How to Become an Online Fitness Trainer: 8 Steps

How to Become an Online Fitness Trainer: 8 Steps

Over the last five years, the fitness industry has been growing steadily. Some sources say at a rate of around 8%, while others estimate 2%. Data like this suggests that personal trainers and fitness trainers and coaches should be making a hefty salary and have plenty of clients on their books.

However, in 2020 this is not the case. Gyms around the world have been forced to shut due to COVID-19, and 70% of gym-goers have canceled their fitness memberships. The future of the fitness industry may look bleak.

Despite these challenges, OPEX Coaches around the world seamlessly transitioned to online fitness coaching during the pandemic. We’ve also had coaches build up a brand new online coaching business to make a sustainable income within four months. The secret to this success? Our individual design business model. 

The future is unknown. But what is certain is that clients still want coaching and they want it remotely. Here is how to become an online fitness trainer in 2020.

8 Steps to Becoming an Online Fitness Trainer

#1 Get Educated

You need to possess the right skills to be a successful online fitness trainer. Thankfully, these are skills that you can learn. The three primary skills that you need are an understanding of how to coach exercise, knowledge on how to run a small online business, and how to develop interpersonal relationships.

Understand How to Coach Exercise

First and foremost, to be a successful coach you need to understand how to coach exercise. Specifically, the skills you need to understand how to assess, consult, and design personalized exercise programs.

You need to be able to assess your clients’ abilities. This will help you choose the right exercises, spot limitations, and establish goals for the training program.

A quality coach needs to understand how to consult with clients. Consulting clients will give you an insight into their goals, motivations, and personality.

The year of the template has passed. To get your clients results you need to design personalized and progressive exercise programs. These exercise programs need to include movements your clients are capable of doing and slowly progress them over time towards their goals.

How to Run a Small Online Business

Online fitness trainers are small business owners. To turn a profit every month you need to understand your expenses, your revenue, client retention, and how many new clients a month you need to acquire. Understanding these concepts can make the difference between building a sustainable business and going under within a couple of months.

Create Interpersonal Relationships

As a fitness trainer, you are in the business of relationships. To achieve success, you need to develop rapport and trust with your clients. How you interact with your clients will affect your retention rate and how many new clients you need to attract per month. This is often overlooked, but a critical part of being an online fitness trainer.

(Free Resource: Sign up for our free coaching course today and learn the skills you need to be a successful online fitness coach.) 

#2 Be the Example

Great coaches practice what they preach and exercise regularly. This will help you understand how to offer a better service, the dose-response from certain exercises, and force you to stay up-to-date with the latest information. 

Set an example for your clients and you will become a guiding light. This doesn’t mean you have to post every workout to Instagram or work out every day, but demonstrating that fitness is an important part of your life will build trust. 

#3 Build Your Credibility

When you start you will not have much credibility. You need to be able to prove your knowledge to your clients for them to trust you and ultimately buy your service. You can build your credibility in two main ways: acquire testimonials and get certifications.

Acquire Testimonials

A great way to prove yourself as a coach is to acquire testimonials. Reach out to friends and family members and offer to work with them for free or very low cost in exchange for a testimonial. Deliver a fantastic service, and after a couple of weeks or months have them give you a quality testimonial. You can then put this on your website to build your credibility through social proof.

Get Certificates

Getting more certificates is another great way to build your credibility as an online fitness trainer. Certificates come from educational bodies. Set yourself up for success and get educated by a reputable company in the industry. This will help you check off tip one, Get Educated, at the same time.

#4 Set Up Your Systems

Before you launch your online fitness business, set up your systems. Create a process for onboarding new clients. This should include how you will assess and consult with them remotely.

Next, outline exactly what your service will look like. This includes how often your clients receive an exercise program, how they will communicate with you, and your availability. Our coaches have found it best to deliver an exercise program every week, have one 30-minute consultation monthly, and respond to questions via email text or CoachRX weekly.

Finally, figure out exactly how you will invoice your clients, when they will be invoiced, and how you will keep track of your finances. This will streamline your cash flow and help you create a successful business.

#5 Define Your Target Market

A great way to make sure you hit the ground running is to define your target market. Your target market is the specific type of clients you want to work with. Doing this will help you understand the best way to market to potential clients and what kind of service they will expect. A great way to do this is to fill out a customer avatar worksheet. This one is a great resource.

#6 Set a Goal

Before launching your online fitness business it is important to set a goal. This can be fiscal, such as the amount of revenue you want to make, or numerical, such as how many clients you want to work with.

Setting a goal will give you direction. This helps you define your systems and give you specific numbers to achieve. For example, if you want to reach 50 clients you can aim to onboard 5-10 new clients a month.

#7 Market Locally

A great way to get clients is to market locally. With the current pandemic, there will be many clients who are not going to the gym and are looking for an online coach. Start by advertising at places you know your potential clients frequent. This is one reason why it’s crucial to understand your target market.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to those close to you. If you are comfortable with it, a post to your personal social media accounts is a good way to get your first couple of clients.

When you have gained your first clients, analyze if they fit into your target market, or are different from what you expected. Refine your strategy based on what you observe. Offering a referral program is another great way to gain new clients.

#8 Operate 

If you have followed all the steps then it is time to operate your online fitness coaching business. 

But the work does not stop here. You need to offer an excellent service and communicate with your clients regularly to retain your clients. 

After a couple of months, you should figure out your client churn rate. This will help you understand how many new clients you need to attract to maintain or reach your goal.

Become An Online Fitness Trainer Without a Four-Year Degree

The traditional career path says that you need a four-year degree plus graduate schooling to be a fitness trainer.

We are here to tell you that this is no longer the case. You can become a competent online fitness trainer and learn how to build a successful business in six months.

For more than 20 years we have been teaching coaches how to do just that through the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP). CCP has developed coaches like Robin Steyvers, who built his own successful online business in just four months.

That can be you. If you want to become an online fitness trainer then sign up for our free coaching course and learn the fundamentals of our system of coaching. Take control of your career today.


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