10 Tips for being a successful personal trainer

Becoming a successful personal trainer is the goal of many young entrepreneurs. If you are just starting your own business or looking for ways to boost your existing business, keep reading for important tips to help you reach your goals.

How to become a successful personal trainer

Know your target market

Personal trainers are becoming more and more commonplace. You need to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd.

The first step in that process is knowing exactly the clientele that you want so you can effectively market to them. This post will give you a complete walkthrough to define your ideal client.

This isn’t true just for those who want to become a successful personal trainer.

Discovering your target market will likely depend on what types of fitness and athletics in which you specialize. If you have a background in tennis, you won’t likely target those who want to become bodybuilders.

Also, if you are working in more than an online market, you’ll want to consider the demographics of your area to see what groups could most likely benefit from your services.

Have a website

One of your greatest resources as a personal trainer will be the internet. People are becoming more and more dependent on their electronic devices. Tap into that need and you will become indispensable to them.

You can design custom workouts for your clients and never even leave your house. There are amazing tools out there that make this incredibly easy.

Creating a webpage that people can easily access for communication with you will also help you get and maintain clients. People want things to be easy and fitness is already challenging.

Make your training opportunities as simple as possible. An online presence is one of the best ways to do that.

Use social media

Over 80% of marketers say that using social media produced a boost in hits on their websites. Becoming a successful personal trainer means keeping your overhead costs low, and social media is free!

You’ll definitely want to use social media to market your business, but you’ll also want to use it to scope out your competition.

Seeing what’s working for those in your same field (as well as what isn’t) is a good place to start gathering ideas for what you want your own social media page to look like.

Another great benefit of using social media is the personal interaction it will allow you to have with a ton of people. Those interactions lead to relationships which lead to increased business.


There can be a lot of turnover in the fitness business. Picking a very specific target market can be helpful in retaining customers as you gain a good reputation as a successful personal trainer.

If your personal training business is something you plan to do on a part-time basis, you can market to those who specifically need help “after hours” such as those in the corporate world, or kids who need special coaching for sports after school.

By specializing and building a reputation in that field, you can usually generate a lot of clientele by references.

Keep learning

You need to stay on the cutting edge of what is hot in the fitness world if you’re going to maintain a steady appeal to your current and potential clients.

Even though tried and true methods make work for you, make sure you keep up with what is trending so you can give educated responses to questions. If you can’t someone else can!

Not only do you need to continue to learn about fitness, but you also need to continue to expand your marketing knowledge.

Becoming a successful personal trainer is all about learning how to sell both yourself and your services.


Sometimes the easiest way to get a new client is simply to ask for their business.

Sales is not something that comes easily to everyone, so make it something that comes naturally by buying promotional items that you can use as icebreakers.

Clothing with your company name is a great way to start a conversation with someone about your services. Consider having a booth at local events and expos where you can talk to people one-on-one about how you can help them with their fitness goals.

As you market yourself and your services, make sure people understand the benefits of having a personal trainer over simply a gym membership or a piece of exercise equipment.

The key is to help your prospective client understand that your services are something they need in their lives. Have some materials to put in their hand that explain those benefits (and your contact information of course!).

If you’re seeking young athletes, go see the coaches at your local high schools and leave some promotional materials that can go home to the parents.

The services of a successful fitness trainer can be in high demand at all grade levels.

Be personal

One of the best ways to keep your clients is to treat them as individuals. Getting to know their strengths and weaknesses will help you become a more successful personal trainer, but will also help you gain their trust.

If a client is missing regular sessions, make sure they know that you care and that you want to help them find ways to stay on track.

Don’t just pay attention to your clients when they are with you for a session. Take the time to email or text them articles and tips about ways and resources that they can use to reach their fitness goals.

They will appreciate the extra, customized attention that you give them, reinforcing the idea that your services are better than a workout video with no personal interaction or a gym that doesn’t care whether they show up or not.

If they look to you as a trusted advisor, they are less likely to bail ship and leave you without a client.


In the beginning of any new business venture, the main thing is to get your name out there.

A great way to do this is to volunteer with some local organizations or sports teams to showcase your talents and make contacts with potential clients.

Giving away your services may not seem like the smartest thing to do, but gifting certificates of personal training time is another good way to get your foot in the door with people and making them fall in love with having a successful personal trainer on their side.

The beginning days of any business are usually those with the lowest revenue as well, so take advantage of the many free resources available to you to help your strategic process.

Maintain professionalism

Even though personal training is just that – personal – there is no reason to not be a professional.

Show up on time and follow through on the things you say you will do. If you don’t have the answers to your clients’ questions, write them down and email them with the information or have it ready to give them at your next session.

Keep a neat and clean appearance. It all goes back to trust. A successful personal trainer takes their own workouts seriously, you don’t need to look like you just showed up from one when it’s time for your client’s session.

Have fun

Most people dread exercise. Creating fun and unique workout experiences for your clients will help keep them motivated and returning for their sessions on a regular basis.

This doesn’t mean you have to do something new every time your client shows up, but pay attention to the types of exercises that your clients really respond well to and try and put a new spin on those every once in a while.

You already know that setting smaller goals instead of big ones is necessary for continued fitness success. Getting fit is a process, so celebrate the smallest of victories with your clients.

A successful personal trainer never gives up

  • Speaking of motivation, make sure you don’t neglect your own.
  • Don’t ignore your own health or workouts. If you don’t exhibit the discipline you expect from your clients, your business will never get off the ground.
  • Change up your own fitness routine and try new things so you can speak knowledgeably about them to your clients.
  • Make sure you don’t overextend yourself. You’ll end up being neglectful of clients if you overbook the time you actually have to work.
  • But most of all, enjoy what you do! You are in the business of helping people achieve important goals in their lives.
  • Not everyone makes a living by bringing a better quality of life to people.
  • Be proud of your work and confident in your ability to help others!