Jake and Zach Dylik were sitting in the parking lot when they started arguing.
Zach explained he was having “a moment” when he was unsure if their next move was the right choice. “[Jake] calmed me down. He could have shot back and said, ‘You’re doing this wrong, you’re doing that wrong!’ Honestly, I relied on him a lot as a big brother there. He just reassured me, ‘Zach, you have the ability to do this. We have the ability to do this, more importantly.’ And really just provided us with that goal of we can do this,” explained Zach.
And they did. On January 2, 2016, the brothers opened Bloodline CrossFit – pun intended – in Lehigh Acres, Florida, the only CrossFit Box in town, and where the brother’s family lived.
Prior to opening, Jake, 25, was a Division 1 track athlete in college, and then worked in corporate communications at two Fortune 500 companies. And Zach, 23, played football, and then coached at another Box in Buffalo, New York.
Zach studied exercise science in college, and said the goal always was to own a gym. One of his classes introduced him to CrossFit. He was so curious about the sport, he went home and Googled a Box near him. He’s been hooked ever since, gaining his Level 1, other specialty certifications and introducing his brother to CrossFit.
The first workout the brothers did together was DP. “[Jake] felt the community aspect, he felt the intensity of it. He loved the lifting aspect in that specific workout. So he knew then, I think after that workout, he’s like this is something I want to do. And since then, he’s become a tremendous athlete and a tremendous Coach,” said Zach.
After practicing the sport for four years, Zach proposed opening a Box together. “I badgered him for months, literally almost a year, before he sat down with myself and my mother and he was like, ‘Zach, I want to talk to you … if we’re going to [do] this, we’re going to do this right. And it’s not going to be half-assed. It’s going [to be] done the right way. We’re going to put everything we have into it.’ Literally months later, we moved down to Ft. Myers from Buffalo, New York, and we started Bloodline CrossFit,” explained Zach.
With his background in communication and Zach’s knowledge of physiology, Jake believes their strengths complement each other. “I think one of the challenges is kind of helping each other with the things that we’re not as good as the other person with. What I mean by that is, I have to coach him on business marketing stuff to keep the Box afloat, and he has to work with me more on other kind of technical things in regard to coaching,” said Jake.
When he was dreaming of opening the Box, Zach said there was no one he could imagine doing it with besides Jake. “Obviously business is connecting you, but we’re connected by blood. That’s why we called it Bloodline CrossFit. It’s just brutally honest and emotions really show because you can’t hide anything,” said Zach.
Though the Box is just over three months old, Bloodline CrossFit is already starting an on-ramp program. Jake and Zach are the only two Coaches on staff, but as their Box and the community’s knowledge about CrossFit expands, they only plan to grow.