Millionaire Gym Owner: Yes, You Can Retire Wealthy

The cover of Chris Cooper's book "Millionaire Gym Owner" with the words "get it on Amazon!"

About 15 years ago, I hit rock bottom.

I was working over 80 hours a week in my gym. I was in my fourth year of gym ownership and my 12th year of fitness coaching, and I was slipping backward financially: We’d just missed our second paycheck in a row, and I had to ask my parents for grocery money.

The hard work and long hours didn’t bother me, and I knew I could overcome the cash shortage. But for the first time in my career, I accepted the fact that things weren’t getting any better.

The truth: My lowest point as a gym owner didn’t come when I couldn’t pay the rent.

It came when I realized I couldn’t just keep working hard and waiting for things to turn around. I wasn’t smarter, luckier or more dedicated than other entrepreneurs who had failed in their businesses. Even if I were, smarts, luck and dedication didn’t seem to guarantee success—and I had no idea what would.

Then I started thinking about the future.

I had a baby who didn’t need much—yet. Eventually, she’d need school clothes. And more food. And she might want to go to college. And maybe she’d have a little brother or sister. And someday, my old truck would run its last trip to the gym.

How would I ever pay for any of that?

Hell, how would I ever stop working 16-hour days or take a one-week vacation?

And how would I ever be able to retire?

Then I thought, “I bet someone else already has this figured out.”

Looking for Inspiration

I started looking for examples of people who had worked as a trainer for 30 years, socked away enough to retire, bought a little place in Florida, and learned to like golf—people who didn’t worry about money anymore.

But there were none.

I couldn’t find a single personal trainer or gym owner who had stuck with it until they could retire. I couldn’t find anyone to copy.

I had to make my own plan. I didn’t know how to do it—or even where to start. I just knew that time wasn’t on my side, and things were only getting worse.

In fact, I was starting to doubt the entire field. Most of the other “personal trainers” in our town were just kids working part time to pay for college or to cover their gym membership while waiting for their acting careers to kick off.

When I thought about it, I couldn’t name a single fitness trainer who had worked until age 60 and then retired wealthy—or even retired at all. I couldn’t even name a trainer over the age of 50, period. The thought of saving enough money to retire seemed impossible!

It certainly didn’t seem possible to run a gym, have time for family and enjoy a great income with a little left over to invest. And even if I could make a little more than I needed, I had no idea how to invest the money.

Looking into the future, I didn’t see a rewarding career with a relaxing retirement like my friends could anticipate. I saw only a downward spiral of rising bills, worsening burnout and mounting debt.

In fact, the financial advice I most often received was this: “Get out now and find a real job.”

Finding a Model

I didn’t want to give up on my dream, but I needed to pay my family’s bills, stop working all the time and eventually have enough money to retire.

The cover of Chris Cooper's book "Millionaire Gym Owner."

I needed a model to follow. Even more, I needed proof: I needed someone to say, “I’ve done it, and here’s how.”

I couldn’t find a single example in the fitness industry, so I started looking outside the industry: How did other entrepreneurs retire without pensions or employers who automatically deducted 401k payments from their checks?

My aim in my eighth book, “Millionaire Gym Owner,” is to give you a roadmap so you can take the income from your gym and invest it to create wealth.

I had to figure this out from scratch—through years of learning, trials and many errors. Now that I’ve done it, I want to share the path with you.

And I want you to travel much faster than I did.

“Millionaire Gym Owner” is now out—get it on Amazon!


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.