AnthonyAcc went from zero to more than 3,000 followers in less than two months

Every day hundreds of new Twitch broadcasters struggle to build their audience. They launch their games and start their shows, hoping to entertain one or two, or—more often than not—zero viewers. It is lonely work, and it can pulverize your ego.

And then there are broadcasters like AnthonyACC who make building an audience of almost 29,000 followers look effortless.

When Anthony Accinelli announced his partnership with Twitch in January 2014, he had been streaming for less than two months. “This is a very important announcement to me,” he said, sounding flabbergasted. “I am sort of at a loss of words for it.”

Accinelli, who goes by the streamer name AnthonyACC, posted his first broadcast to Twitch by accident. A professional trainer and avid gamer, he had been recording a game review for his blog “StrengthGamer.” Instead of hitting the “record” button on his video capture software, however, he pressed the “stream” button.

By the time he realized he was playing live, there were a hundred people in the chat, reacting to his review. After years of creating content alone, the feedback was exhilarating. “For the first time in two years I was able to discuss my thought process,” Accinelli said in an interview.

He began streaming every day, and his audience quickly grew to more than 3,000 followers. That’s when Twitch stepped in and asked Accinelli to be a partner—giving him the platform’s official endorsement and the ability to subscribe followers for $4.99 a month.

Accinelli focused on creating a channel where people would feel comfortable. As he puts it, games aren’t as important to him as his community is. “There are two varieties of streamers,” he said. “There are the streamers people watch because they are really good at a game, and there are the streamers who aren’t necessarily good at any game but who bring people into their lives.”

Accinelli puts himself in the latter category. In addition to game commentary, he offers his audience fitness tips and asks them to work out with him. These workouts occur whenever someone either donates a $1 to his stream or subscribes to it. At that point, Accinelli, and presumably his viewers, will do a bicep curl or a squat. This can sometimes lend his stream the atmosphere of a carnival with people coming in and donating $5 and then $5 more and then $5 more just to watch him sweat. “Before I know it, I’m at 200 squats, and I am dying on stream.” he said.

The audience tends to find this hilarious. But what Accinelli really appreciates is the people who push themselves along with him. Thanks to Accinelli’s unique blend of gameplay and grueling exercise, his stream has more than 28,900 followers. He is currently able to make a living from his blog and broadcasts.

Accinelli said he is frequently asked for advice by new streamers who want to follow in his footsteps. But he is not sure what to tell them. “If I found out about Twitch today I think it would be pretty demoralizing,” he said. “I know fantastic streamers who are still getting only five viewers. I just tell people to be passionate about what they are doing and not to stream for viewers.”

An audience on Twitch can’t be guaranteed, no matter how strong your quads are.