Tom Campanaro became a self-taught student of exercise equipment and methods, tinkering in his garage to find or make various objects with which to weight train. By the early 1970s, Tom was competing in regional and national bodybuilding competitions. However, a steady increase in steroid use among professional bodybuilders disillusioned Campanaro, and he soon bowed out of the sport.
Tom founded the Total Gym® Company with business partners Dale McMurray and Doug Marino in 1974, with Larry Westfall joining the team within the year. They developed the Total Gym incline bodyweight trainer, a high-quality version of a machine that encouraged the use of multiple muscle groups together in each exercise—now referred to as “functional training.”
As Campanaro and his partners tirelessly showcased the benefits of Total Gym far and wide, the company grew. Infomercials, the darling of direct response TV, were Campanaro’s next coup. He knew the potential reach of infomercials—combined with the medium that could offer comprehensive demonstrations—was the right marketing strategy. Today, Total Gym is the longest running broadcast infomercial in history, with over 4 million users and a billion dollars’ worth of Total Gyms sold through the infomercial and in retail stores in over 85 countries.
In 2003, the company launched the GRAVITYSystem®, a versatile and turnkey fitness program designed to drive revenue and attract members while putting the Total Gym incline trainer to maximum use. With 6,000 certified GRAVITY Trainers worldwide, over 3 million GRAVITY workouts are offered each year in commercial fitness and wellness facilities around the globe.
These days, Tom, who is originally from Philadelphia, PA, continues to work out on Total Gym at his own home and devotes time to his family, which includes his daughter, Shanan, son, Jesse and his wife Blythe. Joy Campanaro, his wife, works alongside him in the business overseeing the company’s marketing and design departments.