Becoming an Online Fitness Coach (Complete 2024 Guide)

Are you a fitness enthusiast?

Do you want to earn a living by sharing your expertise with others to help them keep fit and healthy?

Becoming an online fitness coach is a great way to help other people achieve their health and well-being goals. Not just that, but it can also be a great way to earn a living from home!  

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about starting an online fitness coaching business.

We will go through all of the steps we recommend to get you started and show you a few tools to make the job even easier.

Becoming an Online Fitness Coach Vs. a Personal Trainer

If you’re fitness-focused and you’re looking to start a business within the fitness industry, you might be wondering whether you should call yourself an online fitness coach or an online personal trainer.

There are some differences between the two, so we should clarify what these are before we jump into the steps for opening your new business. 

Online personal trainers create general fitness programs for their clients.

These programs tend to focus on helping people get more active or reach a certain weight.

Fitness coaches, on the other hand, work with clients that have more specific fitness goals they struggle to achieve on their own. For example, winning competitions or growing certain muscle groups.

If you’re thinking of becoming a personal trainer instead of a coach, you can look into the type of personal training certification you’ll need on a website like NASM, which coaches people on fitness and nutrition.

This can differ from country to country so make sure you comply with local regulations!

If you’re considering becoming a fitness instructor instead of a certified personal trainer, you typically won’t need to get a diploma.

This means that the whole process (from learning the skill to offering online courses and sessions) will be much faster and more cost-effective.

NASM certification options

Should You Start an Online Coaching Business in 2024?

In the past few years, we’ve seen all types of businesses migrate from in-person only to online or hybrid models.

The fitness industry is no exception!

In consequence, not only is it convenient to start online coaching in 2024 – it could also be more time-efficient and affordable for both the new client and coach, as shown by post-COVID trends.

Online coaching offers several advantages. For one, this modality eliminates the time and cost required for commuting to and from a studio.

More importantly, it also maximizes the number of clients you can take on and allows them access to all the tools and resources you offer any time of day (which, in turn, takes away the peak hours of before- and after-work sessions coaches see when in-person training!).

Fitness coaching is something people can now do virtually, from the comfort of their homes, and without having to worry about finding a physically nearby trainer.

As a result, coaches are also expanding into other aspects of the business, from creating nutrition and workout plans for clients to building courses that can be watched on their own time and hosting live sessions when needed. 

In short: there’s no better time to start your online fitness business.

Being able to offer products and services online is convenient for everyone involved!

So, let’s go through the steps you will need to take to make it happen.

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How to Become an Online Fitness Coach

For those ready to dive into becoming a fitness coach, the following strategy should make the whole process much more approachable.

We’ve divided this guide into four steps to show you the path forward.

1 – Defining Your Niche

While fitness is for everyone, your business doesn’t have to be.

The first step when thinking about starting an online fitness coaching course or endeavor is to define what type of user you’ll have and the product you’ll sell them to meet their needs.

Doing a little research before selecting your target audience is always a good idea.

Some trainers like to start defining their niche by creating a prototype of a user, also called a buyer persona.

This “ideal” is a great tool to help you create a great product.

If you’re unsure where you get started, you can run surveys online or ask your community about their fitness concerns and needs.

For example, during this step, you might define your business as mainly targeted toward men, women, or people of a certain age.

A tip to establish this selection would be to think, for example, about what sports they prefer and their most common dietary needs.

If you’re not sure who your target audience could be or what specifically you can offer a group of people, don’t hesitate to also take a look at who else is working with the same niche.

Understanding your competition can give you great ideas and show you what things you can do differently – or better!

A woman doing crunches.

2 – Building Your Product

Once you’ve understood your target audience’s needs, it’s time to start developing a product that speaks to them.

If you’re passionate about fitness, you’ll probably find this step very satisfying!

Let’s think of an example.

Your buyer persona is Angela, a 34-year-old accountant who loves pilates and is a vegan. What would Angela’s ideal plan be?

You could, for instance, offer a standard diet and exercise template she can buy and download.

Or you could also propose a personalized training program that takes all of that into account but costs a little more.

These are just a couple of ideas; the possibilities for what you can do with an online fitness business are almost endless. 

A popular type of product offered by fitness coaches is a membership site, or a subscription with new fitness content every month.

You can also plan a course with short-term or unlimited access, monthly check-ins via a call, and more. 

It’s a good idea to use your buyer persona and competitor research knowledge to define your pricing.

Consider that you’ll have some fixed monthly costs for hosting your WordPress site (if you choose to have one), plus fees for paying for your domain every year. Just think of this stage as you would with a brick-and-mortar company.

There is one difference, though: with an online business, you don’t have to worry about overheads like utilities, cleaning staff, and such!

3 – Building a Website

Building a website is probably one of the best things you can do once you’re ready to launch your fitness coaching business, as it’s the ideal place to list and promote all your services and products.

Not to mention a much more convenient way of explaining relevant FAQs and going into detail about what makes your business unique. 

You can create a website using WordPress or pick a platform that hosts your content for a monthly fee. We recommend owning your own site and using an all-in-one course-building plugin to develop, market, and sell your product.

The main reason is that it’s best to have complete control over your content from the get-go, so you can then grow your business without depending on external services.

4 – Creating a Marketing Strategy

We’ve covered the steps of defining your audience, building a product, and setting up a website.

Now, to go from creating your fitness sessions to selling them, you’ll need to get your offers in front of the people who need them the most.

This is where your marketing strategy comes in.

One helpful tool you can use to create a buyer’s journey map is Miro.

This type of platform can aid in imagining how you can show up in front of potential clients at every step.

For example, you can plan the entire user journey, from the steps you need to take to make sure people see and purchase your services to everything you’ll need to set up to get them delivered. 

Some common marketing strategies and tips for fitness coaches include:

  • Establish your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): To make sure your fitness classes stand out against the competition, make sure you know (and share clearly) your unique selling point. What makes your sessions special? And what makes you such a great trainer?
  • Get the Timing Right: Ensure you’re capitalizing on seasonal trends and events throughout the year. This will help you stay relevant and create a sense of urgency that can make your sessions more attractive to potential customers. 
  • Set a Budget: The foundation of your marketing strategy should be a clear budget. That way, you’ll be able to decide how you want to spend your money on different marketing channels such as social media, Google ads, etc. 
  • Be Consistent: Always have consistent branding across all the channels you plan on using. For example, always include your logo, use the same color scheme, and have a similar tone of voice on all your marketing materials, no matter the platform.
  • Use Social Media: Although a website will be the ideal place to share your services, make sure you also use social media to promote your fitness coaching business. Don’t restrict yourself to one channel; try several instead.
Miro, an online whiteboarding tool that can be effective for planning your online coaching marketing strategy.

Tips for Creating a Perfect Strategy

Many touchpoints of your strategy will involve content that adds value, teaches something, or gives your potential client a solution. Here are some tips for preparing your sessions so they do precisely that:

  • Offer digestible tips for weight loss and muscle gain on social media. If possible, do this every day so you can stay top of mind for your leads and draw in new ones regularly.
  • Host live training sessions on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, addressing FAQs and common concerns from existing customers.
  • Offer assessments for new visitors to your website and use quizzes, forms, or discovery calls as a way to get their email and contact information.
  • Nurture your leads by giving them high-value content, links, and tips via email marketing. Also, remind them to sign up if they want a full version of those attractive snippets.
  • Offer coaching clients a variety of options to stay besides continuing to pay for courses. For example, you can add a monthly subscription or include personalized diet content options and see how they affect your retention.
  • Give your customers the option to make their own earnings promoting your products and services. You can use an affiliate marketing tool to get more referrals and manage them effectively. This keeps happy customers happier because they make money when you do!

Using AccessAlly to Become an Online Coach

Starting a business can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be!

When approaching this challenge, the most important thing you can do is make sure you have the best tools that can make the job easier. 

AccessAlly is a solution that was created with coaches in mind and is particularly useful for supporting people who want to start an online fitness training business.

This all-in-one WordPress plugin can help you to deliver your products to online clients without hassle.

Here are some things that make this platform uniquely fitting:

  • Using AccessAlly, fitness professionals can design a stunning website that fits their business model – including an attractive sales page to offer online services and products in a user-friendly and engaging way.
The AccessAlly WordPress theme
  • AccessAlly’s LMS (Learning Management System) functionality allows you to create and offer courses on topics of your choice. This can include fitness programs with workout plans, sports medicine, and more. And the best part: You can keep all these lessons in a video library and drip-feed it to your enrolled students when you best see fit. 
  • You can include course quizzes and offer completion certifications to help students stay engaged and motivated.
  • Coaches can also offer memberships, subscriptions, and other payment models for customers. You can also easily create and distribute monthly templates for meal plans or other valuable content. 
  • AccessAlly is specially equipped to help market your courses and product offers, thanks to features like affiliate management and the ability to send emails directly from the platform.
  • Unlike other external solutions like Teachable, which charge you as you grow your business, AccessAlly is just as equipped to handle a small online fitness business as it is the empire that your business will grow to – but you are the one in control! The plugin is extremely easy to install and can take your WordPress site to the next level in no time.
AccessAlly's course builder

Gather the Tools to Start Your Business 

If you’re considering opening an online fitness coaching business, you’re in luck: 2023 is the perfect year to do so!

With more people switching to digital formats each day, you will surely find the perfect audience to share your knowledge, passion, and expertise and help others get healthier and happier.

The key to a successful business (no matter the industry) is to have the right tools for the job.

For creating, promoting, and selling online fitness content, there’s just no better solution than AccessAlly.

AccessAlly was created for coaches and will help you build and maintain a successful business online through its powerful but user-friendly functionalities – which include designing a stunning website, offering engaging courses, and working with memberships and affiliate programs, all from the same place!

Try AccessAlly today to take your online coaching business to the next level.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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