When I first moved to Iowa City from Los Angeles about ten years ago, it took some time before I found a doctor I liked, and therefore more than a year had passed between my last physical in LA and my first one here.

As embarrassing as it is to say, the numbers that my new doctor reported back to me about my physical condition were gross.  In about 18 months I had somehow managed to gain more than 30 pounds. My blood pressure was way up too, and my cholesterol was beginning to reach a level that was apparently serious enough for my doctor to mention.

I’d never had any health problems before, so I was worried.  My doctor, who is awesomely kind, but also brutally honest, told me that while the numbers were alarming, they also weren’t uncommon among transplants to Iowa.

“I’m not originally from here either,” she said “but for some reason when we move here we all start packing on the pounds. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling you obese. But . . .”  And pretty much before she could finish that statement I had already joined a gym.

Eventually, with some griping and dedication, I made going to the gym part of my daily habit, such that it eventually stopped feeling like a chore.  However, it remained a boring habit. And worse than that, it was apparently ineffective.  On my next visit to my doctor, I had only managed to lose 5 pounds, and my blood pressure was still high and my cholesterol close to my dad’s.

My problem, I figured out, was that while I had succeeded in getting myself to the gym, once there I never really worked hard enough to benefit from being there. I thought I was working hard—I was sweating, after all—but my heart-rate was never elevated enough to really make a difference. The weights I would lift weren’t challenging because I frankly don’t enjoy pain.

I was indeed wasting my time because I wasn’t holding myself accountable for not only being at the gym but actually working at the gym.

So then I met Drew.  And long story short, he basically changed my life.

For starters, here are my new numbers: My cholesterol is exactly where it’s supposed to be.  My blood pressure is not only down but according to my doctor it’s “better than perfect.”  And I’ve not only lost those 30 pounds that Iowa had loving bestowed upon me, but I’ve lost another 5 and have managed to keep it all off for the past five years.

And yet I spend no more time at the gym now than I did before. The only difference is that the time I spend working out is more effectively used. Drew pushes me, and doesn’t let me slack off.  He keeps careful track of what he’s asked me to do in the past and how I’ve performed with each exercise, and this therefore allows him to more successfully predict how much harder he can push me in the future. So while sometimes he hands me a weight and I look at him like he’s nuts, he knows what I’ve handled before and therefore he knows what I can take.  And because of this, I trust him immensely. Admittedly, I’m sometimes afraid of what he asks me to do, but I’ve never ever—not ever—not been able to accomplish the tasks that he’s given me.  I may struggle and get sloppy and occasionally complain, but that’s what I’ve come to Drew for: to be asked to push myself beyond my comfort zone.

Of course, when you’re busting your bum, it also helps to be working out with someone who’s fun to be around. And Drew is an extraordinarily cool guy.  Funny, professional, supremely generous, and really really genuine.  Living near downtown Iowa City, I’ve got at least 5 gyms within a mile of my home. And yet I choose to drive a good distance further than all of them in order to train with Drew and to take advantage of the fantastically unique facility that he’s created at Drew Murphy Strength. 

And in a nutshell, here’s why. I sometimes travel for work, and when I’m away from home for an extended period of time I try to make a point of working out with other trainers. I’ve had the opportunity to train with people in LA, Boston, Denver, Miami, Sante Fe, Athens, and once on a cruise ship. And I’m happy to say that despite having worked out with trainers who’ve charged me $75, $90, and even once $125 per session, I still think the best trainer I’ve ever worked with is here in Tiffin, in a gym off Interstate-80.

Which is all to say that as far as health and fitness goes, Drew is the best-kept secret in our little part of Iowa. He’s a gift.  Take chance on this guy and I promise you won’t regret it.

JOHN D’AGATA


After having a bad experience with a previous trainer,  I was hesitant to invest money in another personal trainer but decided to give it one more try.  I am so glad I did.  I was referred to Drew Murphy and we began working together in October of 2010.  I have to say that I was skeptical because he was so young and I was nearly sixty.  He has been a joy to work with as his maturity exceeds his age, in fact he far surpassed my previous forty something trainer.   I was used to using the same machines every week for over a year.  I can honestly say that I have not repeated a workout once.  Drew is a very good listener, very knowledgeable, he can adjust routines to accommodate a person’s individual requirements, and he is very professional in his demeanor.  My flexibility, strength, and balance have greatly improved.  The biggest surprise for me was how much my back has improved.  I have a very bad back and am hyper- protective of it because of being debilitated for three years.  I can’t believe the improvement over the years.  I would recommend Drew to anyone looking for a quality trainer.

Dianne Lacina


I have been training with Drew since 2010. I was looking for a trainer that was creative, strict on form and a good motivator. Everyone I talked to recommended Drew. Then I mentioned that they would need to be at the Gym at 5:00am……they still said Drew. I have been working out with Drew ever since and have never looked back.

Looking back to October 2013, just the thought of putting on my wedding dress and having photos taken scared me to death, let alone going on my honeymoon and putting on a bathing suit! Drew helped me achieve my fitness goals and I looked pretty good in my wedding dress (if I do say so myself).

In 2014, Drew opened his own Gym. Any concerns you have because it is not one of the large gyms goes away very quickly.  I have been lucky enough to have worked out with some very good trainers over the years, but none compare to Drew. Drew has the ability to be creative, to motivate me, and makes each of my training sessions challenging but rewarding. The professionalism and passion for what he does is second to none. I leave each session feeling exhilarated.

Importantly:

  • Drew’s creativity in preparing workouts is only surpassed by his dedication to his client.
  • Drew ensures that my technique is always correct to avoid any injuries.
  • Drew is extremely reliable and punctual – always sets up and is ready to start training ahead of time, with an exercise routine planned.
  • Drew works with the whole person -- mentally, emotionally and physically.
  • Drew is a first class trainer, he listens, he motivates, he inspires! Everything you want in a Personal Trainer.
  • Drew never hesitates going the extra mile for his clients to achieve their individual fitness goals.
  • Because of Drew’s efforts, I am stronger and more flexible, and most importantly, working out is fun.
  • The results I have achieved to date are largely due to Drew’s perfect combination of diverse training methods, individualized exercise programs and challenging yet achievable goal setting. His professionalism, extensive knowledge and enthusiastic commitment to his work and ultimately his clients, provides the perfect scenario for success and sets foundations for a new healthier lifestyle!

I recommend Drew and his gym without reservation, and look forward to our future training sessions…..yes, even the bands, inertia bench press and prowler sessions.

Ann Enneking


Working with Drew Murphy has been a life changing experience for me. I was hesitant to do a group class focused on strength training verses going for runs on my own. The thought of working out in front of others intimidated me. Along with that fear, I had been fighting the advice of many to add strength training to my workout regime. On January 1, 2015 I decided if I kept doing what I was doing, I was going to keep getting what I was getting, which I was very unhappy with. I decided to try Drew Murphy Strength  as a new years resolution and it has been incredible. I am stronger, more confident in my workout ability and in general more knowledgeable about what things I can do to impact my body in the best way. As a result of my workouts with Drew, my cardio has also improved. I have been going to a group class 3 days a week and I have been so happy with both the group things we do as well as when Drew customizes workouts for me during the group class. It's nice to be there with people but have customized workouts. It's the best of both worlds. Drew is encouraging, knowledgeable and fun during the workouts. He is also accommodating and flexible with schedules, which has been so nice when juggling a crazy work schedule. In general Drew has been amazing and I am hooked. 

KATE JONES STANTON