Joey Swoll strolls at Venice Beach. / Instagram
Joey Swoll has found his purpose. He’s been a minor fixture in the bodybuilding world for over a decade. But lately his fame has exploded due to his gym positivity videos (a.k.a. anti-workout-shaming videos) on TikTok and other social media platforms. This year, Swoll has already been featured in such diverse publications as British GQ and the New York Post. He’s the self-proclaimed CEO of Gym Positivity, and he’s branded himself the anti-bullying scold of workout-shaming videos. But who is he? What’s his story? Let’s get to know Joey Swoll.
March 8, 2022: Joey Swole posted the photo above on Instagram and wrote: “18 months ago I was addicted to opioids, suicidal, completely alone, and without any purpose. Today I’m clean, happy, cherishing every single day I wake up, feeling amazing, and once again changing lives and making an impact on the fitness community. I went from the absolute worst place in my life to the absolute best….If I can YOU CAN. We got this. ONE DAY AT A TIME.”
HOW POPULAR IS JOEY SWOLL?
Very. He currently has 6.6 million TikTok followers, 2.3 million followers on Instagram, 1.2 million followers on Facebook, 580,000 on Twitter, and 55,000 on YouTube.
WHAT IS JOEY SWOLL’S REAL NAME?
WHY DID HE START HIS GYM ETIQEUTTE VIDEOS?
Joey Swoll was just another fitness influencer, posting run-of-the-mill, muscle-making content about training and diet. He’s admitted that he took a lot of abuse on social media through the years for his frequently shirtless posts and gym-bro persona. He nicknamed himself “Joey Swoll,” after all. The fact that he was formerly associated with scandal-plagued Shredz supplements didn’t help his reputation. And then life turned dark.
Swoll recently posted this on Instagram:
On January 7, 2022, he posted a response video to a TikToker mocking a man in the gym doing dumbbell drag curls. Swoll explained drag curls and ended his TikTok with: “What he’s doing and working most of all is minding his own business. The fact that people at the gym take videos of other people to try to make fun of them, blows my mind. Be better than that.” Swoll’s video has over 20 million views, 3 million likes, and 46,000 comments. And just like that he’d found his niche: gym etiquette. Joey’s Swoll’s #MYOB (mind your own business) took off.
Since then, he’s posted over 100 more gym positivity TikToks. As with the drag curl video, Swoll frequently reprimands TikTokers who surreptitiously film people in the gym and then post the footage to shame those people for their exercise style, bodies, or supposedly creepy (but not creepy) behavior. Some such Swoll TikToks go very viral and get over 10 million views, some over 20 million. “I’m not doing anything special,” Swoll says. “I’m telling people something they already know: to treat others like they want to be treated.”
WHAT IS JOEY SWOLL’S HEIGHT?
5’6″ (168 cm)
WHAT IS JOEY SWOLL’S AGE?
Joey Sergo turned 40 this year. He was born January 11, 1983.
WHAT IS JOEY SWOLL’S NET WORTH?
Unknown. His net worth is not public, nor is his income or all his income sources. Estimates online are only rough guesses.
HOW DOES HE MAKE HIS MONEY?
Currently, on-line training and nutritional coaching at his website and branded clothing on his other website. (He’s been heavily involved with nutritional supplement companies through the years.) He likely also receives money from the TikTok Creator’s Fund, but this is not a great wealth-generator. TikTok pays $20-40 for every million video views. So, if he got 500 million TikTok views last year (our rough estimate), that earned approximately $15,000. We suspect the online coaching is his major money-maker, and his social media popularity drives that business.
WHY DID JOEY SWOLL GET INTO BODYBUILDING?
Joseph Sergo weighed only 140 lbs. when he went off to Illinois Wesleyan College to play football as a wide receiver, and he was then bullied by the bigger, older guys on the team. “I didn’t wanna go home because I didn’t wanna seem like a failure to my mom, so second semester I started living in the weight room and cafeteria,” Swoll said in an interview. “I fell in love [with bodybuilding]. I started to get compliments on my physique and my strength. I loved it. But more than anything it helped me deal with the stress and anger inside I had for the people around me lacking compassion or respect. Any problem I had I could always take it out on the steel of the weight room. No matter how upset, depressed, sad, or just plain stressed out I was, I always left the weight room feeling free. I left it all in there. Pushing my body to its limits was a way for me to balance myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.” He traded football for bodybuilding and never lost his loathing of body-shaming bullies.
DOES JOEY SWOLL COMPETE IN BODYBUILDING?
Not recently. Under his given name, Joey Sergo, he did at least two bodybuilding contests when in his 20s but won no titles. Like now, his legs trailed his upper body.
IS HE MARRIED?
He’s in a relationship with fellow fitness influencer/coach and Los Angeles firefighter Crystal Reneau.
WHERE IS HE FROM?
He was born and raised in Chicago.
WHERE DOES HE LIVE?
In or near Los Angeles.
WHY DOES JOEY SWOLL WEAR A BACKWARDS BASEBALL CAP?
Because he’s Joey Swoll. And he might call you out for fashion-shaming, so don’t.