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How Validation from Existing Owners Helped Anthony Zurisko Become a GYMGUYZ Franchisee

A little support from existing franchisees—and a best friend—can go a long way.

By Emily ClouseStaff Writer
SPONSOREDUpdated 9:09AM 02/07/19

Anthony Zurisko has always been passionate about making a difference. From serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army to selling orthopaedic trauma medical devices to ensuring that communities worldwide have access to clean water, he’s built his career by helping others. And now, as a GYMGUYZ mobile personal training franchisee, he empowers residents of Jacksonville to transform their lives through health and fitness.

Zurisko doesn’t just dish it out. He asked for a little help himself when it came to opening and running his own business. His longtime best friend, Brian Hill, was set to open a GYMGUYZ at the same time in San Antonio, and the two made plans to talk several times a day, every day.

“From the start, we have always had a lot in common. We’re very like-minded people, and we have a similar vision for life,” said Zurisko. “It was natural that we sort of followed suit in becoming GYMGUYZ owners.”

Zurisko first met Hill in 2000 playing Division I football at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They were both systems engineering majors, so they had a lot of classes together. Soon the young men began hanging out on weekends, too.

When their paths weren’t parallel, they were crossing. In 2006, Zurisko was deployed to Iraq for his first tour. As his tour ended, he was told his replacement was arriving. That replacement was Brian Hill.

Not long after they were back in the U.S., both men found themselves working in medical device sales for Johnson & Johnson—Hill in San Antonio and Zurisko in Jacksonville, Florida. Zurisko had helped Hill get the job, of course. Not every piece of their story is a coincidence.

Like many best friends, the men frequently batted around the idea of opening their own businesses. Married with two young daughters at home, Zurisko knew he didn’t want to have a brick-and-mortar location—he wanted flexibility, so he looked toward the needs of the community. He noticed that more mobile businesses, from car washes to pet groomers, were cropping up to accommodate the fast pace of life.

As lifelong health and fitness enthusiasts, suddenly it clicked for the two men: mobile personal training.

Zurisko spoke with around 13 GYMGUYZ franchisees while researching the brand. “They were probably tired of talking to me,” he said. “Some of them I even spoke to two or three times, because I wanted to make sure I had all the information I needed and was making the right decision. They all said the same thing: the business is incredible, it’s something new, and there’s never been anything like it.”

Zurisko was discerning in his search for the right opportunity, so speaking with these enthusiastic franchisees made a big impression. He was happy to hear that the company’s culture was fresh and fun, and the willingness of other owners to share their experiences separated it from other brands. After just a couple of calls, he was put in touch with GYMGUYZ founder and CEO, Josh York.

“When you speak to someone, you can really pick up on whether their enthusiasm is genuine or not,” Zurisko said. “Josh’s passion for the business and helping people was just incredible. He loves what he does, and he loves what he built. Nothing can stop him from being the No. 1 fitness company. I was like wow, okay, I think the business is good, but Josh is really going to take it to special places. That was the deciding factor.”

Zurisko launched his GYMGUYZ, a mobile personal training van with 365 pieces of state-of-the-art workout equipment, in Jacksonville in August 2018. Hill opened his GYMGUYZ in San Antonio two months later.

Zurisko says that he and Hill had a habit of speaking every day anyway, so incorporating GYMGUYZ into the conversation was completely natural. “I call him first thing every morning,” he said. “We’re pretty much running the same business but in different locations. I think that in any business, you need a trusted partner—someone to run ideas by, and someone you can talk to at any time about anything as an owner. We validate each others’ ideas and talk each other out of things that maybe aren’t such good ideas. Knowing that Brian was that person for me has just really made it awesome.”

As a lieutenant in the military, Zurisko practiced strong leadership, coordination of a team and solid communication in order to achieve goals. He flexes these skills while hiring the right people as personal trainers as well as helping clients meet their fitness goals. As someone who has always enjoyed working closely with people, this chapter of his career has been very rewarding.

“I have always been an athlete, so when I go to the gym, it’s kind of like I instinctively know what to do,” he said. “But now, I’m gaining an appreciation for how the gym may not be for everybody. And just because someone doesn’t feel comfortable going to a gym doesn’t mean they don’t want to be healthy or to meet certain goals.”

Zurisko’s team of personal trainers visit clients in their houses, parks, offices or wherever they wish to meet. “We bring the gym to you, wherever you want it, whenever you want it,” he explained. “We may be visiting someone at their house at 6 a.m., then packing up the van to meet three coworkers in a public park before they clock in, then visiting a single mother who wants to get in a workout before putting her kids to bed.”

And all those helpful conversations with Hill, York and other GYMGUYZ owners are already being paid forward as Zurisko takes calls from potential franchisees doing their own research. His main advice when it comes to finding the perfect brand? Choose something that fits your lifestyle.

“The most important thing we have in life is our time,” Zurisko said. “You talk to franchisees who are surprised at how much time they have to spend at the brick-and-mortar location or traveling for the business. Time is the one thing we never get back, so make sure you have a full understanding of how you want to spend yours.”

Zurisko’s next goal for his GYMGUYZ franchise is to expand throughout Jacksonville—and become the go-to brand for people who want a more personalized workout plan. “We are really changing people’s lives here. And I get to see the results first hand. It’s kind of what I’ve done my whole my life, and I continue to do it."