Set Your Personal Training Business Up For Success

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As most personal trainers and group fitness instructors know, this time of year can be particularly slow with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, client’s travel plans, and the general focus on food and celebration, as opposed to fitness.

However, as soon as New Year’s day rolls around, personal trainees’ schedules go from 0 to 100, in the blink of an eye.

With the uncommon quiet, that is this time of year, and the busiest time of the new year quickly approaching, now is the ideal time to plan for setting yourself and your personal training career up for success.

Set Goals for Yourself

Yes, your clients are setting their next years’ fitness goals; goals for personal weight lifting records, trying to break the time on their mile, or starting completely new resolutions, but that doesn’t mean you can set goals for yourself as the personal trainer.

Start with focusing just on the first quarter.

Just like life, the world of fitness and personal training is always evolving. In Q1 maybe you want to focus on mastering a new fitness trend or opening yourself up to a new demographic of clients. On the trend report, there will continue to be a rise and emphasis on niche group fitness classes and training facilities. Consider riding the wave of this trend.

Take some continuing education classes on group fitness and immerse yourself in this lucrative fitness group. See our blog on personal trainer business tips for more information.

Next, Get Clients to Focus on Your New Focus

If you’ve decided to open yourself up to a new demographic- maybe you want to teach pilates geared towards an older generation or group fitness classes especially for kids, you need to market your new offerings.

If you want your focus in the first quarter to bring in extra cash, you’ll need a marketing plan.

Start by getting the word out to your current clients, they know you, they trust you, and they’re the group most likely to support this new venture- at first.

Next, do some brainstorming into what your target markets are reading, watching, listening to, and where they go. Use these findings to select the advertising formats that will reach them the best, including social media, community magazines and papers, even business partnerships and cross promotions. These leanings can also help you in tailoring your messaging to best resonate with them.

  • There’s no better way to reach a massive audience, you haven’t connected with yet, than by social media.

Don’t have a large following? No problem.

Choose your captions and hashtags, carefully. Make sure any hashtags you’re using are relevant to the post, what you’re offering, and are also geographically focused if you only are offering your services in a certain area.

Pro tip: don’t use more than 30! If you do, Instagram will not index your post. There are also a list of banned hashtags that will cause your post to be hidden, find them here.

Be Realistic

Only about 64% of resolutions are kept for a month.

That means approximately a third of your new clients or members might be gone by early February.

Don’t let this deter you from branching out and expanding your services or having a creative goal for the first quarter. Instead, come up with a plan for how you can combat this.

What can you do or implement to keep your clients coming back, booking sessions, and staying dedicated to your personal training program and their fitness goals?

Consider creating a rewards or referral program. Do you have a lot of new clients, who haven’t been to your gym before? Chances are they have a lot of friends, who haven’t been to your gym before either. Offer a referral program to these new clients. For example, every friend that books a session that is referred through your current client, they both receive a $15 discount off their first or next sessions. Yes, you’re losing money in the short term but long term you’ve maintained one client and sourced a new one.

Offer a rewards based program, based on your clients hitting and exceeding their goals. Does your client have a goal to lose 40 pounds, run a 9 minute mile, or dead lift 150 pounds? Whatever it may be, set weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly goals. If you client reaches the goal, they can earn a discount on their next session with you, a new gym bag, or whatever you want to offer.

Do you have several clients with a common goal? Maybe a few of your clients are training for a marathon, want to slim down for a wedding, or are looking to get fit for health-related reasons. Form training groups around these common client goals. Incorporate goal specific education in the group training sessions, perhaps ways to manage sugar cravings or race day hydration strategies. Not only are you maintaining your clients, you are also providing them with a support network and adding additional value to your training. See our blog on personal trainer marketing tips for more information


These are non-negotiable.

In order to be the best personal trainer you can be, you need to take care of your career and requirements, the same way you take care of your body.

  • Make sure your certification and continuing education requirements are up to date.
  • Double check the status of your CPR/AED certification, in case of an emergency you need to be prepared.

In the unfortunate event, you or you clients do experience an emergency in the gym- make sure you’re covered. Have personal trainer liability insurance and keep it up to date- it could save your career and your bank account tens of thousands of dollars.

Even in scenarios, that are not directly your fault, such as a client slipping on sweat on the gym floor and breaking an arm, could be something you would be liable for.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.