7 Steps to Success as an Online Fitness Coach

Updated on May 5, 2023

Are you considering a career as an online fitness coach? If you want to share your passion for fitness with others while earning an income, then this could be the right move for you.

If you want to make it in the online fitness industry, then you need an action plan. This article covers the seven major steps you need to follow so you can get started and build a following. You’ll learn why courses will be valuable to your online fitness coaching business and how to set them up on WordPress using Sensei LMS

What is a Fitness Coach? Is It the Same as a Personal Trainer?

All personal trainers are fitness coaches, but not all fitness coaches are personal trainers!

A fitness coach provides advice, motivation, and tailored support to clients looking to achieve their fitness goals, which could include weight loss, hypertrophy, nutrition, and well-being. Fitness coaches will often provide training plans, nutrition plans, and other services to help their customers see results.

A personal trainer does all of the above, with the difference that they offer one-on-one services. These could include consultations, training sessions at a gym, personalized fitness and nutrition plans, and progress monitoring. 

As you set up your online business, you need to ask yourself whether you want to be a personal trainer or a general fitness coach. The advantage of being a personal trainer is that you can maintain a personal relationship with your clients and will be more invested in their progress. As a result, you’re more likely to have long-term clients that work with you for a long time. 

However, as a fitness coach, you can sell fitness products such as training plans and online courses to more clients all around the world. You’ll reach more people and therefore have a very good chance of maximizing your products, especially if you regularly release new products to help your client base. Additionally, you’ll be able to work from anywhere and on your own time. You might work from home, at an internet cafe, or abroad if you’re looking to travel. You can also set flexible working hours depending on your availability and client schedule. 

The good news is that you be both a generalized fitness coach and a fitness trainer by setting up online courses or plans that anyone can purchase while also offering private consultations and one-on-one coaching as part of your services. 

How to Become an Online Fitness Coach

While it’s easier than ever to set up an online business, it’s worth bearing in mind that you cannot just become an online fitness coach overnight. If you don’t do things properly, then you risk not looking credible, and as a result, you won’t give your potential clients an incentive to pay for your services. 

Online programs offered by Coach Greg

People looking to advance in their fitness have a lot of choices, including massive YouTube stars like Greg Doucette and Jeff Nippard that sell coaching programs. To get a chance of fitting into the equation, you’ll need to:

  • Obtain an industry certification that gives potential buyers proof of your expertise.
  • Learn about the science of exercise and how it improves emotional and physical well-being.
  • Get training in coaching to provide your clients with the best possible support, communication, and motivation.
  • Get experience providing coaching services to clients by offering services at a discount or in exchange for a client testimonial you can add to your site.
  • Network with professionals in the fitness industry, especially those with experience as online fitness coaches.
  • Research how you can best market yourself and reach out to potential clients.

Start Your Fitness Coaching Business in Seven Simple Steps

Now you’ve learned what it takes to become an online fitness coach, it’s time to set up your coaching business so you’re ready to onboard new clients. This section of our guide will help you set up your online fitness business in seven steps.

1. Develop Your Niche

It’s important to develop your niche as an online fitness coach. By specializing in a particular area of fitness, you can develop a deeper understanding of your clients’ needs and provide more effective solutions. This will help you become an expert, which can help you build credibility with your clients and make them more likely to trust your advice. Additionally, there are many online fitness coaches out there, so it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition. By developing a niche, you can offer a unique and specialized service that sets you apart from other coaches.

Some fitness niches could include High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Yoga, strength training, pilates, nutrition and wellness, dance fitness, or running and endurance training.

Research Your Market

Before starting an online fitness coaching business, you must determine your ideal client. What demographic do they fall under? What are their needs, and what coaching plans will best benefit them? Consider the type of coaching sessions you want to offer and the current competition in the sector. Research what your competitors offer and the latest industry trends to determine what can help you differentiate yourself from your competition.

Plan Your Services

As an online fitness coach, it’s crucial to determine what types of services you want to offer as part of your business. This includes conducting market research to understand what your competitors are offering to their clients. Some coaches offer a mix of face-to-face and virtual fitness classes, including one-to-one or group sessions led by the coach. 

Others focus on providing structured one-on-one training plans with on-demand virtual training courses that clients can stream from the comfort of their own homes. In addition to fitness classes, some coaches also offer classes in overall wellness, such as social, emotional, or nutritional support.

Online courses are an invaluable source of passive income for modern online fitness coaches. By developing an online course, you can create a product that is accessible to people around the world, regardless of their location or time zone. This means that you can sell your course to a global audience, potentially reaching more clients than you would with traditional face-to-face coaching.

In addition to being accessible, online courses also offer a great deal of flexibility. Once you have developed your course, it can be sold and delivered repeatedly without requiring additional time or effort on your part. This means that you can earn passive income from your course while still providing one-to-one coaching or other services to clients.

Moreover, online courses can be a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. By developing a high-quality course that provides valuable knowledge and resources, you can demonstrate your expertise and build trust with your audience. This can help you attract more clients to your business and build a strong online presence.

Decide How Much to Charge

Market research into your competitors can help determine how much people pay for fitness coaching. However, you should also consider the value of what you’re providing to the customer. If you are giving solutions to a current gap in the market, you might want to consider a more exclusive pricing structure.

Another helpful factor in determining how much you can make selling online courses is looking at factors like your conversion rate minus costs like your marketing expenses. You can calculate your anticipated revenue from your conversion rate and site traffic and deduct expenses to determine how much you need to charge to make a profit.

2. Setting Goals for Your Coaching Success

It’s important to have a clear set of strategic goals for your business. These goals can help you focus your efforts, track your progress, and measure your success over time. When setting your goals, consider both short-term and long-term objectives. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable milestones to help you stay on track and maintain momentum.

Some common business goals for online fitness coaches may include:

  • Generating a specific amount of profit from training services.
  • Growing your online personal training business by increasing course sign-ups.
  • Tracking your successes by monitoring the number of courses completed, testimonials, and success stories.
  • Increasing brand awareness after your initial launch.
  • Expanding your online services to offer a wider range of fitness programs.

If you’re unsure about how to set effective goals for your business, consider seeking mentorship or guidance from experienced fitness professionals. Learning from those who have already achieved success in the industry can help you establish realistic and achievable goals that will drive your business forward.

3. Develop Your Coaching Programs

Once you have set your short and long-term business goals, you’ll need to define the coaching programs that will help you achieve them. What sort of services do you want to offer? Consider how you will structure your sessions and how you will track progress in a clear way for both you and your clients.

Course Formats

Fitness coaching usually requires a video library to create fitness tutorials that you can incorporate into tailored plans for coaching clients. You may supplement your videos with written instructions, like step-by-step guides to break down the video demonstration. Videos and written tutorials can help you when training clients on reps or how to build muscle. 

Course Planning

How many modules will you include in your course? Will you offer tailored training plans with different services, like nutrition coaching or well-being? Will one-to-one consultations be a part of your offering? Consider how many blocks you will include in your module and whether you’ll include any quizzes or assessments to check learner understanding.

Media Attachments

What media are you going to create for your clients? Will you create PDF guides, eBooks, and workout or nutrition plans for users to download? Consider the types of media formats you want to include on your site.


Do you need to buy or hire equipment like a camera to record your training videos? Will you need to rent a room to film in or hire additional people to complete the training steps? Consider what you will need to prepare your video library. Will you need to download or explore any training apps or providers?


Are you going to offer one-on-one coaching? How are you going to signpost users towards these services? Consider whether you will provide virtual courses over Zoom or in-person training and how to advertise them. Include any qualifications for one-to-one coaching, like a personal training certification.

4. Create a Professional Website

Your website is one of the most critical parts of your online fitness coaching business. Your website must be well-designed, professional, and create a positive user experience. Fortunately, you can create a site using WordPress and an LMS plugin like Sensei Pro to create a fitness program ready to sell to clients. 

Sensei Pro

Sensei Pro is an innovative eLearning plugin for WordPress that offers a range of features, including:

  • Tight integration with WooCommerce, which makes it easy for you set up flexible payment methods for your courses.
  • Learning Mode; a distraction-free content mode that helps students engage with the material.
  • Interactive Sensei blocks, including quiz questions, image blocks, and flashcards, help create interactive and eye-catching content for students. These can be inserted into any WordPress post, page, lesson, or other WordPress LMS plugin-built sites. These are incredibly helpful for enhancing your existing website with interactive content.
  • Course access and expiration settings to keep students motivated to complete the program.
  • Ability to message your students and let them get in touch with you.

Students expect pages with fast-loading times, a positive user experience, and interactive content in today’s fast-paced world. Optimizing your Sensei LMS site for SEO will help your content rank better on search engines, giving your site more visibility to your potential clients.

5. Create a Strong Brand

A strong brand can help you stand out from the competition and help customers foster brand loyalty and awareness. A strong brand requires clear colors, fonts, images, and a recognizable logo aligning with your business goals and values. You could also use WordPress templates and themes that match your logo to unify the color scheme and make it stick out in the minds of your potential customers. Every part of your color scheme and design should be unified, from print materials to online workout plans.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool to help you create a strong community. Boost your online presence by creating channels on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, and explore different marketing strategies to increase your reach and build engagement with each page. Include diverse content types like live streams, and where possible, engage with influencers on that platform with similar values to boost your following.

Utilize Network Opportunities

Consider attending industry events, exhibitions, and conferences to explain your network of other professionals in the fitness industry. Becoming a member of professional organizations and joining online forums can also help you meet other professionals and potential clients.

Look After Your Clients

How you treat your clients is also an essential part of your brand. Make the time to set up dedicated client check-ins and incentivize them to refer their friends with client referrals. Use your email list of subscribers and clients and send them a weekly list of curated content. Ask satisfied clients to leave a testimonial to boost your site’s credibility. Your business will grow by word of mouth as happy clients refer their friends and family.

A strong brand and reputation are essential parts of retaining customers. Customers already purchasing from you are more likely to buy from you again, making brand awareness a powerful tool in launching your online fitness coaching business.

6. Launching Your Business

As you launch your business, you must focus on the steps that will grow your business even further. Ensure you provide quality services with outstanding customer care and stay ahead of competitors and industry trends. Delivering exceptional quality and service from the outset is critical to drawing in customers and fostering solid relationships with your clients.

Provide Quality Courses

To provide your clients with the best possible service and product, it’s crucial to ensure that your eLearning course is clearly organized and well-structured. Avoid launching your course prematurely, and take the time to thoroughly test and refine your content before making it available to your clients. Additionally, you should periodically review and update your course content to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

Stay Ahead of Industry Trends

Read industry publications, attend conferences, and follow relevant influencers to stay ahead of trends in the types of fitness you offer. Consider seeking out the opportunity for mentorship from someone experienced in the field to learn from their insight into the fitness industry. Keep on top of new trends in fitness to see what you might want to incorporate into your online fitness coaching business.

Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Make sure you respond promptly and helpfully to any customers, whether they are making an initial inquiry or delivering negative feedback. Providing customer service is essential for retaining happy and loyal clients. Statistics support that you are almost 70% more likely to sell to an existing customer when compared to a new one. Delivering exceptional customer service ensures you keep your current customers purchasing your courses.

Everyone will receive some form of negative feedback as an online fitness coach. Make sure you have clear feedback channels and respond to complaints in a solutions-focused manner to show that you are professional and care about the customer experience.

7. Promote Your Coaching Business

Promoting your coaching business is essential for improving your reach and potential new clients. Sensei Pro users can submit their courses to the Sensei Showcase to get extra exposure directly from the creators of the LMS plugin.

Sensei Showcase

You could also take the following steps to promote your coaching business:

  • Use marketing strategies to promote your online fitness coaching business on social media.
  • Offer customer referrals and discounts to encourage a word-of-mouth client base. 
  • Setting up an email newsletter to your subscribers with value-added content.
  • Ensure that you optimize your SEO to improve your search engine rankings.
  • Leverage the power of ad networks like Jetpack’s Blaze ad network (this is available if you’ve made your website on WordPress.com). 
Jetpack's Blaze ad network

Launch Your Online Fitness Coaching Business Using Sensei LMS

Becoming an online fitness coach is an excellent way to share your passion for fitness with others while earning an income. With the right action plan, you can make it in the online fitness industry and help your clients achieve their fitness goals. To help you with that, we’ve written a seven-step guide that covers everything you need to get started. 

While there are many services you can offer as a fitness coach, we strongly recommend making online courses a core part of your business. This way, you’ll be able to reach clients all around the world who will be able to progress without you having to divide your time between them. You can spend the bulk of your time developing new products and marketing your services. 

Sensei Pro is a powerful tool that can help you create and sell online courses, manage student enrollments and progress, and streamline your coaching business. By using Sensei Pro, you can leverage the benefits of being an online fitness coach and take your coaching business to the next level. Create your fitness courses and start your journey to becoming an online fitness coach today with the help of Sensei Pro.

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