How to Start a Fitness Business

Close your eyes.

Now picture a sprawling gym filled with dozens of people, people who trust you with their fitness goaIMG_0558-300x197-2ETfau.jpgls. At the door, there are always 3-5 people waiting for you to high tail it over and explain your programs.

You are the talk of the town, the head fitness honcho, the one fitness professional that gets more clients from referrals than marketing.

Your impact on your clients’ lives is obvious: the weight loss stories, the inches of fat trimmed, the confidence and smiles you help them regain.

Now open your eyes.

All of that – the overflow of clients, the referrals, the results – and more can be yours…

Far too often I see people stand in awe of the top earners in their industry. They tell themselves that they could never reach that level of success or profits…

Let me let you in on a dirty little secret: those guys didn’t drink any magic juice or wish upon the right star. Josh Carter, Matt Wilber, Samantha Taylor, Craig Ballantyne, me — we all started in your shoes.

All we began with was a desire to change lives and the drive to make that a reality.

Listen, you’re here because you either are interested in starting a fitness business or already own one and want to make it better.

I’m here to tell you that the first step – the step you need to take before you see growth in your business – is to aim high. Six and seven-figure revenue, TV features, widespread impact — all of that is within your grasp.

I’ll say a little more about this in a bit, but first I want to give you some action steps you can take RIGHT NOW that will put you in a winning position before your doors even open.


Carve Out Your Niche

What age groups and gender do you want to serve with your training? How much does your ideal client make? What are your ideal client’s interests, hobbies, fears, goals, etc.?

See, this is called creating your avatar — the ideal client you’re marketing to. Without one, you can’t find a niche – this is the demographic you identify as your target market. Without this, your marketing will be too unfocused, and you’ll waste a lot of time and money on basically zero leads.

You’d be surprised at how many different slices of the population there are. You have your extreme athletes, stay at-home moms, retired seniors, college students, you name it.

Yes, each of these groups needs fitness. But the workouts and nutrition that, say, a world-class baseball player needs are much different than what a middle-aged man needs to get back into high school shape.

I’d ask myself two questions and two questions only: “Which group am I passionate about serving” and “Which group has an urgent need and money they are willing to spend on it”?

The answers you give to those two questions will tell you a lot about whom your marketing should be geared towards. It should also give you your Unique Selling Point, which is basically what sets your business apart from the crowd.

There are plenty of gym chains, personal trainers, “big box” gyms, and online trainers trying to sell to “everybody”. What will set you apart is focusing on a specific audience, especially one that everyone else is ignoring, and tailoring every part of your business to serve them.

That’s why everything, from the vibe of your facility to the workouts you give, matters when you’re trying to bring in new clients and keep your old clients satisfied.


Location is (Not Really) Everything

So many fitness professionals I consult give themselves way too many gray hairs trying to scout the perfect location.

Honestly, only a small fraction of your clients will actually check you out because of your prime spot on the sidewalk or in the shopping center.

When someone wants to commit to a gym or personal trainer, they’ll look online for reviews. They’ll sift through various low barrier offers trying to find the best fit for themselves.Dollarphotoclub_59851357-300x199-rjPi7W.jpg

More than worrying about how far your building is from the street or whether the parking lot is big enough, the one factor I would prioritize is making sure you’re near your niche.

If you train top-earning professional athletes, you obviously wouldn’t want to locate yourself in the middle of the hood, right?

No, you’d want to park your business as close to those plush homes in Beverly Hills as you can.

Or let’s say you want to train stay-at-home moms. Wouldn’t it make sense to set up shop somewhere near the local school? That way those moms can drop off/pick up the kids and get their workout in all in one trip!

One more thing: Don’t worry about finding the largest open space available. It’s ok to be small.

When you see any place of business packed to the brim with customers, you automatically assume they’re providing a highly in-demand service (usually they are).

It’s the same thing with restaurants: no matter what the square footage is, when a place is PACKED you assume they have awesome food, and when it’s partially full you start to question it. You want to lean towards being packed because that drives up demand.

THAT should be the signal for you to seek a larger space. THAT’S healthy growth.


Market Like A Boss

Let me give you a nice three-pronged approach to marketing. Of course, there are more ways you could market, but these are good starting points.

One: you have to be on Facebook.

There are plenty of trainers out there that refuse to give social media a shot. But most, if not all, of your clients are logged onto various online platforms every day.

Of course, Facebook is by far the most popular network online. You can run ads that will reach your target demographic and only your target demographic, so that you only have to pay for exposure that will help your business.Info-Marketing-294x300-UbyBt5.jpg

And, once your gym is teeming with clients, you can invite them all to a private Facebook group where they can share support and accountability, and you can keep loving them up and convincing them to renew their contracts.

Now, the second approach to fitness marketing is through mail. Of course, snail mail is always an option, but you’ll get most of your leads through your email list.

Talk to local business owners and give them free trial memberships in exchange for their mailing list. You can also use funnels to get emails from the people clicking on your ads.

Speaking of, the undisputed best way to create and manage your mailing list is through FitPro Newsletter. You can schedule auto responders to go out to your list multiple times a week, which will take the load off your shoulders and allow you to focus on closing more clients. Get started today at

Once you have that list of interested prospects, it’s time to shower them with content. Before you pitch them any LBO or special offer, they should know, like, and trust you.

That comes by way of sending practical, informative emails that position you as a fitness genius.

Of course, the last method of fitness marketing is getting out there and networking in person.

What products does your avatar like to buy? What stores or restaurants does he or she visit often?

You can network in a variety of ways.

You could ask these businesses to host “lead boxes”, which are stations where prospects can fill out a request to be contacted for more info. Another great option is to do a “lunch-and-learn”, where you meet up with a business owner and hand out free trial memberships to their clients and employees.

The key is to establish genuine relationships with these owners. You’ll meet more people and you’ll also earn business partnerships, client referrals, and recognition.


This is just the tip of the iceberg on how to start a fitness business. Check out the video below for more help getting your business off to a running start!

Committed to your success,