There are lots of ways to make money as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, or sports coach. Most people assume that it’s all about selling training sessions but there are so many opportunities beyond this. Exploring a variety of ideas can boost your revenue and diversify your income, making you more resilient to tough economic times.
In this article – we explore how to make more money as a personal trainer or fitness coach with 35 tried and tested ideas that you can start today.
With the average personal trainer salary sitting at around $32,000, many PTs are looking at ways to boost their income. You should start with the fundamentals as these can be quick wins that have an instant impact on your earnings.
- Ask for a pay rise
- Improve your selling skills
- Optimise your sales funnel
- Increase prices
- Test new marketing ideas
It’s important to maximise the income from your existing setup first (if you can). This will establish a strong foundation for anything else you do.
Before investing time and effort into other avenues, look at what you’re currently doing. There may be quick and easy opportunities to increase your income, without too much extra work.
How To Increase Personal Training Revenue
There are essentially two ways to increase personal training revenue…
- Increase the volume of sales – by attracting new customers, selling more products to existing customers, or getting them to buy more frequently.
- Increase the value of sales – by raising your prices, upselling extras, or increasing the average purchase amount using bundles.
If you’re wondering how to make good money as a personal trainer, then it really boils down to these two things. They are the key to making any business succeed.
But what can you do to actually make them happen? In the next section, we’ll share ideas for supplemental income for personal trainers (that can easily turn into fulltime revenue generators).
Ways to Make Money as a Personal Trainer
Here are 35 proven ideas for both active and passive income for personal trainers…
Sell online courses
People increasingly want to learn and train on their own schedule. So why not offer an online course that people can access at any time they like? Udemy, Skillshare, and Teachable are all great platforms with plenty of guidance on how to get started as an online instructor.
Offer small group PT
This opens up your services to a wider audience due to the smaller price tag. Yet by training more clients in less time, you’ll also increase your income. Plus training in groups is fun and builds a sense of community, which increases loyalty.
Organise retreats or fitness holidays
Wellness tourism is growing 50% faster than other travel sectors and offers huge revenue potential. Organising weekend retreats or health-oriented holidays for your clients can substantially boost your income. Plus it develops a sense of community which can increase loyalty and repeat business.
Combine practical training with theoretical knowledge and create 4-6 week courses on specialist topics. Popular themes include pre or post-natal health and fitness, IronMan preparation, or nutrition-related topics. Aim for a minimum of 8 attendees, each paying $50-$200 for the complete course.
Run seminars or workshops
These offer great flexibility since they’re one-off events that don’t need a long term commitment (unlike courses which run for several weeks). You can either charge for attendance, or offer them for free in order to generate leads.
Top Tip – Offer complimentary places to your existing client base as an ‘exclusive loyalty perk’.
When it comes to ways to make money as a personal trainer, this one is a no-brainer. Look for supplements that will truly help your clients achieve their goals, and either sell them separately or as part of a bundle.
It’s easier than ever to write and publish ebooks online. Creating a Kindle version enables you to reach a huge potential audience. You’ll not only earn money on book sales but generate leads for your business too. Alternatively you can sell ebooks on your own website using a simple service like Selz or a marketplace like Workout Depot.
Sell home equipment
Some clients like to workout at home between sessions, so why not recommend equipment that’ll help them? Resistance bands, mats, and kettle bells are all easy to stock, transport, and don’t require professional installation. But they still require the specialist guidance of a trainer, so won’t cannibalise session sales.
Publish a printed book
Turn your book idea into reality and help people achieve their goals in the process. Using Amazon’s publishing platform to print your books on demand means you don’t even need to invest in large print runs!
We’re not talking about the hideous gym bags that everyone gives out with memberships. We’re talking about seriously stylish workout clothing or accessories, that your clients will actually be proud to be seen in.
Develop meal plans
We all know that solid nutrition is essential to our clients’ success. So offering tailored meal plans is a great way to earn extra income whilst also supporting their goal achievement. You can also sell workout plans too.
Sell recipe books
While we’re on the topic of nutrition, selling established recipe books is another profitable way to support your clients. Topics such as ’15 minute meals’ or ‘quick one-pot dishes’ are usually helpful for time-starved clients who want easy solutions. You could even take it a step further and create your own!
Create your own healthy snacks
If you have a knack for healthy baking, then perhaps you can make extra income from it. You could sell nutritious treats to your clients, local health food cafes, or at farmers’ markets and food festivals. Who’d have thought that baking would be one of the ways to make money as a personal trainer?!
Private label nutritional supplements
If you have an established reputation, it’s possible to leverage that by creating your own brand of nutritional supplements. There are lots of companies that will take care of the production on your behalf.
Set up an e-commerce website
You could combine all of these ideas and set up a website to sell a range of fitness-related products. Many manufacturers offer ‘drop-shipping’ which means you don’t have to purchase stock. You can get started for free on sites like Wix and SquareSpace.
Become a master coach
Fitness equipment manufacturers are always in need of experienced PTs to deliver instructor training on their behalf. You’ll also receive additional training which you’ll be paid for, so it’s ideal for continuing professional development.
Top Tip: Precor, Life Fitness, Technogym, and TRX all employee freelance master coaches, so why not connect with their marketing or education managers on LinkedIn.
Sports clubs often need fit and healthy people to referee during matches. You can earn extra income, whilst building relationships with clubs for future training opportunities.
Tutor kids in biology
If you’ve studied exercise science or physiology, then you may have enough knowledge to tutor kids in biology. Tutors earn $35+ per hour, and it’s easy to find gigs via University Tutor (global) or Tutor Hunt (UK).
Become a brand ambassador
Big companies like Reebok and Lululemon actively recruit trainers to become ambassadors on their behalf. You’ll get paid to attend events, promote them within your networks, and get awesome freebies too!
Get TV or movie gigs
This is one of the more left-field ways to make money as a personal trainer. But the truth is that PTs tend to have a certain look that’s in demand for many ‘background’ roles. Plus it’s easy to fit around your existing client schedule. Sign up with an agency to earn an extra $100+ per day.
Become a Beach Body Coach
Affiliate marketing programs can be hit and miss, but there are a lot of trainers who earn excellent money with this one. BB coaches earn up to $105 for challenge pack sales, and 25% commission on other retail sales. You can sign up directly on their website.
Train sports clubs
Approach local weekend league sports clubs about conducting fitness training for them. You can also offer them nutritional advice for pre-match preparation or post-match recovery.
Many people have ideas for fitness books but don’t know enough about the topic to write about it (or simply don’t want to spend the time). They’ll pay you a fixed fee to ‘ghost-write’ the book on their behalf, which can be between $10,000 and $15,000 (but be warned it is a LOT of work).
There are plenty of jobs for fitness models if you know where to look. It’s not just magazine covers that they appear on – it’s every piece of marketing in the fitness industry. So, network with marketing managers for health clubs, equipment manufacturers, supplement companies and let them know you’re available for photoshoots.
Many people mistakenly think that they need to be an expert to consult, but you actually just need to know more than the client. You can consult for equipment manufacturers regarding their training programs, or hotels for their in-house workout guides. Guru and Upwork are both good sites to find projects.
Train people online
This doesn’t need to involve setting up courses or videos. Just train clients one-on-one, as you would in person. All you need to get started is Skype, PayPal, and spreadsheet software to record client programs.
Top Tip: Check out our full article on online personal trainer.
Generate advertising income
Add banner adverts to your website and you’ll receive a small commission every time someone views or clicks it. Google AdSense is an easy place to start (although you might need your web developer to implement it if you aren’t into the tech part).
This can be one of the most lucrative ways to make money as a personal trainer. You can find all sorts of freelance opportunities on Upwork. It might be creating workout programs for other companies, advising on training techniques, or writing articles for fitness blogs.
Write for online magazines or websites
Many sites expect writers to produce their content for free. But there are several websites that’ll pay you for your articles. Here’s an extensive list to get you started.
Generate affiliate income
Companies pay affiliates to drive customers to their website. Creating product reviews, or having a ‘favourite tools’ or ‘recommended resources’ section are simple ways to do it. Amazon’s affiliate program is a good one to start with and pays up to 10% commission.
Represent beauty counter
This works in a similar way to affiliate income, where you get paid a commission for customers you refer to them. Their products are free from dodgy chemicals and commission rates are pretty good, so could be a good fit for some health and fitness websites. They explain everything in detail here.
Add a shop to your website
Add an extra section to your website where visitors can easily purchase products you promote. Many manufacturers will ‘drop-ship’ products directly to end-customers, so you don’t need to worry about holding stock. Selz, Shopify, or Wix are all good tools to get you started.
Lots of brands are now looking for ‘influencers’ who will subtly promote their products. They’ll pay you to create a workout or recipe using their product, and then promote it to your audience. Start by connecting with brands via social media and building up a relationship from there.
Sell professional photos
If you take professional photos of your workouts, healthy recipes, or even gym interior designs, then there are people who’ll be willing to buy them. You can sell them on stock photo sites such as DepositPhotos or Shutterstock.
Create Fitness-Tracking Templates
People loves to track their workouts and other healthy habits to see how they’re progressing. Despite the popularity of wearables, printable planners and trackers are still big business. Trying selling your own designs on Etsy or Amazon and you might be surprised by the results!
Summary of Ways to Make Money as a Fitness Trainer
So, there you have a comprehensive list of ways to make money as a personal trainer. We’re sure that there’s at least one idea that you can take action on in there. Whether you’re newly qualified and trying to build up your income or just want to make extra money on the side, these ideas can help.
If you’re interested in knowing how to make a lot of money as a personal trainer, then the most important aspect is continuing to learn. Reading books, taking courses, and constantly improving yourself will be crucial to your success. Hard work matters, but being strategic in your approach will get you there faster.