How to become an online personal trainer

By Jonathan Hertilus

I measure my success by impact, so if you find this info helpful please take a millisecond to like or share this 😉

Greetings to all of you aspiring online personal trainers out there! My name is Jonathan Hertilus, owner of the youtube channel “How to sell personal training” and in this article I will give the road map that you need to pursue a career as an online personal trainer. There was a time where I once thought group training was  stupid and live one on one training was the ideal situation. Fast forward a few years and I held the belief that online training was stupid and bootcamp was the ideal situation. Both times, I was wrong.

While I still prefer running a bootcamp to online personal training, there are still MAJOR benefits to offering online services:

  1. You can train people with erratic schedule
  2. You never have to lose a client because they’ve moved away
  3. It’s an excellent last ditch offer when someone can’t afford your normal training rates.

The only problem is, there are very few CREDIBLE guides on how to get started. But in this article I will detail exactly what you need to begin your career. There are 5 necessities. And I will go over them with you now.

Necessity #1 – A Websitehow to become an online personal trainer

The first tool you’re going to need, obviously is a website and unfortunately, this is where a lot of trainers get it wrong. There are a TON of hosting platforms out there like or, and sure, they can help you to create a site that might look good. But as an online personal trainer, you need a site that has the look AND the functionality.

If you want a situation like mine where you don’t ever need to have face to face contact with your client, you need a website that is going to do a lot of the work for you. I personally use clickfunnels. And although it’s pricey at $97/month it allows me to do some things that are crucial to the success of my business.

  1. It allows me to build landing pages that gets attention for my facebook and instagram ads.
  2. It houses my online portal which my clients can sign into to get their questions answered instead of texting me 20x a day
  3. It serves as a destination for clients to schedule their own follow up appointments so I don’t need to do it myself
  4.  It houses my apparel store where clients can buy my shirts,bags, and hats without me ever having to ship or buy inventory 

These are all very important features that help me to run my business well, (especially point #2). So don’t fall into the trap of the cheap website, spend a little more and get an actual return on your investment.

Necessity #2 – A Platform

Your platform is going to be the main tool that you use to deliver workouts to your clients. This can make you or break you because the key is to be able to service all your online clients efficiently. If you fail to deliver their workouts with predictability, accuracy, and speed, they will fire you. So it is important to choose a platform that will support your business. Here are platforms that some trainers use. I’ll breakdown the good, the bad, and then I’ll explain why I use what I use.

Option #1 – ZoomHow to become an online personal trainer

So your easiest and cheapest option is going to be to use Zoom. Zoom is a video conferencing website that will allow you to have direct contact with your client WHILE they are working out. It costs no money to set up and there’s literally no learning curve. There’s no programming required.

Now here’s the drawback.

When you use zoom, you’re back to square one. You trading your time for money, the only difference is you don’t travel to the client. So while you are still technically an online trainer, you’re more of a virtual trainer. You still have to be there while your client is working out and a client has the option to late cancel. You still are bound by your clients’ schedules so you aren’t really free.

The reason you take this route is that you want to make sure your clients don’t do their movements wrong, but there is a way around that if you want to give yourself more freedom. Consider option #2.

Option #2 – DIY Video Training

You can give yourself more freedom if you just have a library of exercises that you give to your clients. You could just search youtube for every exercise that you plan on programming and give your clients a spreadsheet with links to those exercise explanations. But you might have a hard time finding all the explanations you need with good quality.

So your next option would be to record all the exercises yourself. That way you can create a youtube channel with all of the exercises your client might do and they can intern search through your channel to get the explanations they need.

There are a few drawbacks though.

First, it’s extremely time consuming. I made over 100 exercise videos and doing all of the editing and voiceovers was a pain. I COULD’VE hired a video editor to do it for me, but if they weren’t well versed in training, they may get things wrong and they would’ve charged me a ton. I could’ve easily been $1000 in the hole on that effort. But luckily I LOVE video editing and studied it so I just powered through.

Now, all of that work is done. I’m glad I did it, but I never want to have to do that again. If you’re not a video editing nerd like me, and want to save $1000+, perhaps option #3 could work for you.

Option # 3 – Online Training Applications

So you don’t want to be a virtual trainer, I get it. And you don’t want to be a video editor, I REALLY get it. You could outsource your efforts to an online personal training app like trainerize or pt distinction. These are examples of services that allow you to create a profile, add clients to your profile ( for a fee ) and then write workouts within the application. They provide a library of videos so your clients can look it up themselves. This is great except for 3 problems that I faced.

They were slow, non-intuitive, and expensive.

You may have tried trainerize yourself already, as I did. And if you can get past the non-intuitive interface, you quickly found out that writing up programs was a real pain. 

If you are doing typical body building workouts, and everything is 3 sets of 10 then you can probably write up a workout in about 5 minutes, but when you have to write up multiple workouts for multiple people, it adds up. I even tried to get help from the support team on how to save entire workouts to streamline the process, but still it took a while.

Beyond that, the pricing adds up quickly, carrying one client is free…two is cheap, but once your looking to build a long client list, you’re looking at $80/month for PT distinction or as high as $270/mo for trainerize. It was too rich for my blood. So I took a different approach and use this system now.

Option #4 – How I do itHow to become an online personal trainer


I tried the wix site, I tried the virtual training, I tried trainerize, but that still didn’t give me the freedom and independence that I really was looking for. So I just made a system that was impossible to screw up.

  1. I created a membership portal on my clickfunnels site where I included all my exercises explanations, and then I threw in workout explanations, and information on how to track progress. It took a TON of time, but at least I knew I wouldn’t get a million questions from my clients.
  2. I decided to write out all of my workouts on a spreadsheet so that I could just copy and paste them
  3. I implemented google sheets, which is a free service, and allows me to deliver workouts in about a minute without charging me for having a lot of clients.
  4. I still use zoom, but only to catch up with my client on how their week went. A little TLC goes a long way. 

Now it really only takes me about 20 minutes a week to service a client. (1 minute a day to check nutrition logs, 10 minutes per week to do a catch-up conference on zoom, and 2 minutes a week to deliver their workouts.

This has made online training so much easier, but it would all crumble if I didn’t have necessity #3. 

Necessity #3 – Organizationhow to become an online personal trainer

You have to remember, that when you’re an online personal trainer, your client has to feel like you’re there for them, even when you’re physically not. You actually have to be MORE organized as an online trainer than you have to be as a personal trainer. And since you aren’t just handing out pdfs and disappearing, (one of the biggest lies in online personal training) you have to be organized.

  • You have to stay on top of your clients nutrition habits
  • You have to deliver workouts ON TIME
  • You have to be able to track their improvements in weight and body fat
  • And you have to know when they’re starting to fall off. 

Failure to do any of these things will result in lost clients and lost opportunities. And that’s I keep ALL my clients records in a few places:

You CAN’T mess this up. Businesses are based on SYSTEMS so a simple pdf write up does not qualify you to be successful. Take care of the backend and you’ll be able to manage 50+ clients fairly easily.  

Necessity #4 – Marketing

Now let’s say you set up your Clickfunnels site, and established an on google for google sheets, and put together a system like mine that allows you to service one client in only 20 minutes a week. It doesn’t matter if no one knows about you!

If you’re a personal trainer in a big box gym, guess what, you are GOLDEN!

how to become an online personal trainer

You run into people that want to be in shape all the time and it’s your JOB to talk to them. As an employee of the gym your goal is to try to sell them a live personal training package. But I can’t count how many times in my youth, someone liked me, and wanted to work with me, but couldn’t afford the gym’s personal training packages. They asked if I could just write up a program for them, but at the time I didn’t know how.

If only I knew then what I knew now I could’ve done one of two things:

  1. Created a hybrid program by selling them the cheapest training package of once a week or 2 times a month and ADDED online training workouts to make it worth it
  2. Offer a COMPLETE online program and either keep them as a long-time online training client OR use that as an opportunity to show them how good I am possibly convert them into a regular gym member with personal training

This would’ve allowed me to help SO many more clients and make so MUCH more money. That’s why EVERY box gym trainer should offer online training. It’s their back pocket offer for gym patrons who aren’t ready to pay $50-$100/session.

If you’re a bootcamp owner/independent personal trainer, this is a great opportunity

how to become an online personal trainer

Often times clients try to freeze their membership when they know they can’t make it to class. Or if they move away, they have to cancel their program completely. With online training you essentially have clients for life with a hybrid program:

  1. If they go on a long vacation — put them on your portal and give them online workouts
  2. If they have a business trip — put them on your portal and give them online workouts
  3. If they can’t make it to all your classes and question if it’s worth it anymore — put them on your portal and give them online workouts
  4. If they….okay you get the point

If are just starting out…you’re not going to grow your business by knocking on doorshow to become an online personal trainer

I’ll be the first to tell you that marketing for online personal training is not the world’s easiest task.  I would say 10% of the people that would actually pay for fitness guidance would be great candidates for complete online training. This is because online training requires a little bit more initiative. But these people ARE out there. Who are they?

  1. They are people who travel often
  2. They are people with REALLY erratic schedules
  3. They are people who want to workout but don’t want to do so publicly
  4. They are people who have young children who can’t find a baby sitter
  5. They are people who’s religious believe prevent them from exposing themselves at gyms
  6. They are people that JUST DON’T LIKE GYMS

These people do exists, but you would never be able to find them by knocking on doors. So instead you have to be proactive with eye catching ads on facebook and instagram, then you have to have a single purpose landing page, ( which is different from a website because it has no navigation bar and it’s ONLY job is to convince the visitor to enter their name, email, and phone number ) and them you have to sell them. (We’ll talk about that soon). And what is the benefit to you?

  1. You don’t have to buy equipment
  2. You don’t have to travel
  3. You don’t need to affiliate with a studio or gym that will take a percentage of your profit

You will however, have to pay for advertising. The one issue is most trainers aren’t great copy writers, and most trainers don’t know how to edit great video that speaks DIRECTLY to the aforementioned audience.

But have no fear, if you stick around to the end of this article I’ll give you an awesome resource to have that done for you.

Now as promised….let’s talk about sales.

Necessity #5 – Saleshow to become an online personal trainer

Ahhh sales….every trainer’s least favorite word. Guess what, it’s not going away!

You HAVE to be able to sell. As a matter of fact, you have to be a better salesperson than live personal trainers.

Why you ask?

Because you have to convince your prospect that your expertise and accountability is worth more than other trainers who can stand right in front of them. Luckily for you, it won’t be that hard and here’s why:

  1. Most trainers don’t coach nutrition
  2. Most trainers don’t take regular fitness profiles
  3. Most trainers AREN’T ORGANIZED

But you are!

At least you will be!

So your goal in your sales presentation is to:

  1. Collect the right information
  2. Reframe the prospects goal so they understand YOUR program is their best option
  3. Rationalize their past failures as poor trainer involvement
  4. Highlight the importance of accountability and slightly downplay the importance of the exercises ( because you can find exercises anywhere) 
  5. Educate
  6. Close

It sounds complicated, but if you ask the right questions, in the right order, you should be able to easily close 90% of your presentations on at the very least an intro package, and then from there your organization and great service will convert them into a full paying client. Don’t don’t fear sales…EMBRACE THEM!

Now if you got THIS far I’ve probably helped you a bit, show some appreciation with a like or share before proceeding 😉

Bonus: How to get all these tools QUICKLY

So in this long journey we’ve covered the 5 things you’ll need:

  1. A website
  2. A platform
  3. Organization
  4. Marketing
  5. Sales

If you take the route I took, life will be a lot easier. But you could have some obstacles in front of you, like these:

  1. You don’t want to pay $97/month for clickfunnels
  2. You don’t know how to build convincing websites/landing pages anyway
  3. You don’t want to record 100+ exercised and edit them
  4. You don’t know how to get organized
  5. The idea of writing out a 16 week syllabus scares you
  6. You don’t know a thing about successful social media marketing and you wouldn’t know where to begin on building commercials or writing copy
  7. You suck at sales

All of these things are understandable…so I took care of all these concerns for you!

Enter in my Dumbbells to Dollars Advance Course!

how to become an online personal trainerBasically, we’ve done all the work for you!

If you want to get your online business up and running FAST..this course will:

  1. Build Your Website FOR YOU including extra landing pages, a scheduler, an apparel line, AND a member portal and host host if for $39/mo ( save $60)
  2. Provide for you a 16 week syllabus so that you don’t have to think about what workout to give next, just copy and paste.
  3. Marketing materials so you can leverage social media to gain more clients
  4. 2+ HOURS of sales calls so you can use our fool-proof sales script. We’ll even throw in our powerpoint presentation ( in case you forget what to say, the slides will jog your memory )

Online training is the biggest trend in the industry and if you don’t hop on it now, you’ll be left behind. So here’s my suggestion:

  1. Watch the video below that will wrap this up in one minute
  2. Click on the link below it to learn even more about the course ( you won’t be disappointed!)