Personal training

The Business Side to Personal Training

By Joe Talarico on Feb 15, 2021 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


There’s plenty of articles out there on why you should be a trainer, if money can be made, etc. But not many talk about the business side of training. I’m sure you love helping people on their journeys. But a successful business in any field goes way beyond just the product you are selling. If your goal is to have your OWN personal training business, you need to be more in love with the back end side of building a business than anything else

Knowledgeable vs Personable

A little refresher on the obvious. You should know by now that you need a certification in order to even train people. Make sure you also have personal trainers insurance. You need to cover your butt in case something goes wrong since you don’t have the big box gym covering for you.

Before even moving into the business side of it, you need to ask yourself how good you are at working with people. You can’t be a robot counting reps, and you can’t be picky about what kind of clients you get. You need to be personable enough that most people want to work with you beyond what introductory sessions they purchase from you. You need to be knowledgeable enough to know exactly what to prescribe that client that fits THEIR needs. Not some cookie cutter program that you give both an 18 year old client and 65 year old client. Stay in your lane or find it. If you only know how to help someone on your fat loss journey then great, focus on that. Don’t try to rehab someone’s hip replacement, or pre existing injuries all because you want the sale. You’ll do more harm than good both for your business and the client.

Covid and The New Era 

We are now entering a time due to covid, of a different style of training. If you have been keeping up with your in person clients, that opportunity is not gone. Finding out ways to provide them value virtually, and being assertive about it, is what’s going to separate the strong trainers from the weak. There’s no doubt a lot of them are stressed, wishing they were working out, but unsure of how to make an efficient workout at home. Others may never want to go to a gym again. Don’t see that as a lost client, see it as an opportunity for a lifetime client! Figure out ways to drive to them and still provide value. If you have to lose some clients, but increase your cost due to traveling, go for it! Most clients will be willing to pay the extra cost for the value they are getting.

If you are going virtual, use Zoom to create group classes, or one on one sessions for those clients that want to keep direct interactions to a minimum. It may not be as good as in person training, but you can still coach them through mobility sessions and help work on form.  

If you were working in a big box gym it’s time to pivot. Sure, your gym may open up again, but if there is anything covid has taught us, it’s that we can’t be reliant on one source of income for our livelihood.  

Online Information

If you’re already doing zoom calls, and driving to people’s houses, you can also scale your business by trying to work with people online.

Instagram - Take your current client’s success, and post their progress on your own fitness IG page. Use that as your business portfolio for potential clients to see your work.

TikTok - Create 30-60 second videos on exercises people can do during lockdown, different recipes to try out, and more. The possibilities are endless and a lot of people are already doing it.

Course Academies - Use online course academies (Udemy, The Great Courses Plus, etc.) to create online fitness courses that people can purchase specific to their goal. A program for skinny guys, pregnant women trying to lose weight after they’ve given birth, etc. are all options depending on what route you want to take and are familiar with.

YouTube - Create a transformation series or a “workout from home” series on Youtube to show people how to get a quality workout with little to no equipment. People now, more than ever, are seeking health and wellness options to help them not stay stagnant at home. Try recording your weight loss/gain journey so people can follow along and see what tools you used to get to your goal.

Forums - Find fitness forums where people are seeking advice and you can help answer questions and provide value.

As you can see there are a lot of options for growing your business in personal training. You used to have to only work at a big box gym, and slowly build up your clientele for very little pay. Nowadays, you can still train people in person, but a LOT more flexibility has been put into training people virtually, in their home, or online.

You Have to Want to WORK

Regardless of what options I give you, the bottom line is you have to WANT to do all the things above. By that, I mean you have to want to be constantly providing value in whatever ways you see fit that help grow your business. You will be spending more of your time experimenting and marketing yourself in order to succeed so you can’t just gloss over that fact. The upside is, if you can hunker down and hustle for the next couple years, I guarantee you will build a very successful business where you get to change peoples lives dramatically, while also upscaling yours.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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