With all the technology and video platforms available to everyone, becoming an online personal trainer has never been easier.
Training people from home allows you to help other people achieve their fitness goals while making money and having a flexible schedule, all in the comfort of your own home.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in doing, then this article is for you.
Today’s article is a guide to becoming an online personal trainer: what an online personal trainer does, what type of online personal trainer you can be, what you’ll need to start, and how to grow your business.
What is an Online Personal Trainer?
An online personal trainer is someone who works with clients to improve their fitness levels, overall health, body image, and performance, all through an online platform, whether live or recorded.
Online personal training has seen an increase in recent years as internet speeds increase and online video platforms become more advanced and add more features.
So if your passion is fitness or have been a personal trainer in brick-and-mortar fitness centers, here’s your chance to start your own personal training business and make money in fitness.
Who Needs Online Personal Trainers?
The market for online personal trainers are pretty diverse.
They can be:
- People who prefer not to spend on gym memberships — In the US, the monthly cost of a gym membership ranges from as low as $10 to as high as $100, and this can vary depending on gym location, specialization, and availability of in-house trainers. The total costs in a year can certainly add up.
- People who have home gyms — Those who have invested money to build their own home gyms, but require a bit more guidance beyond what they read online will definitely benefit from hiring an online personal trainer.
- People who prefer to work out alone — Whatever reason one may have for wanting to work out alone, having an online personal trainer means they can skip huge groups of people and just focus on their workout with no distractions..
- People who have limited time for extracurricular activities like going to the gym — If one is busy with work, kids, school, business, or any other tasks that make it impossible to add visiting the gym into their schedule, getting an online personal trainer would make total sense.
Pros and Cons of Online Personal Training
As with any home-based business, online personal training has its own set of pros and cons, which you should consider before going into it headfirst.
- Online personal training is more affordable than in-person training, especially considering the cost of a gym membership.
- Becoming an online personal trainer allows you to reach more people and potential clients.
- Your clients can work out with you whenever, wherever, especially if you go into recorded training.
- Virtual personal training is a safer option for immunocompromised individuals or for those who need to maintain social distancing.
- Not everyone can stick it out with online personal training.
- Some people need specialized equipment or heavier weights than you can provide with virtual training.
- You’re heavily dependent on internet access and your laptop when doing live virtual training.
- Space and environment are crucial to your success; if your home isn’t spacious or well-lit, you may find yourself struggling.
5 Ways You Can Become an Online Personal Trainer
You can always mix and match these types of programs whichever you feel fits your client base, but in general, these are common ways personal trainers earn money online:
1. One-on-one or Group Online Coaching
Whether you offer your personal training services to a single person or a group, this kind of training is personal because you provide tips and advice to all the people involved in the program.
This type of online personal training is very similar to gym-based training, except you communicate to your clients via phone, email, through a video calling app, or specialized fitness software.
2. PDF or Video Fitness Programs
You can also use your personal training experience to develop a complete fitness program and create videos or PDF eBooks.
Since they are pre-made, any new client can hop on board and follow the program at their own pace without additional work from you.
You are the boss of your personal training business, so you can create a hybrid fitness program if you want to. For example:
- Personal Coaching and Pre-made Fitness Programs — As an online personal trainer, you can also mix pre-made fitness programs with personalized coaching. You can be involved every step of the way as your clients follow the ebook or video series that you made.
- In-person and Online Training — Maybe you own a boutique gym or work in one and still cater to clients personally. If this is the case and you want to transition to online personal training part-time or full-time, this kind of hybrid training could work for you. Just make sure your clients would bite as well.
If you have a certification in nutrition, you can even add diet programs into the mix.
4. Site Memberships
Site memberships combine everything from videos to personal coaching, fitness and diet programs, as well as other new activities. Just take a look at Fitness Blender’s FB Plus, which gives special access to programs, premium apps, and no-ads viewing to those who pay for membership.
5. LIVE Video Chat Workouts
Online personal trainers also offer live training for their clients. In this scenario, both the trainer and the client are communicating via video chat or a specialized personal training software where trainers can correct posture while clients lift weights, dance Zumba as the client follows, or hold a yoga lesson for a group of friends.
Things You Need to Start an Online Personal Training Business
Before setting up your online personal training business, make sure you work on getting these requirements together:
Of course, the beauty of being an online personal trainer is that you can do it from anywhere, but having a dedicated home base allows you to be organized and efficient, especially if you’re doing pre-made fitness programs.
Make sure you have enough space to make the essential movements of your workouts, as well as fit your equipment.
It should be distraction-free; that is, no external noises, people coming in and out, or any other visual distractions.
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If it’s not feasible from your space as it is, try to get creative with curtains, screens, and a bit of inexpensive soundproofing material like foam and eggshell trays.
Natural light is also great, but if you work nights, you should be able to set up sufficient lighting.
Personal training requires magic. Either you have what it takes to inspire people, drive people to reach their goals, and coach them to do better… or not. As such, it’s very hard to become a “do-it-all” personal trainer, especially if you’re doing this career online.
Stick to what you know best. For example, focus on weight loss, HIIT exercises, Crossfit, Zumba, yoga, weight training, MMA, and so on. You’ll have a more targeted niche, which will attract a specific crowd as well.
Unlike other service-based businesses, a personal trainer’s personality is a big factor for would-be clients to choose them over dozens of other trainers. When building your business, market yourself as a brand, as a product, and service, but make sure you’re not just about the business. Keep it honest, and keep it human.
This is dependent on your specialization. If you teach yoga, then you should have at least one yoga mat, as well as yoga blocks, props, and straps for more advanced clients.
Try to keep up with your clients’ equipment as well so you can properly demonstrate how to use them properly and without them hurting themselves.
Consider as well how visible your equipment will be on camera, whether on video or on still images. Go with bright colors like neon green or pink over drab ones like gray or beige.
Experience and Certification
If you’re new to the industry, it’s better to build experience by working in traditional gyms first before transitioning to the online world.
Certifications aren’t strictly necessary, but being a certified personal trainer is a huge leg up from uncertified personal trainers. It could land your name on official lists across the city, state, or country. That alone could bring in new clients to your “door” without any effort.
In particular, getting certified as an online personal trainer not only gets potential clients interested in hiring you but also equips you with the right tools and skills to develop and build your personal training business.
You’ll need clients to turn your passion into a money-making business.
Building a client base is definitely the hardest phase, but once you’ve coached a few people with everything you got and they’ve given you nothing but praises, the word of mouth can jumpstart your career.
Other ways of finding clients include advertising, networking, “going viral,” sharing valuable information, and hosting contests or giveaways.
Note that you have to think about finding new clients continuously, even after your business picks up.
Love for Technology
Because you are now an online personal trainer, your business will revolve around the web, social media, your website, special fitness software, and fitness apps. These apps and programs will help you in accepting payment, hosting giveaways, organizing your contact list, and other essentials for your business.
As much as you like interacting with people. personal trainers should also have a natural love for technology and be updated with the latest organizational programs, know how to schedule sessions, set up payments, and so on.
Willingness to Adapt
Technological advancements are never-ending, and people want the next best thing. You should be able to adapt as changes happen. This also goes with your self-written ebook fitness programs, or video series, since new information in the medical or fitness fields could be conflicting with the information you taught in the past.
Adapting to changes ensure that your clients won’t leave you because of a poor app you haven’t updated for years, or an old workout routine that has been recently proven to be bad for the knees.
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10 Ways You Can Grow as an Online Personal Trainer (From Fitness Blender)
I’m going to tell you a story about a husband and wife named Daniel and Kelli Segars, who started creating YouTube fitness-related videos from their garage in 2009 and has since turned their fitness coaching channel “Fitness Blender” into a million-dollar business.
And if you’re interested in an online fitness coaching career without relying on a client-to-client basis as traditional fitness trainers do, check out several tips on how to make it work based on The Segars’ success story.
The Story of Fitness Blender
Before Fitness Blender launched its own website and offered comprehensive weight loss programs there, Daniel and Kelli had been uploading YouTube videos to earn extra cash during the start of the 2008 recession.
By 2012, the couple was able to quit their day jobs and focus on Fitness Blender full-time.
As of the second quarter of 2021, their YouTube channel has 6.57 million subscribers, while its most popular video “10 Minute Ab Workout” has 75 million views.
The Segars have also moved to a new house with the same-looking white-background garage, but now with a spare room as their office.
1. Find a Unique Selling Point
The Segars just got married, signed for their first house, Daniel lost most of his personal-training clients, and Kelli’s work hours from selling gym membership got reduced – all in one weekend in August 2008.
With the Great Recession in full swing and the couple doing several odd jobs to pay for mortgage, the couple had the idea that if people can’t afford personal trainers anymore, they should offer their services online (for free) in exchange for cents from YouTube’s ad program.
To this day, authenticity is the theme of Fitness Blenders, and subscribers love it.
2. Start Small
The Segars had $5,000 to invest on the production of their videos.
They kept everything simple: a white-painted wall as backdrop, no music (to save on licensing fees), a DIY studio light from hardware-bought light bulbs, and an ordinary video camera.
The couple even edited their videos themselves via iMovie.
3. Know What You’re Selling
Daniel has a degree in Food and Nutrition, with years of experience as a personal trainer.
Kelli has degrees in both Sociology and Psychology, with work experience in the fitness industry since 2006.
The workouts that they do are simple, but they’re all backed by science. So are their weeks-long weight-loss programs and meal plans.
The couple didn’t just decide to become online fitness coaches out of the blue; it was their real-life profession and you can definitely see that they know what they’re doing.
4. Avoid Gimmicks
Daniel and Kelli’s videos become popular because of how genuine they are.
Both of them looked nothing like the cookie-cutter images of the fitness industry – Daniel wasn’t buffed to the extreme with veins popping, while Kelli never tanned or put on sexy clothes for the clicks.
They also never yell, or pump you out to “do your best.” They simply instruct.
Aside from their looks, Fitness Blender videos are never gimmicky.
Viewers actually relate to the couple, since they don’t edit out falls (while performing workouts), or panting.
You can even see them sweat, or have a hard time during parts of the workout. They’re not as posed as what we’ve come to know in fitness videos.
Kelli even admitted that she was so shy about appearing on those videos at the start that Daniel had to voice-over instructions. She eventually got out from her shell and began instructing moves on the videos, but the authenticity remained.
5. Learn SEO and internet marketing
The couple’s first AdSense check (from YouTube views) was for all of 9 cents.
They were happy with their initial earnings. But what propelled their videos was Kelli’s knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing. She was an expert, but she knew how to use keywords to Fitness Blender’s advantage.
While working odd jobs to stay afloat in 2008, Kelli was writing “how-to” articles online part-time.
With this job, she learned how to create click-bait titles and content, which The Segars used with every video they uploaded. Soon, their SEO-optimized videos reached the top of Google searches and were able to legally manipulate search engine results extremely well.
6. Sell Affordable Products
When the couple launched their website, they decided to sell complete workout programs.
What’s interesting about these programs is that most content are readily-available on YouTube for free, but people bought them for how The Segars packaged their product.
First, the programs were affordable (somewhere from $5 to $15 with discounts every now and then).
Plus, the couple took advantage of the number one question their YouTube subscribers asked: “what workout should I do in order to …” lose weight, build muscles, etc.
From there, they organized their videos and created a workout calendar people could follow based on their needs. Having a guide to sort through hundreds of Fitness Blender did the trick, and their programs sold like hotcakes.
7. Choose Your Opportunities Wisely
Fame brings all kinds of opportunities and there were various offers that landed the Fitness Blender team.
One hotel wanted Fitness Blender to shoot their videos in front of their beachfront property.
The couple was even offered a TV show. But Daniel and Kelli declined, knowing that if they accepted these opportunities, their authenticity (their unique selling point) along with their reputation could be greatly affected, and not in a good way.
Instead, the couple decided to upgrade their website with more content. This time, they created meal plans that would work perfectly with the workout programs they were currently offering.
8. Provide Value
Viewers of Fitness Blender love the no-nonsense approach of the videos.
Whether the couple is giving out fitness tips, or announcing a new product, viewers accept these with open arms because every video Fitness Blender uploads provide some kind of value to the viewers.
9. Give Thanks
Daniel and Kelli have come a long way since they began their YouTube channel, but the couple knows who made it possible.
Every now and again, The Segars give thanks to their subscribers, customers, and followers just because. It’s always good business to make your customers feel valued, and the Fitness Blender team’s genuine acknowledgment of their market is the reason why they have happy, loyal fans around the world.
10. Never Stop
Even with 500+ videos uploaded on YouTube and a million-dollar business, the couple still uploads new content every week.
This, even if Kelli admits that she doesn’t like to work out sometimes (even if she knows it would make her feel better afterward). It’s a refreshing thing to hear, and inspirational for regular folk like us who hate working out some days.
Start Your Online Personal Training Business Today!
Becoming an online personal trainer is a fulfilling and lucrative endeavor. You get to help people achieve their fitness goals while allowing you some flexibility in your day and earn a living while doing it.
Are you planning on starting your own online personal training business? Tell us your plans for the future in the comments!