I am a firm believer that true wellness is achieved when you have both a healthy mind and a healthy body, and when you are able to find a balance of both in every aspect of your life. While fitness is something I enjoy, it is not my passion. People are my passion. Fitness is the method through which I am able to reach out and empower, strengthen, and encourage individuals to be the best they can be. It is my desire to partner with you on your own journey and provide you with the tools you need to become a better and more fulfilled version of yourself.


Experience and Credentials:

  • W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer
  • BS in Health Studies: Physical Activity and Exercise and Community Health Education
  • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • CPR and AED certified

    Contact:

    Phone: 503-680_8645
    Email: tlars2@pdx.edu

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    Vanessa Burnham

    "Health begins with firmness in the body, deepens to emotional stability, then leads to intellectual clarity, and finally the unveiling of the soul." -B.K.S. Iyengar


    Vanessa Durnham smilesfor the camera.

    About me: I grew up in the land of buttermilk biscuits and honey-baked ham, otherwise known as Georgia. Growing up in the South, I was surrounded by a variety of people, cultures, and food. After graduating with a B.S. in anthropology and minor in music, I was excited to venture out, explore new opportunities, and meet new people. I moved to Portland in 2015 and discovered a love for practicing yoga and weight training as a way to not just meet, but nourish my body’s mental and physical needs. I took charge of my health by maintaining a regular exercise regimen, changing my diet, and now I feel better than I ever have. I think that with enough willpower, anyone can take control of their own health, and that’s what I hope to help others achieve. Aside from health and mind-body wellness, I am passionate about music, nature, and eating lots of healthy food. My hobbies include singing opera and in choirs, hiking, cooking, and spending time with my dogs. My next career goal is to become a certified nutritionist and eventually a life coach.

     

    Philosophy: I firmly believe that every body is different, and aim to find ways to help each body reach its fullest potential when training. My training style is compassion-centered and non-judgmental, but don’t think I won’t push you! I like to keep things interesting when training by incorporating new exercises into each training session, all based on my client’s goals. My personal goal when training any client is to help them become not only more confident inside and out of the gym, but also to become stronger, more balanced, and more flexible - these are the attributes that lead to a happier, healthier, and longer life!

    Qualifications:

    • World Instructor Training Schools - Personal Trainer
    • Sola School of Contemplative Arts - Yoga Teacher RYT - 200

    Contact information:
    Phone: 678-633-0239
    Email: Vaness@pdx.edu

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    Veronique Nyounai-Herrera

    "Success is the result of motivation, dedication and consistent effort."


    Veronique Nyounai-Herrera smiling for a headshot.

    Introduction: Committing yourself to your body and health is the greatest gift you can give yourself. The trick is to try various activities, find what you enjoy, and make it a priority. Fitness is definitely not one size fits all! As a trainer, I’m here to push you and help you realize that you are capable of achieving every goal you make for yourself. I’m here to show you just how strong you really are!

    About me: I have always enjoyed being active. As a kid, I participated in practically every sport there was. This included ice-skating, gymnastics, volleyball, and even horseback riding. In high school, I stuck with basketball and tennis, becoming a tennis captain my senior year. Upon entering college, I quickly fell in love with strength training. I love knowing that I am getting stronger every day and am pushing my body to its full potential. For me, it’s all mental. I know that by pushing myself past my perceived barriers, I am becoming both mentally and physically stronger, and that mentality in the gym, can easily be translated to real life. Anything is possible! With that being said, my approach as a trainer involves nudging clients out of their comfort zones. I start off by understanding how you learn best, create a program that progresses in intensity, and gradually push you out of that pesky comfort zone.

    I believe that a successful trainer is one that is well-rounded and able to relate to clients that have various fitness levels, goals, and interests. The best part of my job is getting to coach a diverse population of clients. No matter where you fall, the number one thing to remember is that in order to achieve the results you desire, it takes dedication, and perseverance. I am here as your coach, friend, teacher, and cheerleader. Let’s work on being the best version of you yet! 

     

    Certifications:

    • WITS Certified Personal Trainer
    • Licensed Zumba instructor
    • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor 
    • Red Cross CPR, AED, First Aid Certified
    • Pending minor in community health education
    • Tennis player 10+ years
    • Other sports: basketball, volleyball

    Contact:

    Phone: 503-708-0970
    Email: nyounaih@pdx.edu