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The Playbook

Sit across from Ryan and Eric Johnson and you might not realize that they’re related.

Eric is a study in precision. His barber-fresh dark hair complements the simple, modern performance gear he wears in all black. His posture is as meticulous as the perfectly groomed scruff on his face. By contrast, Ryan looks like he just stepped out of surf camp in Tulum. His light eyes and laid-back vibe are accented by cheek-length hair that casually flops to the sides and the wooden bead bracelets on his wrist.

Then they open their mouths. The way the brothers finish each other's sentences as they explain Homage, their company that designs bespoke gyms for luxury residential buildings, suggests that they are two sides of the same coin.

“We’re trying to bring an approach that combines high-quality performance training with wellness and great hospitality,” Eric explains as the duo walks me through their new 2,500 square foot fitness space located in The Alyn, a chic doorman building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The brothers thoughtfully curated everything from the understated gray decor to the cutting-edge equipment for the residents of the 20-story high rise. They even hand selected the vintage black and white photographs of icons from Sylvester Stallone to Bruce Lee to the Dalai Lama working out.

“Many residential buildings add gyms without much thought,” says Ryan. “We’re trying to curate this space with not just the best equipment but also considering the layout and the flow, the color scheme.”

Once the bespoke space is opened, the brothers will continue to provide training and act as wellness concierges for the residents of the 56-unit building. Their next space is slated to open in Washington DC this summer, with another following in Miami sometime in the near future.

Of course, the duo will have to balance these projects with their celebrity training schedules. Eric has been Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainer for the last decade, traveling with her around the world making sure she stays in superhero shape for her role as Black Widow as she films the Avengers franchise. She’s among the A-List clientele the brothers train that includes Ryan Gosling, Sebastian Stan, and Olivia Cooke (plus a roster of names they aren’t permitted to disclose).

They say their approach is a way to honor the people who inspired them, from Michael Jordan to Serena Williams to their late uncle, Tony, who trained them as teens in his home gym.

“Paying homage is as much about paying respect to the past as it’s about paying homage to your present self,” Eric says. “You owe yourself the respect to take care of your body. Improving yourself physically can improve all aspects of your life.”

Photography by Brett Moen. Story by Sandra Nygaard.

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