Up three floors and between two hotels in downtown Iowa City, Iowa, sits something you might not expect: a gym. In fact, Iowa City Fitness is the only gym in the immediate downtown area.
Dwelling in the heart of a large city, as well as next to a university, Iowa City Fitness is also unique in its large amount of diversity. “That’s one thing I really like: the mix of all different people, ethnicities, ages [and] experiences,” said Adam Means, the owner of Iowa City Fitness. “It’s all in one place.”
Means himself had seen plenty of variety before he came to own Iowa City Fitness in 2012. Growing up in Iowa, he went to school in Ohio, opened a gym in Pennsylvania, worked at a corporate job while doing personal training on the side and finally moved to Iowa City in October 2011. There, four months after landing in the city, a longtime friend sold him Iowa City Fitness.
Through it all, Means had not forgotten how much he enjoyed fitness and personal training. “I’d always loved working out,” he said. “Training was one of my favorite things to do, and I knew I really wanted to go into that area when I was like 22, 23, because I really enjoyed training and pushing people.”
About six months after Means became the owner of Iowa City Fitness, he began training people yet again. And the mentality of personal training has carried into Iowa City Fitness as a whole. “One thing that we do, and the one thing that I try to bring to the gym, is keep it [on] a very personal level,” he said. “I don’t try to go for so much quantity, as I do quality members. You don’t have a lot of gyms where you have the owners walking around and knowing people, and that’s what I try to bring to the place — keep a very personal aspect.”
That being said, Means pointed out that Iowa City Fitness doesn’t advertise or market itself too much. “We do a lot of word of mouth, and that’s what I think is sometimes some of the best marketing and [advertising] — is just from your current customers,” he said. “It wasn’t something that I went about trying to do; it just happened that way. It’s been that way since I took over.”
The second characteristic of Iowa City Fitness has been knowledgeable and trustworthy employees. “We try to keep a very elite level of trainers and people that really know what they’re doing,” he said. “One thing that I try to do — before I even hire anybody to work here or to train here — I really have to get to know them. It’s really a trust factor for me. I’ve got to see that they’re personable, that they know what they’re talking about, that they’ve got a great work ethic, that they treat everybody basically the same. I kind of always weigh those things, and I’ll never hire somebody to work here unless I have a trust factor with them.”
With knowledgeable staff and a unique location, Means said Iowa City Fitness has separated itself from the rest. “The fitness industry is becoming much more competitive, just with all the different home programs you do now,” he said. “I just try to provide an atmosphere with unique equipment [and] knowledgeable people on staff that can really help gear whatever your goals are.”
Ultimately, Means said it all comes back to the personal aspect. “I know all the older people that come in the mornings,” he said. “I know all the younger guys that come in the afternoons. I know the people that come in late. It’s just a good blend for everybody.”
By Heather Hartmann