7-figures of PROFIT from group training?!

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Gym World comes from Kilo co-founder John Franklin, who shares lessons about making money in the fitness industry.

He made $250k/year from Instagram. Then, he threw it all away…

What’s up Gym World?

Sam Tooley started as a volunteer coach at his old high school and grinded his way to $250k/year in online training income.

But then, he left it all behind to open brick-and-mortar.

We’re unpacking his journey:

  • From unpaid coach,
  • To earning a quarter-million online,
  • To generating $360k in profit per gym,
  • And finally, franchising a multi-million dollar boutique concept.

All within seven years.

Here’s his story:

Online training

After college, Sam knew he wanted to coach and be a role model for others. Running had always been his outlet to stay motivated and overcome life’s challenges. Sam’s high school running coach was his inspiration, so he went back there to start volunteer coaching.

Meanwhile, social media was taking off and people were building personal brands. Sam saw an opportunity to reach endurance athletes and began posting running workouts on his Instagram.

Despite being mocked by friends and family, Sam was obsessive about sharing content. His dedication helped him build an audience fast enough to secure brand deals and paid partnerships.

Coach Sam Tooley Instagram
Today, he’s grown to a 60,000-person following.
💡 To grow FAST on social, you NEED to go ALL IN.

I fully committed to growing my Twitter audience and got 10,000 followers in 110 days. Meanwhile, my Instagram’s only seen a tenth of that traction after a year of posting because I’m not consistent.

Cassie Day agrees that if you really want to build a following, you need to be obsessive about it.

Sam’s income skyrocketed when he began charging $400 a month for his online programs. By the end of the year, he was bringing home $250k.

💡 Sam had a bunch of hacks to get clients, but here’s a fun one. He would check local 5k results for anyone who ran 21 minutes or faster and:

- found them on Instagram,
- followed them,
- offered a free session through DMs.

He did this every week to build his reputation.

Most brick-and-mortar gym owners would kill to have Sam’s online gig, but:

  • Posting content consistently became a grind,
  • He was always at the mercy of algorithms, hackers, and the risk of being banned,
  • And a lot of people crave community and the camaraderie of being around others like them.

These reasons pushed Sam to open his own gym.

The Garage Gym

There’s only so much you can achieve with a small space.

💡 Unless you’re Haylin Alpert, who runs one of the most profitable gyms per square foot I’ve ever seen.

Sam’s first gym, Alpha Performance Studio, was 750 sq ft and offered private, semi-private, and youth training at $40 a session.

garage gym

He later rebranded to The Garage Gym and expanded to a 1,600 sq ft space. 

garage gym expansion
💡 Then COVID hit. Eventually, Sam shifted to a 24/7 limited membership model and charged $200/mo, making $15k/mo in profit at each location.

Just before the pandemic, a couple of his clients suggested franchising. Sam liked the idea of building a business that ran itself and saw the potential in group training, but couldn’t accommodate it. He didn’t like the existing concepts around him either.

So, in 2019, he took the core principles from Alpha Performance Studio and created something sexier:

Alpha Performance Studio

Imagine a boutique group fitness studio with the upscale vibe of NYC but in the suburbs of New Jersey. That’s what you get with Alpha Fit Club.

Sam’s new concept offered circuit-style strength & conditioning training with equipment you wouldn’t find in an Orangetheory. Classes cap at 24 people, split into 6 stations with 4 people each.

💡 Sam calls these groups “Accountability Packs.” You move around the room with these people, making it easy to get to know them and connect.

Sam knew there was greater potential for scaling this concept. He considered shutting down the 1,600 sq ft gym but instead turned over the operations to a trusted member.

💡 Sam says he spends an hour a week on the business side of The Garage Gym.

This move allowed him to fully focus on his new project. He opened three locations, all of which generate over $1M in annual revenue with 30-35% profit margins.

Alpha Fit Club

Today, Sam’s leveraged Alpha Fit Club into a franchise. Thirteen locations are open, and another 12 are on the way.

Alpha Fit Club franchise
Sam designed the franchise to mirror his brand: sleek, sexy, and motivating for people to train hard.

Like previous Gym World guest Joe Meglio, Sam is also expanding his brand across New Jersey with a universal model:

  • 3,500 sq ft of space
  • 500 members
  • Memberships from $179-$199 per month
  • 5 staff
💡 Sam finds great staff is by tapping into his social media audience. He looks for people with a following, presents them with an opportunity, and convinces them to coach at the hottest new concept.

And rather than selling Alpha Fit Clubs to outsiders, he’s offering them to die-hard clients who already understand the Alpha Fit Club vibe and embody the Alpha mentality.

Long story short…

Sam has launched three businesses in seven years.

We feature a lot of small group training success stories here, but Sam stands out because:

  • He’s leveraging his personal brand to scale his concept.
  • He’s killing it with large group training.
  • He’s brought a trendy NYC-style concept to the suburbs.

For a deeper dive into Sam’s empire and how you can apply his strategies to grow your business, be sure to watch or listen to his full interview on Gym World.

until next week,

j

Share This Article

Read more

5 minutes is all it takes to grow your gym.

Get the weekly email that shares the strategies used by top-earning gym owners.

Learn more about GLM AI