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 Vargas was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the US at a very young age. Her 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 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.
Hi Y’all! I am here to be a nutrition resource for you on your personal journey to health.
I grew up in a family where exercising was as expected as brushing my teeth. I began running at the age of 8 and love any activity that allows me to move my body and enjoy the outdoors. My mom and my grandmother both were interested in nutrition, as well as science.
I received my PhD in nutrition from Emory University, my Masters in Nursing from the University of Iowa. I have spent my career understanding health from the subcellular to the whole person. My passion is individualized nutrition.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me and ask me your nutrition questions!
My ambition is to influence others positively. To bring the type of energy that will motivate others to achieve more through health & fitness.
As a former professional athlete, I am convinced that your effort, intensity & drive will carry you to your goals!
Strengthening the body, particularly those problems areas all of us develop as we age, is my area of expertise.
My techniques include, utilizing unorthodox instruments like the medicine ball to create core and glute strength, while establishing the importance of cardio vascular training to everyone who will listen.
I started power lifting for high school sports and absolutely fell in love with it. Unfortunately, I had less luck in sports where I suffered numerous injuries. Not wanting to injure myself further, I stumbled upon kickboxing and was quite fascinated by it.
When I started at the University of Iowa, I was expecting to have to go back to power lifting but quickly discovered the numerous other options for working out which led me to become a trainer at 9Round and now at Thrive Gym.
The classes I teach here at Thrive focus on cardio, kickboxing, strength and endurance while using proper techniques to avoid injuries.
Come and try a class… you will have a great time!!!!
After I started lifting weights for high school football, I was sidelined with an injury.
Instead of letting it hold me back, I discovered that I loved helping others work through their injuries and helping them become stronger, both physically and mentally while helping them achieve goals they never thought they could.
I know that everyone is different, and when it comes to exercise, everyone should be treated as an individual.
For the last two years I have attended the Kirkwood Exercise Science program and have just enrolled in their Physical Therapy Assistant program.
I know firsthand how gratifying it feels to have fitness as a part of my life and I want to share that experience with everyone at Thrive Gym. Come try one of my classes!!! There is something for everyone from the beginner to the experienced exercise enthusiast!!
I am a graduate student, nearing the completion of my PhD in Neuroscience. I research the effects of exercise on the aging brain. While I mainly studies older adults, I would like to emphasize that exercise is good for your brain at all ages!!
I have been a certified Zumba fitness instructor since 2010, and a certified Strong by Zumba instructor since 2017. Strong by Zumba is a high-energy group exercise class based on the concept of high-intensity interval training.
The best part is that every aspect of the class is synced to energizing, motivating music to keep you pumped up and pushing all throughout class. Come check it out!
I am also an avid swing dancer, specializing in the styles of the 1920s-1940s, including Balboa, Lindy Hop, and Charleston. Anyone interested in swing dance fitness classes? Come try your dance moves at our swing dance sessions!
Throughout high school, I played softball & learned how to weight lift. When I decided to attend college, I left softball behind and put my education first but also wanted to stay physically active.
On my own, it was hard to know how to keep myself physically active, but through social media, I found my inspiration for continuing weight lifting, circuits, & HIIT workouts.
Through this endeavor, I decided on majoring in Health Promotion. I also joined a club at the university called CHAARG which empowers women in health and fitness, and later became a co-founder of the Iowa Softball Club team.
I hope to help others become their healthiest and happiest selves by sharing what I have learned from my own fitness journey with them.
I have been a personal trainer and group exercise instructor for over 4 years. During that time, I completed a BA in Health and Human Physiology and received a certification as a Specialist in Fitness Nutrition.
In my free time, I compete as a natural physique bodybuilder, play guitar, enjoy traveling, snowboarding, mountain biking and the company of my friends!
I would love to help you meet all of your fitness goals!!
I am living proof that “it’s never too late to begin the journey toward better health and fitness.” Like so many of us, I poured my energies into my education. However, my health, and fitness, as well as my personal well-being, were secondary priorities: I was overweight and practiced poor dietary habits.
One cold January day, in an effort to support a friend with her fitness routine, I worked an hour with a personal trainer. It was the beginning of my journey to top fitness and good health. It wasn’t easy, but I persisted though all the hard work and the pain, because there was something new in my life: an overwhelming feeling of well-being and a new sense that I identified — happiness.
After losing over 100 pounds, I earned a Certified Personal Trainer designation and have worked with and shared my love of health and fitness with numerous others. My life has found a balance of helping others in the gym and making scientific discoveries in the lab.
Specialty Areas: Weight loss and management, Sport’s Nutrition, 40+ Fitness, Exercise and Parkinson’s disease
Tina is a fitness coach, motivator, chef, and a different kind of 1%.
In my work, personal life, and fitness journey the phrase “1%” always applies. I truly believe in giving 1% more of yourself in everything you do each day. Attaining to be 1% better today than you were yesterday is an easy approach to becoming the best version of you without getting overloaded or discouraged! This philosophy resonates in my training style. I’m always encouraging my clients to go for those few extra repetitions or push harder through the last few seconds of a workout to beat their personal best. The real magic happens in the moments you feel you have nothing left to give.
With over seven years in the fitness and wellness industry, I find helping others can be one of the most rewarding careers. You will find my energy and enthusiasm to be contagious. Growing up, sports were a way of life in my family. Every season of the year I was doing something. You name it soccer, volleyball, basketball, track I loved it all and truly enjoyed staying active! I even was a member of the high school marching band!!
In a college culinary course I found a true passion for cooking but as much as I loved it, the life of a chef never appealed to me. Working late nights, stuck in a kitchen with no windows… No way! I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I started a company called Cuisine For The Lean. It became the perfect outlet for me to cook delicious yet nutritious meals. I was able to help my clients struggling with their diets or who simply didn’t have the time to meal prep.
Recently I left my home of Seattle, Washington for my next big life adventure and found myself here in North Liberty, Iowa! I look forward to helping Thrive build a one of a kind gym community and changing lives.
My passion for health and wellness as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer has been a part of my life since high school.
I have worked in private clubs, non-profit settings and corporate wellness. Leading group fitness classes on land and in the water, as well as training individuals and small groups.
One of my favorite populations in which to work with is the Senior population (ie: Baby Boomers), educating them on how to stay as healthy and as well as possible during the second half of life. My approach is to work along side each person to maintain what they have and enhance areas that will progress them toward their goals.
With my experience as a Dementia practitioner, I also include brain health. While there is no cure or magic, we can challenge our brains by keeping them active in ways that we most likely are not doing in our day today life.
I was born and raised in Florida. As a child, I played softball and began weightlifting in high school. After having children, I struggled with my weight and decided to make major life changes. Through diet and exercise, I lost 120 lbs.
With a new lifestyle and approach to fitness, I began playing softball again, playing golf, running marathons, competing in triathlons, and became a solo skydiver. I am passionate about helping others to lose weight and achieve their fitness and nutrition goals.
In my professional life, I am a historian for the federal government and hold degrees in history and political science.