How to Become an Online Personal Trainer

With the rise of digital platforms, becoming an online personal trainer has never been more attainable or rewarding, including the financial aspects.

Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned coach looking to extend your services online, this comprehensive guide leads you through each essential step to becoming a successful online personal trainer.

Benefits of Online Training

Becoming an online personal trainer offers many benefits. The combination of flexibility, scalability, and lower operational costs creates a compelling case for why becoming an online personal trainer is a good idea and career move.


One of the most enticing advantages of being an online personal trainer is the flexibility. It allows you to set your own schedule and serve potential clients from around the globe.

Unlike working in a traditional gym setting, online training allows you the freedom to serve potential clients from different time zones and geographic locations. With an online platform, you’re not confined to your local gym’s hours and can work when it suits you best.

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Online services enable scalability that traditional formats can’t match. 

As a traditional certified personal trainer working on the gym floor, you are limited by your working hours. As an online trainer, you have the opportunity to scale your online business significantly. 

You can provide personalized one-on-one sessions, non-personalized PDF training plans, or group training through online streaming.

The digital platform accommodates all these models seamlessly without having to rent space and ensuring everyone can be in the same place at the same time.

You can automate many aspects of the training, such as onboarding new clients and progress tracking, thereby serving a more extensive clientele more efficiently.

Lower Operational Costs

Another way to appreciate the potential of online training is by looking at the operational costs.

Running an online training business eliminates the need for physical space, drastically reducing overhead costs like rent, utilities, and in-person staff.

These savings can be passed on to the clients, making your services more attractive, or reinvested into the business to fuel further growth.

Read more:

>> 13 Pros and Cons of Online Personal Training

What Skills Do You Need to Become an Online Personal Trainer?

Becoming a successful online trainer requires more than knowing how deadlift; it calls for specific communication and technical skills.

Communication Skills

First and foremost, effective communication is vital. 

The online fitness coaching platform might offer unparalleled flexibility, but it also comes with its own challenges, like the absence of face-to-face interactions. This makes it even more critical to clearly articulate workout plans and specific exercises. 

You must be able to guide clients through their fitness routines so that they feel your presence, even when you’re not physically there.

how to become an online personal trainer communication

This skill is essential for keeping clients engaged and motivated, ensuring they meet their fitness goals. Hands-on guidance makes it easier to hold your clients accountable and on track. In-person clients can’t turn you off like they can an online-only app.

Technical Skills

While you don’t need to know the ins and outs of the tech side of things, you do need more than a working internet connection to become a successful online fitness trainer.

  • Basic tech skills like operating personal training software and understanding how to navigate online platforms and software make remote training not only possible but smooth.
  • Familiarity with personal training software, video conferencing apps, and even basic video editing can give you a significant advantage.

For example, imagine conducting an online training session when you suddenly encounter technical issues. Your ability to swiftly resolve them can be the difference between a frustrated client and a satisfied one.

A solid grasp of the fundamental technical aspects of online ensures a smoother, more effective training process, allowing you to focus on what you do best: helping people become the best versions of themselves.

Essential Qualifications and Certifications

In theory, a high school diploma is all you need to become an online personal trainer. It’s not a legally protected title, meaning anyone can call themselves a personal trainer and practice as one.

However, while enthusiasm and a love for fitness are crucial, they’re not enough to make you a qualified trainer, online or not.

Accredited Certification Programs

The first step towards becoming an online personal trainer involves securing the proper certifications. 

Personal trainer certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), among others, are highly reputable.

These organizations provide thorough curricula covering exercise science and best practices, ensuring a baseline level of education among certified trainers, which benefits you and your potential clients.

Being certified makes it much easier for you to attract potential clients, ensures your personal training services are tip-top, and gives your clients maximum value for their money.

Continued Education

The learning shouldn’t stop with getting your personal training certification. Staying current with research and best practices in the fitness industry is a great idea. 

To stay relevant and effective, continued education is vital. 

Engage in regular workshops, webinars, and online courses to keep your skills sharp and updated. 

Whether it’s learning about new strength training techniques, physical activity recommendations, or understanding the latest research in weight loss strategies, continuous learning allows you to offer the most up-to-date and effective personal training courses for your online clients.

Building Your Online Presence

Carving out a stand-out online presence is more than just a good idea—it’s necessary for any successful online personal trainer.

Website Development

A professional website is the cornerstone of your online presence. A well-designed website serves as a portfolio and a gateway for potential clients to discover your services.

Today, many ways exist to create a professional-looking website, from free website builders to professional all-in-one solutions.

Your website should be simple and meaningful. Potential clients don’t want to spend valuable time figuring out how to navigate it to find what they are looking for. 

To attract your target audience, consider purchasing a domain name that reflects your specialty, like weight loss or strength training.

Social Media and Content Marketing

Having your own website alone isn’t enough. Your online presence should extend to various social media channels where you can regularly engage with your target audience. 

  • Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are fantastic platforms for sharing workout videos, nutrition tips, and client success stories and a great way to attract prospective clients. These social media platforms allow for an interactive experience and provide a way for you to showcase your skills and credibility. 
  • Email marketing and blog posts can further bolster your online presence and help you share valuable content.

The aim is to become a go-to resource for fitness information, a surefire way to attract and retain potential clients. Consistency is critical in building and maintaining a strong online presence.

Every YouTube channel post, Instagram story, and email contributes to your brand and brings you one step closer to your clients. You engage your audience, create a sense of community, and grow your personal training business.

Creating Online Training Programs

The next step in becoming an online fitness trainer involves crafting the programs that will guide your clients towards achieving their fitness goals. 

Types of Training Programs

Your repertoire should be diverse, including offerings for weight loss, strength training, and overall wellness.

Personalized Online Training

Personalized online training offers individualized fitness programs tailored to your client’s specific goals and needs. Benefits include:

  • One-on-one guidance from a certified trainer (you).
  • Flexibility in scheduling workouts.
  • Personalized nutrition advice (if you are qualified to provide such guidance).

This method is effective for achieving personalized fitness goals and receiving dedicated support throughout the journey.

Non-Personalized Fitness Programs

Non-personalized fitness programs, in the form of purchasable and downloadable PDFs, provide a cost-effective and convenient way to access workout routines and nutrition plans.

Don’t underestimate the value of pre-made programs; they serve as a great option for new clients who are hesitant to commit to personal training sessions right away. While lacking personalized guidance, they offer structure and can suit clients with prior fitness experience and self-motivation. These programs are easily accessible and can be a useful starting point for many.

Non-Personalized Video Fitness Programs

Non-personalized video fitness programs offer the advantage of visual fitness training demonstration and instruction.

Your clients can follow along with workout videos led under your guidance. These training sessions are beneficial for those who prefer visual guidance and motivation. They may not cater to specific needs but can still provide effective general workouts.

Online and In-Person Personal Training

A hybrid approach combines the benefits of traditional in-person coaching with online personal training. Clients receive personalized guidance and support during in-person sessions, while online components offer flexibility and convenience for remote workouts and tracking progress.

This approach suits clients who value face-to-face coaching and the freedom to train independently.

Live Online Video Workouts

Live video chat workouts allow you to provide real-time interaction with your clients, simulating the in-person experience. Participants can receive immediate feedback, motivation, and customized adjustments during their sessions.

how to become an online personal trainer workout

This method is perfect for maintaining accountability and engagement in an online fitness regimen.

Online Group Personal Training

Online group personal training offers the camaraderie of group workouts, even in a virtual setting. It combines the benefits of personalized training with the social aspect of group fitness. 

Your clients can share experiences, receive expert guidance, and enjoy the motivation of group dynamics, making it a fun and cost-effective option for many.

Use of Technology

Bringing technology into the equation can elevate your offerings to the next level. 

Specialized personal training software and online tools make it much easier to manage your online clients. These platforms often have invaluable features like a video library that guides users through specific exercises and tracking systems to monitor client progress. 

StrengthLog Coach is a great option for tracking in-person and online training program progress. You can record your client’s performance, such as the rep range, rest periods, and weight used in a session, making it easy to plan the next workout.

In addition, built-in chat functionality makes it easy to communicate with your client and assess how they’re doing beyond what numbers on a spreadsheet indicate.

personal training programming: strengthlog coach chat

The best thing about utilizing these technologies is that they allow you to focus more on what is genuinely important: guiding people on their fitness journey. These tools handle the logistical side of things, freeing you up to create more customized, effective workout plans.

In essence, integrating these digital resources is an intelligent business strategy and a means to provide a better, more personalized experience for your clients.

Stepping into the realm of online personal training comes with its own set of legal and ethical obligations. It’s crucial to ensure you are fully insured, not only to protect yourself but also to provide a safety net for your clients.

Client Waivers and Contracts

The first thing you should do when you onboard a new client is to have them sign a waiver and a contract. It is not only best practice but also protects you legally.

  • Liability insurance is a standard requirement for anyone offering personal training services, whether online or in-person.
  • Confidentiality is a vital issue. When clients share their health information, weight loss goals, or progress photos, you must securely store this data and only use it for the intended purposes.
  • In addition, ethically, you are obligated to offer only the services in which you are certified and experienced. For example, if you are not certified in nutrition coaching, it would be unethical to provide detailed dietary plans, even if you are legally allowed to where you live.

Privacy and Data Security

Ensure your online training business complies with data protection regulations like GDPR in the European Union or HIPAA in the United States.

Even if your business is based in the US, you lose out on a considerable number of potential clients if you’re not complying with international regulations. One of the main advantages of online coaching is that you’re not limited to local clients. 

In short, transparency about your certifications, insurance, and services builds trust, adds credibility to your online training business, and lays the groundwork for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with your clients.

Client Acquisition and Retention

A thriving online personal training business isn’t just about showcasing your skills and offering great workout plans; it’s also about mastering the art of attracting and keeping clients.

Getting Your First Clients

The first thing you should consider is your marketing strategy.

  • Social media platforms, blog posts, and email marketing are great ways to reach your target market.
  • You can offer free workout videos, nutrition tips, or consultation sessions to invite potential clients to experience your services.
  • Offering free trials is the easiest way to get your first online clients. You could also partner with fitness influencers to tap into their following.

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Maintaining Client Relationships

Once you’ve attracted new clients, the next step is retaining them, which is often more challenging yet crucial for long-term success.

  • Consistency is key. Regularly check in with your clients, offer timely feedback, and make them feel valued.
  • Utilize online tools that track their progress in real-time, making it easier to adjust their workout programs as needed. Tracking fitness goals and celebrating achievements contribute to a stable client base.
  • Additional certifications to offer services like nutrition coaching or specialized workout plans can add value to your existing services.

Satisfied clients are your best ambassadors. Word of mouth and success stories shared on social media can greatly impact your client base. Therefore, investing in each client’s success is not just good business ethics; it’s also an intelligent business strategy.

Monetizing Your Online Personal Training Business

So, you’ve got the skills, the certifications, and even your first clients. The question now is, how do you turn all of this hard work into a sustainable revenue stream? 

Pricing Strategies

Determining your pricing structure is the first step in effectively monetizing your online training business.

One con of being an online personal trainer is that you can’t charge as much as  traditional in-person fitness trainers. One of the main selling points for potential clients is the lower price point of online coaching. On the other hand, you make up for this by being able to handle a more substantial client base.

Offering both per-session rates and subscription models gives potential customers more options and can lead to higher revenue.

Whether you opt for a subscription model, package deals, or a pay-as-you-go system, ensure it aligns with the value you’re providing and the target audience you aim to serve.

Passive Income Avenues

Selling individual workout plans or nutrition guides can be a great way to make passive income.

As you become more successful as an online personal trainer, more and more people will want in on the secret and buy an online course from you.


The next step is diversification. Don’t rely solely on one-on-one personal training sessions. 

As mentioned earlier, consider offering additional services like group classes, pre-designed workout programs, and specialized courses for different fitness goals like weight loss, bodybuilding, sport-specific training, and general wellness.

These can be entry points for potential customers needing more time to immediately committing to a complete training package.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Another great way to monetize is through collaborations and partnerships. Link up with brands, other fitness coaches, and even health food stores to offer bundled packages or affiliate deals. 

Such collaborations can introduce your services to a broader audience and create additional revenue streams.

Monetizing your online personal training business requires a blend of innovation, clever marketing, and, most importantly, delivering consistent value to your clients.

Final Words

Becoming a successful online personal trainer requires hard work, a sound business strategy, and the ability to adapt and grow.

The best way to go about it is simply to start. Take the first step by gaining the necessary certifications and building your online presence.

Building your own online personal training business is a viable long-term career with significant earning potential. With the right mix of certifications, online tools, and marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to helping people achieve their fitness goals—all from the comfort of your home.

StrengthLog Coach: Online Coaching Simplified

Are you a…

  • Personal trainer?
  • Strength & conditioning coach in sports?
  • Powerlifting, CrossFit, or Olympic weightlifting coach?

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With StrengthLog Coach, you can:

  • Write workouts & training programs for your clients, in a fitness app they’ll actually love using.
  • Create templates of the workouts & programs you often use with clients to save time.
  • Monitor and chat with clients in real time.
  • Create custom exercises with your own video demos, or choose freely from our library of 300+ exercises.
  • Create client groups, for instance, for coaching teams.

And you get the best support in the business, even with the free trial.

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Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article, check out these great resources for personal trainers:

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Andreas Abelsson

Andreas is a certified nutrition coach with over three decades of training experience. He has followed and reported on the research fields of exercise, nutrition, and health for almost as long and is a specialist in metabolic health and nutrition coaching for athletes. Read more about Andreas and StrengthLog by clicking here.