CREATED: 07.03.2024UPDATED: 20.03.2024

How to Start an Online Fitness Business

How to Start an Online Fitness Business

Follow this 11-step guide and start your online fitness business today. Become an online fitness coach with BlurBay.

You’re a passionate workout enthusiast, and you enjoy keeping your body in peak condition. Why not share your enthusiasm with others and help them achieve their goals by becoming an online fitness coach?

Besides being rewarding, online fitness coaching is also remunerative. On average, internet trainers make just under $30 per hour, and some have nearly cracked the $60 per hour mark.

These people share many things, but the most important commonality is that they have a successful business model. We’ll show you what this model is all about.

Coming up is a detailed guide on how to start an online fitness business.

Benefits of Starting an Online Fitness Business

While previously considered a passing fad, online fitness training and coaching have been universally accepted as permanent features and direct competitors to traditional in-person sessions. The potential for growing an online business has only shot up with the ever-growing interconnectedness brought by social media and remote working trends. A report by Grand View Research suggests that the market for online (or virtual) fitness will grow by roughly 25% every year in the foreseeable future.

Think of it like this. If you’re a fitness coach working in a gym, you have access to potential clients in a relatively small area around you. Outside of that, your clients may need to spend excessive amounts of extra time and money on training with you at a specialized location, which can limit your profitability.

By contrast, setting up an online business as a coach allows you to take advantage of social media and internet trends in general, and that’s not even mentioning the ability to access pretty much every person with an internet connection.

As an online-first fitness coach, you can create more customized training sessions that take into account your audience’s unique requirements and environment. You have the ability to tap into various niches that might not have a large enough popularity within one local area. Finally, you can bring fitness regimes to people who didn’t think they needed them before, improving their health and livelihood.

Best of all, you don’t have to juggle schedules and real-time training sessions. With a digital content platform such as BlurBay, you can upload and manage your content library to ensure your customers can find curated content whenever they need it.

How to Start an Online Fitness Business 101

We’ve mentioned that accomplished fitness coaches have a lot in common. One of these traits is that they worked hard to achieve their goals. For example, Cassey Ho didn’t attract millions of subscribers and billions of views on YouTube by pure chance. She dug deep and has provided countless clients with value.

If you want to replicate her success, the first step is to make sure your online fitness coaching business takes off. Take these steps, and you’ll be on the right track:

Step 1 – Choose Your Niche

When you’re just starting, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Sure, you may know a lot about different types of fitness, such as strength training and weight loss workouts. However, offering just about every service that comes to mind is ill-advised.

Why? There are many reasons:

  • You’re less likely to understand your market.
  • It’s hard to formulate a clear plan and expectations.
  • Monitoring your strategy is difficult.

So, your first step should be to select your niche. Ask yourself who you want to target with your online fitness coaching. Countless options are available:

  • People who want to lose weight
  • People who want to gain muscle
  • People who want to become stronger
  • People who are training for a marathon, triathlon, or any other specific event
  • Basketball players, football players, and other athletes

By focusing on just one group, you’ll be able to understand and address individuals’ pain points more effectively. Only when your business is off the ground and has a large customer base should you break into other markets.

One particular niche that has been gaining traction in the past few years is helping older people stay healthy longer. This might seem counterintuitive at first. However, note that the older generations are increasingly starting to use technology and that the Western world has more senior citizens than ever before. These factors make boomers and seniors some of the best markets ripe for innovative fitness-based content. As an added benefit, your curated sessions will have a notably positive psychological effect.

Step 2 – Pick Your Ideal Client

In a perfect world, you’d be able to offer fitness coaching that appeals to everybody.

But that simply doesn’t happen. “Fitness” means different things to different people. For instance, a new mom who wants to lose her baby weight has far different needs – both in terms of what she wants and the training programs she needs – than somebody who’s looking to stack on a lot of muscle.

You see this from the information above about niches. You focus on a specific niche because you have skills in that area that would prove useful to a particular type of client.

Here, you’re putting a “face” to that client.

That means digging deeper than simply thinking about the result you can provide. Ask yourself what your ideal client’s hopes and dreams are. Not only “what” do they want to achieve, but “why.”

For instance, the mom who wants to lose her baby weight may want to do so to feel more confident in her body or to fit back into clothes that she hasn’t been able to wear for months. Once you start establishing these “whys” you can start building a profile of who your clients should be.

Why does that help?

When you start marketing your fitness courses, you can speak to the reasons why somebody would want to buy them. Your offer no longer focuses solely on what you do. It becomes about what your client can achieve – and why they want to achieve it – which is a far more attractive proposition.

How to Start Your Online Fitness Business

Step 3 – Obtain Qualifications and Hone Your Skills

One of the best things about starting an online fitness coaching company is that you don’t need any formal certifications or qualifications. A “fitness coach” is not a profession regulated by law. In other words, you don’t need to spend four years in college before even considering starting a business of your own.

But here’s the catch – qualified coaches are generally more trustworthy than non-qualified fitness instructors. People are more likely to reach out to someone with a proven understanding of the human body and workouts.

Therefore, try to complete at least a few basic courses, like those on:

  • Human anatomy
  • Strength training vs. hypertrophy training
  • Adapting your workouts to clients with different body types
  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • Optimal balance of free weight training and machine training
  • Psychology of fitness

These are just a few examples. When looking for a suitable course, go back to your niche. Make sure it helps you solve the key problems of your target customers.

It’s important to note that you should try to diversify your skillset as much as possible, but still keep a tight focus on your target audience. Rather than just simply offering fitness exercises, you can create customized meal plans for your audience or provide long-term advice on developing healthy habits.

To that end, you can try to approach the world of fitness from multiple axes, taking into account exercise, nutrition, and psychological methods to improve your ideal client. Of course, this will require additional qualifications and learning.

If you’re set on getting the best qualifications, aim for courses and programs accredited by independent bodies such as the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). A certificate by the NCCA assures that the education and qualification you’re receiving have undergone independent testing to ensure its completeness and accuracy. As a bonus, you can put your certification up for your future clients to see, providing them with peace of mind knowing that you have the talent, skill, and determination to learn about fitness and pass that on to others.

For a brief overview of the best options that focus on teaching future fitness coaches, check out some of these organizations:

  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)
  • ACTION Personal Trainer Certification
  • ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
  • AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates)
  • IFPA (International Fitness Professionals Association)
  • ISSA (International Sports & Sciences Association)
  • NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
  • NCSA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • NCSF (National Council on Strength and Fitness)
  • NFPT (National Federation of Professional Trainers)

While going to these lengths might seem excessive, it’s important to understand that the market for online fitness has grown so much you’re facing a lot of competition. A skillset and experience provided by certified courses will ensure you can brand yourself as an expert in what you do.

Alternatively, you can take the more traditional route. If you already have a contact in a local gym, you can use their experience and take official courses supported by your local community. Additionally, you can start as a fitness trainer in a gym to polish your skillset and get some hands-on fitness coaching experience.

Step 4 – Decide How You Want to Make Money

In general, there are two ways to set up your coaching business. The most common option is one-on-one workout sessions.

Contrary to popular belief, the online nature of your business doesn’t keep you from giving effective individual workouts. All you and your clients need is a high-quality webcam, microphone, and a reliable internet connection. Once the exercise starts, you can monitor them from the comfort of your home and tweak their form if necessary.

Additionally, most fitness instructors complement their video sessions with call and text check-ups. These allow you to answer your customers’ questions and ask them about their progress. Furthermore, you can use these channels to send customized diet plans and other materials.

The most popular alternative to one-on-one sessions is to sell workout plans. Here, you can design a course that applies to your target audience and helps them accomplish their fitness goals. You’ll need to include some variations to accommodate different body types and strength levels, but the underlying workouts are the same.

What’s great about this method is that it can make you money indefinitely. The only requirement is that your plan remains relevant. Plus, you don’t have to buy a webcam and monitor your customers during potentially lengthy workouts.

That said, you’ll still need to roll your sleeves if you take this route. That’s especially true if you design your plan in the video format. Cameras, professional editing, and detailed explanations are just some of the factors you should address.

Step 5 – Come Up With Your Framework

How to Start Your Online Fitness Business

There are many differences between the two coaching methods. But no matter your pick, your business model needs a structure. Having a foolproof framework makes your coaching scalable and adaptable to a larger number of clients.

Here’s how you can structure your coaching plans:

  • Customer assessment – You should start by assessing your clients. Ask them about their height, weight, diet habits, and other relevant details. This will give you a better understanding of how they want their body to look after your intervention.
  • Compiling your resources – A robust online coaching portfolio should comprise many materials. Everything starts with detailed workout and diet plans tailored to your clients. Don’t forget about other resources, too, including motivational stories and anecdotes that highlight your services.
  • Goal tracking – After evaluating your clients and providing them with resources, all that’s left is to measure their progress. Write down their weight, muscle mass, and other key metrics in a spreadsheet. It’ll make it easier to monitor your customers.

One of the biggest trends in the fitness industry in the past few years is the adoption of more optimized, short exercises. Consider how many exercise apps promise results with only five or so minutes of a customer’s day. While you leverage more experience to create curated content, you still need to ensure that your exercise regime is curated and streamlined to eliminate lengthy sessions.

Step 6 – Get the Right Equipment

You can divide your equipment needs into two categories:

  • What you need to perform the workouts
  • What you need to properly film the workouts

On the “doing” end of the spectrum, your equipment choices come down to the niche you’re filling and the ideal client you’re helping. Coming back to the new mom example, she’s unlikely to gel well with a fitness coach whose equipment is all heavy barbells and dumbbells. She’s likely expecting to see yoga mats, exercise balls, and similar equipment that’s designed for cardio and weight loss ahead of muscle growth.

Of course, the opposite is true for a bodybuilder.

They’re looking for iron. They want a pump. Yoga isn’t going to do the job for them unless you can justify adding it to a program as a way of recovering after a heavy workout.

Then, there’s what you need to film your content, which typically breaks down into the following:

  • A good camera – Sure, you could use your smartphone to film sessions. But the resulting video won’t look as good as it could, and that lack of professionalism could hurt you compared to other fitness coaches. Spend a little money on a good high-definition camera – and a stable tripod – for filming.
  • A microphone – Your camera (or phone) may have a built-in microphone. That’ll work if you’re up close to the camera, but it’s going to struggle to capture your voice if the camera is set off in the corner and you’re working out at a distance. Get a decent mic. Your clients will be much happier if they can actually hear your instructions.
  • Good lighting – What use is a workout video if the viewer can’t see the exercises or, crucially, the form they need to keep? Proper lighting makes your videos look more professional.

Step 7 – Develop Your Pricing Strategy

If you’re struggling to find the right price point for your fitness coaching business, then you’re not alone. McKinsey points out that up to 90% of poorly chosen prices are actually too low, meaning coaches aren’t making as much from their clients as they should.

Of course, there’s the other side of the scale.

Set your prices too high, especially compared to others in your market, and you’re just going to put prospective clients off.

It’s a tough balancing act. Go too low and people won’t see any value in your brand. They’ll just see a “cheap” price and assume the level of service they’ll receive matches the price point. It’s the old adage – you get what you pay for. But go too high and your potential clients immediately have a barrier in their way, forcing you to do more to justify the price.

To strike the balance, make sure you do all of the following before settling on pricing:

  • Research your competitors – Though you shouldn’t copy your competitors, their pricing is a good indicator of what clients are willing to pay for a good coaching course.
  • Consider alternatives – What alternatives could your clients use to achieve the results you promise? Figure out what they are and price them up – your solution should cost a little less.
  • Factor in expenses – You have to make enough money from your coaching to keep producing resources, meaning your expenses dictate your pricing, at least to some extent.
  • Test, test, test – Not sure about a price? Test it. Try it out for a while and then compare it to the same product with a reduced price. You can even play this off as providing special offers after a short period when you’re really testing if the lower price leads to more sales and revenue.

For the actual details of earning opportunities, there are a few routes you can follow. The most traditional is the session-based system. This means that you charge clients based on each training session or video you output. This is also called a transactional or pay-per-view system and is one that can be particularly lucrative if you want to start an online fitness business.

It encourages users to interact heavily with you and your material, making use of the addictive nature of fitness. The transactional model also fares particularly well with the more common shorter attention spans and proclivity for dropping habits before they can conceptualize. For example, someone looking for a short-term solution or already experienced in fitness can come to you for specialized and quick guidance plans. They likely wouldn’t have the patience or means to support a long-term investment into your business.

On the other hand, you can also provide longer-term subscription deals. These would allow your clients to gain access to your resources for a specific time or get immediate updates whenever you create a new video.

The main benefit of a subscriber-oriented plan is that it creates a healthier, long-term investment for both you and your clients. A subscriber model can be initially priced at a much lower price point than a transactional one.

However, a subscription model requires a more thorough investment and fitness plan development. If the customer doesn’t feel your plan caters to their exact needs, they are likely to drop out.

For best results, you can start with a subscription model and use transactional incentives to improve your content. By combining the two options, you can tap into both types of customer personas and cross-promote your content to ensure a steadier income.

No matter which path you take, you will need to develop a business plan alongside estimating your budget. Since you’ll be working online, the costs involved in starting an online fitness business are much lower—just set up a home gym and get filming equipment to start. However, you also need to account for ongoing costs such as marketing and web- or platform-hosting.

It’s here that the benefits of pay-per-view outweigh the subscription options. You can get immediate traction and a more significant return on investment. Then, the subscription model will create a steady stream of passive income.

Step 8 – Create Your Brand

The importance of having a solid brand can’t be overlooked. As Forbes mentions, it helps you increase your presence and ensures more people recognize your business.

Now, having a friendly personality is essential for any online coach. But you won’t get a chance to show it unless you attract clients with your brand.

A lot goes into making a powerful brand, but the three most important elements are your mission statement, selling proposition, and logo:

  • Mission statement – Your mission statement is your goal. Be sure to include your target audience in this statement. Here’s an example: “I aim to help professional football players improve their strength, endurance, and resistance to injuries.”
  • Selling proposition – Use this part to tell your audience what makes you different from other online fitness coaches. For instance, you can share a personal story about your hardship and how the gym helped you overcome various obstacles. Then, tell them how your coaching will do the same for your clients.
  • Logo – To find the right logo style, check out other online coaching businesses for inspiration. Most logos have only weights or men or women lifting weights. Add your twist to it and make sure it reflects your target audience.

Step 9 – Utilize BlurBay to Sell Your Services

Before you clicked this article, you probably thought creating a website would be one of the steps to starting an online fitness coaching business. While that’s the go-to strategy of many instructors, it’s flawed in many ways.

First, think about the cost of building and maintaining a website. If you’re serious about your business, you’ll need to make a website from scratch, which requires professional website developers. These experts charge top dollar, making them inadequate for budding coaches.

Second, building a website is time-consuming. By the time your platform is up and running, someone else may beat you to it and snag your target audience. A website builder speeds up the process, but you can rarely create a high-quality page this way.

So, if a website isn’t an option, what is? BlurBay.

BlurBay is a platform where you can upload your fitness coaching content. It’s a pay-to-view website that earns you money whenever someone pays to see your videos.

Now, you might be thinking: Doesn’t having a website of my own do the same?

Yes, but with BlurBay, you get to avoid all the hassle of creating and maintaining a full-blown website. You receive the infrastructure for selling your content. All you need to do is create your videos and send them to BlurBay, which only takes 5% of each transaction.

Another great thing about BlurBay is that it allows you to set your own prices. As such, it leaves you in the driver’s seat of your coaching business.

Finally, BlurBay offers detailed sales analytics to help you understand which videos are gaining traction and which ones are getting left behind. You can leverage that to ensure that you stay at the top of your game and your content stays in people’s feeds.

How to Start Your Online Fitness Business

Step 10 – Promote Your Business

Once you have all the ingredients for a prosperous online coaching business, it’s time to promote your services. You can use an array of channels to advertise yourself:

  • Social media – You won’t find a single online fitness coach without a social media profile. You should follow in their footsteps. Head to Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook and start posting your content. Remember – only post sneak peeks of your videos. You should encourage them to go to your BlurBay account to see the rest.
  • Connections – Meeting like-minded people is a great way to spread the word about your business. Joining Facebook groups is a perfect example. Here, you can comment on potential clients’ posts to assert yourself as a helpful figure. Also, don’t forget to attend seminars, conferences, and other events.
  • Podcasts – After your business gains traction, podcast authors may start inviting you to their shows. Don’t miss this opportunity. These people have lots of fans, many of whom might belong to your target audience. Use the interview to tell people how you can help them and what makes you special.
  • Discounts and free trials – It’s hard to know for sure what training with you is like. Consequently, some people might be reluctant to subscribe to your services. Offer them free trials and discounts to grow your client base. Once they realize you’re a difference-maker, they won’t mind paying the price.

Step 11 – Maintain and Tweak

Rare is the fitness coach who gets it all right the first time.

You’re going to make mistakes along the way. But that’s okay – it happens to everybody, and your clients will still be happy as long as you’re taking positive steps to constantly tweak your output. Remember that your clients aren’t simply people from whom you make money. They’re a community that wants you to get better because you getting better means they get better.

Gathering feedback is the first step in learning how to build better courses:

  • Ask clients directly – Give your clients a platform – whether it’s through one-on-one sessions or in your social media groups – and ask them questions. What do they like? What do they dislike? Use that feedback to tweak your existing content while building new courses that serve what they need.
  • Create course surveys – Many of your courses will have an “end date,” or a moment where the client feels like they’ve completed the course. That’s an opportunity for you. Drop a specific survey in at the end to gather feedback about what the client thought about the specific course.
  • Monitor chatter – Social media groups and similar community tools give your clients a chance to talk amongst themselves about the course. Monitor that chatter. If you see something critical, don’t take it as an insult to the course. Address the criticism by making even better courses.
  • Monitor video activity – If you have a website where you post your content (or use BlurBay to handle that part of the process), you can leverage video analytics to get a better understanding of your audience. Check which videos garner the most attention or any patterns in customer behavior. For example, if you have videos that are designed to be watched one after another, check how many viewers you retain between them. If you notice a sharp decline, the first video might not be sufficiently attractive for a long-term customer investment.
  • Use SEO practices – Just like in traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, organic marketing can be an excellent tool to grow your online fitness coaching business. Even if you have uploaded your course material on a website or sales platform, you can’t just leave it alone and hope for the best. Use SEO tools (like Google Analytics) to monitor how your videos cater to emerging trends and keywords. You can use this information to create new content or amend your video summaries to include more relevant optimization techniques.

Think of the feedback you gather as action items – it’s all information you can use to build courses that your ideal clients will love.

Conquer the Fitness Industry

How to Start Your Online Fitness Business

Learning how to start an online fitness business is a long haul, but you can make the journey a lot easier. The key takeaway is this – never lose sight of your target customers. Tailor all your efforts (workout plans, structure, sales) to them, and you’ll strike a chord with your audience.

However, don’t discount that the right distribution system can improve your odds of picking up clients in a competitive environment. A platform like BlurBay will ensure that your content gets seen by the right person and that you get paid for it.


Should you start an online fitness business?

Yes. Starting an online fitness coaching business is a great decision. There’s a lot of room to make a profit, and you get a sense of accomplishment by helping others.

Who are the most famous online fitness coaches?

The most famous online fitness coaches are Cassey Ho, Joe Wicks, Tracy Anderson, and Gunnar Peterson.

Do you need a website for starting an online fitness coaching business?

No. You don’t need a website to start an online coaching business since platforms like BlurBay are readily available.

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