6 Ideas to Launch Your Online Fitness Business

Amanda Dodge

Amanda Dodge has six years of digital marketing experience. She enjoys digging into what brands do well and where they go wrong. Her specialties include working with companies in the retail, non-profit, and marketing sectors. She is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The internet has revolutionized everything from how we work to how we date, so it should come as no surprise that people are casting off the traditional gym experience in favor of web-based lessons and at-home workouts. 

For some, the gym is not an appealing place to go. One study of 2,000 Americans found that 50 percent of people feel anxious at the idea of working out amongst other people. This concept of “gymtimidation” even applies to gym-goers. Only 15 percent of people feel intimidated by their actual exercise routine, but 47 percent feel intimidated working out around other people. This is good news for personal trainers and other fitness experts who want to start an online business: people want to work out, they just don’t want to do it in the gym.   

If you have a passion for fitness and want to start a business where you work remotely, you have plenty of options. Consider a few of these ideas to kick off your career. 

Become a Virtual Personal Trainer

There are multiple apps and websites for people to sign up for personal training from home. The trainer guides them through the workout and pushes them to do their best. Working with a virtual personal trainer allows people to get fit, even if they don’t want to (or can’t) go to the gym. People can work out whenever they want and don’t have to set aside extra time to commute to and from the gym location. If you want to become a virtual personal trainer, you can either look to join an existing training company or start your own. You can build up your client base with video call appointments or simple phone calls and texts.  The downside of working as a remote personal trainer is that the workouts you create will be limited by the homes that your clients live in. It is unlikely that each client you take on will have a whole room dedicated to a home gym, complete with kettle balls, free weights, and bars. You may end up working with people in tiny New York highrises with minimal space to stretch out. This means you need to get creative with your workouts, whether this means asking your clients to use a water jug as a kettle ball or limiting exercises to those that can be done without equipment. However, if you can be flexible with the living area of your customers, they will likely stay with you for a long time.  

Create Video Workouts

With the right camera equipment and gym set up, you can create quality video workouts for a wide range of learners. Some companies will pay trainers to create workouts for pilates, yoga, kickboxing, and other courses, which they then sell to customers. These customers either subscribe to the fitness app and access all of the classes they want or purchase classes individually. The company saves money by hiring contractors instead of creating their own video content while customers benefit by having a larger pool of videos to choose from.Video workouts allow you to choose to work as an employee or contractor for an existing company or start your own business and subscription plan. If you want to test the waters to see how your video content is consumed, start by filming your own workouts. Explain what you are doing in each motion and how it helps different muscle groups. This will give you practice when you start creating videos for others. When your friends and family (or Facebook and Instagram fans) give you feedback, you can build and improve on your videos until you are ready to sell them under your brand.  If you decide to build your own video series, make sure it looks professional. You may want to rent out a workout space and professional lighting for a few days to create the videos you need.   

Get Into Virtual Reality Workouts

If you are interested in technology as well as working out, you may be interested in leading and creating virtual reality workouts. These can be done in-person, with participants enjoying virtual immersion in spin class, or remotely. Imagine going for a bike ride through mountainous terrain without ever leaving your living room or boxing a heavyweight champaign without stepping into the ring.With VR workouts, you can coach your clients in almost any setting and keep them engaged because of the unique experience. This trend is still new, which means there are plenty of opportunities for creative personal trainers. 

Start a Fitness Blog, YouTube, or Instagram Account

You can turn your fitness business into a side hustle or part-time job — it doesn’t have to become your full-time career. If you already have a fitness-based job (like working at a gym), build on it with a YouTube channel or Instagram account. You can share your workouts and motivational tips with the people you meet who want to develop healthy habits. You can also create a fitness blog to talk about your own bodybuilding or weight-loss journey. Having a strong Instagram presence is also a good idea if you want to build your client base before you create your own business. You will already have a following and, ideally, potential customers. If your current job isn’t fitness-based, consider connecting something unique about you with fitness to create an engaging Instagram account. If you also love baking, you could create a crossover account where you work out to make room for muffins and cupcakes. It takes time to build a following on these accounts, but you could eventually get sponsorships and other sources of advertising revenue. 

Become a Mentor for People During Their Fitness Journeys

Even if you aren’t able to offer virtual personal training or create a line of videos just yet, you can still help others lose weight or get fit. Studies have found that telling people your goals – when you are telling your goal to someone you look up to – makes you more likely to stick to it and work to hit it. “If you don’t care about the opinion of whom you tell, it doesn’t affect your desire to persist — which is really what goal commitment is all about,” Howard Klein, lead author of the study at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, says. “You want to be dedicated and unwilling to give up on your goal, which is more likely when you share that goal with someone you look up to.”As a mentor, you can be the person that people look up to in their fitness goals. Start by sharing your story online so others know what you have worked to accomplish. This could be your own personal weight loss journey or your drive to run a marathon. Then, consider taking on clients as a mentor to guide them to reach similar goals. If you work with someone who wants to run a marathon and you have trained for one yourself, you are more likely to know when to push them forward and when to be empathetic. If you have trouble building your mentorship base, look for companies that hire specialist mentors and then pair you with mentees to work with. 

Guide Customers to Better Eating Options

Your diet is often just as important as the workouts you do. A lack of protein or too many calories can prevent weight loss or muscle growth. Unfortunately, eating healthy isn’t always easy. Should you buy something that is low-fat or low-cal? What is a macro anyway?Virtual dieticians review the needs of customers and work carefully to create meal plans with them. Some people will even take calls from customers who are shopping at the grocery store, walking them through what foods they need. You can help people who are on the path to fitness but also need guidance when it comes to meal prep. You can also share the meals you eat on your social media channels. Explain what you are cooking, how you portion everything out, and why the food is good for you. If you can make healthy food taste good, then your followers are more likely to want to eat it.   Just because people feel uncomfortable in the gym doesn’t mean they don’t want to get fit. You can reach people who are too nervous or physically unable to leave the house and help them get in shape. Creating an online fitness business is a great way to grow your career and make money through remote work. 

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