How to Launch an Online Personal Trainer Business?

If you have a passion for fitness and an entrepreneurial spirit, an online personal trainer business may be the perfect career move. We’ll show you how.

Jobs in personal training and fitness instruction will increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average expansion for all occupations. Many people have trouble reaching the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. The motivation and instruction of a personal trainer helps to keep them focused and working.

A new development is the online personal trainer or coach. Available whenever and wherever a client needs them, the online personal trainer fills a specific niche. You have the passion for fitness and an entrepreneurial spirit, is a this a career for you?

The education and training required for personal trainers vary by type of specialty, and certification is handled by several competing authorities.

Let us show you how to become an online personal trainer. Read on for more.

What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

Personal trainers help clients achieve fitness goals through education, motivation, and exercise. They work to develop healthy habits, safe exercise routines, and effective programs.

Personal Trainers might work with a broad cross-section of clients or within a narrow specialty. They assist clients with finding and articulating their goals (such as losing weight, gaining muscle or becoming more flexible.) They may work one-on-one, in small groups, or in class settings.

More qualified personal trainers might work in physical rehabilitation, with senior clients or in youth sports. Experts in the fitness industry believe that personal trainers’ time may eventually be covered by insurance companies, much in the same way physical therapy is currently covered.

A personal trainer’s income is variable, depending on the number of clients they can see in a day. The number of hours in a day does not change, so personal trainers can max out their income very quickly.

What Does an Online Personal Trainer Do?

An online personal trainer does much the same as a personal trainer, without the restriction of seeing a client in person. They may see multiple clients at once, without being restricted by the clock or class size.

Done right, you still provide the instruction, nurturing, and accountability clients need. You just get to work with many more clients at once!

What Qualifications Do You Need?

Personal training and fitness instruction are currently unregulated in the U.S. There are currently no formal qualifications necessary. However, individual businesses and institutions may require certain credentials and education hours.

The Affordable Care Act calls for workplace wellness programs and other preventive health measures to be covered when conducted by credentialed professionals. At this time, there are several different credentials available and some or all may be acceptable.

Several states and the District of Columbia have legislation pending, however. In the interest of increased safety standards, personal trainers may be subject to occupational licensure. The types of certification and the educational credentials are a major point of contention.

Why Expand Online?

Training people one-on-one is personally rewarding and allows you to build great relationships. Depending on your skill level and clientele, you could make $60 – $100 or more each hour you train. Of course, if your training sessions run a little more or less than an hour, you might lose the next hour of training time in the schedule.

Small group training or classes might get you a little more money per hour, but you are still limited to the number of hours you are personally available to train. You are also limited by your gym schedule and time constraints.

What if you were able to train 30 people or more in a cohort group, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

How to Start as an Online Personal Trainer

Start with the basics. Become a qualified personal trainer and leverage your education and certifications. Nothing substitutes for practical field experience. You want to build your global presence on top of a foundation of your successful local practice.

Build the Right Framework

To scale up, you need the right processes. Going from less than 50 clients a month to 50 a day is going to take more than notecards and spreadsheets. You are going to need client management software.

There are several types of software available. Look for one developed especially for an online personal trainer. Test several and find one that is scalable and works for you.

Some software has billing capability built in. You will want to choose a payment processing service that works well with your software. Typically, you will want the one with the lowest fees and the simplest user interface.

Determine Your Target Market

You want to be the go-to expert for your clients, so start by narrowing your field. Choose to specialize in up to three types of clients (no more!) You want to create cohort groups with similar goals and issues.

For example, Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” was targeted at sedentary women over 50. Richard Simmons built his brand on working with obese people, especially morbidly obese people.

Maybe you will specialize in 45- to 55-year-old females who want to maintain bone mass and avoid aging. Whatever the niche, pour your passion into educating, advocating and selling it!

Create Your Program Templates

Create 3-4 program cycles for each cohort group. Create a video library of the exercises in your workout template. Film your own exercise demonstrations for a personal touch.

Your client management software might come with its own exercise library, but creating original videos with unique exercises and modifications is better for your branding as an online personal trainer.

You can upload your videos to a sharing service like YouTube and then use your client management software to include the video with your workout. If you don’t create your own visual reference, you can use video from any public YouTube channel or your software’s exercise library.

Personalize Your Templates

When a client hires you, part of their intake should be information gathering. Ask about their exercise history, goals, health concerns or injuries, and other information. This can be a Skype interview, questionnaire or online chat.

Some intake question basics:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Email address
  • Skype/phone number
  • Health history
  • Training history

Some questions to help you close the sale:

  • Interests outside of exercise (build rapport)
  • How they found you (remember to thank their reference)
  • Why they want to train with you
  • Can they afford you (prequalify finances)

Based on their info, send them the appropriate workout templates, with your adjustments based on their intake responses. For example, you might have a client with exercise-induced asthma warm-up for 15 minutes and perform a longer low-intensity workout rather than high-intensity cardio.

Since you aren’t stuck on a gym schedule, you can start with your one-hour workout template and personalize it to each client.

Get Online

You can be the very best personal trainer, have the most comprehensive and fairly priced program and the best videos. But, none of it matters if potential clients can’t find you.

Your website acts as your virtual reception desk. Your client management software or payment processing service should include a simple, free website builder that lets you develop and host a website on its server.

People do their research online and it’s important to have high-quality content waiting for them. You want your personal brand all over your website and social media. Make sure you have searchable testimonials and reviews.

If you already have a website, integrate a page about your online training service.

Get Social

Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to get the word out. Your software can help you send out targeted post-workout tips to potential clients.

Use email software to let everyone in your contact list know that you now offer services as an online personal trainer. Make sure to ask them to forward the info to everyone they know too.

Message to highlight:

  • You are an expert
  • Online training is cost-effective
  • Online training is flexible
  • Online training is private

Make sure all of your efforts are consistent with your personal brand and don’t forget to close with a call to action.


Personal training is a growing profession with a nearly unlimited earning potential when you include becoming an online personal trainer. With the right education and certification, you can grow a great business.

Grow a global clientele on the foundation of your local reputation by building your personal brand and creating unique programs. Provide personalized service through chat, Skype or email.

The business of in-person and online clients is up to you and the effort you are willing to make. Regardless of whether you choose to work full-time as an online personal trainer or add it to supplement your work as a one-on-one trainer, your ability to innovate, motivate and communicate are keys to a successful start.

Are you ready to get certified as a personal trainer? Begin your course today!

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