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From U.S. Forest Service to personal training

For 10 years Herta McClenahan lived her dream as a U.S. Forest Service ranger, working in Idaho, Southern Oregon and the Tahoe National Forest. Fast forward to September 2013, and now McClenahan is living a new dream as a personal trainer and health coach in her own studio, Integrated Fitness, in downtown Milwaukie.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Herta McClenahan makes the most of her small studio space, working with hand weights and physio balls, along with other training tools. It has been quite a journey, from a stable career with benefits at a government agency, to branching out on her own and being her own boss, but she feels good about her decision, McClenahan said.

It all started in 1991, while McClenahan was living in Truckee, Nev., and working for the USFS. She took a Jazzercise class and loved it so much she signed on to be an instructor, and at the same time became excited about the fitness industry.

Then, while teaching exercise classes, she began to field more and more questions from her students about how to deal with injuries, and soon found herself wanting answers.

In 1996 she was still working as a ranger, but at the same time was studying to get her personal trainer certification.

“Once I got my certification, I started trying it out on some of my Jazzercise friends. When I got involved with one-on-one in-home training, I created a business called Integrated Fitness,” McClenahan said.

After several years, she realized her passion for fitness was overtaking her passion for her ranger job, and she realized it was time to change careers. There were limited opportunities for personal trainers in Truckee, so in 1998, McClenahan came to the Portland area to visit her brother and sister-in-law, and to check out various fitness club locations.

She interviewed with Costco’s Sports Nation club, was offered a position as a trainer there, and three weeks later quit her ranger job and made the leap to a new career.

In 1999 she began working for the East Side Athletic Club in Milwaukie, focusing on senior fitness. At the same time, she was attending workshops and classes which eventually led to another certification as a health coach. As with her personal trainer credential, the American Council on Exercise certified her.

Integrated Fitness

McClenahan then took another leap of faith when she resigned from ESAC in September, and launched her own business, Integrated Fitness, in her Milwaukie studio.

The name of her business comes from the fact that fitness is “not just about the physical aspect, but about all aspects. It is a balance of physical, mental, emotional and lifestyle choices. I want to integrate all those parts,” she said.

Because she prefers to work with mature adults, most of McClenahan’s clients are age 50 and above, and most are women, although she does have some male in-home clients.

“Most are active adults; some are in rehab training. For some I serve as the step after physical therapy and some have injuries or muscular-skeletal limitations,” she said.

“A few have arthritis or have had joint replacement and need more modification, and they know I am able to accommodate that. I work with balance, agility, coordination and basic strength training.”

McClenahan chose to set up her business in Milwaukie, because she is familiar with the people in the area, and she already had a base of clients who enjoyed training with her. In her small space she does body work with free weights, physio balls, a step bench, a cable crossover machine and a TRX body-weight suspension system.

Future plans

McClenahan foresees a larger studio in her future, perhaps in two to three years, but for now she is reveling in being her own boss.

“I feel like I am in control of my life. Here I can control my environment, my schedule and what I can offer. I can set my path, be in control of my destiny and make it successful.”

What sets her apart is her “attention to the entire person. I take a look at all aspects of their lives, not just the physical exercise part. Lifestyle change takes time and takes commitment, but anybody can be successful if they look at the big picture,” she said.

McClenahan also plans to continue educating herself in all areas and she teaches chair yoga and a cardio class twice a week at Miramont Pointe Senior Living in Clackamas.

“It is nice to touch people’s lives and help them have a better quality life,” she said. “I work with people in their 90s who tell me they are still living on their own because they come to my classes.”

Individual workouts

What: Integrated Fitness

Who: Herta McClenahan, ACE-certified health coach and personal trainer, owner

Where: 2305 S.E. Washington St., Suite 103, Milwaukie

More: For information about group classes and individual workout sessions, call 503-347-5685 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Coming up: A 45-minute Midnight Madness Workout is scheduled for every midnight when there is a full moon. Call to reserve a space; class is $10.



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  • 29 Aug 2014

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