Boston Globe Article

On Nantucket, a gym with a $120,000 initiation fee


Talk about feeling guilty when you don’t go to the gym.

Nantucket’s Planning Board has approved construction of a private health and fitness club with a $120,000 initiation fee and a $5,000 annual fee, but if you have to even think about that, the Ezia Athletic Club might not be for you.

The club is capping membership at 250 families, and almost 30 slots have already been snapped up in a pre-opening $60,000 initiation special, said founder Isaiah Truyman.

Truyman was mum on the names of pioneering members, but he did allow that they are “extremely notable” summer residents. “Mostly Boston, Greenwich, and New York hedge-fund managers, or large-scale real estate developers and hotel owners.”

So, what does $120,000 buy, besides, presumably, really nice locker room amenities?

The club will have four squash courts, a fitness center, an Olympic-size pool – with drink service and cabanas, an aquatic treatment center with salt and mud baths, a chipping and putting green, an indoor golf simulator, and an AstroTurf athletic field.

There’ll be a business lounge, and, of course, a juice bar. Additionally, a staff nurse and dietician will do blood and DNA analysis, advise on meal planning and supplement strategies, and even administer IV treatments.

Who needs a vending machine?

Considering the tab, it seems likely that staffers will exude a “member’s always right” attitude, but more than a year before the Lululemon parade is slated to start, rules have already been posted online. Among them:

“There are no pets allowed at EZIA Athletic Club or on EZIA Athletic Club grounds at any time. Children and pets are not to be left unattended in parked cars under any circumstances for any length of time.”

And: “Return all equipment/accessories and weights to their designated and marked areas after each use. Failure to do so will result in a written warning.”

Truyman and his business partner, Jeff Kaschuluk, are building the club on three acres off Old South Road, near Nantucket Memorial Airport, and plans call for a grand opening in spring 2017, with a soft opening next summer.

Earlier this month Nantucket’s Inquirer and Mirror newspaper reported that construction was approved with little public comment, but there has been some sniping.

“Catering to the rich and famous,” one reader wrote on the newspaper’s Facebook page. “I think we need to deal with the drug problems & housing crisis first.”

“We don’t need another health club,” another said. “Nantucket needs a reality check into this housing crisis. It’s completely wrong that the people who come here to work are not given opportunities for affordable housing.”

The problems of regular people are not alien to Truyman. A 36-year-old Amherst native, he’s a self-described “welfare kid” who grew up with a single mom and left home at 15.

He went on to study at the Berklee College of Music, he said, and spent a decade in the music industry before recognizing his time would be better spent in helping the rich meet their health and fitness goals, which he’d been doing to pay bills all along.

“I was banging my head against the wall making 50 bucks a night, and I realized I’ve got a real gift with the wellness stuff,” he said. “People seem to be inspired by my view on things.

“I had these incredible executives throwing money at me and cars and planes and homes,” he said, referring to offers to get him to Nantucket. “I could drop some names, but I won’t out of respect.”

In 2000 he started spending time on Nantucket training wealthy summer residents — and then their spouses and children and parents — and helping them coordinate care with a network of wellness experts.

He eventually thought: “Don’t most of these affluent folks who are struggling with wellness deserve to have something that is geared toward them?”

The answer, apparently, was yes.

“I realized there was this gap in the industry,” Truyman said. “What’s scalable is the lower tier, and what’s high end isn’t really scalable or available. You have these very affluent people who are struggling for solutions.”

Finally, someone who cares about the one percent.

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