Lydia Sweatt is a writer who loves balancing her article/blog time indoors with a healthy dose of nature. She bikes, hikes, and identifies edible plants along the way.
Sam Sulek Breaks Every YouTube Rule, Still Goes Insanely Viral
Who is Sam Sulek? That's what thousands of creators are asking after his YouTube channel ballooned from 8,000 subscribers to 2.26 million this year. And, with that type of growth, it's a fair enough question: Who is this guy taking over YouTube?
Sam is a 21-year-old bodybuilder who's on a mission to grow his muscle mass while documenting the journey. Every day, he shows (or tells) viewers how to carve out a massive back, chest, set of arms, and more.
We know what you're thinking. That's all he's doing, and he has millions of subscribers on YouTube? But Sam is not your typical fitness influencer. He doesn't come off like a drill sergeant who's lifting heavy weights to go to war; he's just filming his life. And he narrates the journey in what feels like one long conversation.
Sam's Rapid Subscriber Growth
We already mentioned that Sam went from 8,000 subscribers to over 2 million. But did you know that he gained most of those subscribers in just two months? According to vidIQ data, Sam bagged 1.8 million subscribers between August and October.
Sam Sulek's YouTube Stats (as of writing):
- Subscribers: 2.26 million
- Video views: 99 million
- Videos posted: 266
- Upload frequency: Daily
- Average video length: 35.14 minutes
- Estimated monthly earnings: $44.1K - $132.3K
Most popular YouTube video (2.9M views):
How Does Sam Sulek Go Viral?
Sam's authenticity is what makes him so special on YouTube. He doesn't exaggerate his personality for the camera, so his videos feel real and easy to connect with. You can see this in the rawness of his thumbnails, the minimalistic editing, and how he speaks calmly to viewers.
Raw, Simplistic Thumbnails
We usually tell creators that making bold, colorful thumbnails is the best way to get clicks on YouTube. But sometimes the opposite is true. Sam's thumbnails aren't filled with text, emojis, glowing objects, or dramatic facial expressions, but they work. They're often just screen captures from his videos, which is pretty unconventional!
Even down to his thumbnails, Sam is not photoshopping his life for social media. What you see is what you get, and viewers love how genuine he is in all aspects of YouTube.
Long, Intimate Videos
How often do you see creators posting long YouTube videos? Sam is the type of guy to press record for 34 minutes on average, giving viewers ample time to connect with his content. In fact, his most-viewed video was 57 minutes and 26 seconds!
Of course, it helps that Sam is speaking for the duration. He jumps into the car, shares his workout plan, narrates his exercise routine, and offers motivation during the ride home. It's like a long, soothing podcast.
So, overall, people aren't showing up to see his workout videos only. They value Sam's conversation and presence even more.
No Edits — Just Raw Footage
Sam's videos have minimal edits, but they still manage to hold his viewers' attention. You won't see lots of B-roll, jump cuts, lower thirds, special effects, or anything fancy. You're just spending time with Sam as he goes to the gym, does his workout, and returns home.
This type of content is rare on YouTube, so while it may look simple, Sam is standing out. He's being real with his audience, and viewers can't get enough of it. You'll notice people in the comment section raving about his easygoing nature compared to other creators they've seen.
Sam's strategy of uploading one video per day is a major factor in his success. He shows viewers that they can depend on his content and invest a good chunk of time on his channel every week. So, take notes, rising creators! If viewers know you're posting daily — and they're hooked on your content — it becomes so much easier to get views.
The Rise of Authenticity
Have you noticed the shift on YouTube? Creators are moving away from polished, overly produced content to raw footage showing their true nature. And Sam isn't the only creator leading this movement. Dry Creek Wrangler, a channel that initially focused on horses, is now sharing unedited videos filled with life lessons. Other creators are doing the same thing, shifting toward genuine content and connection.
Want to grow on YouTube as quickly as possible? Start by being yourself. As you build your brand, you'll quickly realize traditional YouTube strategies like heavy editing and flashy thumbnails may not be your thing. And that's OK! Lean into what works so you can grow your subscribers and reach your goals.