- Greg O'Gallagher dropped out of a marketing degree program in college he called "useless" and built his multimillion-dollar Kinobody business through YouTube and Instagram, marketing a fitness, diet and lifestyle brand.
- Kinobody takes a minimalist approach to dieting and workouts but promises consumers a "Hollywood physique" equivalent to a superhero.
- In 2018 the company generated $8 million in total sales.
Want to look like a superhero, while barely working out and eating chocolate and cheeseburgers? Greg O'Gallagher claims his fitness company Kinobody can get consumers into heroic shape without severely restricted diets and seven-day-a-week workouts. And he has the physique to prove it.
The 27-year-old Canadian has made a career for himself on Alphabet's YouTube and Facebook's Instagram, marketing what he calls "the Hollywood physique." Kinobody takes a minimalist approach to dieting and working out, conveyed through his multimillion-dollar fitness programs "Warrior Shredding," "Greek God" and "Superhero Bulking." These fitness programs require working out three days per week, consisting of four to five different exercises, and each program is centered on intermittent fasting, an alternative approach to consuming calories that involves long periods of time during the day when there is no eating.
O'Gallagher went viral in 2015, releasing "The Real Bruce Wayne" clip with director Michael Delmonte, one of many YouTube videos in which he portrays a fictional character from masculine cult cinema. Other notable characters he has portrayed were inspired by "American Psycho," in which Christian Bale plays a muscled-up playboy who lives the double life of a murderer; and "Fight Club," where Brad Pitt plays the shredded Tyler Durden. O'Gallagher often cites Christian Bale and Brad Pitt as having near-to-perfect physiques in both these films. O'Gallagher videos receive anywhere from 30,000 views per video to a few million. The Batman video has received more than 2.8 million views. He has over 482,000 YouTube subscribers.
"I was always fascinated with muscle and strength," O'Gallagher said. "So I was drawn to the physicality and loved watching the speed, power and precision in action movies. Even as a kid, I would be practicing these moves, doing push-ups and chin-ups. I just wanted to improve my body."
O'Gallagher grew up in Toronto. He is the second oldest among four siblings, three brothers and a sister. Despite making millions as the face of Kinobody, he learned at a young age what it was like to be wealthy. His father Michael O'Gallagher founded MetCap, a real estate company, in 1988. When he was just 11, O'Gallagher's father passed away. At the time, MetCap had a portfolio of $800 million, managing apartment buildings all across Canada, and it still claims to be the largest manager of multifamily Toronto apartments.
"When he passed away, I realized he wasn't gonna be there to show me the ropes," O'Gallagher said. "It put a lot of pressure on me to figure out how to make something of my life on my own. So I read more books and set more goals. I wanted to make him proud, and I wanted to work twice as hard."
Becoming a fitness influencer
O'Gallagher realized at a young age that the real estate industry wasn't his passion. And he knew since he was a child that he wanted to run a fitness company. Yet O'Gallagher ended up enrolling in the University of Guelph in Ontario. After completing his freshman year, he dropped out of a marketing management program, citing 80% to 90% of the curriculum as not being useful for his long-term goals.
"I think the best education is outside university. So much of what you are learning in university is dated, and by the time you graduate, you learned stuff that you can't utilize," O'Gallagher said. "After my father passed, I realized that I was going to live my life for me. I had to honor my calling and had to honor my passion."
After a short stint as a personal trainer at age 19, O'Gallagher moved to Los Angeles, seeking something more with his life. He started following fitness influencers and their blogs and realized that he needed to produce online content as well in order to get his name recognized. He credits Rusty Moore, founder of Visual Impact Fitness, as his first mentor. O'Gallagher ended up contacting Moore and started to learn everything he could from him. At the time, Moore was focused on an earlier start-up, titled Fitness Blackbook. O'Gallagher would write about Moore's programs on his personal blog and would then make commission off Moore's sales in an affiliated sales program of Fitness Book well known to workout junkies.
"Some people think it happened overnight, but that is not the case," Moore said on O'Gallagher's career success. "He focused for months and wrote articles and made videos late into the night before he ever saw a penny for his efforts."
O'Gallagher, president of Kinobody and the face of the brand, said fans of his blog started to encourage him to make YouTube videos and write his own programs back in 2011.
By 2012 he released the "Warrior Shredding" program — available for purchase as a print download for $69 — and by the end of 2012, the "Greek God program." Both of these and his "Superhero Bulking" program have grossed more than $1 million in sales. Some of the other programs are priced at $49. O'Gallagher has since written several new programs, including female and body-weight regimes.
One of O'Gallagher's products is a downloaded "Kino Chef" cookbook, in which he offers 50 different recipes designed for consumers who practice intermittent fasting.
"My goal was to be a millionaire by 25, and I ended up doing it at 24," O'Gallagher said. "I made Kinobody because there was not a fitness protocol that I really loved. We're about building a movie-star body like Ryan Reynolds. We are not about getting big and bulky. We're going to build your body by only working out a few days a week and hitting personal records," he continued. "It made fitness more like a video game, rather than being in the gym every day for two hours hoping [your physique] improves."
Building a business
Kinobody has seen a consistent increase in its overall growth. According to O'Gallagher, it grossed $2 million in 2016, $3.6 million in 2017 and $8 million in 2018 due to its growing catalog of products. Kinobody created a clothing brand in 2018 that is tailored to highlight one's physique with an array of fitted shirts, underpants and sweats. Kinobody also launched a supplements line that features pre-workout powders, sleeping aids and amino acids. Kinobody also created a line of glasses called "Kino Vision," which offer consumers blue-light-preventing glasses that are for everyday use.
"What I really respect about Greg is his commitment to perfecting his products," said fellow fitness icon Brandon Carter, CEO of BroLaboratories. "A lot of influencers sit on the sidelines and let the money purely dictate all their business decisions. Not Greg. As he's told me in person, he wants to make sure his workout programs, online courses and videos are the best they can possibly be and can't sleep at night if they aren't. That's why he has so many testimonials and in turn is why he's so successful in a saturated fitness market."
O'Gallagher founded Kinobody by himself but joined forces with a marketing team in 2013 to which he gave a share of the company — after Kinobody's rapid growth, they now share a 50-50 ownership structure. The other owners are Chris Walker (CMO), Nate Mohr (CEO), Darren Crawford (CFO) and Mike Dobson.
I made Kinobody because there was not a fitness protocol that I really loved. We're about building a movie-star body like Ryan Reynolds. We are not about getting big and bulky.Greg O'GallagherKinobody president
"All these products improve your journey and experience. It always comes back to 'how does this [product] help you build your best body and provide you with better results?'" O'Gallagher said. "I want to help people get confident and be more happy with their lives. I want to help them get in shape and feel proud of themselves."
Kinobody and O'Gallagher had to overcome saturated fitness and social media markets. O'Gallagher suggests that it is not that difficult to achieve 20,000-plus followers on platforms like Instagram; he's currently over 361,000 followers. On Instagram, O'Gallagher is constantly promoting his workout programs through testimonials and flashing his latest apparel with pictures of him posing, as if he actually was a Greek God.
"YouTube and Instagram have allowed me to reach millions of people and to teach my content and protocols, which allowed me to help and grow my business," O'Gallagher said.
His rapid rise and social media popularity has led to some skepticism, and some envy. O'Gallagher was born into a wealthy family, making it arguably easier for him to focus on his physique than would a working stiff (though he says he does not receive an inheritance from his father's real estate empire until his 30th birthday).
He is not preaching anything that could not be found online for free. There is an unlimited amount of research surrounding intermittent fasting, and his workouts prioritize simple compound movements, like incline bench pressing and weighted chin-ups, for which free online instruction exists. But part of what makes O'Gallagher so successful is the aspirational lifestyle message in his marketing, fully exemplified in his videos: living in mansions, driving sport cars and eating at top-tier restaurants. And it all starts with improving one's physique. His biggest success may be selling confidence.
"Everyone wants to start a company, but it comes down to creating value," he said. "Why does this company need to exist? Who are you helping? How does it compare to other products and services?"
O'Gallagher says his life as a YouTube star may be a phase that is drawing closer to an end. As a social media influencer who often cites movies as inspiration for the physiques he teaches, O'Gallagher knows that every good story has to wrap up before it is too late.
"I'm sure I could start to move more behind the scenes. Maybe I will when I'm in my 30s. It's hard to be the star of the show forever. If you're just repeating yourself, you're gonna lose people. I don't need to be the face of Kinobody at 45."