Ever wondered what separates a truly successful personal trainer from a typical one? It’s a competitive industry and the vast majority of fitness trainers quit, so how can you set yourself up to do well?

In this article – we outline how to be a successful personal trainer using 5 proven strategies.

These approaches work regardless of your goal, from earning good money to changing lives or even becoming famous for your fitness expertise. Whether you want to be a successful personal trainer like Jillian Michaels, Harley Pasternak, or Joe Wickes, this article will show you how.

  1. Focus on client results
  2. Master sales and marketing
  3. Proactively build your reputation
  4. Keep learning and developing
  5. Define what success looks like

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 and fitness influencers to successfully promote their businesses, so our strategies are tested and proven.

1 – Focus on client results

This really is the foundation for everything else in your personal training business. You can’t be successful unless you actually get results for your clients. So, before you explore other tips and tactics, get really good at delivering for your clients.

How can you ensure this?

  • Holistic approach – coach them on both fitness and nutrition as it’s really hard to get results if one’s neglected.
  • Accountability – clients need more than education and guidance, they need you to hold them accountable for doing what they say they will.

Here are some resources that can help personal trainers become successful in this area…

Exercise Template Examples

2 – Master sales and marketing

Knowing how to market and sell your PT services is essential to your success. You can be the most knowledgeable trainer in the world, but if no-one else knows about it then you won’t get many clients.

Mastering the promotion and sales aspects will ensure that you have a steady stream of clients each week and help you maintain success long-term.

Ways to do this include…

  • Do more of what works – use proven frameworks and templates for your marketing and sales.
  • Allocate time – dedicate at least two hours a week to generating leads and following up enquiries. 
  • What you’re already doing – keep reading our blog for business tips, ideas, and best practice!

Here are some resources that can help personal trainers become successful in sales and marketing…

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3 – Proactively build your reputation

To be truly successful, you can’t rely on organic word of mouth alone. Of course, you need to ensure clients are satisfied so that they talk about you positively. But it’s also important to be proactive in building your reputation, cultivating your network, and generating positive reviews.

Here are some practical ways you can approach this…

  • Case studies – create case studies explaining how you’ve helped clients achieve their fitness goals.
  • Reviews – encourage clients to leave positive reviews on Google, social media, and your website.
  • Referrals – proactively generate referrals by incentivising clients to recommend you to their friends.
  • Networking – build your network and reputation by attending fitness industry events and using online platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Write a book – all the most successful personal trainers have published their own books as it’s an effective way to build a reputation and become more widely known.

Here are some resources that can help personal trainers to build their reputation…

4 – Keep learning & developing

The fitness industry is constantly evolving. New scientific research and training trends emerge every month. Successful personal trainers make a point of staying up-to-date with the latest developments.

How can you do this?

  • Industry news – subscribe to fitness industry podcasts and emails from training experts like ACE and NASM.
  • Courses – don’t neglect your CPD as it’s vital for ensuring you’re always up-to-date with the latest training methods.
  • Mentors – seek out people who can mentor you, either in person or by reading their books.
  • Master training – becoming the head personal trainer for a leading fitness brand will give you access to their education programmes (and also builds your reputation and network too!).

Here are some resources that can help personal trainers to continually learn and develop their skills…

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Fitness Marketing Ideas Mini-Guide

25 fitness marketing ideas for your gym, studio, or online business. Attract new members, get more PT clients & boost your fitness blog.

5 – Define what success looks like

Ultimately, becoming a successful personal trainer will look different depending on your goals. Success might mean earning a lot of money, making a difference in your community, or becoming an expert in your field.

Without defining what ‘success’ means to you, it’ll be very hard to get there. Or you may find yourself striving towards an objective just because others do, then finding it’s not what you’d hoped.

How can you approach this?

  • Set SMART goals – so you have a clear objective and can track your progress against it. 
  • Define success – write down what success means to you so that you stay focused on what really matters.
  • Dream day – think about what your dream workday looks like so that you know what you’re aiming for.

Here are some resources that can help personal trainers define success for themselves…

Fitness Gym PT Marketing Plan Examples

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The Fitness Marketing & Lead Generation Roadmap is a comprehensive resource designed for gyms, personal trainers, and online fitness businesses. It’s packed with video workshops, marketing templates, step-by-step guides, cheat sheets, and more. We cover:

  • Fitness Marketing Strategy: Build a solid foundation and plan for success.
  • Lead Generation: Attract more clients with effective tactics.
  • Social Media: Boost your online presence and engagement.
  • Email Marketing: Nurture leads and convert them into loyal customers.
  • Advertising & Promotion: Get your message out there efficiently.
  • Content Marketing: Create compelling content that resonates with your audience.
Successful Personal Training Career Tips

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.