At 23, Sam Langer signed on to become the first franchisee with the mobile fitness and personal training company, GYMGUYZ. He began serving his territory of Westchester County on March 24, 2014.
The lifetime resident of Irvington, New York. relocated to the Midwest at the age of 18 to attend Indiana University and pursue his B.A. in business. Upon graduating and breaking into the business industry, Langer landed a dream job for any passionate sports fan — a project sports planner for ESPN. However, while working in the sports industry, Langer entertained another passion: fitness and personal training.
“After I graduated, I had two main jobs — both with long hours, long commutes and very little down time,” said Langer. “But, I always found time in my day to get to the gym, go for a run or get active. But, I didn’t necessarily see the same motivation for fitness in my colleagues. I encouraged them to eat healthy, bring their own lunch, go to the gym and do simple workouts in the office.”
At the ESPN office, Langer became the impromptu personal trainer for his colleagues, even his bosses. However, Langer soon thereafter caught wind of an opportunity to turn his extracurricular passion for fitness into his profession.
While on vacation, Langer’s parents had a chance run-in with Josh York, the founder of GYMGUYZ, and his wife. After the couples exchanged pleasantries, they moved onto the subject of professions, and York explained the decision to franchise his 5-year-old mobile fitness business. Within minutes of hearing about York’s business, the parents called up their 23-year-old son, Sam, and connected the two fitness buffs to talk shop. Since this serendipitous meeting in December 2013 and doing his due diligence with the franchise, Langer has been full-speed ahead with GYMGUYZ, signing to be the first system franchisee.
Langer said his decision to open a business was spurred by his father, who also operates his own organic fertilizer company. That entrepreneurial drive, it seems, is in his blood.
“My primary reason for leaving ESPN was because I knew I wanted to run with GYMGUYZ as my own business,” said Langer. “The idea of business ownership has always been around me — my brother is business and my father has his own business, so it’s always been on my mind. In addition to fitness, entrepreneurship has also been a passion of mine for quite some time.”
Langer partnered with one of his best friends, James Bonavita, to open and operate the GYMGUYZ. When asked if he would recommend partnering with a friend to other potential business owners, Langer said, “Yes, James was very helpful in the beginning and now is someone I can rely on.”
As a 24-year-old business owner, Langer recognizes his future is just beginning as a successful GYMGUYZ franchisee.
Why did you decide you wanted to work with GYMGUYZ?
Once the idea of GYMGUYZ was presented to us, and after we were introduced to Josh, we knew it was a perfect opportunity for us. He was the right guy with the right vision, so we decided it was right for us.
What personal attributes have helped you succeed as a business owner with GYMGUYZ?
My passion for fitness and drive to help people really took shape back when I was in college. I had the same roommate for all four years, and he was always interested in getting healthy, but never quite made the jump to eat healthy and train for a healthy lifestyle. Then, senior year, he decided that he wanted to change his body image and health. I took him under my wing, gave him a fitness regimen and taught him how to cook and prepare healthy meals.
As a result, he lost 20 pounds and to this day, he still maintains those habits of eating healthy and working out. Watching him transform his lifestyle and feel better about himself always resonated with me. It was more than just training someone; it was helping someone change their life, and potentially, saving their life. Today, he’s still one of my best friends.
Overall, I am able to use my skills, my business education, and passion for fitness to successfully run my business.
Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
We have many clients on the Board of Education and we work with various philanthropies to donate sessions for auctions. All of the money raised during these events goes to the schools we work with and the community.
Since opening in March of 2014, how has your business grown?
We currently have four vans compared to the one we started with when we opened in 2014. We have five full time trainers and 200 clients.
Why are you successful and what does your business strategy focus on?
We have to continue to network and get the brand out there, but we also need to do it better than we have done it in the past. We have to continue to go to events such as street fairs, bridal expos—we can never go to too many events. We have to let everyone know we are #1 in Home Personal Training.
Do you have any client success stories?
One of our clients was a patient going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. She was feeling extremely down about her fitness, and we got her back to a point where she felt comfortable with her body and her fitness level. That was extremely rewarding.
Has being young ever been a disadvantage while operating your business?
People are sometimes in shock when I tell them how old I am and how old I was when I signed on at twenty-three. As long as you are mature, professional, respectful, and provide a good service, they will not judge you for being young.