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Maximizing Personal Training Success: A Guide to Building a Thriving Fitness Business

Creating a thriving business takes discipline and hard work. Fortunately, as a fitness expert, you know all about discipline and hard work. If you’re ready to share everything you’ve learned with fitness newbies, you might be interested in becoming a personal trainer.

A personal trainer is responsible for creating exercises and leading them as well as supporting and motivating an individual or group. Do you remember what it was like when you were first starting out on your fitness journey? It can be difficult to undergo such major lifestyle changes on your own. Maybe you had the support of family, friends, or even your own personal trainer. If those experiences inspired you to become a trainer yourself, you will want to follow these steps in order to get started on the right foot. 

1. Become Certified

Just as you need a degree in order to be qualified as a teacher, nurse, or industry professional, you’ll need to become certified as a personal trainer. It’s important to be trained in CPR and AED so you can aid your clients in the case of a medical emergency. Additionally, there are other programs and credentials that you can earn in order to become a trustworthy personal trainer. When a client chooses you as their personal trainer, they’re putting their body and mind in your hands. It can be reassuring for your clients to see that you’ve studied and are qualified by industry standards.

One option is to become certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Becoming certified through NASM may also help you network and gain clients since the academy is partnered with industry leaders, influencers, and health club partners. You’ll also need to pass the NASM exam, but never fear—Trainer Academy offers a NASM Practice Test for 2023 that includes this year’s most difficult questions. This warmup will help you prepare for the actual exam. 

2. Make Sure Personal Training Suits Your Lifestyle

As a personal trainer, you’ll be helping your clients make adjustments to their lifestyles. However, if personal training doesn’t suit your own lifestyle, you won’t be able to offer the best advice. You will likely be working in a gym, fitness center, or in your client’s home. You will be standing, walking, and demonstrating the use of machines like ellipticals, treadmills, and weight machines. 

If you’re transitioning from a traditional 9-to-5 job to personal training, there may be an adjustment period, especially if you’re working directly with clients rather than partnering with a gym or fitness center. Your hours might be irregular since you’ll need to work around clients’ schedules. Until you’ve built up your client database and your hours are more consistent, you might want to have another part-time job as a backup plan. Most personal trainers, especially those who are just starting out, make around $26 an hour.

3. Build Your Brand

Like any other business, you will want to build your fitness brand so that your clients remember you and talk about you to their friends. Creating a website for your brand complete with a memorable name and logo is a must. If you’re working for another company, like a gym or fitness center, you can still create a personal website so clients can reach you after they’re done training for the day. 

If $26 an hour isn’t a comfortable wage for you, you can offer extras on your website. Consider creating downloadable workout plans, a fitness app, or online fitness classes. Once your brand becomes more popular, you can even sell merchandise with your logo. Think about your target audience when you choose merchandise to sell. Everyone loves t-shirts and sweatshirts, but branded yoga mats, weights, or gym bags might be a good idea, too. 

4. Work on Your Soft Skills

There are plenty of qualified, certified personal trainers in the world, so what will make you stand out against all of your competitors? Good customer service, communication, and problem-solving skills can go a long way toward improving your reputation as a personal trainer. You may want to have a consultation with each of your clients in order to explain the services that you plan to provide. 

You will want to assess their personal goals and develop a workout plan that’s tailored to their needs. You may even want to adjust your training methods and attitude as an instructor based on your client’s personality. Some fitness newbies are shy and nervous about working out in front of someone else. They may need gentle guidance and some extra encouragement while they’re first starting out. On the other hand, some clients will prefer intensive workouts with lots of motivation. It’s important to listen to your clients and invite them to communicate with you if they’re worried about a workout or have changed their personal goals.


You know how to do fitness—now it’s time to learn how to do business. The two aren’t so different, and as long as you conduct the proper research, become certified, and provide excellent service in order to build your client base, you will have a fitness empire in no time.