With the hugely popular social media platform boasting over 800 million users worldwide, there is no surprise that you want to know how to start a fitness Instagram.
In this step by step guide, we are going to show exactly how to start a fitness Instagram using ourselves as a case study, so you can see how it is truly possible for you too. More specifically we will cover:
- How to Create a Successful Fitness Instagram: A Case Study
- How to Set Up A Fitness Instagram in 7 Steps
- 5 Fitness Instagram Content Ideas To Make Your Account Stand Out
- How to Create Fitness Content for Instagram
- Tips for Maximising Reach With Your Content
Before we start, if you’re serious about a career in the fitness industry, completing a personal training course would be a good starting point. Feel free to download our latest course prospectus here for more information on all of the educational routes into the fitness industry.
How to Create a Successful Fitness Instagram: A Case Study
We don’t expect you to simply take our word as fact without any evidence, that is why throughout this article we will base all of our tips, steps and analysis on our own fitness Instagram here at OriGym.
Over the course of running our Instagram page, we have currently raked in over 37,000 followers . This is down to marketing tactics, not just good luck.
You need to entice your followers with good quality content consistently to achieve a loyal following. You will need patience, it won’t happen overnight but with the right social media plan in place, there will be a much higher probability of success.
That being said, let’s get straight into step 1 of starting a fitness Instagram.
How to Set Up A Fitness Instagram in 7 Steps
Step 1: Decide What Kind of Page You Want to Run, Who Your Followers Will Be & What You Want to Get Out The Page
Find a Niche
First of all, you need to pick your niche.
Whether you want to get more bodybuilding followers, yoga followers or cross fit followers - pick your niche and stick to it.
This is what will make you an “authority” within that particular area and reduces the chances of you blending into the masses. Not only is this easier for you, but you’re more likely to be successful in a specific field rather than going for the general approach.
Remember fitness is a wide topic, the people who follow a yoga Instagram blogger are not the same people who follow a bodybuilding account. Avoid assumptions and first finalise what your page is going to be focused on.
This determines many different things about the future of your fitness Instagram content ideas, handle name and overall aesthetic; thus, getting this down first is incredibly important.
Some fitness niches that might encapsulate your passions include but are certainly not limited to the likes of:
- Personal training
- Yoga studio / yoga instructor
- Training for specific populations. (e.g; female only, those with disabilities etc)
- Body positivity
These can at least give you some indication of what we mean by having a niche topic when creating a fitness Instagram.
Appeal to Your Target Market
Once you have finalised your niche, your target market should be directly influenced by your choice of field.
For example, here at OriGym, we are a fitness course provider, so our target market is athletic men and women typically in their 20’s on Instagram.
Our goal is to reach this target market by educating potential students on a personal trainer’s best practices and highlighting the benefits of a career as a PT, all while keeping the content relevant, on-brand and entertaining.
A comfortable mix of all of these factors is a recipe for success. For example, take a look at a snippet of our Instagram feed below demonstrating these goals:
We have a combination of posts that all aspire to achieve the aforementioned goals which are directed to our target audience and informed by our niche.
Define Your Page’s Aesthetic
It is super important to keep all of these factors in mind while creating content and ensure that you’re not neglecting the aesthetics of your feed too.
Just as your target market should be directly impacted by your niche, your page’s aesthetic should be impacted by your target market- you want to visually appeal to your potential client base.
As you can see in the example, our feed is on-brand with our colours, a uniform typography and graphics. It communicates professionalism and shows the care that’s gone into your feed which is what people want to see on a regular basis.
This is particularly true for those who are trying to sell a service or product, which is why you should be relating the aforementioned factors to your niche of choice. You need to communicate your efficiency and trustworthiness behind your brand by taking care of your brand image.
By thinking carefully about your content ideas for your fitness Instagram, you can certainly get this message across effectively. For example, it would be a little out of the ordinary to have a dark aesthetic when making a fitness Instagram for a yoga studio perhaps.
The bottom line is choosing a niche can help you get noticed and matching your content choices to this niche is how you’re going to communicate your brand, business, product or service more effectively.
Step 2: Set Up a Business Account on Instagram
In order to have access to insights to do with your Instagram account, you need to change your personal account to a business account.
This is super easy, but in case you’re new to the world of social media, you might want to know how to create your page from scratch. Feel free to skip this first part if you already have a personal account.
First, head over to the app store or desktop and sign up, like this page below:
If you already have Facebook, this step is easier again since you can simply connect the two. If not, you must have a Facebook page as well as Instagram in order to have a business account.
Once you have done that, you can work through the following steps:
1. Go to your Facebook Account (personal)
2. Click the top right corner so you can see your menu settings and click Pages, it will look like this below:
3. You can then press “Create”, which will then take you through the process of setting up a Facebook business page that you can connect to your fitness Instagram page:
4. You can then see the following screen, which will guide you through the set-up process:
Now head back over to Instagram and follow these simple steps:
- Go into settings (via the cog symbol in the top right-hand corner of the Instagram dashboard)
- Click "account":
- The click “switch to business profile"
- Then choose the Facebook business page that you have created when prompted
Then, you’re complete! You’re all set up on both Facebook and Instagram, now collectively known as Meta. Once you have done this, it is time to start getting creative with your page and spreading the word.
Step 3: Choose A Great Instagram Handle
When going through the steps on how to start a fitness Instagram, your ‘handle’ is a stage that requires some significant thought.
Remember, you’re not choosing your personal account, this is a business and so it should be professional but still be fitting for social media. In case you’re unaware, your handle is your username, it is the name that we have highlighted below:
Got to edit profile in the settings option and here you can create your Instagram handle. Try and create a fitness Instagram handle that follows these rules:
- Is Memorable
- Easy to spell
- Easy to say
- Represents your followers / market
Try and avoid Instagram handles for fitness that have numbers after it or ones with symbols after it e.g. Yogafit3 or Yogafit! These can easily get confused with other accounts and result in other users following the wrong page.
When looking into how to start a fitness Instagram account, branding consistency is key.
Consistent, high quality branding ensures that the followers that you wish to attract know at a glance this is a professional account and might contain good quality content for them to engage with.
Some easy ways of achieving this are making sure your handle includes your name, and some variation of “PT” if you’re a personal trainer or try researching some synonyms around exercise and fitness.
You can see below a PT that does this well, as well as fitting in some other relevant fitness credentials too:
The key is to be sensible and logical with your handle. At the end of the day, your goal is to get new followers to your Instagram fitness account, so don't make your prospective followers guess what your account is all about!
Step 4: Choose or Create a High Res Logo or Profile Pic
When creating a fitness Instagram account, it is important that your profile picture / logo reflects professionalism.
If however, you don't have a logo yet or a high resolution image of yourself, you might want to think about getting one professionally made or get a fitness photographer to take a few shots.
Don't worry, you don't have to spend lots of money.
In fact, if you aren’t capable of doing it yourself, there are graphic designers out there who will be more than happy to draw up an easy and elegant design for your business.
You can get this from just £10 on the likes of People Per Hour or Upwork. The prices can range dramatically depending on the experience of the freelancer, but you can see below how this variety can look:
For a basic design, it’s not going to cost you much, and the time saved trying to do it yourself and making your account look the business is more than worth the minimal investment.
Now you have your image, do it justice and make sure that you upload it with the correct dimensions - 180 pixels by 180.This way, your image will maintain its high resolution on both desktop and mobile devices.
If you don't know where to resize an image, you can use this free tool. These may seem like tedious tasks but the effort you put into these smaller jobs make all the difference in how to grow a fitness instagram account into something popular and legit.
Step 5: Write a Bio to Tell Users What your Page is All About
Your bio will be one of the first pieces of information that prospective followers will see when viewing your account, therefore making a good first impression is paramount.
Your bio should match the style and tone of your account. Again, this may sound obvious, but it is absolutely key to attracting new followers, a good fitness Instagram bio consists of a few factors including:
- Short bullet points
- Summarise what your account is all about
- Have links to your other social profiles / websites
- Have branded hashtags in your Bio
- Contact information
If necessary, you might find it beneficial to weave in your credentials to show users that you have a particular level of authority in the fitness industry. This might help users trust your advice and content more than they would somebody without any credentials at all.
Nonetheless, you don’t want to pack your bio full of fluff, keep it concise and utilise other features of a business Instagram account to save space. For example, on a business account, you can add button features underneath the bio, like this:
By adding this contact button to your page, you’re able to save potential space in your bio section for other things you want to include, like credentials.
Once you user clicks on the contact button, this screen will pop up below:
This is a great place to store contact information so you’re not overcrowding your bio. Keep it simple and succinct while still including the most necessary information for your page.
Step 6: Get The First 100 Followers For Your Fitness Instagram
Gaining the first load of followers is arguably the most challenging part, it can seem like a long journey but it is certainly possible.
Once you hit the 3 figure mark you can really begin to show other potential followers that you have a steady flow of people who already enjoy your Instagram fitness post ideas.
Ask Family & Friends to Follow and Promote Your Page
To get off the mark, get all your real friends and family to give you a follow. It may sound obvious, but this is the starting point for all Instagram users.
You can bet that even the biggest of Instagram celebrities counted on their parents, aunties, and uncles amongst their early followers. This can start to create a sequence of people who will support you regardless, passing on your profile to others who would be interested in your services and content.
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer Build up your authority and get qualified as a level 3 personal trainer, build a brand and business with confidence by starting off your entry into the fitness industry with OriGym...
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer
Build up your authority and get qualified as a level 3 personal trainer, build a brand and business with confidence by starting off your entry into the fitness industry with OriGym...
Use Other Social Platforms
When finding how to start a fitness Instagram account, you can easily mass invite all your other friends from Facebook over with a few clicks of a button.
Below are some simple steps on how to do this:
- Go to your profile by tapping the person icon at the bottom right-hand corner.
- Go settings by tapping the gear icon in the upper right corner of your profile.
- Under invite, tap Facebook Friends.
- From the list of your Facebook friends, choose who you want to invite and tap Invite.
Announcing that you have started a fitness Instagram page through all other platforms that you are active on, such as LinkedIn and Twitter will drag you some instant followers over too.
This kind of support and networking can start your profile off on the right foot, so get the ball rolling with this as soon as possible.
Step 7: Populate Your Instagram Page
When finding how to start a fitness Instagram, you need to start making your account look like you post consistently, and that said posts are of high quality.
Think of this logically, would you follow an account with only 3 photos? Chances are probably not, because it isn’t adding any kind of value to your feed. So, to begin with, try to convey some authority with some aesthetic and branded content.
However, don’t go overboard with content all at once and avoid spammy posting schedules, more than 1 post a day and you may begin to feel negative effects of the Instagram algorithm.
Having said that, we will talk more about posting schedules later.
Over a period of time, (not all at once) place at least 10 relevant images or videos on your account and stick to these sizes whenever you post:
Square Image: 1080px in width by 1080px in height
Vertical Image: 1080px in width by 1350px in height
Horizontal Image: 1080px in width by 566px in height
When creating fitness Stories: Optimal size is: 1080×1920
Finally, thumbnails are a really important part of keeping a uniform feed. Reels are a super popular component to Instagram, so putting some effort into what this will look like on your feed makes a huge difference.
Though you have the option to choose a frame from the reel you have uploaded, you can separately upload a thumbnail which is what we would recommend. For example, take a look how this Instagram Reel fits seamlessly into our feed:
The extra care taken into making an aesthetically pleasing feed, while also taking into consideration the importance of including the likes of reels into your social media plan makes a huge difference in the acceptance of your fitness page.
Aside from the look of the posts themselves, ensure you include the likes of popular hashtags to get your posts and page out to other people who you don’t know. Putting these on posts is a great way to go out of your local realm and reach new potential audiences, but, more on hashtags and other ways to boost your account later!
For some more helpful resources on marketing your fitness business or brand, check out these articles below:
- How To Write An Exceptional Yoga Teacher Instagram Bio
- SEO for Personal Trainers: Ultimate Guide
- Creating Your Fitness Email Marketing Strategy: 4 Simple Steps
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym!
5 Fitness Instagram Content Ideas To Make Your Account Stand Out
#1 Utilise User Generated Content
User generated content is one of the ways to create a fitness Instagram once you have got some sort of following behind you, since it’s content that is created by other users who have endorsed your brand, business or page.
Some examples of user generated content include the likes of:
- Images & Videos: People who have endorsed your product or service. E.g, clients who have trained with your PT company, you could share their content they have in action.
- Social media content: This is good to use if you have reviews on social media that could benefit your brand or, creating discourse around your page in general such as sharing our posts onto others’ IG stories.
- Testimonials: Testimonials work similarly to reviews, you can share any positive testimonials that you have received from people who may have shared conversation on your page or screenshot and share reviews on the likes of TrustPilot.
This is a super convenient way to show other potential clients that you already have trusted followers who create content for your brand.
#2 Create Instagram Reels to Future Proof Your Page
With video becoming increasingly popular in the realm of social media, creating Instagram reels is the best way to stay up to date with what people, and the algorithm, want to see.
For example, take a look at how we regularly upload Instagram reels on our feed below:
You can see the highlighted boxes are the frequency that we upload reels on our Instagram page. The reason we do this is due to the return on engagement that we receive, you can see below a comparison between two of our posts.
One of them is a reel while the other is an image post:
Take a look at the huge difference in reach and engagement between an image post compared to the reel.
The statistics speak for themselves, you can see how the algorithm works and it seems to be that video (in this instance reels) is the way forward to get your page out there.
#3 Implement ‘80/20 Rule’ When Posting Content
The 80/20 rule is how to start a fitness business on Instagram when you’re thinking about promoting your service- it is the ratio in which you should post content compared to promoting your services.
The 80% of your posts should be the bulk of your content which should be focused around value and entertainment, then the latter being the promotional material.
Once you have found your momentum in uploading, you may want to experiment and try out different frequencies of posting. Do some analysis on your competitors and see the frequency in which they actually promote the brand in comparison to valuable content.
The bottom line is, this could be a good starting point for you if you’re new to Instagram, it provides you with some sort of strategy so you’re not going into it totally blind.
#4 Adhering to Trends in the Fitness Industry Helps you Beat the Algorithm
When learning how to build a fitness Instagram, you must think beyond the surface level of what we know as social media.
This means doing some research on the algorithm so that you can improve your chances of getting noticed and increasing your engagement. That being said, there are two aspects to the Instagram algorithm that could help you in terms of catching up with trends, which are:
- User activity: Instagram can understand what you could be interested in by assessing what types of content you engage with the most.
- Interaction History: To get a clearer understanding of what you might wish to see, Instagram can understand whether you like a particular user or actually don’t engage with their content at all. This can help to rank more appropriate users and posts.
With these two signals within the algorithm, you could follow trends to try to increase your chances of becoming a recognised user for anybody who interacts with your post contribution to the trend.
For example, let's say you take part in a trend and due to the sound being popular and it being received well by your current followers, it climbs its way up the Explore page. Once you make it to the explore page, you may find that people interested in the trend begin engaging with your post.
Since Instagram will remember the interaction history of each engaged user, chances are you’ll be popping up on their feed or Explore page more often. This can help you to create some awareness around your profile and ultimately gain more followers and popularity overtime.
#5 Create Educational Content to Display Your Knowledge and Authority
Within the fitness industry, there can be a lot of misinformation, which is why it is important to show your credentials when necessary, but besides that, there are some things that can help you to show that you know what you’re talking about.
This can be through using simple infographics to change up your style of content and show some educational messages that people may find useful.
For example, take a look at this post below:
As you can see, it is a simple and digestible piece of content that can go a long way in terms of adding value to your fitness Instagram ideas.
How to Create Fitness Content for Instagram
So now that you know how to start an Instagram fitness page, you might want to get familiar with how to create all of the ideas you have conjured up.
With that in mind, here are our 3 top tips to put your ideas into action.
Utilise Canva to Make Posts look Professional (While still being Affordable!)
You may have already heard of Canva, it is a hugely popular site that allows for anybody with or without a budget to easily graphic design.
By using templates, premade fonts, graphics and more you’re able to create pieces of Instagrammable content and will no longer be asking “what should I post on my fitness Instagram?”.
Spend some time looking on Canva and exploring the possibilities. Get some practice in and you’ll be on your way to a professional looking feed in no time.
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer Build up your authority and get qualified as a level 3 personal trainer, build a brand and business with confidence by starting off your entry into the fitness industry with OriGym...
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer
Establish a Colour Pallette to Keep Branding Consistent
Colour palettes for brands are crucial.
They help to keep your posts uniform across all social media channels, but of course your Instagram feed too. You can pre-save branded colour palettes on the likes of the aforementioned Canva.
This can help you to keep your colours in one place and whenever you need to design a post, you can simply click your desired placement of your pre-saved branding colours. This is a simple way of professionalising your brand / page and creating memorable brand awareness.
Don’t Neglect the Importance of a Captivating Caption
Captions add context to the visual you have created within your feed. Whether you want to expand some more on an infographic you have created, or simply tell the story of your post, captions are the place to do it.
It allows you to create value around your post, as a post with a caption isn’t going to go very far. It will lack engagement too, since captions can be a great place to try to induce some level of engagement.
Within a caption, aside from the context and value it contributes, you can ask questions that people can then answer in the comments. This increases engagement and overall post health since you’re going to be responding to the comments too.
For example, take a look below at GymShark Women’s Instagram post that does this:
It leaves room for conversation and can be a great way to induce discourse about your page and the services you offer.
Tips for Maximising Reach With Your Content
Utilise the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags help both to organise and optimise your fitness Instagram content, enabling potential followers to discover your page or brand easily when scanning Instagram’s community.
Thinking about what to post on a fitness Instagram is one thing but hashtags can take your posts to the next level, so how do you implement them?
The first thing you should remember is that you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, however you can run the risk of your content looking very spammy.
Nonetheless, the more hashtags you can use the better since you’re getting your post onto a variety of different Explore pages. In fact, some studies show that engagement can increase by over 440% from using 11+ fitness hashtags to using none at all.
Louise Myer's of Visual Social Media analyses this study to show the impact of the number of fitness hashtags to use:
- 0 Hashtags – 18% interaction per 1k followers
- 1 Hashtag – 29% interaction per 1k followers
- 2 Hashtags – 41% interaction per 1k followers
- 3 Hashtags – 39% interaction per 1k followers
- 4 Hashtags – 31% interaction per 1k followers
- 5 Hashtags – 43% interaction per 1k followers
- 6 Hashtags – 33% interaction per 1k followers
- 7 Hashtags – 30% interaction per 1k followers
- 8 Hashtags – 39.5% interaction per 1k followers
- 9 Hashtags – 49.5% interaction per 1k followers
- 10 Hashtags – 22% interaction per 1k followers
- 11 Hashtags – 79.5% interaction per 1k followers
This shows that using 11+ fitness hashtags will increase your user engagement and help you get more followers to your fitness Instagram page.
One thing is for certain and that is if you’re trying to get to the bottom of how to gain followers on a fitness Instagram, hashtags are a must and shouldn’t be skipped on any post that you want people to see.
But what Hashtags should you use when trying to figure out how to get fitness followers on Instagram?
Firstly, you need a mixture of very popular fitness hashtags, more long tailed ones and local ones if it applies to you. Here is an example of all three fitness hashtags:
- #Bodybuilding - Popular hashtag
- #KettlebellTraining - More long tail, specific hashtag
- #FitnessLondon - Location specific
Utilising popular fitness hashtags will get you some great initial engagement, with some instant likes, comments and follows.
Long tail fitness hashtags such as "#KettlebellTraining" is searched for by far fewer people, but it will stay at the top of the search rankings for longer and attract more people based on the specific nature of the hashtag.
The same applies to location too.
When thinking about how to start a fitness Instagram, you also want to include a location hashtag in each post as this will help you get users who are in a closer proximity to you if you have a service to offer like personal training for instance.
Nonetheless, if you don’t have a service to offer, as human beings we identify with people far easier from people in the same location as we are, so it is worth having a location hashtag in your posts so that you’re able to get some potential local support.
Use the Best Times to post and Optimal Frequency Tactics
When thinking how to start a fitness Instagram account, you need to factor in times of the day to post to generate as much attention to your posts as possible.
Yes, there are times in the day better than others! A study by Expert Voice shows the best times of the week by user engagement:
Sunday: 5:00 p.m.
Monday: 7:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 3:00 a.m. & 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 7:00 a.m. & 11:00 p.m.
Friday: 1:00 a.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 12:00 a.m. & 2:00 a.m.
The study goes on to show that Mondays are the least productive day and that Wednesdays are the most productive day to post and get more fitness Instagram followers.
You may have noticed that some of the best times to post are 1am, 2am, 3am etc. This study is based on user engagement, thus if you think about it, the people using Instagram at those times are frequently people more dedicated and more likely to engage with your posts.
Additionally, there are far fewer people posting at those times, thus your Instagram fitness content is far more likely to be seen and therefore engaged with.
Though this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to post only at these times, you could trial and error your typical schedule and a schedule adhering to these times and see what has the best levels of engagement.
Using Software is a Way How to Make your Fitness Instagram Popular
Using automation software is a good option for those who have larger followings and simply don’t have the time to spend as much time as they should be investing in their Instagram page.
An Instagram tool used by start-ups and large organisations alike, is Combin. As such, it is the tool we will use as an example to demonstrate how to grow your Instagram fitness page.
In a nutshell, Combin is an automation tool which will safely:
- Follow Users
- Unfollow Users
- Like photos
- Comment on photos
- Schedule Tasks
- Blacklist unwanted users
- Analyse your Accounts growth & engagement
So why would you consider automation for your account?
By setting up your account to follow other users within your fitness niche is like tapping them on the shoulder to say, "I'm here" and a certain percentage of them will follow you back to see what you are all about.
Yes, you could do this without automation, but do you really have the time to sit there every day and press that follow button? Additionally, Combin will follow people with a set time lapse around Instagram’s safe user settings to ensure your account does not get locked or banned.
If this sounds like something that could benefit your page and can help you learn how to make a good fitness Instagram you can find some instructions on setting your account up below:
Step 1 - Go to Combin and select the right pricing plan for you. If you have just one Instagram account, then the $12 per option is probably best for you.
Step 2 - You will then be asked to link your account. Put in your Instagram username and click "allow permission".
Step 3 - You will then be presented with a dashboard, when you log in like below:
Step 4 - Targeting - Using the search option down the left-hand side, you can then find either copy and paste a username handle of another account into which you want to start following their followers or in or search for users based on hashtags.
Promote your Account on your other Social Media Platforms
Finally, there is a budget friendly option that may often get overlooked and this is sharing your Instagram account across other social media platforms.
When thinking about starting a fitness Instagram account, you should also consider the other avenues that might help you get more followers. That being said, here are some areas you can promote your account to get more followers:
- Email Footers
- Blog Posts
- Your Website
- Article Submissions (especially guest posting on fitness blogs)
- Fitness Forums
- Private Fitness Network Groups
- Facebook and LinkedIn groups
- Fitness YouTube Videos (Comments)
- Letters and offline communications
- All online profiles
By including your link in as many places as possible you are maximising the number of clicks and views on your profile, thus helping you get to starting a fitness Instagram page that will seriously rake in the followers.
Before You Go…
Hopefully by now, you feel more than confident about how to make a fitness Instagram.
From setting it up to getting the word out about your page, be sure to refer back to this guide whenever you’re ready to take the next step into progressing your page further. Don’t forget, if you’re wanting to bring more authority to your page and start advertising your services, then why not enquire about one of OriGym’s personal training courses?
Find this and many other fitness courses in our downloadable course prospectus here.