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Fitness company franchisee who dropped 60 pounds practices what she preaches

Special to the Legal News

Published: October 10, 2017

Comfort eating and a lack of physical activity had long been integral components of Naomi Hoyt's lifestyle.

"I've been overweight my entire life," Hoyt said. She joked that she had been on a "diet since she was five years old."

But not only did Hoyt go on to lose 60 pounds, she's turned that lifestyle change into a new career when she became the owner of GymGuyz Northwest Columbus, a franchise mobile fitness company, last year.

The Rockville, S.C., native's journey to a healthier lifestyle began when her family moved to Dublin in 11 years ago.

After noticing the city's multipurpose trails and residents who lived an active and healthy lifestyle, Hoyt decided to make changes to her nutrition and started going to a local recreation center - a move that led her to meet new, more fit, people and lose 30 pounds.

"I was pretty happy with myself," she said.

But she realized she could do more after an intense workout session with her sister and her sister's personal trainer.

Hoyt said it was a "humbling experience," but believed she could get in even better shape.

"There was something that clicked and I thought, 'You know what? I can do this. I have the willpower and I have the mental focus that I can get myself into really tip-top shape,'" Hoyt said.

So she doubled down, cleaned up her nutrition and hired her own personal trainer, which helped her lose an additional 30 pounds.

"I don't think that I could have done that ... without a personal trainer I needed somebody to push and make me aware of what I was actually capable of," Hoyt said.

She also wanted to help other people with their fitness needs.

Taking an unusual path for someone with a bachelor's degree and master's degree in piano performance, Hoyt got her personal trainer certification in 2013.

She also worked as an administrator for her husband's medical consulting business.

When he sold the company, Hoyt had her opportunity to pursue other ventures. She ultimately opened a GymGuyz franchise in August 2016, serving Dublin, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Worthington, Clintonville and Grandview.

Josh York founded the GymGuyz brand in his parents' dining room in 2008.

He found a passion in personal fitness during his high school days and worked as a personal trainer at gyms on Long Island in New York during his college days.

After graduating, York worked for a marketing firm and continued working as personal trainer in the evenings.

He noticed how gym members did not show up consistently because of various excuses. So it gave him the idea to bring the gym to them.

Unlike a traditional gym, York's mobile fitness company could come directly to its clients at their preferred location such as their home, office or a park.

As the company grew, York eventually opened a headquarters in Long Island. He then started the franchising process and now has more than 100 independently owned locations.

During its annual conference in September, Hoyt received the Most Persistent Franchisee award.

"We're extremely proud of the team we've built since we began franchising in 2014," York said in a statement. "Our dedicated owners have become the face and voice of our brand both nationally and now internationally, creating an environment that people want to be a part of. We are inspired by their passion for their customers and the industry."

Hoyt said starting the business was like a "roller coaster with its ups and downs."

But it didn't stop her from working at 4:30 a.m. throughout the week, whether to train clients or distribute marketing materials.

"You can not do that by sitting in your office," she said. "(Starting a new business is) no different than when you're trying to lose weight."

Hoyt lives with her husband, Sean, and their two sons, Jackson, 14, and Lucas, 11, and their dog, CeCe. She met her goal of serving 40 clients in her first year but hopes to double the number for every year in the future.

"There are lots more people we can help," she said.

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