Business

Ground Floor: At Versa Fitness, 'versa' means versatile

Recent University of Iowa grads take over closed gym

Nick Burrell (right) general manager at Versa Fitness Training in Coralville, watches as Heidi Schmitt of Coralville doe
Nick Burrell (right) general manager at Versa Fitness Training in Coralville, watches as Heidi Schmitt of Coralville does squats during a Versa Fit training session. “Everything in the program has a purpose,” Burrell says. “If we’re doing back squats today, there’s a reason for that.” (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CORALVILLE — Recent college graduates Nick Burrell and Josh Lambrecht didn’t let the doubters get them down when they decided to open a new fitness business in Coralville.

“When everyone around you is saying you can’t do it, that just motivated me more,” Burrell said. “‘I’m going to show you you’re wrong.’”

Burrell and Lambrecht met about five years ago while attending the University of Iowa. With their work as personal trainers and studies in health and human physiology in common, they became good friends.

Just a few months after their May 2017 graduation, they got a chance to become business partners. The gym where they both worked part-time closed its doors in August, and the building owner didn’t want the space to go to waste.

“We basically just took it over,” Lambrecht said. “It was a good opportunity.”

They completed the transition within a matter of weeks, taking out personal loans to finance the endeavor, forming a legal entity, leasing the space, and completing painting and other remodeling work.

They opened Versa Fitness on Sept. 1.

“Versa” stands for versatile, Burrell said, and the name reflects how the gym’s fitness program applies personal training principles to a group fitness setting.

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“We’ve created a very personal approach along with the community aspect,” he said. “When you create a personal relationship with people, you build trust, and trust helps workouts take off.”

The program’s classes alternate among programmed resistance training two days a week, high-intensity workouts two days a week and once-a-week recovery workouts. Saturdays are devoted to partner workouts.

While the workouts change constantly, Lambrecht said the classes aren’t just thrown together.

“Everything in the program has a purpose,” he said. “If we’re doing back squats today, there’s a reason for that.”

Burrell and Lambrecht said they both developed a following of clients while working as personal trainers at different gyms over the past few years, which has helped them to grow their gym’s membership.

Membership has doubled in the first four months since the gym opened, Burrell said.

The gym offers nine classes each weekday, and the owners said would like to add a 10th. They also plan to hold events in the community, starting with a “Bells and Beer” workout at Big Grove Brewery and Taproom in Iowa City on Jan. 6.

While it may take a couple more months before Burrell’s mother stops forwarding him job postings for full-time positions, he said he is glad he and Lambrecht stuck with their plans despite the doubters.

“We may be young, but when you have a passion, you’ve just got to chase it.”

AT A GLANCE

Owners: Nick Burrell and Josh Lambrecht

Business: Versa Fitness

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Address: 2201 E. Grantview Dr., Suite 102, Coralville

Telephone: (319) 248-5555

Email: info@versafitnesstraining.com

Website:www.versafitnesstraining.com

Know a business in operation for less than a year that would make an interesting “Ground Floor”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

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