Bryce Kanights

The chances are unfortunately decent that you might be reading this as you kill time, and your unemployment check, at the bar. The job scene has been notoriously bleak in Portland for years, and it goes without saying that things have not improved. So while ordinarily this space is dedicated to ideas on ways to spend money, this week it goes out to those of you with no money to spend, thanks to the generosity and progressive thinking of Tim Irwin and a little Southeast Portland gym called Studio X.

Founded five and a half years ago by Irwin, a former bartender at the Bonfire, the gym is located in the same building as his former place of employment, at 2839 SE Stark. Not wanting to work in a corporate gym environment, Irwin created a space with a grassroots appeal that combines straightforward approaches to fitness that rely on understanding how the body works more than on expensive and fussy machines, like balance work and traditional calisthenics that Irwin says "require your body to work more efficiently, not just work hard."

While this return to good sense and simplicity is gaining traction all over the fitness world, Studio X is still pretty unique. In addition to personal training, yoga, Pilates, and athletic conditioning, for instance, they offer a class called Punk Rock Boot Camp, which combines "loud music and cussing" with a heavy workout, and is favored by such local toughs as members of the Rose City Rollers.

In light of the economic troubles plaguing so many, Irwin had the idea to reach out to people who have lost their jobs, had their hours or salaries reduced, or are experiencing drastic losses in small business profits. Enter Studio X's Fitness Reboot Program, a cost-free alternative for people willing to use their un- or under-employed time to get back in shape, acknowledging the mind-clearing, confidence-boosting, stress-coping benefits of exercise. The program is four weeks long, meeting twice a week, beginning on April 6, and its 12 lucky participants will be able to enjoy the support of all six of the gym's trainers. It will also include a baseline fitness analysis from which to measure results, and "homework assignments" ranging from nutrition advice to exercise that can be done on your own.

The gym is accepting applications for the program though Monday, March 23, at, where you can fill out the form online—they're not looking for sob stories, just people who sincerely want to use this time to reap the positive benefits of getting back in shape. But hey, if not, I know of a bar nearby....