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How to Become an Online Fitness Coach (2020) 

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Want to know how to become an online fitness coach? We’ve covered everything that you need to know to set up your very own online business.

Becoming an online fitness coach is an exciting career path with a lot of freedom and an uncapped earning potential. 

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re serious about starting an online fitness coaching business, stick with us as we explain all the fun stuff, starting with the benefits of this career path, and then covering your expected salary!

We’ve also explained everything else that goes into how to start an online fitness coaching business, including:

  • Online Fitness Coaching Certification
  • Getting The Right Insurance
  • Online Fitness Coach Marketing Tips
  • Setting Online Fitness Coach Prices

If you aren’t already qualified, then quickly enquire for our REPs endorsed Personal Training Diploma or donwload our latest course prospectus before you get started.

What Is Online Fitness Coaching?

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Before we explain how to become an online fitness coach in the UK, we thought we’d quickly answer ‘what is an online fitness coach’ and ‘what does an online fitness coach do?’.

Online coaching is fitness training that is carried out online, usually via live and recorded video, specific training apps, or for some bigger businesses, online dashboards.

An online fitness coach asks their clients about their goals and a little bit about their current fitness and lifestyle habits. From there, the coach creates a fitness programme that is tailored to the client’s specific wants and needs.

The online coach communicates with clients throughout the week, usually over email or via a video call. They provide full support to help their clients get through their workouts, stay on plan, and achieve their goals.

Online coaches often create online communities, where clients can speak to each other, and share their goals, progress, and any tips of their own.

Online Fitness Coach vs Personal Trainer

The role of an online fitness coach and a PT are very similar, with the obvious difference being that online fitness coach training is based online and PT’s are based in a gym.

There is also such a thing as an online PT, however, this is slightly different from an online fitness coach. 

Whereas an online PT mainly makes programmes for clients with generic goals, such as getting fitter and losing fat, an online fitness coach works with clients with specific goals. 

For example, clients who need a programme that will help them to improve their technique or reach their peak performance in a specific sport.

The Benefits Of Online Fitness Coaching 

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Since you want to know how to become an online fitness coach,  you’re probably well aware of at least one of the many benefits of online fitness coaching.

Most likely, the benefit you’re thinking of is that you’ll earn more money by taking your fitness coaching business online. 

That’s fine, the point of any job is to earn a living. However, you won’t get very far in a career if the only thing you like is how much money you can make.

So before we talk about your potential income, here’s our full list of the online coaching benefits for you, your business, and your clients!

Take on More Clients

One of the main reasons that so many fitness professionals take their business online is that it allows you to increase your client base massively.

When you work as a regular PT, the number of clients that you can have will always be limited by the number of hours in the day. 

Even if you set up group PT sessions, you’ll always reach a point where you physically can’t take on any more clients.

As somebody who is passionate about coaching clients and helping them to reach their fitness goals, it’s understandable that you’ll want to have as big a client base as possible. Plus, the more clients you have, the more money you can make.

If you don’t have any experience working as a coach or a PT, you might be thinking that you would just start work earlier or stay at the gym a little later, well we’re here to tell you that a day in the life of a personal trainer is already pretty long.

That’s why becoming an online fitness coach is the most manageable way to build your client base. 

Plus, you won’t have to worry about losing clients because you’re always booked up for their favourite timeslot. You won’t be overwhelmed with early birds fighting for your first session of the day and you can forget all about the after-work rush.

You can coach as many clients as you like at any one time, meaning you don’t have to turn clients away and you won’t have to start work at the crack of dawn - unless you really want to.

Which leads us to the next benefit…

Choose Your Own Working Schedule

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Another reason to start an online fitness coaching business is that you get to be your own boss. That means you’re in charge of the rota and you get to set your own work schedule. 

You’ll have complete flexibility over your working hours and you can wave goodbye to long 12+ hour days in the gym.

When you’re first figuring out how to set up online fitness coaching, you will have to put in a lot of time and effort initially, there’s no getting around that.

But, once you’re all set up you will have all the freedom of being your own boss, your hours won’t be determined by your client’s availability, and you can work from the comfort of your own home.

You can choose to work a full day or break up your working hours to fit around other commitments, like another job, taking your kids to school, or your own training.

As long as you have the drive and motivation to make sure you get your work done, you have complete freedom and flexibility to do whatever works best for you. Plus, all of these other benefits of working from home from the themuse. 

Flexibility For Clients

Just as becoming an online fitness coach will add an element of flexibility into your working day, it will also enable your clients to have a more flexible fitness regime.

Clients will be able to get their workouts done however they like, so if something comes up they won’t have to cancel their session or miss out on training, and you won’t miss out on their payment either.

Instead, they can catch up whenever they do have the time. They can even split their workouts into shorter, more frequent sessions, if that’s something that you choose to accommodate for. 

Again, this can help you to get more clients as it opens up your services to those who can’t commit to full hour training sessions or don't have the same availability every week.

However, this won’t be beneficial for all clients. Some people need to commit to a routine and knowing their coach is waiting for them is what motivates them to get to the gym in the first place. 

This is where getting an online fitness coaching software to track client progress comes in really handy. Keep reading because we’ve covered the best software platforms very soon!

Live In A Remote Location 

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Taking your fitness business online removes the barriers of location, meaning that it won’t matter where you or your clients are based.

You can move out of town and still coach your existing clients, and you can access clients in areas with a high demand regardless of where you’re based.

This is a huge benefit as it will increase your potential client base massively without the need to live in a big city and pay top prices for rent.

Specialise In A Niche Area Of Fitness

Thanks to the online fitness coaching benefits for removing location as a barrier to clients, you can create a niche for your business without worrying that there won’t be enough demand in your area. 

This means that you can target a specific group of clients with goals that line up with an area of health and fitness that you are truly passionate about.

If you haven’t already considered finding a niche for your online fitness coaching business, then you should probably start. We’ll explain exactly why when we share our top marketing tips, so stick with us for that!

No Laborious Tasks

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Once you start an online fitness business, tasks like carrying out gym inductions and cleaning equipment will be a thing of the past.

Obviously, they’re part and parcel of working in a gym, but let’s be honest, we’d all skip those tasks if we had the choice.

Not only are these tasks boring, but they’re also a waste of time and therefore money, as the hours you spend working away on the gym floor would be much better spent actually coaching clients. 

Fortunately, when you have an online-based business, this won’t be a problem. You can leave those jobs to the PTs in the gym, buying yourself more time to work on your business.

You Don’t Have To Quit Your Day Job

Although one reason to become an online fitness coach is that you can have all the benefits that come with being your own boss, if you quite like your current job then you can have the best of both worlds.

When you set up your online fitness business, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still coach your existing clients in the gym.

You will have the choice to take on as many or as few online clients as you like, so there’s always the option of carrying on as normal and getting set up online in your free time or cutting down your hours in the gym to spend more time on your new fitness coaching business. 

Cheaper For You & Your Clients

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To finish our round-up of the benefits of online fitness coaching, we couldn’t forget the benefits of this business structure for your pockets!

We’ve already mentioned that you’ll be able to manage a lot more clients by taking your business online, but by cutting down your costs to an absolute minimum, you’ll see a further boost in your profits.

This is all thanks to reduced outgoings, as you’ll no longer need to pay out for things like travel costs or rent in a gym.

This gives you the option to reduce the cost of your services to your clients, opening up your target audience even further to people with a lower budget. 

If you’re confused about setting the right pricing structure for your online fitness coach program, then you can skip straight to our pricing section a little further down. But first, we’re going to talk about salary, qualifications, and getting insured.

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How Much Does An Online Fitness Coach Make?

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Because of the flexibility that comes with starting an online business, it can be tough to define an average online fitness coach income or salary.

This is the case throughout the fitness industry. Regardless of whether you’re a PT in a gym, a self-employed fitness professional, or an online fitness coach, your potential income will never be set in stone - which is why we produced this full personal trainer salary guide.

Seeing as we’re talking about your potential new business venture, it’s only natural that you want a rough idea of what an online fitness coaching salary looks like.

To get a realistic idea, we recommend that you have a quick read of our salary guide, and consider these key factors:

  • Number of clients you have
  • How much you charge
  • The services you offer

You can also watch our PT careers options video to see how your salary can differ depending on which route you take in the fitness industry: 

One thing that is for sure is that creating an online fitness coaching program is one of the best ways to boost your current income, no matter what it may be at the minute.

You can minimise your outgoings and coach more clients, meaning you’ll make more money, all without the long hours that other high earning fitness professionals have to put in.

Online Fitness Coach Certification

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Obviously, you’re here because you want to find out how to become an online health and fitness coach, so what are the steps that you need to take to make that happen?

First things first is you’ll need the right qualifications.

Unlike becoming a gym-based fitness instructor, there is no set qualification that will give you the title ‘online fitness coach’. 

You might have already done some research and come across a cheap course, similar to this one:

online fitness coaching certification example

However, this is not an accredited or regulated qualification, so you’ll struggle to get insured and morally, this qualification alone won’t give you the right level of knowledge to charge clients for your services. 

Instead, you’ll need to look for a qualification that is regulated by REPs or CIMSPA and regulated by an awarding body, such as Ofqual.

Instead of a specific online fitness coaching course, the qualification that you need depends on what you want to do with your business. 

At the very least, you’ll want to be able to create personalised fitness programmes for your clients. That means that you’ll need a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training.

If you want to give nutritional advice and meal plans alongside that, then it’s best to have the right qualifications for that, too. 

A level 3 qualification will give you a broad knowledge of the nutritional principles, however, if you want to be able to assign meal plans for specific diets, special populations, and different exercise goals, then you’ll need a more advanced level 4 nutrition qualification. 

But more on that when we discuss career progression a little further on!

 

Become A Qualified Personal Trainer

Kick-start an exciting new career with one of our accredited fitness qualifications 

The Skills Of A Good Online Fitness Coach

If you want to know how to become an online fitness coach, then you don't want to be just any online coach. If you really want your business to take off, then you’ll need to know how to become a successful online fitness coach. 

Now that you know what qualifications you need to get started, here are the skills to make you successful:

#1 Knowledgeable 

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Once you’ve got your qualifications in the bag, you’ll have all of the knowledge to get you started, but you shouldn’t stop there. 

Constantly refreshing your knowledge by completing CPD courses and keeping up to date with the latest trends in the fitness industry is an equally important part of being a good online fitness coach.

This will keep your workout plans interesting and effective, helping to boost your client retention and ensuring that you and your clients continue to be passionate about the training plan.

#2 Passionate

One thing that will help you to find the motivation to work on your knowledge and improve your existing skills is your passion for coaching. 

Being passionate about coaching and therefore your career will help you to go far. It will mean that you’re committed to being the best that you can be, which will pay off for your business and your clients.

Having a job that you’re passionate about will mean that you’ll naturally put more time and effort in, because it won’t feel like work.   

Plus, it helps to practice what you preach. If your clients see your passion for fitness, then it’s more likely that they’ll become fitness fanatics themselves. 

#3 Communication 

Just because you aren’t face to face with your clients, doesn’t mean that having good communication skills is any less important.

Because you aren't physically in the gym with your client, it’s harder to gage how they’re finding their training. 

You can create a brilliant training plan, but if your clients are telling you the full story, either they’re missing out on workouts or struggling to stick to their new diet, they won’t see results.

You’ll need to be able to find an effective way of communicating with your clients and you’ll need to really listen to their feedback.

Finding the best way of communicating with each individual client can be time consuming, but it’s the best of ensuring that your clients are happy with their program and that they’re making progress.

#4 Motivational

This is a given for any fitness professional, but it’s still worth mentioning. 

If you want to know how to be a successful online fitness coach, then you’ll need to prioritise working on your motivational skills!

Getting your client motivated is essential if you want them to get real results. Don’t forget, the more progress they make, the more they’ll value your services and continue with your program.

Motivating online clients isn’t exactly easy, so you’ll need to get creative. Think about creating an online community for your clients, this can be as simple as a private FaceBook group. Or, introduce fun weekly challenges to keep the training enjoyable. 

#5 Organised

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Once you become an online fitness coach you’ll have a lot more clients to keep track off compared to your trainer.

With that comes the need for excellent planning skills. You’ll need to be organised in order to fit in time to write up plans for all of your clients and schedule video calls to keep in touch with them all. 

You’ll also need to keep on top of running your business behind the scenes, like sorting your taxes, completing CPDs, and marketing to get more clients. 

#6 Flexible

Finally, you’ll need to be flexible!

Although one of the online fitness coaching benefits is that you get to be your own boss, unfortunately that doesn’t mean you get to do exactly what you want.

You’ll be able to set your own working hours, but you’ll still need to have a little flexibility to cater for your clients schedules. 

As much as you might like the sound of having your evenings and weekends free, not everyone will be free to have a catch up between 9 and 5 on a weekday. So, you'll need to have a little flexibility and find a time that suits you both. 

Finding The Right Online Fitness Coach Insurance

No matter how big or small your business is, all fitness professionals need to have the right insurance. 

If you were thinking that starting an online fitness coaching business means that you can save on insurance, then we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that really isn’t the case.

The main reason that you’ll need to get online fitness coach insurance is that there’s a chance your client could get injured from the program, especially as you aren’t able to check that they’re executing the exercises correctly. 

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If you’re still working as a fitness instructor or a PT in a gym alongside your online business, you’ll need to make sure that you have a policy that covers you offline and online, too. 

If there’s one thing that you take from this article, it’s that you should not assume that your current insurance will cover you if you set up an online fitness coaching business. 

Do your own research or check out OriGym's guide to fitness professional insurance.

Online Fitness Coach Tips: Marketing Strategy

One of the benefits of online fitness coaching careers is that you have an unlimited client base, however with that comes even more competition.

Just as there are plenty of clients looking for coaches, there are also tons of online coaches looking for clients, so you need to make sure that you need to get a good marketing strategy in place to make sure that your new business stands out.

Find out how to become a successful online fitness coach with our top 5 marketing tips:

Decide On A Niche

Before you can create a proper marketing strategy, you’ll need to decide who you want your target audience to be. 

The best way to do this is to decide on a niche, for example, you could become an online fitness coach for competition athletes. 

There are tons of benefits of creating a niche for your business, but to name a few, having a niche will reduce your competition, increase the visibility of your brand among your audience, and allow you to focus on the area of fitness that you’re most passionate about.  

When you decide on a niche, you can create the image that you’re an expert in the area and it shows that you share the same interests as your clients, plus it will make your life a lot easier when it comes to making your online fitness coaching packages.

Create A Good Social Media Strategy

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We don’t need to tell you that social media should be front and center of your online fitness coach marketing strategy.

However, we can help you with how you approach social media, for example, what platforms are best to prioritise, and what kind of content you should share.

First things first, you’ll need to create a consistent brand image across all social media platforms. 

That means you’ll need to decide on a good fitness business name and create (or have a professional create) a logo for your brand. You should then use the same name and logo on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

From there, you should focus on creating valuable content. So, brainstorm some ideas of what you think your current and prospective clients would like to see, and base your content around showing how your services can solve your client’s problems. 

Client testimonials and progress pictures also work really well on social media, they show your audience that you’re real and that you can deliver the results that they want.  

Hold Online Workshops

To really get the word out there about your online fitness coaching business, hold an online workshop or webinar.

This is a brilliant way to show off your expertise and share your knowledge with an audience that is interested in your services.

You can even ask the viewers for their email addresses, which will allow you to build a database of potential clients who are clearly interested in what you have to offer. 

Posting about your workshop on social media will help you to get a big audience, and it provides you with some engaging video content to post on your feed.

Set Up A Refer friend

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Just because your fitness business is online, doesn't mean you have to use an entirely digital marketing strategy. Referral schemes are a classic type of marketing that works really well in the fitness industry, especially if you have a business with a niche.

Referrals always have a good retention rate because people tend to trust people that they know a lot more than they trust what they see online.

Your clients will usually have a network of friends or fellow gym-goers with similar hobbies and interests to theres. With a referral scheme, you can target their network and turn them into your new clients.

You can do this by asking your clients to talk to their friends about your services, and providing an incentive like a discount or a freebie if one of their recommendations signs up with you.

Set-up Paid Google Ads

Advertising is another thing that you should consider when you’re thinking about how to start online fitness coaching.

Paid Google Ads are a brilliant way for potential clients to find you. Think about what you would do if you were wondering how to find an online fitness coach - you’d Google it!

Find out exactly how to set up Google Ads by checking out the best personal trainer advertising tips from OriGym

Online Fitness Coach Cost 

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Now that you know how you’re going to get the word out there about your business and find new clients, how much are you going to charge them?

The first thing to bear in mind is that the cost of an online fitness coach is usually lower than that of a fitness trainer who provides 1-1 sessions in the gym.

This is mainly because the cost of online fitness coach outgoings is a lot lower than that of a regular coach, plus clients are getting the benefits of face to face training that they would get if you were in the gym with them. 

Online coaching is cheaper for your clients because it’s cheaper for you, but it’s still a really profitable business. This means you’ll have a big margin, so you can choose whether you want to make your training as expensive or inexpensive as you like.

So, what should your online fitness coach price be?

This entirely depends on a number of factors, such as your expertise and the level of qualifications in the industry. 

It should also be factored into your marketing strategy and how you want people to perceive your business. 

For example, you can market yourself as a cheap online fitness coach and try to appeal to a low budget audience, or you could set your prices high so that your audience associate your business as being high quality. 

Obviously, you can’t charge over the odds as an experienced online fitness coach if you don't have the qualifications to back you up. So, you should always be working on your professional development so that you can provide the best possible service to your clients.

That means completing CPD qualifications, like learning about the principles of bodyweight training or adding to your knowledge on hydration for sport and exercise.

Online Fitness Coaching Packages

Before you go ahead and do your own research into how much you should charge your online clients, stop and think about how you’re going to sell your services to them.

The number one mistake that trainers make is selling a training plan that lasts a set number of weeks. If you choose to sell in this way, you’ll be making your job a lot harder than it needs to be.

That’s because as soon as that set period of time is up, you’ll have to go through the process of selling to the client all over again. 

This gives your client the time to think about whether they want to keep you on as their coach, ask for a discount, or even stop training with you as they've achieved the goals they initially set out.

Instead, creating online fitness coaching packages that your clients pay for on a monthly basis is the best way to sell to your clients.

That way, you only have to sell to your clients once as they pay the same fee every month, making it easier for them to fit your coaching into their budget.

The best personal trainer selling strategy is to create three fixed packages for your potential clients to choose from. Naturally, the more support that is included in the package and the more sessions that you provide each week, the more it will cost the client.

The packages you offer could look something like this:

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Online Fitness Coaching Software

Before we let you in on how to maximise your income and progress in your career, we thought we’d share our favourite online fitness coach tools.

Finding a good software is an essential part of how online fitness coaching works. A good piece of software will help you to set your schedule, create and share training plans, organise client payments, and communicate with your client base.

There are plenty of apps and softwares out there to help you to keep on top of accountability and track progress.

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But, if you’re looking for the best online fitness coaching software, then you need to check out:

  • Trainerize
  • PTDistinction
  • WorkoutLabs

Trainerize is an online fitness coaching platform which allows you to connect with clients and send them fitness programmes, meal plans, and manage their progress all in one place. It keeps their information safe, meaning you can comply with the rules of GDPR for fitness professionals without having to worry.

However, if you’re expecting to have a bigger client base (we’re talking up to 1000 online clients), then PTDistinction is the online fitness coaching platform that will be best for you. 

The WorkoutLabs platform is also really handy, it’s main benefits are that it’s aesthetic and really easy to use. It’s a good tool if you’re just starting out, but once your business grows, you’ll need a more complex software.

Not a fan of the 3 softwares above? Have a read of OriGym's full list of the best PT software for some more options.

Career Progression & Further Qualifications 

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When we covered how to become a successful online fitness coach, we explained that having the right knowledge is an essential skill of any good fitness coach.

What we didn’t mention is that completing additional qualifications and constantly building on your existing knowledge is also the best way to progress in your career and boost your income. 

Stuck for how you can expand your online fitness coaching business? Here’s some ideas:

Become A Nutrition Specialist  

As we mentioned earlier, if you want to create your own online fitness coach meal plans as part of the packages that you offer, then you’ll need to hold a recognised nutrition qualification.

This is probably the most logical way to expand your online fitness business, as gaining a nutrition qualification will benefit your brand regardless of whether you have a specific niche or not. 

Your level 3 qualification covers the basic principles of nutrition but without a nutrition qualification, you cannot provide specific meal plans for your clients.

On the other hand, a level 4 advanced sports nutrition course will provide you with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of nutrition. 

Plus, having this level of qualification will show your clients that you’re knowledgeable and committed to providing the best service.

Work On Your Business Skills

There’s much more to becoming an online fitness coach than having the right skills and the basic qualifications. 

When you start your business, you’ll need to think about whether you should register as a sole trader or a ltd company, how to register your business, and it can never hurt to brush up on your sales and marketing skills. 

To make sure you get all of these things right, completing a fitness business qualification is a good idea. That way, you can get serious about building your brand online and make sure that your business runs smoothly, too.

Complete a Strength and Conditioning Course 

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If you liked our idea of having a niche and becoming an online fitness coach for competition, then it’s best to have the qualifications to back that up.

If you gain a CPD qualification in strength and conditioning, you’ll learn how to programme plans for amaetur and proffesinoal athletes.

You’ll learn how to carry out appropriate fitness tests, postural assessments, and specialised warm-ups, workouts, and rest periods for athletes of different abilities.

If strength and conditioning doesn’t interest you, there are tons of other areas of fitness that you can specialise in, such as suspension training or skills that you can develop. Such as suspension training or a boxing & pad work CPD.

Before You Go!

Now that you know how to become an online fitness coach, what are you waiting for? Kick-start this exciting new career by enquiring for our online personal training certification.

If you want to find out more about the range of exciting fitness courses that we offer here at OriGym, download our course prospectus or call us on 0800 002 9599 and a member of our team will be happy to chat with you.

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and gone on to complete a specialist qualification in advanced Sports Nutrition. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. 

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