How to Become an Online Personal Trainer in 2023

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For fitness professionals, becoming an online personal trainer is one of the most sought after approaches to get more clients and make more money.

Chances are, if you are considering this niche you are attracted to it because there is no income ceiling. Online personal training works while you sleep, doesn’t care how many hours there are in a day, and doesn’t put you in a box that forces you to focus on time as an income limiting factor.

Simply put, online personal training as a business model is scalable. 

Creating online training service offerings that help people achieve their fitness and health goals, but do not require a ton of time, allow you to gain back that ever so important personal and financial freedom. 

So, this sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Of course it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

Today we will learn how to become an online personal trainer, the six different types of online personal training business models, touch on some online personal training revenue streams that you may want to consider, and learn a little about online personal trainer software.

But first, let’s define exactly what an online personal trainer is.

What is an Online Personal Trainer?

An Online Personal Trainer is someone who enhances the health and fitness of others through internet-based technological mediums.

The definition of an online trainer is very broad, and to be frank, it is supposed to be. Online personal trainers can do the things that are normally associated with personal trainers — improve fitness levels, body image, health, and performance — all online.

With today’s technology, trainers can literally train anyone, from anywhere, at anytime. This gives every personal trainer an additional medium to earn money and increase their personal and financial freedom by creating an online personal training business.

But before you train clients using online mediums you first have to become an online personal trainer.

4 Steps to Become an Online Personal Trainer (the right way)

There is a logical path that exists for you to become an online personal trainer. In fact, we’ve created an entire course around it. Let’s discuss how to become an online personal trainer while also assuming you are already a personal trainer.

1. Transition Your First Client Over to Online Training

Before you go head first into online training, my recommendation is to transition one of your in-person clients over to what is called the “hybrid personal training model.” The hybrid model is a blend of traditional personal training (in-person) along with online personal training (more on the online personal training business models below).

This gives you some experience working with clients online and allows you to begin to develop additional revenue-generating programs in the process. For example, you can take an in-person client and create a PDF workout plan for them to follow and interact with them via online mediums. In between in-person workouts you allow your client to follow your guide and regularly check-in with them via email, text message, phone, or some other method that allows for tracking and accountability.

If you like the freedoms this hybrid method of training affords you, you will likely want to learn how to scale it.


What Cert is Best for You?

We designed this quiz to help you choose the perfect certification based on your learning style and goals.

2. Get an Online Personal Training Certification to Help Structure and Scale Your Online Business

Let’s get something out of the way as it concerns becoming an online personal trainer. You don’t actually NEED any special certification to sell or provide personal training services online.

But, and this is a strong but, would you trust a doctor that didn’t have a proper educational background? Would you let a dentist with no dental education work on your pearly whites?

A professional with credentials is important to the consumer, as it builds credibility and trust, and therefore it should be important to you as well. Earning an online personal trainer certification provides you insight into assisting your clients online, understanding business and program creation, scaling your business, and provides you with credentials that were created to enhance the lives of your clients while protecting their safety. In short, in helps to maintain the integrity of the personal training industry as a whole with a set of principles, guidelines, and recommendations that help both you and your clients succeed using this great medium.

So, while you can skip getting an online personal training certification, I highly recommend you start here before establishing yourself as an online personal trainer.

This portion of your education will also help to transition you into a larger role as an online personal trainer while also allowing you more personal and financial freedom, the hallmarks of the online personal training industry.

3. Start Building Additional Online Training Revenue Streams

If step one taught you how to gain experience using online training and the hybrid model, step three will be the part where you really scale your online business. In the Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer certification (FM-COPT), you’ll learn the various assets you can build to help you sell personal training online. 

Online personal training really weighs heavily on business structure, and understanding how to structure your business from start to finish is very helpful for new online trainers. For example, learning how to leverage online PDFs, video libraries, client management platforms, and integrate them into your website are all educational paths you can learn the hard way or the easy way. The FM-COPT will show you how to start building these assets as well as your new online business model based on the six kinds of online business models I’ll explain more below.

After you begin to build out these additional revenue streams, it’s all about getting more clients online.

4. Get More Clients Online

At this final stage of becoming an online personal trainer you’ve now learned some of the ins and outs of online training with your experience with a hybrid model, you’ve gotten a certification that helps set some structure and shows you how to build assets out to sell more services, and now all you need to do to be more successful is to get more clients online. 

Notice I did not specifically mention marketing here as that is not the only way to get online personal training clients. There is an opportunity for you to bring your existing in-person clients over to your online suite of services and that is probably an easier transition than marketing itself. While marketing will eventually become an important part of scaling your business, I recommend using existing relationships to truly kickstart some of your online training while you laser focus your online business.

If you want some insight into marketing your business, check out our blog on personal trainer marketing and specifically some of the ideas that relate to websites or online services.

Read on to learn about the types of online personal training services can you offer.

Online Personal Trainer Business Models: The 6 Different Types of Online Personal Trainers

Coaching and training clients online can happen in countless unique ways but the starting point always remains the same: your goal is the focus on improving the health of your clients.

The way you set yourself up as an online personal trainer will dictate the ways you can make money online. It also will determine the amount of clients you can have.

These methods include:

  1. Private Personalized Online Training 
  2. Non-Personalized PDF Fitness Programs 
  3. Non-Personalized Video Fitness Programs
  4. Hybrid Online and In-Person Personal Training
  5. Live Video Chat Workouts Online 
  6. Online Group Personal Training

Let’s take a closer look at each variation to see how they create an online personal trainer business. As you read through these think about how they fit into your style of training and your personal interests for business development.

1. Private Personalized Online Training

The personalized element of personal training is retained in this type of online training, but the difference is this method is that the trainer does not work with the client in-person. Using various communication methods — phone, email, text, and especially software — the trainer provides their clients the tools and program needed to achieve a specific fitness goal. Using some of these same technological resources, the trainer is able to track client progress and ensure client success and retention.

2. Non-Personalized PDF Fitness Programs

Non-personalized PDF fitness programs are created by trainers for general or specific population types. These premade programs usually live on a website and are made available for download. This type of online training requires zero client interaction, but strong online marketing to help drive attention to the program and convince clients to make purchases. 

3. Non-Personalized Video Fitness Programs

Like the above PDF programs, these video programs also do not involve direct client interaction. Instead, trainers provide clients access to a video or a series of videos in which they can follow on their own.

4. Hybrid Online and In-Person Personal Training

The hybrid model is a mix of in-person personal training combined with online resources that allows trainers to provide hands-on services and reinforce them with online tools. These programs usually are more cost-effective for clients as they usually only see a trainer in-person a handful of times each month, and then are free to use the online resources to maintain their workouts on their own. This approach is a good starting point for trainers who are looking to transition clients from 100% in-person to a combination of in-person and online.

5. Live Video Chat Workouts Online

Live video chat or in-person online streaming is a form of training that allows a trainer and a client to see and interact with each other from their computers or mobile devices. A trainer who uses this tool can provide immediate feedback to clients on form, demonstrate exercises, and answer questions in real time. 

6. Online Group Personal Training

An extension of the above, innovative personal training software company gymGO also allows trainers the option to do one-on-one live streaming sessions or train and interact with larger groups of clients, all online. For example, trainers can hold a yoga, pilates, or other group fitness class and have the option to live stream it, record themselves and make their workouts on-demand via memberships. This potentially opens up the door for much larger revenue opportunities for trainers and this online training opportunity has been proven by Peloton with much success.

If you are looking at the above and are wondering if you can combine them together, you absolutely can. Just like in traditional in-person personal training there is nothing stopping you from adding additional services to your offerings. You just have to learn how to find the appropriate channels in which to deliver your services, market your business, and leverage software to your advantage.

In case you want some other ideas for how to monetize your online personal training business, consider some of the following to set yourself apart from other personal training businesses:

  • Nutritional Programs
  • Phone Consultations 
  • Weekly Phone Calls 
  • Email Support and Check Ins 
  • Online Assessments 
  • Memberships 
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Accountability Services

Considerations for Online Personal Trainer Software

If you are considering expanding your personal training business online one of the investments you’ll want to make will surely be software. Software will help manage your clients, help to deliver programs or services, automate specific tasks, house your documents or videos, and can even help with billing and payments.

Before you decide on a software you should first determine what features you need to run and operate your business. If there is one mistake I see too many trainers make it’s purchasing a software solely based on brands that they’ve heard of rather than features that they need.

Fitness Mentors’ view on online personal training software is that you should focus on finding something that saves you time. Having time allows you to scale your business and potentially make money while you sleep.

Another aspect of online personal training software to consider is how it will play into the evolution of personal training. For example, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the trend in fitness for online training and on-demand and virtual, live streaming classes. Many of the existing online personal training softwares don’t allow trainers to leverage this, while newer technologies like gymGO are keeping up with the trainer of the future.

The point is, consider the services that you want to deliver, the demands from clients, the state of the personal training industry as a whole, and how software can help integrate all these aspects to help you scale your business. 

FAQs for How to Become an Online Personal Trainer

Any willing person can call themselves an online personal trainer, but just because they call themselves one doesn’t mean they are qualified. A true certified online personal trainer will understand health and safety protocols, program design, and more.

There are six primary ways in which online personal trainers can make money:

  1. Private Personalized Online Training
  2. Non-Personalized PDF Fitness Programs
  3. Non-Personalized Video Fitness Programs
  4. Hybrid Online and In-Person Personal Training
  5. Live Video Chat Workouts Online
  6. Online Group Personal Training

While there is no magic recipe for a profitable online personal training business, yes, online personal training can be very profitable. High profits for online personal trainers are particularly associated with those who can build a successful online presence, sell products or services through automated processes, and develop a scalable business model that is not contingent on the amount of hours in a day typically reserved for in-person training.

The most logical way to start an online personal training business is to transition existing in-person clients over to online clients. Creating online workout programs and giving in-person clients access is one of many examples that can be used to start an online personal training business.

Online personal trainers should charge according to their experience, the target population they are working with, and how much value they are bringing to their clients.

The Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer (FM-COPT) is the only company nationally recognized by the NBFE (National Board of Fitness Examiners) to offer an Online Personal Training Certification.

How to Get Hands-on Training to Build Your Online Personal Training Business

Starting an online personal trainer business has its challenges. Deciding where to put your efforts for the best chance of success and developing strategies can be a bit overwhelming. 

This is why the Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Training certification was created. This program, which is also offered as a Week Mentorship, will provide you the insight into creating the business that works best for you while revealing the best strategies for transitioning to a full or part time online personal trainer. 


We encourage this through 5 Major learning sections: 

  • Prepare Your Business – Learn the necessary tasks needed to prepare your business and create services for online success. 
  • Take Your Business Online – Discover the strategies that transition your business to the online space. 
  • Generate Leads to Grow Your Business – Learn the marketing, advertising, and outreach techniques used for attracting an abundance of clients. 
  • Convert Sales – Dive deep into defining your sales personality and use it to set efficient pricing and close sales. 
  • Care for Your Clients – Understand the best practices for supporting your clients and retaining their business to provide yourself with financial freedom and consistent income. 

Choosing to take this path toward creating the career that you envision is an envious task. Your passion for success will shine through as you learn every step toward becoming a successful online personal trainer. 

This passion will allow you to establish yourself as a leader in this new and fast-evolving industry. 

You will be backed by and supported by the quality education provided in this certification course, with the credential to assist thousands of people in improving their health, performance and overall happiness. 

Give yourself credit for taking this step and mentally prepare yourself for the commitment of completing this course and creating the life you want. 

Learn more about the Fitness Mentors COPT today.


CEO of – Teaching 30,000+ students how to become CPT’s

BS Kinesiology, NASM-CPT, CES, PES FNS, MMAS, WLS, FM-CPT, ACE-CPT, Master Personal Trainer

Eddie Lester is the founder and CEO of Fitness Mentors. With more that 17 years experience in the health, fitness and athletics field, he has helped tens of thousands of personal trainers transform their careers and reach their business goals. With a background in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology Eddie has assisted in research that is spearheading the exercise science field.

His in-depth knowledge of the Health, Wellness and Fitness industry has earned him a place as a regular contributor on high profile sites such as the Personal Trainer Development Center, (Dan to list top sites) online where he writes about nutrition and personal training.

His contributions to help personal trainers include a weekly blog, podcast, youtube channel and multiple books including: Business and Sales: the Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer.

Eddie’s Philosophy often times includes focusing on the bigger picture in which daily positive contributions lead to a major impact on himself, his family, his community and the world.

Eddie is commonly found at the beaches of Southern California with his wife Courtney and five kids.

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