By Claudie Benjamin
Tony Hearns and Tom Guimond met years ago when both men were seated waiting to be interviewed for jobs as trainers at the Equinox Gym, then located on 76th Street and Broadway. Both got jobs at the gym, and became friends.
Originally from Ireland, Tony worked there as a strength coach/sports therapist for Ireland’s top professional tennis players and several other private clients. After winning a Green Card in the lottery system he moved to NYC in 1994. He met Susan, a girl he had dated briefly back in Ireland, by chance in NYC (she had also won a Green Card). They married in 2000 and now live in Connecticut with two children aged 19 and 17.
Tony opened Elysium Fitness at 117 West 72nd Street in June 2002, weeks before his son, Hugh was born. Tom initially leased space from Tony at Elysium for his physical therapy practice and after some years bought into the business to become partners with Tony.
Gyms in general were hard hit during Covid. Many shut down and others are still recovering and dealing with clients’ hesitance to workout in a setting with many other people. Elysium has survived as their model has always been to limit the number of people working out at any one time, never overcrowding and always ensuring clients book their session and be accompanied by a personal trainer. This has always been at the forefront of the Elysium Model. The gym was also fortunate to have a supportive landlord during the peak of the pandemic.
The clientele at Elysium, Tony says, “include executives, CEO’s, both Broadway and Hollywood acclaimed actors to educators, writers and athletes. They range in age from 16 to 90.” At the core of Elysium is to provide a safe environment to achieve better mobility, flexibility, muscular and cardiovascular endurance in a professional and fun environment. Elysium is goal oriented and prides itself on its client’s results and many of its members and trainers have been with Tony since inception in 2002.