Are you keen to create online fitness programs but unsure where to start? There’s been a huge shift towards online workouts and virtual training in recent years. Tools like Shopify and Podia make it easier than ever to sell online programs, courses, and downloads. So, how can you make the switch to digital sessions or improve your existing online programs?

In this article – learn exactly how to create online fitness programs that are fun and engaging for clients.

  • Design your online fitness program
  • How to create your online program
  • Tips for fun & engaging online workouts

We’re a specialist fitness marketing agency with 15+ years of industry experience, so we know first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!). We’ve helped personal trainers, health coaches, and content creators to develop and promote their online fitness programs so our strategies are tried and tested.

Fitness Marketing Fundamentals [Online Course]

How to Design Your Online Fitness Program

When designing an online fitness program, there are three key areas to consider…

  • What does your target market need?
  • What’s the best way to address this need?
  • How can I make my online fitness program better or different from others?

By working through these questions from the start, you’re much more likely to create a workout program that sells well. This is because you’ll be addressing a need in the market and designing your program in a way that makes it both effective and appealing.

Let’s look at each area in more detail…

Guide To Creating Online Fitness Programs

1 – What program does your target market need?

As with any business, we need to understand who we are targeting and what their needs are. You might already have a clear idea of this based on feedback from existing clients or a gap you’ve identified.

If so, that’s great! But if not, then you’ll need to do some research and brainstorming to find something suitable.

It’s easy to research the fitness training industry at a high level using search engines like Google. You can…

  • Look into current fitness trends to identify what’s hot right now or likely to become popular in the future.
  • Read interviews from high-profile trainers to get ideas and inspiration from their businesses.
  • Explore forums like Reddit and Facebook groups to see what fitness-related topics people are asking questions about or struggling with.
  • Learn what personal trainers and fitness studios are posting about on their fitness websites, blogs, or exercise-themed YouTube channels.
  • Look at fitness surveys and market research to understand what consumers are looking for in their online workout sessions.

Researching the market will help you discover gaps and opportunities to help you create a profitable online workout program.

2 – What’s the best way to address the market’s need?

Once you’ve identified the topic or theme for your online fitness program, think about how the best way to address it…

  • Do you need to educate people about the benefits of a specific training method?
  • Show them how to do it visually through illustrations, photos, or videos?
  • Are you taking them on a journey towards a specific fitness goal or just providing workouts?
  • Is it an online video course?
  • PDF ebook with practical activities?
  • Monthly membership community?
  • A series of PDF workout plans with a Facebook group for accountability?

Think about the best way for your online fitness program to address the market’s need.

Top tip: If you want to create a lifestyle business or passive income, then factor this into your format. An online video course that you can create once and sell over and over is more passive than a monthly membership with live streamed workouts.

Fitness & Workout Templates

3 – How to make it different or better?

If you’re creating an online fitness program in a competitive niche, then think about how you can differentiate from the competition. What can you do to make it better or unique?

  • Can you add extra value by including more deliverables (e.g. meal plans)?
  • Can you differentiate your fitness program through its branding, instructor style, or music?
  • Can you provide a community or other elements that competitors don’t have?

Doing this will help you craft training programs and live sessions that can make you the next Kayla Itsines, Rachel Brathen, or Melissa Wood!

50 Fitness Marketing Templates

How To Create An Online Fitness Program

Now comes the really fun part – it’s time to create your online fitness program! Here’s how we approach it with our clients…

  1. Map out the experience or journey that fitness program participants will take from signing up and getting started to completion.
  2. List all of the deliverables needed for each step in that journey including exercise videos, PDF workouts, WhatsApp or Facebook groups, etc.
  3. Create each item in the list.
  4. Upload it to your online platform of choice (own website, Podia, Shopify, YouTube channel, private Facebook group, etc.).

Creating the content for your online fitness program will take the most time. Depending on the formats you’ve chosen, this can take anything from a couple of hours to several weeks.

But the benefit of building an online exercise program is that once you’ve done the hard work up front, it’s much more passive from there!

We have dedicated guides on creating various types of content for your online fitness program…

Fitness & Workout Templates

You might also like… How gyms can sell online programs through Shopify or How to successfully sell your fitness programs.

Tips For Creating Fun & Engaging Online Workouts

So, how do you make an online workout program fun and exciting, yet challenging? Here are some research-based tips and best practices that will help…

  • Focus on helping participants feel good
  • Provide a fitness community
  • Use competition to increase engagement

Let’s explore these aspects in more detail…

Focus on Feel Good Workouts, less on Look Good

According to recent studies and surveys, there is a growing need for personal trainers to put emphasis on exercise routines that make clients feel-good rather than simply look-good. This is especially true for Gen Z generations.

Research from Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey

A survey from Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness found that 54% of Gen Z say staying in shape (feeling good) is their primary reason to exercise. The study also revealed that a workout experience “that provides results and challenge” has a higher level of appeal for Gen Z.

Given this data, we can now craft an interesting workout that has a feel-good component but remains both challenging and results-oriented.

POPSUGAR Fitness, the #1 female lifestyle brand which powers the optimism of women around the world through playful content, illustrates beautifully what a feel-good, challenging and results-oriented workout embodies through its Hip Hop Fit Workout.

Popsugar delivers its feel-good factor through hip-hop (dance) and by bringing like-minded people together, giving members of the group-fitness program a challenging yet fun workout.

Create Online Workout Programs Clients Love

Provide Community-Driven Workouts

Another study from Les Mills recently revealed that Millennials and Gen Z make up roughly 80% of health club members (pre-COVID-19). Furthermore, Les Mills also found that:

  • 85% of all gym members also workout at home.
  • Millennials and Gen Z account for 89% of total users of online or app-based workouts.

In addition, before the COVID-19 pandemic, visits to boutique gym studios had grown 121% over the last 5 years in the United States, implying that young gymgoers place significant value on the social aspects of exercise. Gen Z populations also tend to value social interactions while working out more than Millennials.

Given these findings, personal trainers should provide not just feel-good and challenging workouts, but promote a sense of community and belonging to both Gen Z and Millennial gymgoers, who represent the bulk of the market.

Group training, whether HIIT, strength, or simply dance classes, bolsters that sense of community. Girls Just Wanna Box is a prime example of what community-driven workouts are all about, having been created to bring its members together!


And to add the cherry on the icing, group training sessions accelerate the likelihood of your workouts going viral on the web and social media apps (Instagram stories)!

Embrace Competition: Create Games

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that competition was far more effective in motivating people to exercise than friendly support.

In fact, in their experiments, they found that attendance rates in competitive training sessions were 90% higher than in their control groups (friendly and individual training).

Why? According to their findings: “In a competitive setting, each person’s activity raises the bar for everyone else… because competitive groups frame relationships in terms of goal-setting by the most active members”.

How To Create An Online Fitness Program That Sells

Creating Profitable Online Workout Programs

By following this guide, you’ll be able to create an online fitness program that actually sells and is profitable. Researching the needs of the market and designing a program that addresses this will set you up for success. Mapping out the program journey and creating the workout deliverables in a methodical way will ensure a high-quality experience for your participants.

Whatever type of online fitness programme you create, it’s essential that you make your workouts fun, challenging, results-oriented, and competitive. All of this can be achieved with feel-good workouts, community-based training, and in competitive settings! From here it’s all about promoting your workout program, collecting testimonials and success stories, and with continuing to improve your offering along the way.

Fitness Business Resources

Our ready-made templates make it quicker, cheaper, and easier to promote your fitness business. They can improve the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns. If you aren’t an experienced marketer, then templates also provide a useful guide for you to follow.

Fitness Business Templates

Whether you run a gym club, fitness studio, or personal training business, these templates will save you time and effort. They’ll help you to plan and organize your promotional activities so that you generate more revenue. You’ll get 60+ templates covering sales, marketing, lead gen, client training, and business start-up resources.

How To Create An Online Fitness Program Pinterest

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.