Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Darci Evans

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Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Darci Evans

I met Darci Evans a little over a year ago when she introduced me to BURN Boot Camp. Over this past year, she has become a great friend who I can talk life, business and the fact I have not worked out consistently *wink*. Darci has a unique story. Read more about her business and some of her best advice including social media.

Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?

My husband and I met in 2001 when I was just out of nursing school and starting my career as an ER nurse at UW Hospital in Madison, WI. We have a memorable story of how we met because the was the officer that took the report when I was punched in the face by a patient. Since he was 6’6″(and thought I met the key to our co-ed team’s success) I invited him to play on our volleyball team and worked hard to set him up with my best friend. After many months we started dating (despite his lack of volleyball skills). We were married in 2005 and have three kids- Noah, almost 12- Grace, my 8 yo micromanager, and Lily, 7- who is 100% princess.

To the surprise of many of our members at Burn Boot Camp, we actually don’t live in Des Moines (at least not full time). Our family home is near Madison, WI but we spend a great deal of time in Collins with my mother and father in law or Clive with my Brother and sister in law. My 2018 Hyundai Sonata has the 49K miles on the odometer to prove it!

What is your business, and what do you do?

My husband and I own Burn Boot Camp-Clive and Burn Boot Camp-Ankeny.  We are a women-focused fitness facility (although we continue to add more co-ed camps and have a growing male membership base) that provides personal training in a group fitness setting for all fitness levels.  As a mom and a nurse, I feel it is so important to offer a fitness option that gives real-life sustainable programming that focuses on overall health and wellness.

We work with clients to identify their goals, obstacles and overcome them. Members have flexibility as our camps are drop-in without pre-registration, you can come to any of our seven camp times, and best of all- we have complimentary childcare.  

Why did you become a small business owner?

One of the biggest misconceptions people have of me is that they believe I have always wanted to be a gym owner.  When people ask me what it’s like to own I gym, I always say that I don’t own a gym, I own Burn Boot Camp and those are two very different things.  I attended my first Burn Boot Camp shortly after turning 38 at a time where I had not consistently worked in over 18 years. I was frustrated with where I was physically as well as emotionally.  My negative self-talk and apathy were at an all-time high.  As the big 4-0 drew closer I felt as though I had missed my “window” to become more physically active and that I had to just settle for where I was in life.  However, God had different plans for me.  

At a random playdate for my son, I met a mom who invited me to go try out the new gym in town.  Although I had no intention of starting a workout routine and just the name (Burn BOOT CAMP) struck dread and fear in my heart, she was one of the first normal and “cool” moms I had met in a long time. When she invited me to go to the gym, of course, I eagerly accepted her invite and lied when I said I had been looking for a gym (hey, don’t judge, mom dating is hard and a good mom friend is hard to find).  I still don’t know how I got there on day one because I was so intimidated but after the first camp, I was hooked.  I quickly fell in love with the positivity and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I belonged, I felt strong.  Over the next 9 months, I saw changes in myself (mentally and physically) that I never thought possible.  I became a better Mom, Wife, Nurse, and friend because I was finally doing something for me- I was taking care of myself.  

Too often we get sucked into the idea that being selfish is a bad thing.  You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Our goals at Burn Boot Camp fit so perfectly with my nurse-heart.  We empower our members to become the best versions of themselves possible, to transform our communities.  We give people the tools to become mentally, emotionally and physically strong.  

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?

My kids love playing at Burn and doing Kids Camps. Being a member at my home gym in Verona as well as being in our Iowa gyms has changed the way they look at health, wellness and what is “normal”.  I love that they talk about wanting to be strong like me, they ask about protein and ask if certain foods are healthy.  

If I have to pick my favorite indoor winter place anywhere- it’s the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells.  They have great deals in the offseason where you can get a great room, breakfast vouchers and water park passes for reasonable rates.

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?

That is an easy one.  The kids LOVE Adventureland.  As they get older and can do more of the “big” rides it is something they love to do in the summers.

Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.

Wow, it’s been a while since we’ve had a parent only day out.  Of course, it would start with not waking up to an alarm clock or to tiny knocks on the door at 6 am.  The day would include a movie either at the IMAX or if in the summer the Newton drive-in.  An Iowa Cubs game is also a must-do for our date day. Terry is a huge baseball fan and used to go to Sec Taylor stadium all the time as a kid, sitting in the wood bleachers in left field. Back home early enough to have a craft beer on the patio with a fire pit is a perfect ending to a date day!

What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?

The first tip: taking time for yourself does not make you selfish.  You can’t pour from an empty cup. As a parent, don’t forget to take care of yourself.  This is one that I constantly struggle with- as a nurse, wife, and mother it is easy to be so wrapped up in caring for others that forget or choose not to do something for yourself daily.  Consistently, the times where I feel overwhelmed are the ones where I look back and see that I have been not been carving out time for my workout, time alone with my husband and/or kids or my faith.  It is so easy to say but so much harder to carry out.

Second tip: Take a break from social media.  I LOVE social media- Facebook and IG necessary for our business but social media can also be destructive to your perception of reality and can be a huge time suck.  

Finally: scheduling things out- including family time, working on Burn, chores and even time for myself helps provide boundaries and makes me more effective.  It seemed awkward at first to schedule out time with my family but what I found is that the areas I need to attend to the most are usually the ones that get shorted when I am overwhelmed or busy.
My husband and I have recently adopted scheduling out time where we sit down and discuss our business, time, where we unplug and just do something fun (like binge-watch the Good Place) just like my shifts, are scheduled at the hospital.  

What is your number one parenting tip?

My number one parenting tip is that you need to remember that NO ONE has this thing 100% figured out. Give yourself grace and no, your kid isn’t going to burn the school down just because you sent them to bed hungry when they threw their dinner on the floor.  

If you’re worried if you’re a good parent and doing the right thing, that’s your first sign that you’re on the right track.  Surround yourself with positive, honest people who you admire– because as my dad always told me, you become like your friends.  Be honest when you are struggling because chances are the other parents around you either are in the same season as you or they have been there.    

Follow Her:



Instagram: @burnbootcampcliveia @burnbootcampankenyia


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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