During their time at Penn, the Jones triplets were known around campus for hosting high-energy fitness bootcamps at various college houses. Since graduation, they’ve expanded their operation to teach classes across the country with their new online platform, which was featured on Good Morning America at the start of the pandemic.
The brothers, 2018 Wharton graduate Malik Jones and 2018 College graduates Ahmad Jones and Khalil Jones, started Philadelphia-based Triyo Fitness in May 2018. The brothers credit Penn for providing them with opportunities to host bootcamps and build a network of students and alumni, thereby contributing to their success. COVID-19 has forced them to update their business model to focus on remote workouts and expanding their business nationwide.
Even though the rise of COVID-19 cases hit the fitness industry with mandatory closures and capacity limits, the triplets found creative ways to teach at-home fitness programs and expand their reach. They launched Triyo TV, a weekly Zoom class in May 2020, and they hope to release the Triyo app this March, Malik Jones said.
Seven years after releasing their first workout video in high school, the triplets have grown their social outreach to over 21,000 followers on Instagram, where they offer fitness advice, promote their bootcamps and workout programs, and showcase their Salsa and Bachata dances in TikTok videos.
The Jones’ mission is to help people “achieve their greatest or best self” by putting extra effort into each exercise, Khalil Jones said. To train participants in different skills, each brother focuses on different aspects of a full body workout in their bootcamps — bodyweight, weights and cardio, and strength and boxing.
As students, the brothers partnered with Hill, Harnwell, and Du Bois College Houses to host free fitness bootcamps and full body workout classes for fellow students. They also worked as personal trainers and group class instructors at Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, Ahmad Jones said.
“We were able to have these opportunities at Penn, and then took those opportunities and understood them and built a business from there,” Khalil Jones said.
Executive Director of Alumni Relations Elise Betz started taking the triplets’ classes in 2017 at Pottruck and continues to train with them at Triyo Fitness.
“I’ve done fitness my entire life and they are so positive and they are very accommodating for every level of human being who is interested in fitness,” Betz said. “Even though they are the most wonderfully sculpted, strong people, they never make anyone feel anything but good about what they are doing.”
Betz connected the brothers with Penn Alumni Relations, which connects alumni with each other and the University, to help expand their network in 2018. She brought the brothers in to speak about their fitness journeys at an event for LGBTQ alumni hosted by Penn Spectrum, and introduced the brothers to Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor Angela Duckworth to guest lecture in PSYC 005: “Grit Lab: Fostering Passion and Perseverance.”
The brothers have also remained involved with Makuu: The Black Cultural Center, Khalil Jones said. Director Brian Peterson has been a huge resource and support system for Triyo Fitness, and they are currently working together to host fitness bootcamps for students, he added.
“Not everyone had the same energy that [Brian] did. Not everyone thought we would be able to achieve such a level of success in fitness,” Khalil Jones said. “He was certainly someone who was able to see [our] vision.”
2018 College and School of Social Policy & Practice graduate Nayab Khan personally trained with Malik Jones at Pottruck three times a week during her gap year in 2019. When the pandemic forced gyms to close, Khan started taking classes through Triyo TV, allowing her to continue training with the brothers even after moving to New York.
“[Triyo TV] made getting fit during quarantine easier and more enjoyable since their attitudes and vibes are just amazing,” she said.
The brothers are still developing their online offerings, including a new eight-week program focused on accountability, which Khan is signed up for.
“Now it’s about building our ecosystem and our community through online and social media to make people feel connected,” Ahmad Jones said.