By KIM ESTES
Four Points News
A decade ago Steiner Ranch residents Julie and Kirk Leavell took advantage of development opportunities at Vista Ridge shopping area, found business partners and opened Wild Basin Fitness in Steiner.
Wild Basin Fitness Steiner Ranch is celebrating its 10th anniversary, fulfilling the Leavell’s vision of a true neighborhood fitness center.
“As soon as the construction got underway we knew we had a perfect place to bring our love of fitness and people to our own neighborhood. That and partnering with Tom and Alica Harrison allowed a second Wild Basin to happen,” said Julie Leavell.
The Leavells opened the first WBF 20 years ago in Westlake. They were just 24-years-old with college degrees in kinesiology and a dream.
“We worked for other gym owners right out of college, but never could find a place where we could mix indoor/outdoor workouts in a group setting. The restrictions put on our training created the desire to build a fitness center that was inviting, fun and not stifling,” Leavell said.
Their business model allowed WBF trainers to create workouts they believe are effective and that they enjoy teaching, she said.
It is a plan that brings Ryan Helms, manager and head trainer, to work every day.
“Waking up every day knowing this is what I get to do for a living is a joy. I’m truly blessed,” Helms said.
He is also tested. “Fitness is trendy. Balancing core beliefs and values with the latest trends is a challenge of any business,” he said.
Fitness’ newest move is large group training.
WBF’s largest group workout is called GRIT, Grueling Raw Intensive Training.
“GRIT is a high intensity interval workout guaranteed to challenge anyone,” Helms said. Participants use kettlebells, weights, bikes and other equipment to build strength and endurance.
Other WBF classes include yoga, kickboxing, zumba, power cycling and barre classes.
For those who want to train outside, there is an outdoor turf area and short sprint track. Wild Basin also makes use of the Steiner trail system for running, walking and conditioning programs.
“We are committed to helping people use their bodies every day,” said Alica Harrison.
“We have people that have overcome some pretty significant health issues,” she added, noting clients include organ transplant recipients, diabetics and hip and back injury patients as well as those who are simply out-of-shape.
“Owning your own business is always hard work, but the reward in helping people of all ages and fitness levels is fantastic,” Harrison said.
The Harrisons, who are also partners in The Moviehouse & Eatery Theaters in Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, joined with the Leavells after Kirk trained Tom at WBF Westlake.
“Tom had battled with his weight and fitness for years and was able to manage both and feel so much better while working with Kirk. Kirk really is a phenomenal trainer,” Harrison said.
Leavell praised all WBF staff members for their dedication.
“We couldn’t do it without the incredible staff we have built, who sincerely love what we do and want our small business to succeed,” she said.
Leavell also thanked the Steiner Ranch community for its support. “We have been so fortunate along the way to have Steiner residents want to come help us make Wild Basin what it is today.
“I love working so close to home and seeing all the friends and neighbors that I also see at the schools, games and church,” she said.
Harrison, a 16-year resident of Westminster Glen, added, “Wild Basin is not the big box franchise gym that people sign-up for and never show up. Most of our clients show-up! I love that we’ve been able to serve families, from kids to grandparents.”
For more information on Wild Basin Fitness, including classes and work out programs, call (512) 266-6161 or log onto wildbasinfitx.com