COLONA, Illinois – Long-time Colona residents Kevin and Jennifer “Jen” Norville have moved their fitness/obstacle course Get A Grip Training Center closer to home.
The husband and wife duo have made a leap from renting space in Coal Valley to purchasing the former Masonic Lodge located at 630 Green River St., Colona. Making the move increased the gym’s usable space by four times allowing the couple to expand class sizes and add more obstacle course equipment.
Mr. Norville describes Get A Grip as “functional training, we make everyday activities and daily living easier. It’s all about function, moving efficiently and learning how to move pain-free and damage-free.”
The newly renovated space opened its doors in June to its existing clientele and hopes to expand fitness classes as its membership numbers continue to grow.
“This gym is definitely unique not only because of the obstacles but we’re not like your standard workout,” he added. “You don’t come here and do the same old same old. You come in here and it’s a unique workout, we design it. You walk in and it’s safe because we walk through all the movements. I make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.”
Mr. Norville, who co-owns and operates the center with his wife, said while the facility centers around obstacle course training “you don’t have to train for obstacles to come here. It’s about a 50/50 split of members who do the obstacles and those who have never even touched one. I would love for those who haven’t touched one to try them.”
The pair is pleased with the welcoming environment created there. “I pride myself on the connections that we make with people and even to build on that, the connections they make with each other. That’s one of the biggest bonuses that Jen and I never even imagined … We were thinking this will be awesome, we’re going to help people improve their lives, improve their health, and everything. We never would’ve fathomed the depth of those friendships, the support, and the environment, the culture.”
The couple began strength training in 2015 during which time Mr. Norville got hooked on doing obstacle courses. After completing a few courses, he knew he had the strength to do the obstacles but not the muscle endurance or cardio. With that realization he began cross-training.
With limited resources at the gym he attended, it was time for a change. After a year of planning that change came in the form of the Norvilles opening their original gym in October of 2019 in Coal Valley. They chose a space by FCA Packaging and the KONE escalator factory.
The Coal Valley location was adequate starting off but had begun to feel smaller due to the gym’s increasing popularity. Expanding and getting a bigger facility was on their minds, but the real question was where it would be. Plus they wanted to upgrade from renting to owning.
Fast forward to last April and they had identified the site in Colona, however, it was zoned as residential. While considering the vacant Masonic Lodge, the couple worked with the City of Colona to get it rezoned.
After acquiring the two-story building, they went to work on major renovations to make their vision come to life. The space has been completely transformed into a modern workout space with more improvements planned for the future.
For more information on services and class schedules, visit getagriptc.com. The gym can be reached at (309) 489-7095 or email@example.com.
The gym’s impact is reaching outside the walls of their Colona location into the community. From the relationships being formed at the gym, several members have banded together to participate in fitness activities and obstacle races. Many weekends, you can catch several gym members at Bends & Brews. The group also completed a leg of the Quad Cities Marathon, hosted by TBK Bank.
Most recently, 14 gym members took on the challenge of the Frontline Obstacle Course Race (OCR) in Bryon. Frontline OCR is a six-plus mile endurance race, with 30+ obstacles inspired by members of the armed forces and first responders.
Get a Grip also donates and raises money for various charities and non-profit organizations. Their most recent fundraiser is for the event named 4sta Hike held at the Loud Thunder Forest Reserve near Andalusia.
Gym members shared with the QCBJ what the new gym has done for them. Ryan Nicely, Davenport, credits a friend with getting him involved with the gym in February 2020. “I was struggling with my mental and physical health. I’ve stayed dedicated ever since and have lost 40-50 pounds,” he said.
“This gym isn’t just your typical gym,” Mr. Nicely added. “Every member I consider a friend or like family. I call this place my second home.”
Shaun Saurborn, a Quad Cities transplant, first found the gym at its Coal Valley site. “Being a military member we often move to areas without knowing anyone and come to the area completely blind. When I arrived, I was informed that there was this ‘ninja warrior gym’ close to where we lived.”
“I scheduled an appointment for my sons and showed up on a random Sunday with my kids and immediately Kevin Norville was very welcoming and assisted my boys on working through the obstacles,” said Mr. Saurborn, who eventually became a regular there. “It did not take long to realize that what Kevin and Jennifer Norville had built was something very special.”
Mr. Saurborn said he found “… everyone there had such a sense of belonging, and I have built relationships that will last forever through our blood, sweat, and some tears.”