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The Business of Fitness: How to Start Your Personal Training Business

Are you someone who has a passion for working out? Well, have you ever considered taking that passion and turning it into a career? If not, you need to think about starting your own personal training business!

The fitness industry is a large market that gets bigger every year. You see people of all ages, shapes, and sizes making efforts to regulate their weight and overall health. With that, it’s an obvious awareness that people have realized the importance of physical fitness. 

The Active Retreat

Will You Be Financially Stable?

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the industry of fitness trainers and instructors are expected to increase by 10% up to the year 2026. reports that on average, a personal trainer can make $18.65 per hour. Now, this hourly rate will also depend on where you live.

What to Consider for Your Business

With fitness being your passion, there are a few aspects you’ll need to consider before you can officially start your own business. If you’re serious about personal training, you’ll definitely want to ask yourself these questions.

  • Will personal training be a full-time gig or something you do on the side?
  • What do you need to pay for up front?
  • What types of certifications will you be considering?
  • How will you handle payment, scheduling, and expenses?
  • Will you have a specialization?

Your possibilities as a personal trainer are limitless, you just need to have the determination to be successful… and depending on which way you want to go with your personal training business, you could even open your own gym with the right business moves. But, to get started with establishing yourself as a personal trainer, here are some aspects you need to consider.

Consideration 1: Where Will You Conduct Your Training Sessions?

As a personal trainer, your training locations are endless. You can train at a client’s home, corporate office/public gyms, outdoor locations, and private studios. The goal when trying to find a place to train is to find a place where you can train most people in a reasonably small area.

Apartment complex gyms and health clubs are great because they allow you to train multiple people and you have a good gathering of potential clients. As a new trainer, traveling time is also very important. The last thing you want to do is upset a client for running late due to travel times from one location to the next.

Consideration #2: Will You Have an Area of Specialization?

Establishing your own personal training business means that you will need to figure out whether or not you want to have a specialization for your training. Having a specialization doesn’t mean you won’t be able to provide services to the general type of client… it just means that you’ll have a focus, and that focus can lead to referrals, and those referrals can lead to… MONEY!

Some different types of specializations include:

  • Senior citizens
  • Physically disabled
  • Young athletes
  • Pre/postnatal women
  • Bodybuilding

Consideration #3: Will Personal Training Be a Full-Time or Part-Time Position for You

As a personal trainer, you have the freedom to create your own schedule. When you are first starting out, it may be somewhat difficult to build up your clientele, so you will definitely want to have a primary/additional job with personal training as your steady source of income. You want the additional job because consistent clients will take time to develop.

If you’re wanting to find a steady job in the fitness field, you can take on a position at a local gym or health club as a staff member or floor trainer. Doing this will allow you to talk to potential clients, look at techniques of other trainers, and use the exercise machines.

Consideration #4: Obtain the Proper Certifications and Education Courses

Personal trainers will need to get certified in order to take on their first client. To get certified, you’ll want to make sure your certification comes from an accredited organization like the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA). The AFPA will not only get you certified to become a personal trainer, but it can also get you certified in nutrition, yoga, and pilates.

Another great personal trainer certification option is the Fitness Mentors Personal Trainer Certification. It’s an 100% online certification that is commonly accepted at big gyms like 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, and others. Fitness Mentors also offers a Certified Online Personal Trainer course if you are interested in training clients using online platforms. 

In addition to getting certified, you’ll also want to get a safety certification as well. Places like the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association can provide classes to get you CPR certified. 

*As a personal trainer, it’s almost detrimental to protect yourself with liability insurance. This will protect you in the event of any legal issues*

Consideration #5: Business Promotion Materials

A lot of times, potential clients will come into contact with some of your business materials before actually meeting you. With that aspect in mind, it’s important to make sure your business materials are a professional reflection of you and your services. You’ll also want to consider a digital marketing approach as well.

Some effective business promotion approaches include:

Business Cards

With business cards, you want to keep them simple in all areas of design. You don’t need to list every single service you offer; just simply include your name, education/certifications, and contact information. Your graphics need to be clear and readable. Also, if you’re trying to appeal to male and female clients, then you should avoid font and colors that encourage one sex over the other.

Digital Marketing

Any type of promotions you do online, you want to make absolutely sure that it’s professional and is a positive reflection of your brand. To really get your name out there, you’ll want to create your own website. Now, the great thing about having your own website is that you can customize it however you want.

Sometimes, your website is a potential client’s first impression of you and your services so you want to make sure your website looks professional. You’ll want to include fitness photos that will motivate visitors to your site, testimonial of previous clients you’ve helped, and videos of workout routines that show potential clients your fitness training capabilities.

Consideration #6: Billing and Payments

A good rule of thumb to prevent any type of confusion is to have your clients prepay. A lot of personal trainers are doing this now. It helps with cash flow and enforcing any cancellation policies you may have. 

One way to ensure payment is to ask for a week’s worth of payment. If your client is serious about their training sessions, then it wouldn’t be a convenience for them to do that. Your payment and billing requirements are definitely something you want to establish upfront upon your initial meeting.

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Owner of Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copy writer. Working hard making the world fitter and healthier!

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