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How to start a personal training business in 2023?

From understanding the current market and trends, developing a business plan to marketing and branding, we've got your covered.

Source: Pexels

Are you passionate about fitness and dream of inspiring others to reach their health goals? If so, launching a personal training business in 2023 might just be your calling. It's an exciting time in the fitness world, and there's no better moment to jump in and make your mark.

You see, personal training isn't just about counting reps or setting workout routines. It's about creating personal connections, understanding individual needs, and being part of someone's journey to a healthier, happier self. And let's face it, after the rollercoaster of recent years, people are more eager than ever to invest in their well-being, with a personal touch that only you can provide.

But where do you start? Well, that's where this guide comes in handy! We're going to walk through everything you need to know about starting your personal training business – from understanding the market to getting your brand out there.

We're talking real, actionable advice, no fluff. Whether you're thinking about one-on-one sessions, group training, or even virtual coaching, we've got you covered.

And let's not forget the nitty-gritty like legal stuff, finances, and marketing. It might sound daunting, but don't sweat it. I'll break it down into simple, digestible steps. Trust us, it's not as scary as it sounds.

So, are you ready to turn your fitness passion into a thriving business? Let’s dive in and make 2023 the year you become the go-to personal trainer everyone's talking about!

Understanding the current personal training market in 2023

This year, we witness a sector that's not only thriving but also adapting to the changing needs and expectations of a diverse clientele. From technological innovations to shifts in demographic focus, the landscape of personal training is more dynamic than ever.

In this section, we'll explore the key elements that define the industry today.

Source: Pexels

Current global market trends

Personal training today goes beyond physical fitness – it encompasses a total lifestyle approach. Clients are looking for trainers who are not just exercise gurus but also wellness coaches. 

This shift is partly due to a growing awareness about the importance of mental health and its connection to physical well-being. Integrating mindfulness, stress management techniques, and nutrition advice into your sessions could really set you apart.

The personal training sector also has witnessed remarkable growth over the past decades, with a positive market outlook for the foreseeable future. Here's a snapshot of the trends shaping the industry today:

1. Sustained industry growth

The personal training industry has seen a consistent increase, with profits reaching $1.3 billion in 2021, a 1.7% annualised increase from 2016​​. The industry revenue has grown more than 50% from 2012 to 2021, with forecasts predicting a continued upward trajectory​​. [1]

2. Emerging market segments

The industry is experiencing an expansion in target markets, especially among the youth and senior population segments. This shift points towards an increasing demand for personal trainers in diverse age groups​​. [1]

3. Key drivers of demand 

Several factors are propelling the industry forward. Disposable income plays a significant role, as personal training services are often considered discretionary.

Additionally, a growing focus on leisure, sports, physical fitness, and health and wellness, especially among adults aged 20 to 64, fuels the demand for personal trainers​​. [1]

4. Rising number of personal trainers

The number of personal trainers globally has been increasing steadily, with a 4.4% annualised growth from 2016, indicating the profession's growing popularity and viability​​. [1]

5. Income trends

The median wage for personal trainers has seen a steady rise, with an annualised growth rate of 1.75% since 2012, reflecting the profession's increasing financial viability.

Furthermore, an increased willingness among consumers to spend on higher-priced personal training sessions is expected to drive income growth in the sector​​. [1]

6. Positive job outlook

The projected percent change in employment for personal trainers in the U.S. from 2020 to 2030 is a substantial 39%, significantly outpacing the average growth rate for all occupations.

This trend dispels any notions of personal training as a dwindling career, underscoring its promise as a rewarding profession​​. [1]

Source: Pexels

Current target audience analysis

When diving into the personal training business in 2023, a keen understanding of your target audience is pivotal. This industry thrives on personal connections, making it essential to know who you are catering to.

Let’s explore the diverse client base for personal trainers:

1. Age diversity

The client base spans various age groups, with a significant portion ranging from young adults to seniors. Each age group brings unique fitness goals and preferences. 

For instance, younger clients might focus on bodybuilding or athletic performance, while older clients often seek health maintenance or injury prevention.

2. Health and wellness enthusiasts

There's a growing segment deeply invested in holistic wellness, including physical fitness, mental health, and nutrition. These clients value a comprehensive approach to health, often seeking trainers who can provide well-rounded guidance.

3. The tech-savvy crowd

With the rise of fitness technology, a tech-savvy audience is emerging. These clients appreciate data-driven approaches to fitness, utilising wearable tech and apps to track progress. They often seek trainers who are adept at integrating technology into training programs.

4. Lifestyle-oriented individuals

Many clients view fitness as a lifestyle choice rather than a mere activity. They look for trainers who can tailor workouts to fit into busy schedules and provide sustainable fitness solutions that align with their lifestyles.

5. Special needs and rehabilitation

A significant client group includes those with special needs or rehabilitation requirements. This could range from post-injury recovery to managing chronic conditions. Trainers specialising in these areas need to have relevant knowledge and a sensitive approach.

6. Corporate clients and groups

Corporate wellness programs have gained traction, presenting opportunities for personal trainers. These clients seek to improve employee well-being and productivity through fitness programs, opening a market for trainers skilled in group sessions and corporate settings.

7. Fitness beginners and enthusiasts 

Lastly, there's a continual influx of beginners starting their fitness journey and enthusiasts looking to enhance their routines. Both categories require personalised guidance to meet their distinct fitness levels and goals.

Source: Pexels

Developing your personal training business plan

Starting your own boutique fitness business is an exciting venture that needs careful preparation and a touch of love for what you do.

Let's look closely at the important steps and things you need to think about that will help create a solid foundation for your successful fitness business.

Choosing a niche

In the flourishing world of personal training, distinguishing yourself is key. Identifying and establishing your niche is not just about focusing on a specific area of fitness; it's about finding the intersection where your passion, expertise, and client demand meet.

Here’s how you can carve out your unique niche:

  • Assess your strengths and interests: Begin by evaluating what aspects of fitness you are most passionate about. Do you excel in high-intensity workouts, or do you have a keen interest in yoga or pilates? Your niche should resonate with your skills and interests.

  • Analyse market gaps and trends: Look for gaps in the market. Is there a demand for certain types of training that are underserved? For example, the growing popularity of holistic health might open avenues in wellness coaching.

  • Consider specialisations: Specialising in areas like senior fitness, prenatal workouts, or sports-specific training can set you apart. Specialisations often require additional certifications but can make you the go-to expert in that area.

  • Understand your clientele: Who are you aiming to serve? Understanding your potential clients’ needs, goals, and challenges will help you tailor your services. For example, if you’re targeting busy professionals, you might focus on short, high-intensity workouts.

Location selection

Selecting the right location for your personal training business is pivotal. Each option - home-based, in-gym, or outdoor training - has its unique benefits and considerations.

1. Home-based training

Ideal for those starting with a limited budget, home-based training offers convenience and low overhead costs.

However, consider the space availability, equipment investment, and the feasibility of clients travelling to your home. Privacy and zoning laws are also key considerations.

2. In-gym training

Working in a gym provides access to diverse equipment and potential clients. It’s a great option for building a network and gaining experience.

The downside includes gym fees or revenue sharing and possibly less control over your training environment.

3. Outdoor training

Outdoor sessions can be refreshing and cost-effective. Public parks or beaches offer natural settings conducive to varied workout routines. However, this option is weather-dependent and may lack privacy and equipment facilities.

When deciding on a location, consider your target audience's preferences, your niche, accessibility, and the practicality of conducting sessions. 

Also, think about how your choice aligns with your personal training style and business goals. The right location is a balance between your professional needs and what best serves your clients.

Source: Pexels

Business model options

Choosing the right business model is critical for the success of your personal training business. Here are the primary models to consider:

1. One-on-one training

This classic model focuses on individualised attention and personalised workout plans. It's ideal for clients with specific goals or needs and can command higher pricing due to the personalised service.

2. Small group training 

This model involves training a small group of clients simultaneously. It’s cost-effective for clients and can be more profitable for trainers. Group dynamics also encourage motivation and camaraderie among clients.

3. Online coaching and virtual sessions

With technological advancements, offering virtual training has become popular. This model provides flexibility and a broader client reach. It includes live sessions, pre-recorded workouts, and digital coaching.

The pandemic has propelled the growth of virtual fitness classes, with many studios adopting online platforms to reach a wider audience. In fact, fitness live streaming video usage experienced a staggering 971% increase. That's why offering virtual classes and online memberships can be a game-changer, allowing you to tap into the global market. 

According to a recent survey, about 72% of individuals say that they prefer the flexibility of online fitness classes, and a significant portion prefers a blend of online and offline workouts. Incorporating this into your business model can set you apart in the competitive landscape.

4. Specialised programs

Specialising in areas like rehabilitation, sports performance, or prenatal fitness can cater to specific market segments. These programs often require additional certifications but can differentiate your services and attract niche clientele.

Each model has its unique advantages and challenges. Consider your strengths, client preferences, and market demand when choosing your business model. A successful personal training business often combines elements from multiple models to maximise reach and profitability.

Certification and professional development

Starting your own boutique fitness business is an exciting venture that needs careful preparation and a touch of love for what you do.

Let's look closely at the important steps and things you need to think about that will help create a solid foundation for your successful fitness business.

Source: Pexels

Choosing the right personal training certification

Selecting the right personal training certification is a crucial step for aspiring trainers. The best certification for you depends on your specific goals, target clientele, and preferred training style.

Here are some of the top certifications to consider:

1. ISSA Certified Personal Trainer 

Recognized for its comprehensive coverage of business skills and special population training, ISSA is a great choice for those looking to understand the business aspects of personal training. It's especially beneficial for trainers focusing on a broad client base, including special populations​​.

  • Price: Starting at $999
  • Enrollment: ISSA CPT

2. NASM Certified Personal Trainer

NASM is renowned for its Optimum Performance Training model and is highly respected in the industry. It's an ideal choice for trainers who prioritise a science-backed approach to fitness and wellness, providing a strong foundation in designing and guiding clients through workout programs.

  • Price: Starting at $799
  • Enrollment: NASM CPT

3. NCSF Certified Personal Trainer

If you're looking for an affordable option without sacrificing quality, NCSF is a great choice. It offers comprehensive curriculum coverage, including functional anatomy and exercise programming, making it a solid alternative to more mainstream certifications​​.

  • Price: Starting at $349
  • Enrollment: NCSF CPT

4. ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Known for its excellent behavioural change coaching and the ACE Integrated Fitness Training Model, ACE CPT is a straightforward certification that’s well-suited for trainers focusing on lifestyle changes and client behaviour modification​​.

  • Price: Starting at $675
  • Enrollment: ACE CPT

5. NSCA Certified Personal Trainer

For those interested in a more in-depth, science-focused certification, particularly in strength and conditioning, NSCA is a top choice. It’s an excellent certification for trainers who plan to work with athletes or clients with specific performance goals​​.

  • Price: Starting at $475
  • Enrollment: NSCA CPT

6. Fitness Mentors Certified Personal Trainer

This certification is ideal for trainers focusing on online training or business-oriented aspects of personal training. Despite being relatively new and lacking the name recognition of other certifications, it offers a comprehensive curriculum and practical skill sets​​.

7. ACSM Certified Personal Trainer 

ACSM is well-regarded, especially in the health professional space, making it a good choice for trainers planning to work in clinical exercise settings. Though it may lack practical resistance training, its credibility in the industry is well-established​​.\

  • Price: Starting at $649
  • Enrollment: ACSM CPT

8. NFPT Certified Personal Trainer 

If you're looking for a quick and affordable certification process, NFPT is a viable option. It covers basic personal training knowledge and is suitable for those who need a certification to start their career in fitness​​.

  • Price: Starting at $246
  • Enrollment: NFPT CPT

9. NESTA Personal Fitness Trainer Certification 

For trainers who are tech-focused and plan to incorporate modern technologies in their training programs, NESTA offers a curriculum that caters to these needs, including online training tools and innovative approaches​​.

Continuing education and specializations

Alright, so you've nailed your certification, but guess what? The learning journey in personal training never really ends. This is where continuing education and specialisations come into play. Think of it as levelling up in your career – the more you learn, the more you can offer to your clients.

Continuing education keeps your skills fresh and relevant. The fitness world is always evolving, with new research and techniques popping up all the time. By staying updated, you'll not only maintain your certification (most require ongoing education credits) but also stay ahead of the game.

Now, let’s talk about specialisations. This is where you can really shine and set yourself apart. Love working with athletes? Consider a specialisation in sports conditioning. Fascinated by the mind-body connection? Maybe yoga or Pilates is your thing. Or, if helping people overcome injuries is what drives you, look into corrective exercise specialisations.

The beauty of specialisations is that they allow you to target specific client groups who are seeking exactly what you’re offering. It’s a win-win: your clients get expert guidance, and you get to work in areas you’re passionate about.

Remember, every step you take in continuing education not only enhances your skillset but also boosts your credibility. Clients love knowing their trainer is a lifelong learner, committed to providing the best and latest in fitness training. So, keep that curiosity alive and keep learning 

Building professional credibility and networking

In the personal training world, your credibility and network can make or break your business. Let's dive into how you can bolster both.

First off, professional credibility isn't just about having the right certifications (though they are important). It’s also about demonstrating your knowledge and expertise through consistent, results-driven training programs. 

Stay informed about the latest fitness trends and research, and apply this knowledge in your sessions. Share success stories (with client permission, of course) on social media or your website – nothing speaks louder than real-life results.

Now, networking. This isn’t just about shaking hands or swapping business cards. It’s about building genuine relationships within the fitness community. Attend local fitness events, workshops, and seminars. 

Engage with other fitness professionals on social media. Consider partnerships with local health businesses like nutrition shops or physiotherapy clinics. These connections can lead to referrals, collaborative opportunities, and a stronger presence in the fitness community.

Remember, building a network takes time and genuine effort. Be patient, be authentic, and keep your clients' success as your top priority. That's how you build a reputation that lasts and a network that supports your growth

Marketing and branding

Now that the foundation of your personal training business is set, it’s time to make some noise – not literally from the rooftops, but through strategic marketing and branding efforts.

Source: Pexels

Creating a brand identity

In a market bustling with options, your brand identity is what sets you apart, creating a unique space that resonates with your target audience.

Now, let's explore how to develop a brand identity that not only sets you apart but also stays true to your fundamental beliefs and goals.

1. Understanding your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Determine what sets your personal training services apart. Is it your specialised workout regimen, your unique approach to client motivation, or your expertise in a specific area of fitness? Reflect on what makes your services unique to attract fitness enthusiasts who resonate with your approach.

According to market research, modern fitness enthusiasts are drawn towards brands that offer a unique and personalised experience, aligning with their fitness goals and values. So, take a moment to reflect on what makes your studio truly special.

2. Crafting a memorable logo and tagline

Next up, let's talk visuals! Your logo is essentially the face of your brand, the first thing that people notice. It should be a visual representation of your brand's ethos and spirit. 

Complement your logo with a catchy tagline that encapsulates the essence of your brand in a nutshell. Remember, a well-designed logo and a memorable tagline can go a long way in etching your brand in the minds of your target audience.

3. Developing a consistent visual language

As you build your brand, consistency is key. Develop a visual language that resonates across all platforms, be it your website, social media accounts, or marketing materials. 

Choose a colour palette that reflects the mood and vibe of your training session, complemented by typography that aligns with your brand personality.

A consistent visual language fosters brand recognition, creating a cohesive and professional image in the minds of your clientele.

4. Building an engaging online presence

Your digital presence is akin to a virtual business card. Develop a user-friendly website that gives a glimpse into your personal training services.

Regularly engage your audience with blog posts and social media content that share fitness tips, insights, and updates about your services.

Having a website that mirrors the essence of your brand is essential. But if the thought of coding and website building overwhelms you, fret not. Rezerv offers a seamless solution, enabling you to craft a custom-branded website with zero coding skills required. With over 50 user-friendly templates to choose from, creating a website that resonates with your brand's vibe has never been easier. 

Moreover, leverage the power of social media to build a community of fitness enthusiasts who resonate with your brand. Statistics indicate that brands with a strong online presence enjoy higher customer loyalty and engagement.

Read more: How to maximise your fitness studio's online presence in 2023?

5. Crafting a compelling brand story

Share your journey and vision in personal training. A relatable brand story builds a deeper connection with your audience, cultivating a community that shares your passion for fitness.

Source: Pexels

Marketing strategies

Now that we have sculpted a robust brand identity, it's time to amplify your brand's voice and reach out to your potential clientele.

Let's explore the some of the strategies that will showcase your boutique fitness studio prominently in the bustling fitness industry

1. Leveraging social media

In today's digital landscape, social media is your powerhouse tool to connect, engage, and build a loyal community.

Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are not just marketing channels but spaces where you can narrate your brand story, showcase client testimonials, and even host live workout sessions. 

According to research, businesses that maintain an active social media presence witness a significant boost in brand awareness and customer engagement. So, gear up to create a buzz with captivating content that resonates with your audience.

Read more: Social media marketing 101 for fitness business: Tips to harness the power of social media

2. Content Marketing

Content is king, and rightly so! Develop a content marketing plan that offers value to your audience. From insightful blog posts to informative videos, your content should be a rich source of information, guiding your audience on their fitness journey. 

Recent studies indicate that brands offering valuable content enjoy higher trust and credibility among their clientele. Remember, your content should echo your brand's voice, offering a seamless blend of information and inspiration.

Read more: What is content marketing and how can it help your business grow?

3. SEO and online advertising

In the digital age, visibility is vital. Invest in SEO strategies to enhance your website's ranking on search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find you.

Additionally, explore the realm of online advertising to target your specific audience effectively. A well-planned SEO and advertising strategy can significantly boost website traffic and lead generation, paving the way for business growth.

Read more: How to improve your fitness business local ranking on Google?

Client acquisition and retention

The success of a personal training business hinges not just on acquiring new clients but also on retaining them. Here's how to excel in both:

1. Acquiring new clients

Attracting new clients involves a mix of marketing strategies and personal outreach. Utilize social media, local advertising, and community events to raise awareness of your services.

Offering trial sessions or introductory offers can also entice potential clients to experience your training style.

2. Building strong client relationships

Once you have clients, the key to retention is building strong, personal relationships.

Understand their goals, acknowledge their progress, and adjust training programs to their evolving needs. Consistent communication and showing genuine care for their well-being can foster loyalty.

3. Client retention techniques and loyalty programs

Implementing client retention strategies like progress tracking, regular feedback sessions, and personalised workout adjustments can significantly increase client satisfaction.

Consider loyalty programs or rewards for long-term clients to acknowledge their commitment and encourage client loyalty.

Technology integration

In this era where almost everything is digital, bringing technology into your personal training business is more than just a nice-to-have feature; it's a must-have.

It's the key element that elevates your client's experience, streamlines your operations, and distinguishes your services in a competitive market.

Let's explore the different ways that incorporating technology can really set your personal training business apart, making it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts.

Source: Pexels & Rezerv

1. Booking and management software

First up, let's talk about the backbone of your tech infrastructure - a robust booking and management software. This tool acts as a virtual receptionist, seamlessly handling class bookings, memberships, and even financial reporting. 

In today's digital era, a lot of people greatly appreciate the convenience of user-friendly apps or websites where they can manage their schedules and track their progress at their fingertips.

Therefore, investing in a reliable software not only promises a smoother client experience but also significantly streamlines your administrative tasks, saving you precious time and effort.

Looking to streamline your personal training business operations effortlessly? Meet Rezerv, your comprehensive management companion designed to uplift fitness businesses. From a custom-branded website builder to seamless booking and membership management, Rezerv offers a plethora of tools to enhance your customer's booking experience and grow your business.

Book a demo with us today and enjoy a 1-month free trial!

2. Data analytics and customer insights

Utilising data analytics can provide invaluable insights into your customer's preferences, behaviours, and feedback.

Implementing systems that collect and analyse data can help you tailor your offerings, optimise class schedules, and even personalise marketing strategies, ensuring a more targeted and effective approach to growing your business.

Read more: Top 5 best personal trainer software


And there you have it! Starting a personal training business in 2023 is an exciting journey that combines your love for fitness with a rewarding career. We've covered a lot in this guide, from understanding market trends to choosing your niche, leveraging technology, and building a strong personal brand.

Always remember that success in personal training is all about connecting with your clients, helping them achieve their fitness goals, and continuously learning and adapting to the ever-evolving industry.

So, as you take your first steps into this exciting adventure, keep your passion burning, stay committed to your clients, and make 2023 the year you become the go-to personal trainer everyone's raving about! Your journey to success starts now.

Friska 🐨

Read next: 5 gym marketing ideas to get more clients in 2023

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