The personal training industry has evolved dramatically since it formally began over 25 years ago. It originally was based on, and had its roots in, body building. Now, personal trainers have their choice of specialties and niche markets. For example, there are sport-specific training, medical exercise, seniors, over 40 baby boomers, etc. This has created numerous opportunities for trainers, which didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Many trainers have taken advantage of this, and have been successful at building a lucrative training business. Unfortunately, the majority of trainers have not been able to seize these opportunities to create a profitable business for themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary of a trainer is between $30 – $40k per year. There are many factors that contribute to this which are out of our control. But there are many other factors that are within our control. With a little bit of business know-how, focus, marketing basics, common sense, and most importantly a plan, a trainer can easily generate a six figure income.

Some trainers have seen and done it all… from in-home training, to working at numerous health clubs, to maybe eventually opening up their own studio. Do you know what all of them have in common? They all made mistakes (because we all do). But, if we learn from them, we grow from them. Starting out, most trainers have a lot of enthusiasm, but very little guidance. Our goal is to help trainers avoid as many mistakes as possible, mistakes that others have learned from, so that NFPT-CPTs can avoid them. 

In addition to the specialties and niche markets mentioned earlier, there is also a wide variety of equipment and modalities to choose from to train clients. It may be hard to focus on how to create new and unique workout experiences for every and ALL clients. Then, you can find yourself defaulting to EVERYBODY using the Bosu and do walking lunges. Consider the “new” #1 rule of growing a training business in this current environment – it’s called the ability to FOCUS!

The above example illustrates two common mistakes. One is assuming that one modality, or training system, is appropriate for everyone. Two, is focusing on more than one client demographic. Focusing on one or two client demographics, such as women over 40, or overweight teens, has several advantages. For example, marketing to a specific group is much easier and effective than taking a shotgun approach and marketing to everyone with two arms and two legs!! In this environment, where competition is fierce, it is imperative to focus and become an expert in a particular market or demographic. Without it, your business will not grow.

The personal training industry continues to grow and can help you achieve your financial goals. But it will take a new approach and new strategies.


Guest Author

Guest authors offer experience and educational insights based on their specific area of expertise. These authors are contributing writers for the NFPT blog because they have valuable information to share with NFPT-CPTs and the fitness community at-large. If you are interested in contributing to the NFPT blog as a guest, please send us a note expressing your interest and tell us how you can contribute valuable insights to our readers. We look forward to hearing from you! Send to