Alumnus opens fitness center with second chance

USF alumnus Nick Schuyler (left) survived a boating accident in 2009 to go on and open a fitness center in Lutz. Special to the Oracle

Sky Athletix, a new state-of-the-art fitness center in Lutz, is the culmination of a lifelong dream for USF alumnus Nick Schuyler. 

Schuyler, who graduated from the university in 2008 with a degree in communications, has always been passionate about fitness.

While opening his own fitness center was always part of the plan, Schuyler now sees Sky Athletix as an opportunity to take advantage of the second chance he said God gave him.

In February of 2009, Schuyler was found sitting on the hull of his overturned boat by the U.S. Coast Guard after a fishing trip with four friends off the Florida Gulf coast went terribly wrong.

Schuyler was the only survivor of the trip that took three of his friends, including two NFL players.

“I’ve learned to kind of accept it at this point,” he said about the accident. “It won’t ever make sense.” 

Moving forward, Schuyler has decided to enjoy the journey of life, noting his success with his career as especially rewarding. He also said he has become more patient and laid back in dealing with everyday life. 

“It’s always been a dream ever since I was a teenager, and I wanted to make it realistic. I love fitness. It feels free,” Schuyler said.

This gym is a far cry from the traditional fitness chains most people are used to. From its opening in mid-September, Schuyler has strived to provide a clean, fun and effective experience for clients. He called it a place for the community to come together.

A former USF football player, Schuyler caters to a wide variety of fitness goals. Sky Athletix offers sport-specific training, including a swath of turf, cross training, group training, cardio training, and a number of weights, including bumper weights, something hard to find outside of a CrossFit gym. Members have 24/7 access to the facility.

Nick’s mother, Marcia Schuyler, whom he called a huge help in realizing his dream, has watched the growth of her son in recent years.

“He’s really grown as a young man,” she said. “He takes life more seriously, and he is much closer to his family and friends.”

Nick is branching out in other directions as well. About a year after the accident, he wrote and published “Not Without Hope” to clear up the negativity surrounding his story. He said it was therapeutic to put his experience into words. 

Now the book is being adapted into a major motion picture starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Schuyler has met with the production team and will serve as technical consultant on the film, with significant say over how events are portrayed, making corrections when necessary. 

Sky Athletix is still in its infancy and Schuyler is excited to provide the push needed for current and future clients to progress in their personal fitness. Having the ability to help others is a gift he is grateful for.

“You have to live every day as your last,” Schuyler said. “It sounds cliche, but it makes sense when you go through something like this.”