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S2 Episode 7: Tom Campanaro | Focus, Passion, and Faith

Tom Campanaro

Tom Campanaro has been a part of the fitness community for almost 50 years. He created the Total Gym back in 1974. Total Gym is a name so synonymous with fitness that most people would think that it had always been a vast success, but this is not the case. When Tom first created the Total Gym, he couldn't even get people to try it. He had to find a way to market the device in a pre-internet era.

His method of marketing was trade shows and they did over 200 a year. This was the way they marketed the Total Gym.

It took almost 20 years before the total gym started to truly gain traction as a fitness product. At this time, Tom had gained a foothold in not just individual home sales for his product, but the rehabilitation and physical therapy community, and in the commercial sector as well. The Total Gym became a total success.

It wasn't always easy, but he persevered, and in this episode we will learn many lessons from Tom and the Total Gym



Tom Campanaro is the founder of the Total Gym, a fitness brand that is a household name. I met Tom at a Todd Durkin Mastermind retreat and I asked him to share his story on our podcast. We talked about the origins of the Total Gym, and what it took for it to become the massive success that it is.

The Total Gym was started in 1974. That's 47 years ago, almost half of a century. Tom tells us about how, in the beginning, people didn't understand the Total Gym whatsoever. They were afraid of it, they didn't want to use it, they didn't think that it could be useful. This was in a very pre-internet era, and Tom had to find the best way to market his device.

They started doing trade shows and demoing the product. They would find the most fit people in crowds, and have them try the Total Gym, and, as soon as they started working out with it, their eyes would light up. This way everyone in the crowd could see that this is a real, intense training product. It still wasn't easy, though. Tom and his group went to over 200 trade shows a year to market the product, and it still took 20 years for it to truly start to become a success.

It was never an easy road for the Total Gym, and Tom takes time to remind us of what it takes to stick with something you know is good, something you know can be a success. He shares his story and secrets of success with us. I am certain we can all learn something from him.

In the episode, you'll hear about:

  • The history of the Total Gym.

  • The most important things someone needs to succeed.

  • How focus, passion, and faith can take you farther than anything else.

Tom, thank you so much for being with us. We loved the conversation, and I can't wait to talk to you again.



1:50 - 3:09

Were you alive back in 1974? Tom Campamnaro tells us about how different things were back when he first created the Total Gym; he tells us about how skeptical and scared of the machine people were.

4:59 - 5:54

Over 200 trade shows a year! Tom tells us about how they used trade shows as their original main form of marketing for Total Gym. They even were regulars at the dental trade show.

10:35 - 11:17

Passion is one of the most important things that you need in your life. Tom tells us that his passion is what carried him through the tough times, and in the end, helped him succeed.

23:30 - 24:34

What is necessary to be successful? Tom tells us what he believes entrepreneurs need and that is Focus, Passion, and Faith.

29:26 - 30:34

Tom shares a story about how his son showed him what to do with adversity. When you get knocked down, you grow from it. You don't let it defeat you.





Before Travis Barnes became a best-selling author, international presenter, founder and franchisor of Journey Fitness 333 he spent a decade of his life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Upon returning home to his wife and daughter he worked hard to grow himself in the fitness industry so he could buy his family a home of their own. 2 months after buying their home Tropical Storm Lee caused it to be flooded to the second floor. Approximately 1 year after the flood while still rebuilding their home and during the Christmas holiday season Travis was let go from his employment as COO for a local fitness company. After he and his wife spent 6 months as traveling trainers and while still living on an unemployment check and in a FEMA trailer, they began what is now a fitness franchise . Most recently and with the rest of the industry Travis has overcome the obstacles of the pandemic by redesigning his business. Travis has used the pandemic as an opportunity to instead of returning to business as normal, he has returned to business as better than normal. Travis is an Overcomer.

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