About Us 2017-11-20T15:58:42+00:00


Thrive Gym was started in 2015 by Erin and Bruce Elgin. Frustrated with the way that most gyms treat their clients, they wanted to create a place where people could get fit and healthy with workouts and nutrition that was based on real research.

Bruce Elgin, MFA, CPTCo-Founder & Lead Trainer
Bruce has many, many years of experience (if we told you the exact number, you’d think he was really old!) that give him the ability to help you learn and make incredible progress in your workouts while having a great time. He is also certified as JKD instructor under Guru Dan Inosanto which is great for clients who want to add martial arts into their workout regimen.

As an added bonus, he is particularly skilled at working with individuals with chronic illness or injuries. Thanks to Bruce (who is a writer during those quiet gym times), workouts are varied and original. When Bruce is not at the gym, he is building Legos with his son, Philip, and cooking amazing meals.

Dr. Kaaren VargasCo-Owner
Dr. Kaaren Vargas was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the US at a very young age. He whole life she has been passionate about fitness, studying everything from martial arts to cycling to weightlifting.

In her professional life, she completed her pediatric dental specialty training in 1992 at Eastman Dental Center in Rochester, NY and a PhD in 1998 at the University of Iowa. She became a full time faculty member at the University of Iowa Department of Pediatric Dentistry that same year. She has also lectured extensively both nationally and internationally.

Erin Elgin, MBACo-Founder & Seminar Coordinator
Erin is particularly passionate about supporting you as you work on making healthy a normal part of your life. Make no mistake: it is a journey with many paths. Erin prepares Saturday seminars to help clients learn how to prepare different nutritarian foods and form healthy habits.

For every 5k and triathlon that Erin has completed, Bruce has been her cheerleader and trainer. When she is not doing marketing and outreach for the gym, she is homeschooling Philip, Bruce and Erin’s son, and teaching at The University of Iowa.

Dr. Ruth GrossmannNutritional Consultant & Instructor
A researcher at The University of Iowa, Ruth is passionate about exploring ways to help you choose a healthy diet to improve your life. Visit her Facebook page to see what she’s reading in the scientific literature (and beyond) that she thinks you should know about, too. She is the reason we advocate Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Greger at the gym.

When you are training at the gym, expect Dr. Ruth to mosey over and chat. She loves talking with people – especially about food.

Duncan Moore
Duncan Moore
Duncan started power lifting in my high school sports and fell absolutely in love with it, but was sadly sidelined with numerous injuries. Not wanting to injure himself further, he found kickboxing and was fascinated by it. When he started at the University of Iowa he expected to focus again on power lifting but quickly discovered numerous other options for studying boxing and kickboxing, all of which eventually led him to Thrive. Now he combines his passion for weight lifting lifting with kickboxing and circuit training.
Kelsey Peters
Kelsey Peters
Throughout high school Kelsey played softball & learned multiple approaches to weight lifting. When she started college she temporarily left softball behind to put academics first, majoring in Health Promotion.. Trying to stay physically active, she found inspiration for continuing weight lifting, circuits, & HIIT workouts through social media. Eventually, she joined the CHAARG club at the University, which empowers women in health & fitness, & later became a co-founder of the Iowa Softball Club team. She hopes to help others become their healthiest and happiest selves by sharing what she has learned from her own fitness journey.
Amber Potter
Amber PotterA mom, former Army service member, and entrepreneur.
I represent Grit and Grace.
Experience with personal weight loss, life struggles and hardships have given Amber the grit, grace and experience to truly relate to her clients, enabling her to be attentive to not just their physical/nutrition needs, but their emotional/spiritual needs as well. She customizes workouts to meet the needs of individuals because she knows that not every person likes the same workout or needs the same thing. She strives to help shape mind, body and soul all through a great workout.
Demet NalbantComing Soon

Live in a Body that Feels Great

Join Thrive Gym and lose weight, get stronger, and feel better for the rest of your life.