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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How to Start a Personal Trainer or Fitness Side Hustle

Starting a fitness side hustle is an exciting way to blend your passion with opportunity. The fitness industry is rife with fulfilling possibilities. Guide others towards their health goals, create engaging content, and lead energizing workouts – all while earning some extra income. 

This guide was made to help you navigate the many types of fitness side hustles, covering inspiring ideas and examples, practical steps to make your vision a reality, and key points to keep in mind as you embark on this rewarding journey. 

If you’re looking to share your fitness passion with a broader audience, supplement your income, or test the waters before diving into a full-time career, you’re in the right place.

Why Start a Fitness Side Hustle? 

Flexibility and Freedom 

One of the most appealing aspects of launching a fitness side hustle is the unparalleled flexibility it offers. You’re not tied down to a conventional schedule or location. This freedom means you can tailor your business to fit seamlessly into your life, not the other way around. Whether it’s early mornings, late evenings, or weekends, you decide when and where you work, allowing you to roam freely within the bounds of your personal and professional life. 

Potential for Additional Income 

Embarking on a fitness side hustle opens up avenues for extra income that can significantly supplement your primary earnings. With strategic planning and dedication, this venture can evolve from just a side job to a substantial income stream. The key lies in choosing a niche that resonates with your passion and expertise and  scaling your client base to maximize your financial gains. 

Pursuing Your Passion 

A fitness side hustle allows you to dive deep into your interest in health and wellness. It’s not just about personal gain; it’s an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on others’ lives. By guiding clients towards their fitness goals, you contribute to their journey of transformation, empowering them to lead healthier, more vibrant lives. This pursuit of passion is not only fulfilling but also enriches your understanding and appreciation of the fitness world. 

Personal Growth and Skill Enhancement 

Running a side business in the fitness industry is a journey of continuous learning and self-improvement. It challenges you to expand your knowledge base and skill set, from nutrition and exercise science to coaching techniques and business management. This growth is not confined to professional domains; it spills over into personal development, enhancing your resilience, communication skills, and ability to inspire and motivate others. 

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Side Hustle #1: Transitioning to Part-Time Personal Training 

A lot of people choose this well-known road. As a side job, part-time personal training can be a great way to make money while pursuing your fitness interests. Depending on your personal goals and ambitions, it could even turn into a full-time career. You can skip ahead if you already have a personal training or fitness teaching certification. Those who are interested in turning this side job into a bigger business, on the other hand, should follow these steps to set themselves up for success: 

How to Get a Job as a Part-Time Personal Trainer or Fitness Coach  

  1. Obtain a Certification: If you’re not already certified, enroll in a good certification program. American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) has a number of certifications, including many in personal training and fitness, that are accepted by other organizations in the fitness industry and offer great value for money. 
  2. Specialize: If you want to stand out in the market, you might want to focus on a specializations like pre- and postnatal exercise, health coaching, or holistic nutrition. AFPA has specialty certifications in these areas that can help you better meet your clients’ wants and interests. 
  3. Get Real-World Experience: Look for opportunities to work as an intern or to shadow experienced trainers at exercise centers or gyms in your area. This practical training is very helpful because it gives you a better understanding of how a personal trainer works and interacts with clients every day.  
  4. Get Clients: You can start getting clients by making connections in your neighborhood, using social media, and offering free sessions. It might seem hard to get your first client, but remember that every great trainer has to start somewhere! 

Factors That Affect Income Potential 

As a part-time personal trainer, your income will depend on a number of things, including: 

  • Clientele: Your wealth can be directly related to how many clients you have and how often you work with them. 
  • Fees: It’s important to set prices that are competitive when first starting out, but don’t undervalue yourself.  Consider the rates in your area and the value you offer clients that no one else does. 
  • Structure: You can make more money by offering different types of sessions, such as group sessions, semi-private training, or online coaching. 

To make more money, you need to build a good reputation for getting results and giving clients great experiences. As you take these steps, keep in mind that the path to becoming a part-time personal trainer can be both a starting point and a potential path to afull-time job in fitness, depending on your goals. Follow this link to find more useful tips. 

By giving these factors some thought, you can start your journey as a part-time personal trainer in a way that sets you up for future growth and success in the fitness industry. 

Side Hustle #2: Bootcamps and Outdoor Fitness Side Hustles 

If you’re into exercise and want to make money from it, you can do many things other than personal training. When looking into hosting exercise classes and outdoor boot camps, here are some important things to keep in mind: 

Starting Your Own Fitness Classes as a Side Hustle 

If you know a lot about a certain type of fitness, like yoga, HIIT, or dance workouts, you can use that experience to create and teach your own fitness classes. This could mean renting a room or holding classes outside in places like parks. In addition, you can offer virtual classes to reach more people and give your clients more options. 

Setting Up Successful Outdoor Bootcamps for Clients 

Outdoor bootcamps are becoming increasingly popular because they offer fresh air and sunshine for clients. As an instructor, there are low overhead and operating costs. You can set up bootcamps in parks or other beautiful outdoor spaces in your area, giving your clients a fun and unique way to work out. You can attract people who like the outdoors and want a variety of workouts by adding functional training, bodyweight movements, and team challenges. 

How to Get Certified to Teach Group Exercise 

Consider obtaining a certification as a group exercise instructor to boost your credentials and credibility as a fitness worker. This certification not only teaches you how to plan safe and successful group workouts, but it also gives you the chance to work at fitness studios, community centers, or corporate wellness programs.  

Note that not all places require a specific group fitness certification and that often a personal training certification is enough to teach in a group setting. 

By taking advantage of the variety of side jobs available, such as fitness classes and outdoor bootcamps, you can make more money and have a bigger impact on the fitness industry. 

Side Hustle #3: Start a Fitness Podcast to Share What You Love 

If you love fitness and want to help other people while also making extra money, starting a fitness podcast could be a great business idea. Consider the following: 

  • Pick an area of fitness that you’re really interested in and know a lot about, like how to eat well, work out, or improve mental health. 
  • Buy good tools and recording gear to make your podcast sound professional. 
  • Think about what you’ll talk about and who you might have on your show to keep things interesting. 
  • Share information that you’re passionate about, especially if you have a specialty or niche certification.

Tips on How to Make Money with Relationships and Sponsorships 

  • After you gain an audience for your podcast, you can reach out to companies that make fitness-related goods, supplements, or wellness items to try to get sponsorship deals. 
  • Consider working with other health and wellness businesses or experts to offer exclusive deals or collaborative content. For example, you could partner with a local holistic nutritionist or dietitian to talk about all things fitness and food. 
  • Engage with your podcast fans on social media, send them regular emails, and hold live events to grow your community. 

A fitness podcast is a great way to share what you love, show that you’re an expert in your field, and bring in extra income. 

Side Hustle #4: Become a Fitness Writer or Content Creator 

Freelance writing and creating content for the fitness industry could be a fun and profitable side job. If you know a lot about fitness and love it, you can use that information to make content that teaches and inspires people. There are a few important things you should remember as a new fitness expert writer: find your niche, build your portfolio, and make connections in the field. 

Identify Your Niche 

Stand out by niching down. For example, you could be known as an expert in yoga for pain relief or nutrition for athletic performance. Focusing on one area will help you show that you are an expert in that space, which will help you get clients who need content in that niche.  

Build Your Portfolio 

When you work as an independent writer, your portfolio is like a business card. Make a professional website or blog where you can show off your writing style. To get more exposure and build your reputation, consider writing guest posts for popular fitness websites or fitness magazines. 

Connect with People Who Work in the Same Field 

Talk to fitness professionals, experts, and people who have a lot of followers in your field. Engage with them on social media, in forums or Facebook groups, and attend events in your field. Forging connections with these people can lead to chances to work together and help you grow your network.  

By collaborating with other fitness professionals and experts, you not only expand your knowledge and skills but also gain valuable insight from their experiences. Additionally, attending industry events allows you to stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in the fitness world, further enhancing your credibility and reputation within the field.  

Pitch Your Ideas 

Pitching ideas to businesses who would pay you to write and produce their content is key. When possible, seek their feedback and support. This can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations that can take your career to the next level. Once you’ve found your niche and put together your portfolio, you can start sending your article ideas to fitness magazines, blogs, and websites. Make customized pitches that show off your unique point of view and show how your content will benefit their readers. To improve your chances of getting published, be patient and keep in touch with editors.  

Rather than cold-pitching, you can seek out freelance job opportunities on online platforms like Upwork and LinkedIn. 

Explore Different Writing Opportunities 

Don’t limit yourself to writing blog posts for the fitness industry. You could also write eBooks, plan online classes, record fitness videos, or write workout plans. The more services you provide, the more income streams you can potentially generate. 

Fitness writing and content creation jobs that pay well might be hard to find at first, but with some patience and determination, you can find them. Don’t be afraid to begin small and build up your reputation in the field. 

Where to Start: Build a Fitness Side Hustle 

So, you’ve decided to start a side hustle. But, how do you start? Below, we suggest six steps to starting, building, and growing your side hustle.  

1. Identify Your Offer 

When starting your fitness side hustle, the first step is to clearly define what you’re offering. This could be a service, like personal training sessions, group fitness classes, or wellness coaching. Or, it could be a product, such as custom meal plans, workout guides, or fitness-related eBooks. Understanding what you bring to the fitness industry is key to setting yourself apart. 


  • Personal Training: Tailor one-on-one sessions to meet individual client goals, from weight loss to strength training. This service is perfect for clients seeking personalized attention and customized workout plans. 
  • Group Fitness Classes: Lead classes in Zumba, spin, yoga, or HIIT. This is ideal for creating a community atmosphere and catering to those who find motivation in group settings. 
  • Wellness Coaching: Offer guidance on broader wellness topics, including stress management, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. This service suits individuals seeking a holistic approach to health. 


  • Video workout courses: You can use learning platforms, fitness apps, or private YouTube links to create a paid video course for clients.  
  • Workout Guides: Create downloadable or physical guides for specific workout programs. These are excellent for individuals looking for structured exercise routines they can follow on their own. 
  • Fitness eBooks: Write eBooks on topics ranging from fitness tips to health and wellness strategies. This option is suitable for those looking to share knowledge and inspire a wider audience. 

2. Identify Your Audience 

Once you’ve decided on your offer, it’s crucial to identify who you’re offering it to. This involves understanding your target market’s needs, preferences, and challenges. For example: 

  • Busy Professionals: They might prefer online coaching or short, effective workouts that fit into a hectic schedule. 
  • Fitness Enthusiasts: This group may be interested in advanced training programs, specialized workshops, or niche fitness classes. 
  • Beginners: Individuals new to fitness could benefit from introductory classes, basic nutrition guidance, or motivational coaching. 

Understanding your audience allows you to tailor your marketing efforts and service offerings to meet their specific needs, making your fitness side hustle more appealing and effective. 

By identifying what you offer and who you’re offering it to, you lay a solid foundation for your fitness side hustle. This clarity helps in crafting targeted marketing strategies, developing relevant content, and ultimately, building a successful business that resonates with your ideal clients. 

3. Get Expertise 

Enhancing your credibility is not just beneficial for your fitness side hustle—it’s also a matter of legal and ethical responsibility. Obtaining a certification, especially if you’re venturing into personal training, is essential. American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) offers a Personal Trainer Certification that not only bolsters your qualifications but also ensures you meet industry standards for safety and professionalism. This certification provides you with the necessary expertise to create tailored fitness programs, ensuring you deliver the highest quality service to your clients while adhering to legal and ethical guidelines in the fitness industry. 

And if you’re looking for something even more robust, become a fitness and health expert with AFPA’s Personal Trainer Certification.

Why Choose AFPA? 

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: AFPA’s certification covers a wide range of topics, from exercise science and nutrition to client consultation and program design, ensuring you’re well-prepared to meet your clients’ needs. 
  • Flexibility: The program is structured to fit into your schedule, making it possible to gain this valuable expertise even if you’re balancing other commitments. 
  • Reputation: AFPA is recognized for its high standards and comprehensive approach to fitness education, making its certifications respected in the industry. 

4. Specialize to Stand Out 

In addition to the Personal Trainer Certification, AFPA offers a variety of specialty -certifications that allow you to focus on areas that interest you most. Specializing can set you apart in a crowded market and enable you to attract clients looking for specific expertise. Here are a few options: 

By obtaining an AFPA certification, you not only boost your credibility but also enhance your ability to offer tailored, effective fitness solutions to your clients. Specializing further through AFPA’s sub-certifications can help you carve out a niche, making your fitness side hustle even more successful. 

5. Build a Brand for Your Fitness Side Hustle 

Creating a personal brand is a powerful step in growing your fitness side hustle. It’s about showcasing what makes you unique in the fitness world. Your brand reflects your journey, expertise, and the value you bring to your clients. Here are some ways to build and strengthen your brand: 

  • Share Your Story: Whether it’s your own fitness transformation or the challenges you’ve overcome, sharing your story can inspire others and make you relatable. It helps potential clients see the real person behind the brand. 
  • Highlight Client Successes: Sharing testimonials and success stories from your clients not only proves your effectiveness but also builds trust with prospective clients. It’s a testament to your ability to deliver results. 
  • Embrace Authenticity: Don’t shy away from sharing the occasional setback or blooper. It humanizes your brand and shows that you’re approachable and genuine. 
  • Choose the Right Platforms: Instagram, with its visual and interactive nature, is perfect for fitness brands. However, don’t overlook other platforms like Facebook, YouTube, or even TikTok, depending on where your target audience spends their time. 

6. Market Your Services  

Marketing your fitness side hustle is like telling the world about your secret recipe. It’s what transforms your passion into a thriving business. Here’s how to spread the word about your services: 

Start Close to Home 

Begin by sharing what you’re doing with your friends and family. It’s a simple step, but you’d be surprised how effective it can be. They’re your cheerleaders and can help get the ball rolling by spreading the word. Who knows? Your first client might be closer than you think. 

Social Media: Your Digital Megaphone 

Social media is a powerful tool to showcase your services when you build an audience. Whether it’s YouTube Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, the platform you choose can serve as your stage. Share useful content like quick workout tips, healthy recipes, or motivational stories. We talk a lot about how to leverage social media for your business at these resources below: 

Build an Online Home 

Think of your website or blog as your online home. It’s where people can find you, learn about your services, and read about others’ success stories with you. Ensuring your site is easy to navigate and SEO-friendly is key to making sure people can find you when they’re searching online. Depending on how technical you want to get, and how much you want your side hustle to live on the internet, you can integrate features like payment pages, newsletter sign ups linked to a CRM, and downloadable resources.  

Give a Little, Get a Lot 

Offering something valuable for free can be a game-changer. It could be a complimentary consultation, a sample workout plan, or insightful blog posts. This not only gives potential clients a sneak peek of your expertise but also builds trust and rapport. Also, if you have your website in place, its a great way to build a list of leads, asking for their email in exchange for the freebie.  

Even though it’s a side hustle, never underestimate the power of getting the word out about your fitness services or products. The right marketing moves can turn your side hustle into the main event. Keep it friendly, keep it genuine, and watch your fitness business grow. 

7. Set and Monitor Realistic Goals 

Setting clear, achievable goals is like plotting your course on a fitness journey—it guides you where you want to go and keeps you motivated along the way. Whether your aim is to sign up a specific number of clients, launch an engaging online fitness program, or hit a certain income milestone, having these targets in place is crucial. But remember, the fitness world, much like fitness itself, requires flexibility and the willingness to adapt. 

  • Track Your Progress: Regularly check in on your goals. Use tools or apps to monitor client growth, engagement rates on your digital content, or the popularity of your services. This real-time feedback is invaluable. 
  • Be Agile: If something isn’t working as expected, don’t be afraid to pivot. Maybe a certain type of class isn’t attracting attendees, or a social media platform isn’t the right fit. Adjusting your strategy is not a setback; it’s smart business. 
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Every new client, every successful class, and every positive review is a step in the right direction. Acknowledging these milestones keeps morale high and momentum going. 

8. Optional – Diversify Your Offerings and Scale Up 

Once you’ve got a solid foundation and you’ve started making a supplemental income, you may want to think about growth. Who knows, your side hustle may even be able to replace your job, if that’s your goal!  
Diversifying your offerings can not only attract a broader clientele but also keep your current clients engaged and interested. Here’s how you can expand your fitness empire: 

  • Online Coaching: With the world leaning more towards digital offerings, online coaching can tap into the market of people who prefer working out at home or have hectic schedules. 
  • Downloadable Resources: Creating downloadable workout plans, nutrition guides, or motivational eBooks can provide passive income streams. These resources allow clients to benefit from your expertise on their own time. 
  • Specialized Classes: Consider adding niche classes or workshops to your repertoire. From yoga for runners to strength training for seniors, catering to specific interests can set you apart from the competition. 
  • Expand Your Reach: Utilize social media platforms not just for marketing, but as a service platform. Think live workouts on Instagram, fitness challenges on TikTok, or in-depth tutorials on YouTube. Each platform offers a unique way to engage and grow your audience. 

Managing Your Fitness Side Hustle Efficiently 

Running a fitness side hustle alongside a full-time or part-time job requires a strategic approach to time management and self-care to prevent burnout and ensure both your primary job and side hustle thrive. Here are some ways you can streamline your efforts and maximize your side hustle’s potential without sacrificing your well-being or job performance. 

Balancing Act: Side Hustle and Full-Time Job 

  • Set Clear Boundaries: It’s crucial to delineate your side hustle activities from your personal time and primary job responsibilities. This helps in maintaining focus and preventing burnout, while also ensuring that you are acting without conflicts of interest 
  • Prioritize and Plan: Identify key tasks that drive your side hustle forward and allocate specific times to tackle these tasks. Use time management tools or apps to keep your schedule on track. 
  • Leverage Technology: Automate repetitive tasks and organize your schedule with project management software or calendar apps. This can free up more time for client interaction and strategic planning. 
  • Communicate Openly: If necessary, discuss your side hustle with your primary employer to avoid conflicts of interest and potentially negotiate a flexible schedule that accommodates both commitments. This will likely require you to review your contract carefully to ensure that your side hustle does not conflict with your job responsibilities.  

Self-Care and Efficiency 

  • Prevent Burnout: Incorporate self-care practices into your routine, such as regular exercise, meditation, and hobbies that recharge your batteries. 
  • Delegate When Possible: If your budget allows, outsource administrative tasks or other time-consuming activities that don’t directly contribute to income generation. 
  • Take Regular Breaks: Short breaks throughout the day can help maintain your energy levels and prevent mental fatigue. 

Maximizing Income and Handling Tax Obligations 

  • Streamline Processes: Focus on activities that directly contribute to your income. Consider batching similar tasks to improve efficiency and reduce time spent on non-essential activities. 
  • Understand Your Tax Responsibilities: As a self-employed individual, keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. Consulting with a tax professional can help you navigate the complexities of tax obligations and take advantage of any applicable deductions. 

Main Takeaways 

Launching a successful fitness side hustle hinges on a few key strategies.  

First, establishing a strong online presence through a professional website and active social media profiles is essential for showcasing your expertise and engaging with a wider audience. Networking with industry peers can provide valuable insights, inspire innovation, and open up collaborative opportunities.  

It’s also helpful to stay informed about the latest trends in the fitness industry and be ready to adapt your marketing strategies accordingly. This includes listening to client feedback and continuously seeking ways to improve your services.  

Committing to ongoing learning and professional development will ensure that your fitness side hustle not only stays competitive but also grows and succeeds – maybe even becoming your full-time hustle!

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