In recent years, Christian Koshaba has been helping clients do everything from lifting weights to taking part in other forms of exercising and stretching through his health and fitness gym business.
Since relocating to Knoxville from his former Chicago area home, he feels like he has lifted a weight off his own shoulder, too, after realizing he has come to the right community.
“It’s been a very welcoming community,” he said. “It appreciates veterans and is based in the Bible Belt. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Since mid-March, Koshaba has been operating what he calls a transformative health and fitness center — Three60fit — at 4028 Papermill Drive not far from the South College campus.
After having a more formal opening over Memorial Day weekend complete with an intense Murph Challenge full of physical activity for veterans, he is quite pleased at how business has been going so far.
“Everything is going great,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It has been quite an eventful past few weeks. I am loaded with clients. It has been a little chaotic.”
He said the business combines the fundamentals of exercise science, the latest proven workout trends, personalized attention, and progressive coaching. And it is all done through a holistic approach, he added.
For Koshaba, who grew up in the Chicago area and is admittedly a longtime Cubs baseball fan and Bears football supporter, his current work grew out of his Air Force service in 2006-2010. Doing defense-related work related to the C-17 plane and based in Alaska, he also became interested in physical training and being a training and fitness leader.
After leaving the Air Force, he enrolled at the University of Illinois-Chicago on the GI Bill with plans to study exercise science. Through an entrepreneurial program that was part of his schooling, he came up with an idea for a fitness center, and he won first place in the competition.
With some investment help from one of his clients in his blossoming physical training business he already had going, he started his first fitness center in 2015. A proud veteran, he later also helped locate an American Legion post in his gym.
His geographic horizons started expanding when he and his wife-to-be, Nicolette, decided to get married in the Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg area four years ago.
“We absolutely fell in love with the people, environment and nature,” he said.
They now have a daughter, Scarlett, who will soon be 3, and he has another daughter, Keria, from a previous marriage.
After some careful thought and prayer when COVID-19 slowed down small businesses like his, they decided to move to the Knoxville area. He initially saw clients here from his two-car garage either in person or via Zoom before finding his current facility.
At his studio, he has a variety of fitness classes and training sessions, and even offers a class called Bibles and Biceps, which involves exercising followed by a Bible study. But he said he never tries to push his Christian beliefs on people and instead works to lead by example.
He also wants to make his business a veteran-friendly place and is making his facility the gym headquarters for the Team Red, White & Blue nonprofit sports and fitness group for veterans.
Also in his facility, he said, are the Ink & Iron Collective tattoo facility run by tattoo artist Cynthia Whitt, and an office for microblading tattoo services provided by his wife.
Koshaba said he knows he is running more than just a business, and that is what is most rewarding for him.
“I feel like it’s a ministry for me,” he said.
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Veteran-run Three60fit gym aims to coach and inspire