Portland company Journey Gym puts exercise in a briefcase

Portland company Journey Gym puts exercise in a briefcase

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by KGW staff

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kgw.com

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Friday, May 10 at 7:00 PM

PORTLAND –The exercise industry carries a lot of weight in the United States, and it seems every few weeks there's a new piece of equipment that promises to make you the biggest loser.

That seems to be working for one Portland company, which started because one man couldn't exercise his right to exercise.

It looks like your typical exercise class with a warm up to get the heart racing and to start feeling the burn.

“It’s a twenty minute workout,” said Kathlene Whinnery of Portland.

But, what isn't so typical is the exercise equipment.

“The briefcase is the gym,” said John Friess, CEO of Journey Gym. “Check this out. It's pretty cool…anything you can do with a free weight or a dumbbell you can do with this.”

It took some six years for Friess to get to this point. It started on an out-of-town trip. His hotel didn't have an adequate workout area.

“I said it would be great if someone would invent a gym in a briefcase,” he said.

No one did. So he did. A fold-able bench press, resistance bands and a dog walk are at the core of the concept.

It took 15 iterations and 16 engineers for new business, journey gym, to bring the 14-pound gym in a suitcase to a now worldwide market.

One hundred fifty workout videos keep folks motivated, plus nutrition and lifestyle guidance come with the program.

For Justin Hanley, the Journey Gym was a life changer. In 2011 he weighed 469 pounds. Now he's lost nearly a hundred pounds.

"I feel I can run faster than some of the skinnier people now. I can compete with push ups and stuff like that, so I’m a lot stronger than everyone now,” Hanley said.

Like any smart company today, Journey Gym is thinking leaner and already working out a true travel version.

"This is a rough hand-carved prototype,” Friess said of his product. “The idea is it's half the size.”

As an entrepreneur, Friess will continue to build on his success and then hopefully sell it to a larger company. The gym in a suitcase sells from $299 to $399, but he said there will be a Groupon offer coming soon.

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