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.
In addition to a new attitude, Heynen said she began developing programs to help people reach their goals. A number of classes from yoga to high intensity training were added to the schedule.
"We still have personal trainer Rob Brown's popular boot camp five-days-a-week," said Heynen.
Marsha Bloemker has used the 16-week-transformation challenge to overhaul her outlook on fitness. After asking for a personal trainer and a membership to the program from her husband as an anniversary gift, Bloemker said she has completed the 16-week program with great success.
"Honestly, the first month was really hard," said Bloemker, who simultaneously gave up the majority of sugar in her diet.
After losing 50 pounds through the program, the third grade teacher from Unit 40 reported a great deal more energy and fewer aches and pains.
"I feel so much better," said Bloemker.
She enjoyed the workout regimen so much, Bloemker has been working through another 16-week program. In additional to six-day-a-week workouts, she gets nutritional advice for healthy eating from Heynen.
"I'm motivated to continue on," said Bloemker, who doesn't have a specific workout goal but wants to get as healthy as possible. "This truly has been a blessing in my life."
Although it has a side for women and men, everyone who was at the gym recently seemed to know one another and the atmosphere was very social. Heynen said camaraderie is important in motivating individuals to keep working toward their fitness goals.
"Not only are the classes a good workout, but they are a good way for people to interact and keep each other accountable," she said.
A full staff of personal trainers is also on site, along with some equipment only found at The Zone.
"We have a virtual class system, which is the only one like it within 100 miles," said Heynen.
Members of The Zone can choose from 80 different classes, from strength training to cardio on a projector screen. Some of the new equipment and innovative programs are again an emphasis on reaching one's fitness goal. There are also weight-loss challenges, nutritional program advice and personalized workout plans.