Personal trainers help clients achieve their fitness goals by designing diet plans, custom workouts, and guiding them through workout sessions. With the rise of social media, we have all seen popular personal trainers making 6 and 7 figures. Many clients will pay extremely well for your expertise – which makes it easier than ever to make 6 figures as a personal trainer.
To make money as a personal trainer, you have to function as an entrepreneur and not just a personal trainer. You should:
- Increase your hourly rate
- Start fitness academies/bootcamps
- Sell workout products/plans, nutrition plans, and workshops
- Use affiliate marketing
- Write books
This comprehensive guide will show you the best ideas you can implement to start making $100,000+ a year as a personal trainer. If you’re looking to take your personal training career to the next level, read on for some essential tips.
NOTE: In your long journey to six and seven-figure income, at some point, you might consider opening a gym. I have written a detailed step-by-step guide on how to open a gym. Save it and review the article when you are ready.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer: How Much Do Personal Trainers Make?
The income of personal trainers can vary significantly.
While celebrity personal trainers might make 7 figure incomes training celebrities and offering their workout plans online, a beginner personal trainer might make only half of the average salary. Currently, the average salary for a personal trainer is $61,000, which implies at least 50% of all personal trainers make less than that.
If we only consider in-person personal training, the amount a personal trainer makes depends significantly on their location. Here is the data for personal trainer salaries in my town of London, UK.
Beginner PTs make the least amount of money because they don’t have an established client base. Inexperienced personal trainers also skew the average income because the barrier to entry is low.
The only way to stand out among personal trainers is to build a client base, which takes years of effort. The best way to start a career in personal training is to get hired at a gym and work your way up by building your network and online presence.
Pro Tip: The top trainers also sell their own nutritional products, workout/diet plans, online courses, private coaching, merchandise, etc. Doing so effectively boosts their income far beyond the average salary.
Here’s how personal incomes of personal trainers differ based on experience level and time spent in the industry:
Income Of Beginner Personal Trainers: Less than $40,000
Beginner personal trainers make $40,000 or less because they’re only getting paid at the gym, and they don’t have a consistent base of clients that they can charge for private training.
The only exceptions to the rule are beginners who work out of major cities like LA, NYC, and London, where salaries are high by national standards, and there is a near-unlimited supply of clients who pay for personal trainer services.
If you’re starting out, a great strategy is to move to a major city where you’ll immediately find clients for your services. Usually, personal trainers at this level can only charge $20-30 per hour, and some work for free to build up their client base and following.
Income Of Established Personal Trainers: $40,000-80,000
Most personal trainers peak at this income level because they’ve done everything right – they get a raise at the gym, build up a solid customer base, and have a steady stream of new clients.
While clients at the gym come and go (as they achieve their fitness goals), successful personal trainers start getting referrals from older clients.
Personal trainers tend to reach this level after 2-3 years in the industry, or sooner if they’re hard-working and know how to get a lot of clients. Trainers at this level still have to work very hard and derive their income from time spent with students.
At this level, personal trainers might choose to increase their hourly rate and start charging $60-100 per hour for their services. They can do this because they’ve already built up a solid client base, and have sufficient demand.
Income Of Influencer Personal Trainers: $100,000+
To make $100,000+ a year as a personal trainer, you’ll have to become, at the very least, a small-time “influencer” who has a following and has built up a community. There are few trainers at this level because it’s extremely hard to get there and requires entrepreneurial skills.
The main difference between influencers and beginner/established personal trainers is that influencers don’t derive the majority of their income by training clients directly. Most of them produce video courses and sell fitness products that make them money 24/7 without engaging with the clients themselves.
If you look at any top fitness expert, the majority of their income will come from online/real-life training + selling nutritional products, fitness equipment, and other merchandise.
At this level, the personal trainer becomes an entrepreneur and sells a range of fitness products. They have a brand with a strong following. Many of them make millions each year.
Once you reach the high-earner PT category, there are no caps on the amount of money you can make. You don’t have to become a fitness guru with 1M+ followers on Instagram to reach this level. You can have between 5000 and 10,000 engaged social media followers and still end up making over 6 figures each year.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer: How To Calculate Your Personal Training Income
Many personal trainers struggle because they don’t have a client base, and they have to work in gyms that have a limit to how much they can pay you. The gym has the advantage of having all the clients, and you’ll rely on the gym to get your clients.
Unfortunately, personal trainers starting out will only get to keep 1/3 of the total revenue they produce for the gym. If you earn $30,000 a year, you’ll effectively make the gym over $90,000 with your services. Having this knowledge will help move you along your entrepreneurial journey.
Clients look for personal trainer services once they join the gym, and if you’re the main personal trainer, you’ll be handling all the work. The best way to make a 6-figure income is to find your own clients and become a self-employed personal trainer. Doing so is easier said than done because it takes immense effort to build up a client base when you’re just starting.
Calculating Monthly Income
To calculate your income, you’ll have to analyze the total number of clients and how many training sessions you’ve had with each client. You calculate clients by the month because many students come and go, which means the clients you’re training now likely won’t be there at the end of the year. This loss of clients is known as churn.
The average client will take 2-3 sessions per week when they’re on a regular training schedule and 5-7 sessions per week if they’re on an intense workout regimen.
Start by deciding your hourly price. How much do you charge for coaching? When you calculate your income, you will be working with averages. Maybe you charge $50 to some clients and charge $100 to others. The average of this is $75. To do the calculations always find how much do you charge on average.
Example: With 10 clients you’ll make 10 (clients) x 3 (sessions on average/month) x $60 (per session) = $1800 per month.
NOTE: I have provided an income and profit calculator below that will do all the calculations for you.
Remember that if you work out of a gym, you’ll only get to keep 30% or 1/3 of your total amount charges to clients. In some cases, the gym might take a fixed fee from you, and you will be able to charge the client the rates you want.
Personal Trainer Income Calculator
The personal trainer income calculator is a quick tool to help you forecast and project your monthly income. Input different values for your average price, the number of classes you conduct and the average number of students per class to identify your income. Alter the variables to understand how you can make 6 figures as a personal trainer.
Calculating Annual Income
Your yearly income will depend on the payroll structure at the gym. If the gym compensates you with a fixed salary of $30,000 for services such as teaching group fitness classes, they might still let you keep a portion of the revenues from private classes.
If you make $30,000 and you add $1000 in income from private training each month, you’ll be making over $40,000 a year. However, it’s easy to see why many personal trainers are turning to the internet to hold private training sessions as it allows them to keep 100% of their income.
How To Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer: 7-Step Guide
In this 7-step guide, you will learn how to make $100,000+ a year as a personal trainer. You can apply any of these tips individually, as many personal trainers are at different stages of their careers.
You don’t have to execute all these tactics together. Executing even a single tactic can get you to your goal.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #1) Start Working At A Gym
Start by working a regular personal trainer job at a gym, period.
If you’re a beginner, this is your first step to making a name for yourself in the fitness industry. You can always double your income by offering services on the internet, but don’t start without experience.
You need a jumping board where you can launch your career, and getting a job at a gym will give you that opportunity.
Apply for the top gym brands because they pay more – start by moving to a large city that has higher wages. You need to be in a thriving environment to motivate yourself to make 6 figures.
If every personal trainer in your city is okay with making $30,000, how will that motivate you to do better? Save up money, pack your bags, and move to a city where personal trainers make $100K+.
Working as a personal trainer at a gym will NOT get you 6 figures. Still, it will get you security, experience, and time, and you can use those first 1-2 years of experience to build a following on the internet and start developing your fitness brand.
NOTE: If you are interested in learning how to build a fitness brand, head on over to my detailed guide.
The gym will pay you a salary, health insurance, and provide a fitness environment where you can form business relationships and source clients.
Can Working A Hourly Wage Get You To $100,000+
Don’t fall for the math pitfall. Many personal trainers think that if they can “only” get 20 clients and each one gets them $30/hour, then they’ll be making $100,000+ by the end of the year. This assumption rarely comes true for several reasons.
Here are some reasons why the hourly model fails to make you 6 figures at the gym:
- You don’t keep 100% of your earnings, as the gym is entitled to 2/3rd’s of your income.
- It’s hard to get dozens of clients if you have never done it before.
- People show up late and may pay less than what they owe you.
- Many people stop training after 1-2 months because they’ve achieved their fitness goals, or they no longer need a PT [churn].
- If the gym offers private training at the client’s home, you’ll have to travel to clients each day, leaving you with fewer hours to train new clients.
- Realistically, most PTs can only take on a maximum of 5-7 clients per day.
Pro Tip: Starting at a gym is going to help you build the foundation you need to make 6 figures. The reason is that once you decide to develop your own fitness academies, workout programs, and workshops – you’ll need to have a track record of teaching clients, before/after pictures, social media following with thousands of followers, and more.
The simplest way to get to this stage is to spend 1-2 years working as an employee for a gym and learning the ropes of the fitness industry. It’s tough to start marketing yourself online when you don’t have the practical experience of a full-time trainer.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #2) Increase Your Rate For Private Classes
Private classes cost more than group fitness classes, and most trainers derive 50%+ of their total income from coaching clients privately. To attend a private class, clients usually pay $50-100/hour. When you double your hourly rate, your earnings increase significantly. We have a bias to charge less for our services.
NOTE: If you are interested in learning the strategies used to price and charge for group fitness classes, review my guide on the topic.
Double your hourly rate, and you will increase your yearly earnings. Your earnings won’t see a linear increase as you will lose some clients who cannot afford you. But you will also attract more high paying clients.
- The value of private classes relies on the concept of “value-based pricing.” Clients will pay what they deem is the value of private training to them, which most often is much higher than what you currently charge.
Note: Increasing your hourly rate should only be done by PT’s who have 1-2 years of experience in the fitness industry. At this level, you can also quit your job at the gym and work as a self-employed personal trainer.
How Do You Justify Increasing Your Hourly Rates?
You’re offering excellent training sessions for clients, and you’re probably worth double than what you’re currently charging. Review the concept of value-based pricing to understand that your clients are paying for the “perceived value” of the training, which to them is often much more than what you charge.
Do you think gyms only pay PT’s 30% by accident? No, they know personal training is worth a lot of money.
This means that most PT’s are not even aware they could be charging the full amount if they start offering their services as self-employed personal trainers. Some could charge 3x their current rate.
Pro Tip: You’ll hit a limit in the number of clients you’ll take on eventually as you keep increasing prices. Even with value-based pricing, you need to benchmark against your peers who are at the same professional level as you.
How Much Can You Charge As A Personal Trainer
In theory, there are no limits to how much you can charge per hour, as long as you can find clients at that price point.
Most PT’s think that $100-150/hour is the maximum a trainer could charge. However, this price-point only holds for average trainers. If you become influential and build up a following, your time could be worth a lot more than that.
You could become a professional celebrity trainer and train wealthy clients who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on a personal coach. You’ll only need a handful of these clients to make 6 figures every year, and you shouldn’t constrain yourself by thinking that $50-100/hour is the maximum you can charge.
However, you will need to boost the customer experience to start charging extra. Doing so means you’ll have to provide a more personalized workout experience, build better personal relationships, make your sessions more fun, and become better at your craft.
Pro Tip: You have to get results. People will pay big money if they start seeing gains, losing weight, or generally feeling better as a result of your training. The results are all that matter to clients.
Offer Personalized Services
If you need a justification to double or triple your hourly rate, start by expanding your service by offering personalized services for clients. Doing so could mean providing training at the client’s home. Instead of forcing clients to show up at the gym, drive out to their place and bring equipment to train them there.
If you’re training high-ticket clients, most of them don’t have the time to attend a gym or even visit your place. Offer them an hour-long training session at their home/office every day, and you’ll have a good enough reason to justify doubling the price.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #3) Start An Online Fitness Academy
Starting an online fitness academy is the most profitable way to leverage your fitness knowledge and break 6 figures in revenue each year.
Example: You can start a “SWEAT Weight Loss Academy” where you teach group fitness courses over live video or in pre-recorded video courses.
Your fitness academy could offer a series of services such as personal training over Skype, group training on live streams, workshops, video courses, eBooks, merchandise/t-shirts, and more. The idea is to create an online version of a gym where you can sell dozens of products simultaneously.
However, to get to this stage, you will need to have a significant following. If you do all this without having a dedicated audience, you will most likely fail.
Review my guide on how to build a fitness brand and first focus on gathering at least 5,000 to 10,000 engaged social media followers before starting an online academy.
Diversify Fitness Services
Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket and only producing video courses, you could make that a part of your broader fitness academy.
Moreover, personal training hours will be an option instead of the main selling point. This way, you can eventually branch out and start hiring other personal trainers and assistants to help you expand your brand.
Note: Clients expect video demonstrations, and you’ll have to purchase video equipment to stream classes/training, record video courses, and more. Start by buying a DSLR camera and rent a gym space or shoot videos at your home gym.
The best way to get started is to emulate other fitness academies. Look up your favorite fitness influencer on YouTube and emulate their website. Most of them will sell private coaching online, seminars, books, workshops/retreats, and merchandise (t-shirts, protein shakes, drinking cups, etc.).
You want to replicate it with your own spin and offer something unique that stands out and attracts clients.
You don’t need a full-fledged fitness studio software to run your coaching business. Set-up shop with the following:
- A place to host your coaching videos behind a paywall [use Memberpress or Thinkific]
- Sell class-packs or memberships to access your academy [use StudioGrowth]
- Notifications and email marketing [use StudioGrowth]
Fitness Services Catalog
Once the users visit your fitness academy website, they have to have easy access to the offers and sign up immediately. This business model relies on online income, and that means you’ll have to accept direct payments via PayPal or credit cards.
Here’s an example of services your fitness academy could offer:
- 1 Hour Personal Coaching: $300
- 30 Minute Group Coaching: $50/attendee
- 7 Day Workshop: $499
- 2-Week Retreat: $999/Participant
- 30-Day Workout (Video Course): $299
- 7-Day Body Cleanse E-Book: $19
- Branded Hoodie: $39 + $9 Shipping
- Branded T-Shirt (+ Bonus Cup): $19 + $9 Shipping
Provide offers that are enticing to your ideal customer profile.
- Some people only want an hourly consultation – let them pay by the hour.
- Some people want to spend a week attending a workshop – let them sign up for a workshop.
- Others want to escape on a 2-week learning vacation – sign them up for a retreat.
Make it easy for people to spend money on your website by offering a broad range of services. When you launch your fitness academy, you’ll have to keep producing courses and workshops to keep people engaged.
Production will take up the bulk of your time, and you’ll spend less time at the gym training people and more time producing courses and training people online.
You’ll also have to double down on your social media efforts and produce content on YouTube and Instagram that drive people to your fitness academy.
Develop Your Own App
To stay competitive in an innovative fitness environment, consider developing your own app. You should consider creating your fitness app only after you have a significant follower base.
Most online coaching happens over Skype/Google Hangouts, but you can switch this up by developing your own app and offering training/payment methods via the app. Doing so builds credibility for your academy because it shows you’ve invested a lot of money in your brand. If you have a limited budget, you can develop an app for as little as $2000 in initial investment.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #4) Sell Online Bootcamps & Video Courses
Selling online boot-camps and video courses are quick ways to expand your revenue online because you don’t have to wield a lot of influence on social media to sell these courses.
While workshops & retreats are harder to pull off for PT’s without a following, selling video courses can quickly add to your revenue if you develop courses that are unique and market them adequately.
The fitness industry is unique because people like to participate in “Bootcamps” that motivate them to achieve a result over 1-2 weeks. To prepare offering boot camps, you’ll need to purchase a DSLR camera and video equipment because you’ll have to produce the content.
Pro Tip: People resonate with results, and you might need to get a student willing to record their journey with you. If you’re doing a 14-day weight loss bootcamp, you’ll want to record an overweight student who loses weight over 14 days during your bootcamp.
Doing so is the only way you’ll make your video courses resonate with average people. People want to see ordinary people succeeding – not pros.
I’m sure you have head about Drew Manning, who gained weight and lost it all again to experience what his students go through. He launched an online course and generated millions of dollars.
Fitness enthusiasts enjoy bootcamps because they happen in groups, and you can hold them at the gym or entirely online. Bootcamps are similar to workshops; however, you won’t have to individually assess students and hand out certificates at the end of the bootcamp.
Bootcamps can differ in length, price, and concept. If you host a 14-day Bootcamp at a remote location in your state, you could charge as much as $1000-2000 per participant.
If you host a one-day Bootcamp at the gym, you may only be able to charge $20-50 per student. For online Bootcamps, the average price is in the $100-200 range per participant. As a 6-figure personal trainer, you want to have Bootcamps running all year long to produce consistent income.
Most trainers host bootcamps during the warm summer months – make a unique spin and create bootcamps every month. If you host a $300 Bootcamp each month and you sign up only ten students for the Bootcamp, you’ll add $3000 to your monthly income. It’s worth investing the extra time to create bootcamp programs.
Sell Video Courses
Video courses allow you to differentiate from the training/bootcamp model because your students can consume your content at their leisure.
The idea is to put all the effort in advance by creating a video course that people will consume, and then make money selling that course. You could be making money with a course you made years ago.
People prefer video courses over books because they show them training techniques visually, and you can develop hundreds of video courses with a single camera at your gym. Video courses are more effective if you have students who are willing to participate for demonstration purposes. You want to take before/after pictures which you can use for marketing later.
To set the price of video courses, analyze your competition. If the average price for a 7-day video course is $49, you should charge similarly for your video course. If a more extensive course costs $199, you should consider creating a comparable course. Make the course downloadable and offer payment via PayPal/credit cards to make it easy for clients to pay.
Pro Tip: If you produce a downloadable video course today, you can make money on that course five years from now. The video courses should feature instructional videos, step-by-step guides, nutrition/diet plans, warm-up exercises, and more.
Make Fitness Documentaries
Students will be impressed if the average Joe can obtain results such as lose weight, add muscle, improve health condition, etc. Record yourself training average people as a form of a mini-documentary.
Instead of developing generic video courses such as “Lose Weight In 7 Days,” you should make mini-documentaries where you guide a student through 7 days and make them lose 5-10 pounds over a week. Doing so will make your video course stand out because prospective buyers will see that they can do it too.
The documentary should show you developing nutrition plans, training with your students at the gym, exercising outdoors, etc. Add creativity and make your documentary interesting. Then develop small previews and post them on YouTube.
Finally, give out this documentary for free as a “lead magnet” if the prospect gives you their email.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #5) Become An Instagram Influencer
Fitness trainers have the easiest path to becoming Instagram influencers because they have toned bodies that instantly make them popular on social media. Many people follow fitness trainers for workout motivation, advice, and knowledge. If you want to gain prominence as a personal trainer, the only social media network you need is Instagram, followed by YouTube.
- It’s not uncommon for personal trainers to start with 1000 followers and end up with hundreds of thousands over a year.
Start by regularly posting yourself exercising and teaching students. Get someone to record you during your sessions and update your “Stories” and timeline each day. The more you post, the more the Instagram algorithm will favor you.
The main obstacle is to build up a base of engaged followers. People struggle to get their first 1000-2000 followers because this step is the most critical for gaining recognition and becoming influential on social media. When you’re starting out, you have to be proactive in getting your follower count up.
The process starts by putting out quality content. You could emulate fitness trainers and copy their picture-taking style: angles, workouts, location at the gym, etc.
- Create a high-quality Instagram profile that stands out from that of an average person.
Start by following people interested in fitness. Make sure to point out that you’re a fitness coach and state your location and credentials. Instead of randomly following people from your friend’s list, go to a gym’s or a personal trainer’s profile and follow their followers.
Engage with your followers and like their pictures back. After a while, you’ll start getting organic followers, and people will start to message you for workout advice.
From this point on, it’s all about the content you’re putting out because you’ve already done the foundational work, and your profile will start taking off.
NOTE: If you are interested in an in-depth, step-by-step guide on Instagram marketing, review my guide on Instagram marketing for yoga studios. The tactics and concepts explored apply to personal trainers as well.
Sell Workout Products
To make a 6-figure income on Instagram, don’t just direct your users to your fitness academy where people can sign up for your courses but also start selling actual physical products.
Most fitness trainers eventually develop their own workout essentials such as protein, weights/equipment, supplements, clothing, etc. You’ll need to partner up with companies to start producing your own products.
If you don’t want to make your own products, you can become a brand ambassador for a company and help them sell their products by advertising them in your posts.
Many of the top influencers get paid up to $2M dollars per post, but if you’re a moderate influencer with a few hundred thousand followers, you can get paid $5000-10,000 per post.
There are also affiliate marketing methods where you can get a commission for each product sold through your links. Basically, you link to a product, and each sale you make gets you a percentage of the sale.
Warning: Make sure not to go overboard on promotional posts because people come to Instagram to see your content, not your products. You might lose engagement if you over-commercialize your profile.
Live-Stream Classes On IG
Make use of the live streaming feature on Instagram. You can start charging for classes directly on Instagram and coaching group classes. All you have to do is make a private account for paid students where you live stream or video-chat with them over the app after charging them.
- Instagram has a video chat option that allows you to communicate with your paid students and host sessions – this way, you don’t have to take it to Skype or Google Hangouts.
NOTE: Use StudioGrowth to sell class-packs and memberships and collect online payments for your private Instagram live sessions.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #6) Host Workshops
Personal trainers who make 6 figures host workshops nearly every month of the year. If you want to make $100,000+ a year, you’ll have to host multiple workshops each year and charge students for attendance.
A workshop is a week-long event where people show up every day, train with you, and get a certificate upon completion.
You can charge as little as $500 for a workshop, or you could charge $5000 per workshop. Some top trainers charge as much as $10,000 for attendance to a short workshop. It all depends on how established you are and how long the workshop/seminar is.
Note: This method only works for established and popular personal trainers who have a dedicated following.
Fitness presents a unique opportunity to create a workshop almost every month because there are so many things to cover. Instead of making a typical “7 Day Cleanse” workshop, you could focus on other challenging workshops that attract students. Here are some workshop ideas:
- Nutrition Workshops: Run a “7 Day Fasting Workshop” where you teach students to fast certain days of the week and eat less.
- Bulking Workshop: Run a “14 Bulking On A Budget” workshop where you teach students how to bulk on a budget.
- Water Diet Workshop: Run a “10 Day Water Diet” workshop where you make students lose weight by consuming large amounts of water and re-setting their biological system.
You’ll need to think of new angles and messaging that will motivate students to try out your workshops.
Make 6 Figures As A Personal Trainer Step #7) Go Above & Beyond
Eventually, you’ll come to a point where you’ve exhausted all commercial options to generate revenue as a personal trainer.
Once you’ve successfully built your fitness academy, sold courses, hosted workshops, became semi-famous on Instagram/Youtube, and gained recognition. In essence, you might think there is little you can do little past that point.
Well, there is always more you could do!
Write A Book
Share your experience with the fitness industry. Your book doesn’t have to be an autobiography or a story about personal trainers – it could be bits of knowledge that you can impart.
Do you have experience with an innovative way to lose weight? Do you think people are doing something wrong with fitness? Write a book about it and publish it for sale on Amazon.
Start Your Gym
If you can be a personal trainer, you can also be a gym owner. In fact, being a personal trainer forces you to think like an entrepreneur because you have to sell coaching to clients, deliver exceptional service, and market yourself. You can start a gym for as little as $50,000 capital investment.
- Making 6-figures as a gym owner is actually a lot easier than as a personal trainer. You’ll have the experience from your PT days to know what people in fitness want, and you can hire personal trainers yourself.
Instead of letting the gym take your hard-earned money, you can keep it all by starting your own gym. Most gym owners are former personal trainers who decided to go into business. Starting your own gym is something you should consider long-term if you’re going to dedicate your life to fitness.
NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about how you can start your gym, head on over to my essential guide.
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About the author
Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness and wellness industry.
Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set-up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently resides in London, U.K.