Gym Owner Spotlight: Steph Hammerman

Much has been written about Steph Hammerman (@stephthehammer), a woman who has earned a few big “firsts” in the world of CrossFit, like becoming the world’s first coach with cerebral palsy to earn Level 2 training certification, and the world’s first adaptive athlete to be sponsored by Nike.

The next challenge she’s decided to take on is something she’s passionate about: being a gym owner. Wodify caught up with Steph Hammerman to ask her about her latest venture and what it’s like being the boss.

Wodify: Many people know your personal story as an athlete and coach, but not as many know that you've opened your own gym, Hammer Driven Fitness (HDF). How did that come about?

Hammerman: The idea of owning and managing my own gym had been in the works for years, but in many ways I wasn’t ready. I knew I loved being involved in fitness and I was extremely passionate about it, but the timing never seemed right. I started getting serious about opening my own space while I was going through chemo, actually. 

In 2016, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 3B. While it was definitely a tough fight, it gave me time to think about what I really wanted out of life. I was given a second chance and I wasn’t going to blow it. My boyfriend Ty and I moved to Knightdale, NC, and after a year of living here and working for a few other places, the timing was finally right to open up my own gym.

W: Did you have a philosophy that you wanted HDF to represent, compared to other gyms that you've trained or worked at?

H: Our mission is to educate, motivate, and improve, but also to create a community that many have never experienced before. As someone who is influential in the adaptive community, it’s very important to me that the HDF brand embodies what is possible. Our community is full of people of different ages, sizes, and abilities. But, regardless of your level of experience, you are treated like the athlete and person you are.

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W: What’s the best thing about being the owner of your own gym?

H: I am fostering a community that I am very proud of. We have only been in business for nine months, but the people who enter our facility feel like they are meant to be here. As much as I have the privilege of changing people’s lives, every time I interact with an HDF athlete, I am forever changed for the better.

W: What are some challenges/surprises you've experienced in your new position?

H: I think my biggest challenge is accepting that I will never be able to make everyone happy. Not every person I come in contact with is going to like me, and as a people-pleaser, that’s difficult to handle. However, I’ve definitely grown throughout this process and am excited to see where this journey takes me.

W: How has Wodify software helped you manage your gym from a business perspective? How about on the athlete side?

H: From a business perspective, it’s definitely user-friendly and keeps us organized, but I think Wodify really shines on the side of the athlete. Athletes love to interact with one another and enjoy looking on the whiteboard feature throughout the day. When a Gold Star pops up, it’s an even better day!

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