Although the foundation of personal training is, at the heart of it, about the people we interact with and train, we can’t ignore the business side of what we do. Successful personal trainers consistently apply basic business strategy concepts to help nurture, grow, and sustain their individual businesses.

Below are 10 uncomplicated business tips you can apply today to take your business to the next level of success.

Sales Growth Puzzle Pieces Vision Strategy Tools Execution

  1. Start a blog. Fitness clients and social media followers thirst to learn and apply new information to their lives. What do you have to say that would benefit those you influence inside and outside the gym? Create a blog you can share on your social media channels.
  2. Conduct a yearly SWOT Analysis. Just as we continually assess and reassess our fitness clients’ progress toward their goals, we must also assess our progress towards the meaningful goals we set. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats analysis) is a simple tool and business strategy that can help you identify what’s going well, what you hope to accomplish, potential barriers you might face, and areas of growth and change. Select a time of year – maybe it’s the end of the fiscal year or start of the next – to engage in this simple exercise.
  3. Practice self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Personal trainers are busy professionals and their primary focus is on the health and well-being of their clients. Successful personal trainers know how to make caring for themselves a priority as well. Schedule regular breaks from work and carve out time each day to do something for you.
  4. Make learning a priority. The field is constantly changing and evolving. It’s critical that personal trainers stay abreast of the changing landscape of the profession. To do that and to ensure you are providing your clients with a top-quality exercise experience, prioritize continuing education. Continuing education doesn’t always have to come in the form of a pricy conference. Take a class online, commit to reading articles from monthly journals, or catch a webinar. NFPT offers free CEC’s, so if you are certified with us, take advantage of these resources! Share what you learn with your clients and use the knowledge you gained to grow the various aspects of your business. Never stop learning.
  5. Nurture your network. Building rapport with clients is paramount to a successful personal training business. The same attention should be given to those in your professional network. Examine what your referral network looks like, who is in that network, and how often you interact with them. Invite network colleagues to lunch or host a network appreciation night – find new ways to nurture that network so that those bonds continue to strengthen over time.
  6. Develop a risk management plan. The development of a solid risk management plan can accomplish two goals. First, it can mitigate potential legal liability. Second, it ensures a safe exercise environment for clients. A risk management protocol should include identifying risks, evaluating risks, an approach for managing/addressing each risk, implementation, and evaluation. A risk management plan is likely to evolve over time and as situations arise, but a basic plan should be part of any business.
  7. Check in with past clients. It’s a likelihood that clients will move on from the services their trainer provides. This doesn’t mean that personal trainers shouldn’t remain in contact or offer regular follow-ups with past clients. Make efforts to continue contact even after the sessions end.
  8. Teach a class. One of the many roles a personal trainer takes on is that of an educator. Personal trainers can extend their educational efforts beyond the gym and day-to-day client interactions. Consider offering a seminar or workshop for community members or colleagues. Explore opportunities to adjunct teach at local colleges or trade schools. Teaching is also learning.
  9. Strategize. The workouts personal trainers design are strategy-based; they are connected to measurable goals and desired outcomes. The same principle can be applied to a business. For example, adopt business strategy and plan for marketing and social media aspects. These plans can always be modified as the business changes and grows.
  10. Innovate. Ask yourself what you can do differently than someone else. We each bring different strengths and skills to the table, but we often overlook what we can contribute that is “outside the box”.

There are no limits to ways in which a professional can grow his or her business. Not every strategy will work for every business or every business owner. You’ll find your rhythm. The key is start somewhere and do something today that may pay dividends in the future. Be as creative with your business goals as you are with the programs you design.

Erin Nitschke

Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, The Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune. Visit her personal blog at