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Aaron Orton

Born in Palmer, Alaska, Aaron Orton moved with his parents to Lane County, Oregon, when he was eight. "My dad met my mother here in the 70s," he says, "in Gowdyville, beyond Lorane. We came back and lived on Spencer Creek Road." He went to high school in Crow through junior year, then finished at Churchill High in Eugene. "I joined the Marines Infantry two weeks after graduation," he says. "I was in Iraq from July 2004 to February 2005. I saw things in combat that a 19-year-old shouldn't see." After two more deployments on standby in Kuwait and a "West Pacific float," Orton retired from the Marines as a corporal in 2007 and entered the Exercise and Movement Science Program at Lane Community College. "My mom was into bodybuilding," he explains. "She brought me into the gym in Alaska and here." He worked part-time as a trainer at OZ Fitness during his second year at Lane, got hooked on competitive bodybuilding, and, after graduation, opened a gym along with two friends. "My buddies got into CrossFit," he says, "and I kept doing personal training, mostly one-on-one. I trained people for bodybuilding." He built a reputation, and, in 2011, opened Genuine Fitness at 1369 W. 6th Avenue in Eugene. Since then, GF has grown from two trainers to nine and twice knocked down walls to expand. "We serve all kinds of clients, young to old," he says. "Our goal is education, trying to assure that everyone pursues realistic goals in a healthy way." In 2015, he married a fellow trainer and bodybuilder, known since as Lyndsi Orton. Their twins Maddox and Nevaeh are one year old.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 21 December 2017

Happening People has appeared in the Eugene Weekly since 1996. It's not always up to date on this page, but the archive dates back to 2003.

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