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Muscle Nation’s $4 million Black Friday sale handled more than 200,000 site visitors at once

Muscle Nation community members posing in Muscle Nation apparel.

When Nathan Anthony and Chris Anastasi started Muscle Nation in 2016, they dreamt to merge their two passions: fitness and clothing. With social media savvy and an obsession with customer experience, the duo believed it had the recipe for success. They were right. In its first year of business, Muscle Nation made $1 million in sales, and by year four the company—thanks to well over one million followers across its social media platforms—reached more than $50 million in annual sales.

Desktop view of the Muscle Nation online store.

But the journey from $1 million to $50 million was not always easy. Muscle Nation, which began as a basic website with an ecommerce integration, often fought website crashes—and the sales swoons that came with them. Since switching to Shopify Plus, Muscle Nation has enjoyed:

  • Selling $4 million over Black Friday 2019
  • Hosting 208,000 shoppers at once—with no more site crashes
  • Using a new upsell feature to support a $4 million successful holiday campaign


Website crash. Two words that strike fear in the heart of every ecommerce entrepreneur. But in its earliest days, it was a constant nightmare for Muscle Nation.

“Our website crashed with only 80 visitors,” says Anastasi. “We paid a developer to solve the problem, and were initially so excited when our website could host 200 visitors. Unfortunately, the website crashed again soon after a product launch.”

Anthony was similarly deterred. “It was really disheartening,” he says. “We worked till 3 a.m. the night before our launch to get everything ready, and then just five minutes in our website crashed.”

Muscle Nation needed a different solution—something scalable, reliable, and that would allow all the customizations it needed to become a better business.

Our website was stopping our growth. We realized we needed to stop, rewind, and get the right infrastructure in place to stabilize us. Then we could focus on growing again.

Muscle Nation

Chris Anastasi — Co-owner


When Anastasi and Anthony started looking for a new solution, they wanted something that would offer more than just a stable website. “We started considering what else we wanted from an ecommerce platform,” Anastasi says. “We were interested in functionality, user experience, and better checkout features.”

After talking to friends in the industry and looking at what other successful ecommerce brands were using, the duo arrived at its decision. “At that point, we had made a million dollars in sales, so moving straight to Shopify Plus seemed like a natural solution,” says Anthony.

Muscle Nation brought on a Shopify Plus Solutions Partner Stead Lane to help with its migration. In just one month, Muscle Nation moved onto Shopify Plus with a more secure future in its sights.

Mobile view of Muscle Nation's online store, displaying a couple of products.

But there was room to grow still. Muscle Nation used Shopify Plus’ ecosystem of tools and apps to customize its ecommerce offering, using Shopify Flow to handle high-risk orders and customer tagging, Launchpad to handle product releases and event launches, and Peoplevox to handle warehouse management.

With such high website traffic and sales, Muscle Nation also introduced an upsell feature that serves customers small add-ons at a lower price such as protein shakers and scrunchies just before they checkout.

Moving to Shopify Plus is the best thing we did for our business. The migration taught me that you can’t take shortcuts. It’s important to get your foundation right before you scale.

Muscle Nation

Nathan Anthony — Founder and Co-owner


Muscle Nation entered Black Friday 2019 leaner and meaner. It was ready to deal, and Shopify Plus met the challenge.

In a record-breaking holiday campaign, the company sold 78,600 units of stock in the first hour alone. By sale’s end, the website had hosted 208,000 visitors, who rushed to buy over 154,000 units of product—totaling $4 million in orders.

Apart from its new ability to host hundreds of thousands of website visitors at once, Muscle Nation’s Shopify Plus customizations have provided the company a better experience for its shoppers.

A couple of content Muscle Nation customers posing with some Muscle Nation protein inventory.

“The customer journey is the most important thing for us, and the Shopify Plus platform allows us to do it really well,” says Anthony, who notes that Muscle Nation’s upsell feature has brought with it a “huge amount of success.”

What’s now is what’s next. When it comes to managing its backend, the ease of use delivered by Shopify Plus has helped Muscle Nation scale even larger, bringing on new team members without complication.

“Shopify Plus makes collaboration across the team easier,” says Anastasi. “If our team members haven’t come from an ecommerce background, we can train them up in half a day or less. The accessibility offered allows everyone to take ownership of certain areas of the website.”

Our website is the heartbeat of our business. Everything we do funnels people back to our website, and that’s why it’s so important to get it right. Shopify Plus was the right partner to help us move forward in our business.

Muscle Nation

Chris Anastasi — Co-owner


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