By Tony Huffman
Effingham Daily News, Ill.
Trishia Heynen was at the burnout phase. Not from maxing out while weight-lifting at the gym she purchased last year, The Zone, but from a prior demanding job and family tragedy.
“I was working in corporate finance and PR in Chicago, and I hit the burnout phase,” said Heynen. “I had a brother pass away three-and-a-half years ago, and my heart changed I guess.”
In an introspective moment, she considered the way her brother lived his life, and ultimately how she should live her own.
“He was always about living an abundant life and being happy,” said Heynen. “So I thought, what do I want to do? I really like fitness, and I like seeing people reach their goals and being healthy. So I started making the changes I needed to make toward owning a gym.”
The Effingham native went back to school and got certified in nutrition, training, and strength and conditioning. During a trip home, she was visiting with friends Deena and Kevin Willis, who were longtime owners of the The Zone. When the Willis’, who own other gyms among their many business pursuits, mentioned The Zone might go up for sale, Heynen jumped at the opportunity.
Since January 2014, Heynen has been bringing her own brand of motivation to the downtown gym.
“This was a great gym — an established gym — when I got it, and I have been working to make it better,” said Heynen.
Heynen said from day one, a family atmosphere has been essential to The Zone’s continued success. She pushes that mentality by trying to visit with everyone for a moment when they walk through the door.
“You can have the best equipment in the whole world, which we do have great equipment, but without being friendly and talking to people you aren’t going to make it far in this businesses,” said Heynen.