Real name Joseph Sergo, Joey Swoll has been a recognizable figure in the bodybuilding world for over a decade. However, his popularity skyrocketed on TikTok due to his gym positivity videos and has got coverage on publications such as British GQ and the New York Post. Swoll has branded himself as the CEO of Gym Positivity and the anti-bullying advocate against workout-shaming videos.
Swoll’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. In March 2022, he revealed on Instagram that just 18 months prior, he was battling opioid addiction, feeling suicidal, and devoid of purpose. Today, he celebrates his sobriety, cherishing every day and making a significant impact on the fitness community.
Social Media Success
His popularity is evident from his massive social media following: 7,2 million on TikTok, 3.1 million on Instagram and 695,000 on Twitter. Joey’s venture into gym etiquette videos began as a response to the negativity he faced for posting shirtless posts and gym-bro persona.
A turning point came in January 2022 when he posted a response video to a TikToker mocking a man in the gym. The video got over 20 million views, marking the inception of his #MYOB (mind your own business) movement. Since then, he continues uploading gym positivity videos, reprimanding those secretly filming and shaming others.
Swoll’s fitness journey began at Illinois Wesleyan College. Weighing only 140 lbs and facing bullying from older teammates, he sought solace in the weight room. This passion for bodybuilding became his escape, helping him cope with stress and anger.
Despite his significant online presence, Swoll faced a health scare after discovering a genetic irregularity with his heart. According to Reddit, he underwent a life-saving surgery, emphasizing the importance of health over wealth and fame. The bodybuilding community, including Phil Heath and Jay Cutler, rallied behind him, sending him their best wishes.
Swoll’s advocacy against gym shaming has not been without controversy. He has been labeled “misogynistic” by some for allegedly underplaying the issue of women being harassed while exercising. However, Swoll maintains that his focus is on poor behavior, regardless of gender. He believes in promoting “empathy, compassion, and kindness” and often reminds his followers to treat others as they wish to be treated.
Outside of lifting heavy weights, Joey is a savvy businessman. Earlier in his career he was affiliated with Shredz but is now the co-owner of a supplements company called Ryse Supplements. Headquartered in Prosper, Teaas, the business sells pre-workout, protein, creatine, merch and more! In addition, he runs an online coaching business at joeyswolltraining.com.
Relationship with Crystal Reneau
On a personal front, Joey Swoll is in a relationship with fellow fitness influencer, coach, and Los Angeles firefighter, Crystal Reneau. Born and raised in Ohio, Reneau moved to California in 2016. She is a diet coach, specializing in keto and intermittent fasting. The 35 year-old runs two companies with clients around the world.