How to Become a Virtual Personal Trainer

Daniel A., December 26, 2021

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As is the case with many other industries, the world of training has undertaken a major shake-up over the last couple of years. Everyone has had to make a pivot and do things they may not have been accustomed to or familiar with. Probably the most utilized tool that has been identified in this shift is the usage of the Internet. 

We were already utilizing the Internet, however, now more than ever the transition of routine aspects of life is online now. Though this move is not to the delight of most, it has become a necessary act as meeting face-to-face has become a bit of a challenge in the past couple of years.  An industry that was fairly new to this transition is physical training. Nevertheless, it can suit you as a trainer and business owner to get ahead of the pack rather than be a follower of it. You would not be the first, many personal trainers have been asking themselves how to start an online personal training business.

Planning Ahead is A Major Key

Although this may sound like a bit of a cliche, it is important to note that there is no better advice to give to someone that is taking on the task of bringing their content and services online. As much as the nature of today’s world has been “go with the flow” due to its lack of predictability in many different facets of our lives. Remember, any successful program needs to be ahead of the game. A compact list of items to plan ahead include: 

  • Full transition vs partial
  • Number of clients
  • Money management
  • Training programs
  • Keep new platform user friendly
  • Maintain client relationships 
  • Gather feedback

Decide Between Fully Transitioning or Partial

First, it is vital that you establish whether or not you will be completely making the change to online training or just offering the option. A lot of clients and potential clients may feel the need for in-person training because they feel they will benefit more from it as opposed to watching from home. There are trainers that offer both and though the workload can become a bit hefty between both, it can be lucrative financially as it may draw in more new clients. Most find ways to manage it by having a very strict schedule or even hiring help. 

Going fully online can be a bit easier altogether for yourself but it a big change for your clients especially those that relied on being in person. It will come with questions and frustrations and require patience from you to take the time to explain and guide the clients through the new changes.

Number of Clients

The number of clients you have prior to switching to online will inevitably change. Depending on the demographic you service it may go upwards or it may decline, so one must be prepared for the change. 

If you see an increase in the interest in your services then you need to plan to be sure of how many clients you can efficiently service. Remember the point is to have as little change as possible so if it becomes a situation where the service suffers due to an overflow of clientele, the overall business will lose its luster. 

If your clientele decreases you must plan on how you will garner more. This may involve changing your target demographic because usage of the Internet is notably tougher for older individuals so it would be best to market towards the younger crowd. Persona website’s knowledge center contains articles, such as this one, that can help with gaining more clients in this field. 

Money Management

A transition to online is also a time to reevaluate your finances as it applies to your business. You can read our full article about time management for trainers. Looping in the previously mentioned point, your clientele will likely change in volume so you must prepare for what it will be like if you start off not making the same amount as before. Identify what you need to make per month to be comfortable. This includes your rent/mortgage, food, gas, car payments, etc. The last thing you want to do is focus solely on the work and not take care of your personal affairs because that will be the one of quickest ways for you to fail in transitioning your business. The Persona app can assist you with this as the app focuses on being able to keep track of your business finances allowing for less hassle in money management.

Focused Training Programs

Moving the training online will have to go along with you presenting a new way of training. Of course, you can do live training classes for those that are willing to schedule video calls. If all of your clients are able to do this it would be amazing and make things easy for you but more than likely that is very wishful thinking. 

Explore various options that hundreds of trainers across the world utilize. One option is to create segments on your site that detail workout plans for your clients. These are referred to as “focused trainings” as it would be for specific client requests. Feel free to charge for these as you please but remember to always check the pricing of other trainers to see what their rates are in comparison.

Another option is to create video presentations of yourself working out that allow for clients to follow from home on their own time. Being inside usually means workouts have to become a bit more creative since there is less to work with. These videos would take the pressure off the clients that can’t or prefer not to do video calls so that they can get a workout while seeing a clear example. This option makes it feel like you, the trainer, is in the room as it would be at an actual gym.

Keep It Simple

In order to make this shift as seamless as possible, you want to keep the online aspect as simple as it can be. With the advancement of the Internet’s capabilities people are already starting to struggle with using it for their personal needs. When creating the new site for your training you want to make it “user friendly” so that it leads to fewer questions and frustrations from your clientele. You can read our full article about personal training consultation questions. The more issues that arise with the ability to navigate through the site properly will cause more doubt about making this change to your business as well as potentially drive away your loyal clients. Be prepared to offer assistance where necessary especially in the initial phases where most will be confused. Most importantly, be patient soon everyone will be up to par but it will take time.

Continue To Cultivate Relationship with Clients

Having your online personal training business can cause the relationship between you and your clients to feel “robotic” or mundane. You want to maintain the same relationship you built with all the clients prior to changing your business model. In order to do this, it may take checking in on them, asking them for feedback, and keeping them in the loop with any updates or changes. Work into your scheduled meeting times to speak with clients about how they are feeling, their health, and how the training program is benefiting them. Continue these habits with all new clients that you gain also and it will be a key ingredient in the recipe for a successful transition of your business. Remember it’s the little things you do that go a long way.

Gather Feedback

As previously mentioned, gathering feedback can make or break your business. Those that do not seek or listen to any feedback tend to have less successful businesses in general. However, in a situation where you are taking on a new opportunity, it would behoove you to take some beneficial advice. Clients are having a first-hand experience thus they have the best perspective on how the changes are working or not working out. Overall, clients like to be heard whether you feel their claims are baseless or not. Obviously, all advice is not good advice but takes the time to evaluate all opinions presented and see which will lead to a more efficient, consumer-friendly training program. 

Take Your Time

Planning ahead is the main theme to consider but do not plan as if everything will move as fast as you want it to. There may be a feeling of wanting to get this whole process over in one shot or as quickly as possible. However, there is no reason to rush. Though this does not mean it is alright to drag your feet, you should take the time to fully flush your thoughts out.

A rush into this can lead to forgetting key aspects that would have improved your business’s output and efficiency. Your most loyal clients will be understanding of your new endeavor and be willing to work alongside you as you build your new landscape. The steps listed prior will lead you to a transition with your business that can be smooth if followed carefully. Each step will take its own time to complete and as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” 

Also do not neglect to utilize Persona as it can follow you into any business field that offers a service. It will take off the pressure of handling transactions, subscriptions, and taxes all in one easy app. 

Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. it's 100% free, download it now.


Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. Download it now, it's 100% free.