It often doesn’t take much to empower someone else. A kind word, an encouraging nod, lending someone a sympathetic and non-judgmental ear or making a helpful suggestion can all go a long way to helping someone else.
Sometimes, empowerment requires a lot more effort. Tiffany Hernandez, for instance, empowers the people around her through the services, programs, and products offered at Hard Knox Gym, which she and her husband, Seth, opened in late July.
“We’ve always been into fitness,” Tiffany says. “We wanted to help people in a way that wasn’t in a hospital setting.”
Tiffany, who grew up in Michigan, moved to Knox when she married Seth, a Knox native, three years ago. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the town. “It’s pretty cool to see how this little area can come together for people,” she says. “I fell in love with the little place.”
Owning a gym has been a dream for Tiffany for some time, but it wasn’t until recently that it could become a reality.
“One day, I looked at him and said, ‘Let’s open a gym.’ And he said, ‘Okay!’” she explains. “We kinda went in blind. We’ve been learning as we go, doing the best we can, figuring out the best way to do things, making our people happy, and giving back to the community.”
Tiffany has loved watching the community come together for health and wellness, creating a unique culture inside the four walls of the gym as individuals try to beat their personal records.
“The people have been amazing,” she says. “Just seeing the camaraderie here, seeing strangers or people who have known each other their entire lives, celebrating everybody’s separate wins. In a sense, we’re all winning together.”
Everyone who comes through the doors are interested in getting and keeping their health on track. Some have been working on that for years, others have never been to a gym before.
“They told me, ‘It doesn’t feel intimidating here. It feels like a family,’” Tiffany says.
Guests at Hard Knox Gym have dozens of equipment, ranging in style from cardio, circuit machines, to plate-loaded machines. There are also several types of classes offered, like the ever-popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT), as well as kickboxing, jujitsu, wrestling and more.
Between 8-6, Hard Knox Gym also has tanning beds available. For those who want a little extra, there’s also a fitness trainer and a nutritionist on-site.
One of their most popular amenities is the juice bar, Hard Core Juicers, that sells a variety of healthy drinks, offering pre-workout drinks, smoothies, coffee and more, run by Tammy Jacobs. The smoothies are all made with fresh ingredients and are available to members and non-members alike.
“She’s been a huge supporter and part of this business,” Tiffany says. “She makes them with real bananas, strawberries, snickers, and other kinds of things. A lot of the recipes she’s come up with herself!”
Between 8-6 they also offer childcare for anyone up to 16 years old. “I really want to offer parents the chance to come work out, even with little ones,” Tiffany says.
As a community-focused venture, Hard Knox Gym will be offering some charity events, like a food drive around Thanksgiving and a powerlifting competition in December to raise money to buy toys for kids in the area.
“We want to give back to our community, so we’re going to be trying to think of ideas and events to come together there,” Tiffany says.
For the Hernandezes, the gym is a way to benefit their community in a new and unique way. “It’s a lot of support and help. We want to see this community get better as a whole,” she says. “I’ve had people say that we’re saving lives here.”
As time goes on, Tiffany hopes the gym will continue to thrive. “I want to see the same faces I see today five years from now. I want to see them still working on their goals and being a part of something that I feel is bigger than themselves. It gives people a place to come to not only lift, but also to socialize.”