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Is personal training a good side hustle?

Is personal training a good side hustle?

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on June 6, 2023 ā€” Updated on November 14, 2023

Personal training is a good side hustle, full-time job, and career. The best part of using personal training as a side hustle is that you can learn while you earn. You can learn the industry, start to get clients, and achieve your certifications all while still making money with your primary job. Then you can decide if personal training is the best full time career for you. Read on to determine if a personal trainer side hustle gig is right for you and then browse our big list of personal training and fitness side hustle gigs for making extra money in fitness.

PJF Performance
I sold a workout program and matched my yearly salary of in-person training within two weeks of selling to my community!
Paul Fabritz
Founder and BS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACE, FMS, PJF Performance

With the rise of the gig economy, more and more people are looking for ways to earn extra income outside of their regular 9-to-5 job. Personal training is a profession that is experiencing rapid growth, and many are turning to it as a side hustle. But is it worth the investment of time and money to become a certified personal trainer and take on clients? In this article, we’ll explore the personal training industry, the benefits and challenges of personal training as a side hustle, and how to get started as a personal trainer.

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List of Personal Training Side Hustle Gigs

Browse this list of side hustles in the fitness industry to see if any are a fit for you.

  1. Online Fitness Coaching: Use platforms like Exercise.com to offer remote fitness coaching to clients around the world.
  2. Fitness Blogging: Share your expertise and passion for fitness through a blog. You can earn money through advertising, sponsored posts, or selling products.
  3. Nutrition Consulting: If you have expertise in nutrition, offer meal planning and nutrition consulting services.
  4. Group Fitness Instructor: Teach fitness classes at local gyms or community centers.
  5. Sports Coaching: If you have experience in a specific sport, consider coaching a local team or offering private lessons.
  6. Fitness Writing: Write articles for fitness magazines, websites, or blogs.
  7. Social Media Fitness Influencer: Use platforms like Instagram or YouTube to share workout tips and promote fitness products.
  8. Personal Training for Seniors: Specialize in offering personal training for older adults.
  9. Corporate Wellness Coaching: Provide fitness coaching or wellness programs to businesses.
  10. Home Fitness Setup Consultation: Help clients create effective workout spaces in their homes.
  11. Fitness Podcasting: Start a podcast discussing fitness topics, interviewing experts, or sharing workouts.
  12. Fitness Product Development: Develop your own line of fitness products, like workout gear, supplements, or clothing.
  13. Fitness Modeling: Use your physique to work as a fitness model for brands, magazines, or fitness competitions.
  14. Virtual Fitness Classes: Teach live fitness classes online, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
  15. Fitness Ebook Author: Write and self-publish ebooks on fitness topics or workout plans.
  16. Yoga or Pilates Instruction: If you’re certified, offer classes or one-on-one sessions in yoga or pilates.
  17. Marathon Training: Offer specialized training programs for clients aiming to run a marathon or half-marathon.

Remember, platforms like Exercise.com can make managing these side gigs easier by handling aspects like scheduling, client management, and online services.

Understanding the personal training industry

The growth of the fitness industry

Over the past few decades, the fitness industry has experienced steady growth. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there are over 200,000 fitness clubs worldwide, with over 180 million members. This growth is expected to continue as people become more health-conscious and prioritize physical fitness.

In addition to traditional gym memberships, there has been an increase in boutique fitness studios that offer specialized workouts such as spin, yoga, and Pilates. These studios often have a strong community aspect, with members forming friendships and accountability partnerships with each other.

Technology has also played a role in the growth of the fitness industry, with the rise of fitness apps and wearable technology that tracks physical activity and provides personalized workout plans.

The role of a personal trainer

A personal trainer is a fitness professional who works with clients to develop and implement individualized fitness plans. They help clients set goals, monitor progress, and provide guidance and motivation to help clients achieve their desired results. Personal trainers can work in a gym, fitness studio, or as independent contractors.

Personal trainers often specialize in certain areas, such as weight loss, strength training, or injury rehabilitation. They may also work with specific populations, such as older adults or pregnant women.

One of the most important aspects of a personal trainer’s job is building relationships with clients. They must be able to communicate effectively, listen to clients’ needs and concerns, and provide emotional support as well as physical guidance.

Required certifications and qualifications

To become a personal trainer, you must obtain certain certifications and qualifications. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are among the organizations that offer certification programs. These certifications involve passing an exam and completing continuing education credits to stay up-to-date with industry standards.

In addition to certifications, personal trainers should have a strong understanding of anatomy, physiology, and exercise science. They should also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to motivate and inspire clients.

Personal trainers may also choose to specialize in certain areas, such as nutrition or corrective exercise, by obtaining additional certifications or degrees.

The benefits of personal training as a side hustle

Personal training is a great way to earn extra income while pursuing a passion for fitness. As a side hustle, personal training offers a number of benefits that can help you achieve your financial and career goals.

Flexible schedule

One of the most appealing aspects of personal training as a side hustle is the ability to create a flexible schedule. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job, personal training allows you to choose when and where you work. You can take on clients when it works best for you, whether that’s early in the morning, in the evenings, or on weekends. This allows you to continue working your full-time job while still earning extra income on the side.

Having a flexible schedule also means that you can prioritize your own fitness goals. You can schedule your own workouts around your clients, ensuring that you stay in shape and maintain the energy and enthusiasm needed to be a great personal trainer.

Additional income

Personal training can be a lucrative side hustle. The hourly rate for personal trainers can vary, but on average, trainers charge around $40-$60 per session. This can add up quickly, especially if you have a steady client base.

As you build your reputation as a personal trainer, you may find that you are able to charge even more for your services. You may also be able to offer additional services, such as nutrition coaching or online training programs, which can further increase your income.

Networking opportunities

Working as a personal trainer allows you to network with other fitness professionals, gym owners, and potential clients. This can be beneficial if you are looking to expand your career in the fitness industry or want to start your own business.

By building relationships with other professionals in the industry, you may be able to learn about new job opportunities or partnerships that can help you grow your business. You may also be able to collaborate with other trainers to offer group training sessions or other services that can benefit both you and your clients.

Personal growth and skill development

Working as a personal trainer can be personally rewarding. You have the opportunity to help others achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health. Additionally, you will have the chance to improve your own physical fitness and learn new training techniques.

As you work with clients, you will develop your communication and coaching skills, which can be valuable in many other areas of your life. You may also have the opportunity to attend workshops or conferences to learn about new training methods or industry trends.

Overall, personal training is a great side hustle for anyone who is passionate about fitness and wants to earn extra income while helping others. With a flexible schedule, the potential for high earnings, and opportunities for networking and personal growth, personal training is a side hustle that can help you achieve your goals.

Kellie Davis - Fit Thrive
With Exercise.com, I’m able to reach people around the world with the programs that I design, implement, and push out. You donā€™t have that opportunity working in a local gym. So that’s been huge.
Kellie Davis
Founder/Trainer, Fit Thrive

Challenges of personal training as a side hustle

Personal training is a rewarding and fulfilling career that allows you to help others achieve their fitness goals. However, working as a personal trainer on the side can present unique challenges that can be difficult to navigate. In this article, we’ll explore some of the challenges you may face when working as a personal trainer on the side and provide tips for overcoming them.

Time management

One of the biggest challenges of working as a personal trainer on the side is time management. Balancing client sessions with your full-time job and personal life can be difficult, especially if you have a large client base. It’s important to create a schedule that works for you and your clients. This may mean working early mornings, late nights, or weekends in order to accommodate your clients’ schedules. It’s also important to prioritize your time and set boundaries to ensure that you’re not overextending yourself.

Client acquisition and retention

Acquiring and retaining clients can also be a challenge when working as a personal trainer on the side. It’s important to have a marketing strategy in place to attract new clients and to provide excellent customer service to retain them. This may require additional time and effort on your part, especially in the beginning stages of building your business. Consider offering referral incentives to your current personal training clients and utilizing social media to reach a wider audience.

Balancing multiple jobs

If you work a full-time job in addition to personal training, it can be difficult to balance the two. You may need to adjust your schedule and make sacrifices in order to fit in client sessions. It’s important to communicate with your employer and your clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Consider setting realistic goals for yourself and breaking down your tasks into manageable chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Staying up-to-date with industry trends

Staying up-to-date with industry trends can be a challenge, especially if you are not working full-time in the fitness industry. It’s important to continue learning and growing as a personal trainer to provide the best service to your clients. Consider attending conferences, workshops, and online courses to stay current with the latest trends and techniques. You can also network with other professionals in the industry to exchange ideas and gain new insights.

In conclusion, working as a personal trainer on the side can present unique challenges, but with the right mindset and strategies in place, it can be a fulfilling and successful career. By prioritizing your time, focusing on client acquisition and retention, balancing multiple jobs, and staying up-to-date with industry trends, you can overcome these challenges and achieve your goals as a personal trainer.

How to get started as a personal trainer

Obtaining necessary certifications

The first step to becoming a personal trainer is to obtain the necessary certifications and qualifications. This will not only give you the knowledge and skills needed to train clients effectively, but it will also provide you with credibility in the industry. There are many different certifications available, each with its own requirements and focus. Some of the most popular certifications include NASM, ACE, and ISSA. Research different certifications and choose the one that is right for you based on your goals and interests.

Once you have obtained your certification, you can begin marketing your services and taking on clients. It’s important to keep in mind that obtaining a certification is just the beginning of your journey as a personal trainer. Continuing education and staying up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the industry is crucial to providing the best possible service to your clients.

Building a client base

Building a client base takes time and effort. While obtaining certifications and qualifications is important, it’s equally important to have a marketing strategy in place to attract clients. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the fitness industry, so provide excellent customer service and encourage your clients to refer others to you.

Another way to build your client base is to offer free or discounted sessions to friends, family, and acquaintances. This will not only help you gain experience and build your confidence as a trainer, but it will also give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and attract potential clients.

Marketing your services

Marketing your services is key to building your business as a personal trainer. This may include creating a website to showcase your services and credentials, using social media to promote your services and engage with potential clients, and attending fitness events to network with other professionals and potential clients.

It’s important to remember that marketing is an ongoing process. You should always be looking for new and creative ways to promote your services and reach potential clients. This may include offering promotions or discounts, creating informative blog posts or videos, or partnering with local businesses to offer joint promotions or events.

Setting up a workout space

Setting up a workout space will depend on whether you choose to work in a gym or as an independent contractor. If you choose to work in a gym, you will likely have access to all the equipment and facilities you need to train your clients. However, if you choose to work as an independent contractor, you may need to invest in equipment and create a workout space in your home or a studio space.

If you decide to create a workout space in your home, it’s important to make sure it’s clean, organized, and equipped with everything you need to train your clients effectively. This may include weights, resistance bands, mats, and other equipment. You should also consider investing in a sound system and creating a motivating and energizing atmosphere for your clients.

Overall, becoming a personal trainer requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for helping others achieve their fitness goals. With the right certifications, marketing strategy, and workout space, you can build a successful career as a personal trainer and make a positive impact on the lives of your clients.

Can you actually make money as a personal trainer?

Yes, you can make a substantial income as a personal trainer. Your earnings will depend on several factors, including your location, clientele, expertise, the number of hours you work, and whether you work for a gym or independently. Some personal trainers make six-figure incomes, particularly those who have diversified their income streams with online training, group classes, and product sales.

How do I start a side hustle personal training?

Starting a side hustle in personal training requires a few steps. First, you should obtain a personal training certification from a recognized organization. Second, decide your niche and target market – it could be anything from weight loss, sports performance, to fitness for seniors. Then, set your rates based on your market and experience. You can start by offering services to friends and family and then gradually expand your client base through word of mouth and advertising. Leveraging a platform like Exercise.com can help with managing clients, booking, and offering online services.

Is a career as a personal trainer worth it?

The worth of a career as a personal trainer can be subjective and depends on your passion for fitness and helping others achieve their goals. It offers flexible hours, the possibility of a good income, and the satisfaction of making a direct impact on people’s health and well-being. However, it also can come with inconsistent income and the need to constantly find new clients.

Is fitness instructor a good side hustle?

A fitness instructor can be a great side hustle, particularly if you enjoy teaching and working with groups. It allows you to share your passion for fitness and potentially reach more people than one-on-one personal training. You could also potentially teach a variety of classes, from yoga and pilates to spin and Zumba.

Is it better to be a personal trainer or fitness instructor?

Whether it’s better to be a personal trainer or fitness instructor depends on your personal preferences, skills, and career goals. Personal training often involves one-on-one work and tailored program design, which can be rewarding but also time-consuming. Fitness instruction typically involves teaching classes, which can reach more people and can be a fun and energetic environment, but you have less personal interaction with each individual.

What is the success rate of personal trainer?

The success rate of personal trainers varies widely depending on how success is defined. If success means more interest in becoming a personal trainer, then the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% growth rate for fitness trainers and instructors from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than average. However, if success is defined as staying in the industry long-term, the personal trainer turnover rate is very high, more than 80% per year.

What are the pros and cons of being a personal trainer?

Pros of being a personal trainer include the ability to help others, flexible hours, and the opportunity to make a living doing something you love. Cons can include inconsistent income, long hours (often early mornings or late evenings to accommodate clients), and the need for continuous marketing to get new clients.

Can my fitness side hustle make $1,000 per month?

Yes, it is possible for your fitness side hustle to make $1,000 per month or more. The exact amount will depend on factors like your rates, how many clients you have, and how many hours you are willing and able to put into your side hustle.

How much should my fitness side hustle make before I consider doing it full time?

The answer to this question is highly personal and depends on your financial needs and comfort level. A general rule of thumb is that your side hustle should consistently earn enough to cover your living expenses for at least six months to a year before you consider making it your full-time job. It’s also wise to have some savings set aside for unexpected expenses.

What skills do I need to start a personal training side hustle?

Starting a personal training side hustle requires certain skills. You’ll need knowledge of fitness and exercise, good interpersonal skills to connect with your clients, and the ability to motivate and inspire others. You also need business and marketing skills to promote your services and manage your clients. Gaining a certification in personal training will not only provide you with foundational fitness knowledge but will also enhance your credibility.

How do I market my personal training side hustle?

There are several ways you can market your personal training side hustle. You can start by creating a website and leveraging social media platforms to share fitness tips and client success stories. Online networking and collaborations with other fitness professionals can also help increase your visibility. Offline, consider handing out business cards or flyers in your community. Also, consider using Exercise.com’s platform to manage your clients and offer online training options.

Can I do personal training as a side hustle without certification?

While it’s technically possible to start a personal training side hustle without a certification, it’s generally not recommended. A certification enhances your credibility and reassures your clients that you have the knowledge and expertise to guide them safely and effectively. It’s also worth noting that many gyms and fitness centers require personal trainers to have a certification.

How can I retain clients in my personal training side hustle?

Retaining clients in your personal training side hustle requires building strong relationships and helping clients see results. Regularly check in with your clients to gauge their progress and make necessary adjustments to their program. Offering personalized and varied workouts can also keep your clients engaged and motivated. Using a platform like Exercise.com can help you track your clients’ progress and communicate with them efficiently.

Is it necessary to have a niche in a personal training side hustle?

Having a niche is not necessary but can be beneficial in a personal training side hustle. A niche allows you to focus on a specific target market and can make it easier to tailor your services and marketing efforts. Possible niches include pre- and post-natal fitness, senior fitness, athletic training, or weight loss.

Get Started with a Fitness Side Hustle

Becoming a personal trainer can be a rewarding side hustle. It provides the opportunity to earn extra income, network with others in the fitness industry, and help others achieve their fitness goals. However, it’s important to understand the challenges that come with personal training as a side hustle, such as managing time effectively and acquiring and retaining clients. With the right certifications, marketing strategy, and dedication, personal training can be a successful and fulfilling side hustle.

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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