Gym Owners Who Take Home More Than $20,000 a Month? Believe It!

A shocked man looks at Two-Brain's Top 10 leaderboard for gym owner earnings in June 2023.

Chris Cooper (00:00):
Hey, I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym,” and today I’m gonna tell you which gym owners made the most money in the world in June. Then I’m gonna tell you why your gym needs to pay you and how it can create income, and then how it can create investment opportunities, and then how it can create impact in your community—the reason we’re all here. First, the net owner benefit leaderboard, the top 10 gyms in the world for take-home income in June. Here we go. What I love about this leaderboard is that there are so many different countries represented, and if you go to, you can see this leaderboard. I’ve just blurred out the names to protect their anonymity. People in Two-Brain know who they are, and they can talk with them live on Facebook or in Zoom meetings or whatever.

Chris Cooper (00:48):
So we’re gonna start with the bottom. These are all in U.S. Dollars. So even if a gym is in Norway for example, we’ve converted that currency into U.S. Dollars just so we’re comparing apples to apples here. Number 10, and again, this is the dollars that the gym owner took home. It’s not the revenue that the gym made. It’s what the gym owner took from the gym. We use a rolling three-month average to figure this out just in case somebody takes like a big year-end disbursement. We don’t want that to have them lead the leaderboard and then not make very much next month. So these are three-month rolling averages. This is what the leaders took home in June 2023. Number 10, $16,721. So 16,721 bucks this gym owner took home to their family in June, and this is the 10th place.

Chris Cooper (01:36):
Okay, here we go. Number 9, $16,920. They only beat ’em by about 200 bucks, but imagine what taking $16,000 home next month would feel like. And again, these aren’t like flashes in the pan: “I ran this special challenge” or “I mortgaged tomorrow for the sake of today to make this money.” This is a rolling-three average.Number 8, $17,253. Imagine making that in a month. Number seven, $19,948. I bet you that gym owner is giving themselves a $52-a-month raise right now to bump themselves over 20,000. The rest of the leaderboard, the top six, are all over $20,000 U.S. In take home in June. At Number 6, $20,379 take home. At Number 5, $20,852 take home. At Number 4, this one’s from Europe, $21,600 take home. At Number 3, here’s where things start to get really nuts: $22,033 take-home income for the gym owner in June.

Chris Cooper (02:42):
Amazing. Second place was from Great Britain, and they took home in U.S. dollars 23,256 bucks in June. Amazing. And this is what they should expect to do every month. It’s not a flash in the pan, it’s not a big bait-and-switch month or some secret trick that they did that they can only do once and it poisons their gym forever. This is what they’re making as the CEO/owner of their gym. And the Number 1 gym last month in Two-Brain took home $44,922 U.S. That’s the owner’s pay. Again, incredible. Now if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “No, I chose the life of service. I’m just out there because I wanna get people healthy and fit. I don’t care about the money. If I can make five grand a month take home, I’m happy. I’ve got a job. I love it. That’s enough reward,” I want to tell you the top four reasons why your gym needs to make money and be profitable. Obviously your gym exists to serve, but it also exists to pay you. And this is a really uncomfortable topic for many of us because we’ve been raised to associate money with greed or with taking from others or with fraud or trickery. Like. “that guy’s so rich.He must have screwed a thousand people.” And especially in our industry, making money from your gym seems like asking too much, right? Like we already love our jobs and we’re already solving the biggest problems in the lives of our clients. Making money seems extra, like a cherry on top, or maybe even too much to ask, right? I’ve certainly thought that way. But that thinking holds us back. It stops the growth of our gym. It limits the opportunities we’re able to offer to our staff, our team.

Chris Cooper (04:27):
It diminishes the experience of our clients, and of course it reduces the reward that our families earn for taking this risk with us. You need to make money. Here’s why. Number 1, your family. Every job is a tradeoff. You have to exchange time with your family for money. Entrepreneurship carries the promise of trading a lot of time up front for more free time and more money later. You work harder than most people do to start, and then you work less than most people do later. You earn less than most people at startup to earn more than most later on. Money creates opportunities for your family, and that’s what your gym should provide. If your gym has you working more than average and earning less than average, that is not rewarding your family. In fact, I can remember some very dark days when my gym had me working from 5 a.m. Until 9 p.m. Earning half what my friends earned at their day jobs and fighting with my wife over the grocery bills.

Chris Cooper (05:25):
I was very tempted to just go get a job at a phone-answering company. Money doesn’t solve every problem, but it solves the money problems and most of the time problems. So if you think earning more money is somehow greedy, ask your spouse what they would do with an extra thousand bucks a week. I’m betting it’s not buying a private jet. It’s probably getting new shoes for your kids. The second reason your gym needs to make more money is your team. Your team members wanna do their best work, and to do that, they have to earn good incomes. They might absolutely love their careers, love their clients, and love your gym, but they’re facing the same time and financial pressures at home that you are. If your gym isn’t successful, you can’t pay people what they’re worth. For the last hundred years, personal trainers and fitness coaches earned low wages.

Chris Cooper (06:16):
The industry was mostly transient. Though the average salary is still low, some gym owners are now actually changing things by making fitness coach a real, viable career. And it’s up to you to make these opportunities happen. The more successful your gym is, the more successful your staff can be. The third reason your gym needs to make money is your clients. Your clients are best served if you and your staff are well rested, well fed and happy. Your martyrdom, your poverty is not helping your clients. It’s an obstacle. If you’re broke and hungry and tired and desperate, they will see it. They won’t enjoy the experience in your gym because they know you’re stressed and distracted even if they don’t know why. And let’s face it: you’re vulnerable. If any little problem arises, your client’s beloved gym could be taken away from them. Remember the gyms that were forced to close after the first month of COVID lockdowns?

Chris Cooper (07:12):
It’s because those gyms had no buffer. They were fragile. The owners weren’t making enough to carry the gym through a tough time. And when they went under, the clients lost key parts of their support system. Some of those clients never worked out again. Making more money to help your clients isn’t about buying more equipment or taking more risk on a larger space or putting in a soak tub. It’s about being able to afford thank-you cards and being undistracted when you’re serving them and having your staff members dress sharply and being able to provide all the little niceties that make you proud to own your business. If you’re proud of your gym, your clients will be, too. And if you’re financially successful, they will receive exactly what they deserve for years to come: devoted, A+ service that will change their lives. The fourth reason that your gym needs to make money is the gym itself.

Chris Cooper (08:06):
If you’re really gonna make an impact in your community, your gym is gonna need to last a few decades. People don’t try one class and then completely change their lives. Clients need to stick around for a couple of years, build lasting habits, and create the physiological adaptations that will increase their health span and their lifespan. They need to make the changes that will save their lives. And that doesn’t happen overnight. New clients need to be welcomed by long-term clients. Groups need to have happy veterans to model the movements and new kids to bring the energy, too. Gyms that just break even don’t last long enough to create community impact because the owner is still trading off their time to run it, and at some point they’re gonna stop volunteering at their nonprofit gym. So these are the four reasons that your gym needs to make money.

Chris Cooper (09:00):
And I just read you the list of the Top 10 earners for gyms in the world and what they took home. And I gotta ask you: Do you think these people are greedy or do you think that these people are creating opportunities for their team members that you wish you could, creating income for their families that you wish your family had, and creating great outcomes for their clients that you wish you could do? Of course, they’re not greedy. They’re gym owners. They’re exactly like you are. You’re not running a nonprofit. If you can’t make more income from owning a gym than you would as a trainer, then it’s time to upgrade your skills as a CEO. The goal of our Growth Program is to generate income. It’s to make you a hundred thousand dollars per year, which is an appropriate reward for owning a single-location microgym.

Chris Cooper (09:47):
But now I wanna tell you what happens after you’re making a hundred thousand dollars in income a year. The next goal is to move from income to investment. And I just said that every gym owner should be able to make a hundred thousand dollars per year from a single microgym location. Now at Two-Brain we’ve seen gym owners reach this level so many times now that there’s really no reason to suggest that an entrepreneur can’t earn a hundred thousand a year from a fitness business in our mentorship program. It’s no longer a matter of if an owner will reach that level if expert guidance and support are present. It’s simply a matter of when a deserving, focused owner will earn that reward—as long as they take action. Some gyms get to a hundred thousand dollars in net owner benefit slowly because they have lots of problems to fix and mistakes to undo.

Chris Cooper (10:35):
It took me like six years to fix the problems that I made at startup. Some gyms get to a hundred thousand dollars in net owner benefit really quickly, and these are often the gyms that invest in our StartUp program before they’re even open. For existing gyms whose owners start working with a mentor, it’s possible to reach a hundred thousand dollars in net owner benefit quickly, usually if the owner follows the mentor’s explicit directions and takes really quick, decisive action. And other gym owners earn far more than a hundred thousand dollars net owner benefit per year. I just read you some stats where the owners were making over $20,000 take home per month, right? And these are rolling three-month averages, so they’re doing it all the time. But what comes after that, after you’re making a hundred thousand dollars in income, which is by the way, far better than the national average earnings in North America, Europe or Australia? And you can set your own target depending on your country and your needs.

Chris Cooper (11:30):
I’m saying a hundred K net owner benefit because that’s what we hear the most often. After you hit that number, your opportunity to serve grows, it means you can better serve your family, better serve your team, and better serve your clients. And for the first time, you’ll have enough money to serve your community better. When you hit that income goal, you can start investing. First, you can invest in your family. You can begin to invest your money to create long-term wealth for your kids. You can invest in things that will let you retire someday. You can invest in properties for your kids to inherit and in tax expertise to minimize their burden. You can invest in experiences that will change their lives. You can invest in coaching for yourself to make you a better leader and entrepreneur and maybe a better dad. Second, you can invest in your team.

Chris Cooper (12:18):
Earning a hundred thousand dollars from your gym is a signal that your business is stable enough to pay others a salary, too. In fact, you shouldn’t pay any anybody else’s salary until you are making a salary of a hundred K a year because that proves that you have the systems and processes that can create careers, right? And your career is the proof. Only after you’re earning a decent salary should you offer a salary to somebody else. Third, you can invest in your gym. You have a working model that you can now duplicate in other locations, or you can buy the building in which your gym sits, which secures its future. You can reinvest in different modalities to help your clients more. You could buy therapy modalities, right? Or you can simply fix the broken stuff. Buy the new PM3 monitor or whatever it is—PM5 now, I guess.

Chris Cooper (13:04):
Fourth, you can invest in your community. Hey, when you’ve got some extra money and time, you can spend it volunteering. You can buy bikes for kids. You can find places where $10,000 will make an immediate and profound difference, and then just donate the money. You can hold fundraisers and charity events in your gym because you have the time and energy to do that. Here’s a quick note. A lot of gym owners are so generous that they try to do these things too early. They try to buy a building before their gym can afford it, or they promise salaries to their staff before the owner is making a decent income themselves. Or they open second locations before their first has proven itself to be viable as a business model. Or they run charity events when their own business is unprofitable. Remember: income first, then investment. Feed the Golden goose.

Chris Cooper (13:52):
Now our Tinker Program is built to teach gym owners how to invest. And my upcoming book, “Millionaire Gym Owner,” is all about the journey from income to investment. There are really four ways that we found that the Tinkers invest. First, they invest in scale. They put money back into the business they know and love. They open second locations successfully because they have a proven model that they can just duplicate over and over again. They expand their offerings to serve more people, or they might open an overlapping business like a ninja gym for kids. Second, they make external investments. They put money into cash-flow assets like real estate, overfunded whole life insurance policies, bonds, crypto, stocks, or boring businesses like self-storage units and laundromats like I have. Sometimes they might offer private lending to other people who need it or even act as angel investors in startups. I do both and it’s awesome.

Chris Cooper (14:45):
Third, they make internal investments. They invest in mentorship to become better leaders and remove the bottlenecks in the growth of their businesses. This has been absolutely massive for me. And fourth, they invest in lifestyle. They invest in work-life integration. They invest in experiences and time. Some invest in mentor certifications so they can help other gym owners and other local entrepreneurs succeed, or they might invest their time into service. All of this sounds great, right? But you can’t invest until you have a good income first. The reason that I wanna make gym owners wealthy is because there are no better people on Earth. I wanna put more money into the hands of generous, service-oriented people who are dedicated to improving the health of others. I want the good guys to win, and I want them to win big because that’s how others win too. Now I wanna talk about the next stage, which is going from investment to impact.

Chris Cooper (15:43):
I’m gonna share how your success helps everyone around you. I wanna start with my own personal slogan now, which is “make lots of money, give it away.” This has been my guiding principle for the last three years. Some people serve others by donating their time. For example, they might mentor local youth or they might serve soup to hungry people every day. Or, you know, they might walk around at night giving blankets to homeless people. But some people can serve better by making money and sharing it with those who don’t know how to make money. As an entrepreneur, you’ve taken a huge step toward creating real and lasting impact in your community already. You create jobs, you create wealth, you create tax revenue, you build your economy, you donate the extra, and of course you’re creating health. So let’s take a moment to reflect on just how big that is.

Chris Cooper (16:33):
Colleges don’t create jobs. Banks don’t create wealth. Governments don’t create tax revenues. The Federal Reserve doesn’t build the economy, and doctors don’t create health. Nobody does all five of those things except for you. That is impact, and that means you deserve success. The real reason I wanna make gym owners successful is that their success doesn’t end with them. No gym owner is hoarding their money in a Swiss bank account or buying private islands to live out their days in seclusion. They’re dedicated to service, and they will serve others with or without money. By the way, it’s much better to serve others with money. And here’s why. If you’ve made it to this point where you’ve got some investments, you’re taken care of, you’ve got good consistent income, then you are good at making money, and very few people are. The best way that you can help others is to keep making money and giving it to the people who don’t know how to do that.

Chris Cooper (17:35):
Second, most people won’t be entrepreneurs. Most people will not trade potential upside for their current comfort level. They want jobs, not ownership. And the way we make more jobs is to open more businesses. Third, our free-market system makes democracy possible. Capitalism is the foundation, not the fruit of democratic processes. You cannot have democracy without capitalism. Success in business elevates our democracy by paying for social benefits like health care, like road infrastructure. Success in business elevates our culture by creating surplus time and money for things like art, and success in business elevates our species by funding science and exploration. Fourth, you are an inspiration for the next generation. Our parents spent their careers in one company, one job, one career. Our kids will mostly have to build their own careers, and their teachers and schools don’t know how to teach them that. You and I must be the examples of entrepreneurship for future entrepreneurs, but also for the future gig workers, for the future, independent contractors and everyone else who has to forge their own path.

Chris Cooper (18:51):
Now, here’s the cherry on top. If you make lots of money, you can give it away whenever and however you want. I wanna talk quickly about paying your dues and skipping bureaucracy. Making lots of revenue and paying lots of taxes supports the social systems and the infrastructure that I just mentioned, and that’s good. You really are paying for the police and the hospitals and the highways. That’s a win for everyone. Thank you for doing that. But if you make even more money, then you don’t have to filter your impact through the bureaucracy all the time. You can find places where money will have an immediate and profound impact, and then you just give the money. For example, I pay over $500,000 per year in national, like federal, taxes from one company alone. That’s not including my real-estate taxes, my income taxes, my sales taxes, or all the other taxes from all the other companies.

Chris Cooper (19:45):
That money supports our system of government, our health-care system, our education system, our roads, our police, our fire departments and more. And I’m proud to make such a large contribution. Even when I’m frustrated by the process, I’m proud of the outcome, but sometimes a local kid just needs a bike, and they can’t wait for the subcommittee on youth fitness in northern communities to decide to fund a single bicycle in a community of 2,000 kids. So I just go to the bike store and buy the bike, and we’ve been donating 50 bikes every year to local kids in foster care. This year we donated another 60 to kids in foster care. And then foster-care kids said, “That’s it, everybody’s got a bike.” And so we went to Big Brothers Big Sisters and we said, “Do you guys need bikes?” And they said, “Yeah, we could use eight bikes right now.”

Chris Cooper (20:32):
And so I drove to the store and I bought eight bikes. We just bought them. We didn’t have to apply for a grant. We didn’t have to write an application to a government. We just had the money. And so we spent it. Other people volunteer as big brothers and big sisters to these kids. Other people work as foster-care workers. My contribution is not greater than theirs, but it is different and it is necessary. Other people work for companies and apply for government grants. I’m not good at those things, but I am good at making money. And so I give money, and that’s how I make an impact. Now I’m sharing this stuff to inspire you. It’s okay to make lots of money. It’s okay to pay lots of taxes. It’s okay to invest money or build wealth or give cash away, but you have to make money first.

Chris Cooper (21:17):
So start with an income. Feed the golden goose. Get your gym to pay you a hundred thousand dollars a year. Then make investments. Expand your flock. Then think about impact where you’re going to leave the golden eggs. Look, I’m lucky, but I’m not special. You can do this, too. I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I kind of went off on a rant on you there, and I hope that this inspired you to make your gym profitable and to kind of give you a view of the future and where you can go. If you wanna talk to me about this stuff more, just go to That’s our free group. I’m pretty active in there. I try to hop in once a day. But there are 7,600 positive, happy gym owners in there who are just eager to help you solve these problems. Thank you for your service. I really hope you get to the point where you can just give away the golden eggs for the rest of your life.

Thanks for listening!

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One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.