Marketing 101 for Personal Trainers

Personal trainers have (without a doubt) the best “feel good” job in the world, helping people feel better about themselves and empowering them every day. Unfortunately, the majority of personal trainers also struggle when it comes to making their business financially successful. Very few personal trainers (i.e., Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, Chris Powell, Harley Pasternak) get the recognition they deserve and make whopping six-figure salaries. Most get into the business for reasons other than fame and fortune, although having a profitable and secure business is a definite bonus!

The majority of personal trainers spend their days, from early morning to late at night, facilitating training sessions and teaching classes for money. A successful, and profitable personal trainer, will schedule an average of six clients/classes per day. A typical day might look like this:

  • 6:00-7:00 am  >>  Personal training session
  • 7:00-8:00 am  >>  Personal training session
  • 8:00-8:30 am  >>  Commute to a different gym location
  • 9:00-10:00 am  >>  Teaching a small group training class
  • 10:00-10:30 am  >>  Commute to a different gym location
  • 11:00am-12:00 pm  >>  Phone calls, emails, and food
  • 12:00-1:00 pm  >>  Teaching a small group training class
  • 1:00-2:00 pm  >>  Free consultation with a new client
  • 2:00-4:00 pm  >>  Errands (i.e., picking up the kids)
  • 4:00-5:00 pm  >>  Phone calls, emails, and food
  • 5:00-6:00 pm  >>  Personal training session
  • 6:00-7:00 pm  >>  Personal training session
  • 7:00-8:00 pm  >>  Administration (i.e., paperwork, bills, etc.)
  • 8:00-10:00 pm  >>  Dinner and free time

With such a busy schedule facilitating sessions, personal trainers spend all of their time “in the business” instead of working “on the business”. They feel pressured to train as many clients as they can to earn revenue and fail to spend the time needed to build, grow, and plan for their business’s future.

Personal Trainers “Try” to Market Themselves

Whether they’ve had formal marketing training or not, personal trainers are constantly marketing. Marketing consists of everything you do in order to attract clients to the business. So … every time they walk out their front door they are marketing themselves to potential clients. This includes:

  • Their appearance (i.e., how “fit” they look, the clothes they are wearing)
  • How they act
  • What they say

Unfortunately, this kind of marketing is limited to the people who might actually be paying attention to you when you are physically in the room (which might only be the one person he/she is training at the time). That marketing strategy is extremely limiting and does not guarantee effective growth or sustainability of the business. Similar to starting a weight training program without a goal, set timeline, or an effective program, getting results is highly unlikely.

Successful personal trainers, on the other hand, take the time to develop a marketing strategy in an effort to:

  • Differentiate themselves from the competition
  • Generate more revenue (effective marketing campaigns generate more sales)
  • Manage their busy schedule effectively
  • Develop a more secure and stable business (i.e., consistent client load)

Although this sounds like a tall order, an effective strategy and plan can accomplish all of these things (and more). Financially successful personal trainers don’t need extra staff or a marketing company to help them out. They just know how to maximize their time and money to:

“Get the right message to the right audience, at the right time, using the right medium”.

By setting aside as little as one hour per day, a personal trainer can build their business and market themselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“The Business of Personal Training: Marketing Strategies for the Profitable Personal Trainer”, the second book in the “Business of Personal Training” series, provides information on:

  1. Marketing (and what it is)
  2. The different types of marketing media
  3. The benefits of an effective marketing strategy
  4. The steps to follow when developing a marketing strategy
  5. The importance of evaluating your strategy for ongoing growth and success

Are you ready to take your first step into the mystical world of marketing? If so, business will NEVER be the same again!


Written by Andrea Oh, author of “The Business of Personal Training: Marketing Strategies for the Profitable Personal Trainer”  (

Leave a Comment