How to Start an Online Fitness Coaching Business in 2023

How to Start an Online Fitness Coaching Business in 2023

If you're thinking about starting your own online fitness coaching business, it can be difficult to know where to begin. With the online training market already saturated in 2023, breaking through all of the noise is a big challenge. 

However, if you’re willing to put the time and effort into building an online fitness business from scratch, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make it happen. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about starting your own fitness coaching business.


1. Know the Science and Principles of Fitness

It goes without saying that you need a solid grounding in the field of fitness and nutrition and the ability to deliver great results to your clients. This is much harder to do online, where you don’t have the ability to provide feedback in live time and have daily, face-to-face conversations with your clients. For this reason, it’s recommended that you gain some experience coaching in-person prior to making the transition online, whether that be coaching clients at a studio, big box gym, or even from your garage or a park. 

As well as hands on experience, you also need to gather a base of knowledge about exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and behavior. If you don’t have a foundation of program design principles in place from day one, you’ll waste time reinventing the wheel with every program you write and under-delivering to your clients. A subpar service means a low retention rate, forcing you to work even hard to acquire more new clients, and leaving you no time to do what you love the most—coaching.

If you haven’t yet developed your coaching knowledge base then a great place to start is this Program Design Essentials course bundle. For coaches who are ready to go deep into the science, principles, and application of coaching, then the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program is the best next step. 


2.  Have an Online Fitness Coaching System

To grow a remote coaching business, you have to simultaneously acquire new clients, while continuing to deliver an exceptional service to your existing ones. Striking this balance is a challenge, but it’s essential to achieve for your coaching career to thrive.

Incorporate these seven steps into your program design flow and you’ll be able to design individualized programs more efficiently and grow your coaching business to its full potential. The CoachRx software is the ultimate solution for coaches looking to establish efficient systems and coach individuals and groups online. 


Step One: Use a Client Intake Form

The first step to program design success is to send and review an intake form for every client you onboard.


Step Two: Have an Initial Consultation

During the intake process you should schedule an initial consultation with your new client. This will give you further background information on the client, their training history, help you set goals for the future, and begin to establish a solid foundation for your coach-client relationship.


Step Three: Conduct an Assessment

Before you begin to prescribe an exercise program, it is essential to conduct a thorough assessment. This will give you information about the client and a starting point for their program. At OPEX, we use the three-part OPEX Assessment.


Step Four: Define Priorities

Now that you have a clear understanding of the client’s starting point from the consultation and assessment, it is time to define priorities. The priorities will guide your program design and ensure that it reflects their capabilities and goals. 


Step Five: Create a Plan

Planning is the act of creating a road map for the client. In this phase, you and the client must decide exactly what it will take for them to reach their goals. Planning can include but is not limited to the days needed to train, the nutrition needed to support their goal, what equipment they will need, and lifestyle components.

CCP - Simplify program design CTAStep Six: Periodize the Program

The sixth step to enhance your efficiency is periodization. This is when you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and lay out a long-term training plan.

Whether you have five clients or 50, failing to periodize will lead to procrastination and wasted time. Periodization is an essential step to keep your program designs on track from week to week, month to month, and cycle to cycle.


Step Seven: Stick to Proven Principles

Here are our top 3 tips for program design strategy that are especially important for online coaches:

  1. It is best practice to design 7 days at a time and on the same day per week for each client, for your productivity and for consistency. This allows you to review the previous week’s design and give feedback in a timely manner, adjust any progressions that did not go according to plan, and create consistency in your coaching practice.
  2. Take the time to write a training split for each client at the beginning of every new cycle, so that you have a skeleton guiding you and you aren’t guessing when it comes to writing their weekly program design.

For example:

  • Monday - Squat, Pull (h), bend, push (v), lunge, core
  • Tuesday - MAP 8 (cyclical)
  • Wednesday - Bend, Push (h), lunge, pull (v), squat, core
  • Thursday - Active Recovery
  • Friday - Lunge, Pull (v), squat, push, bend, core
  • Saturday - MAP 8 (cyclical)
  • Sunday - Rest

3. It is essential to be clear and detailed in your workout descriptions so that your client understands the intent and exactly how to execute every exercise, especially when you’re not in-person during their workout.

Download our free guide Program Design Tips for Online Coaches for a deeper dive into these seven steps. 


3. Know Your Target Audience

Before you can attract new clients online, you have to know who you’re talking to. Figure out who your audience is going to be—who are these people who will come to you for help and guidance? Are they looking for weight loss? Bodybuilding? Is there a specific issue they're having, like low energy levels or poor sleep habits? 

By knowing who your audience is going to be (and where they are), it'll be easier for you to tailor your content so that it resonates with them and gives them exactly what they need!


4. Establish Your Online Presence 

Online fitness coaches can establish their online presence by creating a professional website, social media profiles, and a blog where they can share their expertise and connect with their target audience. 

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can be used to showcase your fitness coaching services, share motivational content, and engage with potential clients. The most important thing to remember is that you must speak to your target audience—speak to their pain points and goals and highlight success stories of the clients you’ve already helped. Testimonials are a great way to provide social proof to demonstrate your skills as an online coach. 

It's important for online fitness coaches to consistently create valuable content and engage with their followers to build credibility and establish themselves as experts in their field. 

You can also use social media to promote lead magnets, such as free workout or nutrition plans, to build your email list and nurture leads into paying clients. In the Client Acquisition course series available on LearnRx, you’ll learn how to leverage organic and paid social media to drive new leads. Click here to watch the courses from instructor Jay Duquette. 

Finally, you can create custom sales pages and a storefront in CoachRx to display your coaching business and the services and programs you offer, making it simple for clients to check out online. Be sure to add a link to your social media bios. 

By utilizing various online platforms effectively, you can reach a wider audience, establish your brand, and ultimately grow your business.



It is possible to have a great career as a remote fitness coach if you take the time to establish a base of knowledge, systems, and business principles. The life of an online fitness coach offers flexibility to work from anywhere and help clients around the world. In fact, a high percentage of OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) graduates start online coaching businesses. We even have ongoing mentorship for OPEX coaches who want to make it in the online coaching world!


The first step to creating a thriving and lasting career as a fitness professional, whether in-person or online, is CCP. Download the curriculum guide to learn more. 

Download Curriculum Guide Today


Fitness Assessments for New Clients