Our lives have changed drastically over these past two years, and so has the fitness industry. Online fitness has exploded with people working out at home due to lockdowns.
With most restrictions now being lifted, gyms are reopening as well. However, people have realized they can ditch the commute to the gym, while still getting the expertise of a fitness professional. Online fitness programs are also cheaper than 1-on-1 gym sessions with a personal trainer.
Still, many people prefer seeing their trainer face-to-face. So, it’s unlikely that this model of personal training is going away anytime soon.
Online workout sessions and videos can’t replace the connection you build with your clients in person. So, online fitness programs don’t need to be a replacement for in-person sessions, but an expansion of your overall offering.
A hybrid personal training model lets you combine in-person training with online training. This allows you to offer your clients the best of both worlds.
The idea is to create personal training packages that include:
If set up properly, this is a win-win situation for both you and your clients.
They get a more affordable option to work out more frequently, but still have the benefits of meeting with you in person for a certain number of sessions.
You maximize your time and open space for new in-person clients, while at the same time building up your online offering. This can open the way for huge revenue opportunities. Growing your online fitness business to a certain level will ultimately gain you more personal and financial freedom.
There are various ways to structure your hybrid personal training programs. It’s up to you to find a combination that will work for both you and your clients.
It’s important to find the right online channels to deliver your content and services and leverage the power of software to your advantage.
In this article, we focus on the tools and platforms that are available for running your online fitness business. We cover the benefits and drawbacks of each type of solution, as well as their costs.
Platforms and tools for running your online fitness business
You may be just starting a fitness business, or you already have clients that you train in person. Or you already hold virtual workout sessions, but are looking for ways to expand your services and grow your online fitness business.
Whatever your situation may be, there is a range of online platforms and tools available to take your fitness business to the next level.
Your own personal trainer website
A website can be the foundation of your online fitness business. The main difference between other online channels such as social media is that your website is owned and operated solely by you.
This means that you have full control over the content and how your clients and visitors interact with it.
Benefits of a personal trainer website
Your clients can book your services directly on your website. You can also sell PDF training courses and videos on demand that your clients can follow on their own. This can be done as ecommerce, or with a paid membership section where clients can log in to access your content.
Your offer is discoverable online 24/7. Most people use Google when searching for a product or service. A well-optimized website puts you in a position for people to find you online organically.
A website increases your credibility and builds trust. People usually research their options before making any sort of purchase. A well-designed website will help you build your brand and make you look more professional.
Having a website also enables you to build a mailing list of clients and leads. You can run promotions or offer free content in exchange for email addresses. This allows you to follow up with prospects and clients and nurture relationships.
Drawbacks of a personal trainer website
Many people choose to build their website on their own. This can be a much cheaper option than hiring a professional designer. But this can become a slow process, taking valuable time away from other aspects of your business.
If you hire a web designer to create your website, you will still need to invest time into creating new content. Your website needs to be updated and maintained regularly to rank on Google and bring in new traffic.
Costs of a personal trainer website
Depending on the complexity of your website and how you choose to build it, the cost can vary wildly.
The main downside here is that you don’t fully own your website. You have ownership of all your content, but the website is run on their platforms similar to a social media page. This means that if anything were to happen to these companies, you would lose your website.
Your second option is to build a WordPress website and buy a fitness template. This will cost you anywhere up to $100, plus the cost of your domain and web hosting. You will need some WordPress knowledge to build and maintain the website yourself.
Otherwise, you can hire someone to do it for you. You can find freelance web designers on platforms such as Upwork for anywhere up to $500.
Your final option is to hire an experienced web designer who specializes in the fitness industry. You will get a full-feature website with anything from an ecommerce store to a paid membership section. This is the most expensive option that can cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
Video conferencing tools for online fitness training
Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype are the quickest and easiest way to hold online fitness training sessions. They are simple to use and allow you to stay in touch with clients from anywhere in the world.
Benefits of video conferencing tools for online fitness training
Zoom and Skype are user friendly tools that are simple to download and install. Most people are already familiar with them in their own line of work.
Zoom lets you schedule meetings in minutes and invite people to join them by simply clicking a link. This means that your workout sessions can be accessed from any device.
Zoom has a free version that enables unlimited 1-on-1 sessions. You can also host up to 100 participants in a single session for a maximum of 40 minutes.
Zoom allows you to share your screen for any detailed presentations or consultations. If you hold group sessions, your clients can also interact with each other for additional motivation and support.
You’re also able to record your sessions and repurpose them into video content for your website or social media.
Drawbacks of video conferencing tools for online fitness training
The main drawback of using Zoom or Skype for your online fitness training is that you have to manually organize everything.
This means you have to use Word documents and PDFs to deliver workout and nutrition plans. You will also need to use spreadsheets to organize schedules and keep track of clients’ progress. This can become overwhelming as your business and client base grows.
Another downside of video conferencing tools are potential connectivity issues. Poor Wi-Fi connections can ruin a virtual workout experience.
Cost of video conferencing tools for online fitness training
Zoom and Skype offer free versions that can work fine for 1-on-1 sessions, as well as group sessions up to a certain number of people.
If you need more capacity, Zoom also offers different paid plans for up to $240 per year per license, along with other additional options.
Progressive web apps for personal trainers
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are web applications that look and feel like native mobile apps, but they run within a web browser. They are basically a mobile-optimized version of a website. This means that they are accessed via a URL just like a regular website.
Benefits of progressive web apps for personal trainers
Progressive web apps can be built to include a whole range of features necessary for running an online fitness business.
This includes a client management system that allows you to create reports and keep track of all your clients’ data. You can build custom workout programs and recipe libraries. You can also offer video on demand, as well as other tools to help your clients along their fitness journey.
Since PWAs run within a web browser, they work on any device and operating system without installation. This means they don’t need to be downloaded from an app store. They do also have the option to be installed on a device and work in full-screen mode like a native app.
An advantage of PWAs over native apps is that they are indexed by search engines and use SEO. This means they can be discovered organically. They’re also easily shared by simply providing a link.
PWAs are faster than regular websites and provide increased security with HTTPS protocol. They’re also faster and cheaper to build than a custom native app, and they don’t need to be updated.
Drawbacks of progressive web apps for personal trainers
PWAs have slower load speed, responsiveness and performance than native mobile apps. They have limited access to device features such as calendar, camera or microphone. They also cannot be integrated with other third-party apps.
PWAs have less functionality than native apps, and limited functionality when used offline. They also use more computing power and cause higher battery consumption of the device they’re used on.
Cost of developing a progressive web app
Developing a progressive web app is faster and cheaper than building a custom native app. However, you would still need to hire a development team. Building a PWA can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000 or more depending on its features and complexity.
SaaS fitness platforms
There is a range of fitness tech companies on the market that offer software-as-a-service solutions for fitness businesses.
SaaS is a software licensing model in which you pay to use the cloud-based software on a subscription basis. You don’t own the software, but instead have unlimited access to it for a monthly or annual fee.
They are online platforms that provide gyms and personal trainers with tools to run their fitness business.
Benefits of SaaS fitness platforms
This type of software usually has a built-in CRM system that helps you track all your clients’ data. It reduces your administrative workload by automating processes such as scheduling and memberships.
Many fitness platforms offer workout templates you can share with your clients for specific types of exercises. This means you don’t have to create your own videos, but can use the ones they have available in their database.
They also offer workout builders that let you create custom workout plans, exercise videos and other content.
They allow for direct messaging with your clients, as well as exchange and storing of documents, photos or videos. Most of them support payment processing, so you can sell any of your content or offer monthly subscriptions.
They enable you to hold virtual 1-on-1 or group sessions. You can also record the sessions to sell them as part of your on-demand offering.
You don’t have to worry about updates or maintenance of the software, and you have access to support for any technical issues. Most of these platforms can be integrated with third-party apps.
You can also get listed as a personal trainer on some of these platforms. This means you can get discovered on the platform by potential clients who open an account.
Drawbacks of SaaS fitness platforms
Complicated interfaces with many features can be confusing for you and your clients. Some of the platforms have a steep learning curve and can be difficult to set up and get used to.
Not all platforms offer all the above-mentioned features. It’s important to research your options to find a solution that best fits your area of expertise.
Some platforms focus more on workouts and offer limited features for nutrition. Some don’t allow for third-party payment options such as PayPal or Stripe. Others don’t have scheduling features, which means you have to organize your sessions and clients on your own.
Cost of SaaS fitness platforms
SaaS fitness platforms offer different pricing depending on your number of clients. Their prices range anywhere from $5 per month for 2 clients, up to $599 per month for an unlimited number of clients.
Custom developed fitness app
Creating your own custom fitness app means hiring a team of developers to build it from scratch. This includes market research, idea validation, UX/UI design, prototyping, design and development. This is followed by testing, improvement, and regular maintenance.
Benefits of a custom fitness app
You can customize your fitness app with any type of features and branding when you build it from scratch. If well-designed and unique, a custom fitness app can set you apart from your competition.
Native apps are faster than any other solution, including websites and PWAs. They work directly on the device and make full use of its processing power. They offer the highest responsiveness and performance, which translates into a better user experience.
Native apps have access to all the device’s features and hardware, and they provide better and safer in-app payments. They can also be integrated with other third-party apps.
Drawbacks of a custom fitness app
The main drawback is that you must hire a full team of developers to build a custom fitness app. Custom app development is a longer, more complex and more expensive process than any of the other solutions we covered.
It requires a huge upfront investment without any way to test the solution until it is developed. You also need ongoing support with updates and maintenance.
Cost of developing a custom fitness app
This is by far the most expensive option for running your online fitness business. Developing a minimum viable product can cost around $25,000 to $30,000.
Developing a fitness app with a full set of features can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $160,000. This is not including the costs of regular updates and maintenance of your app.
White label apps for personal trainers
White label apps are generic apps built by development companies for a particular industry. They are then resold to other businesses that customize and brand them as their own.
Benefits of white label fitness apps
The most obvious advantage of white label apps is their cost-effectiveness. Using a white label app comes at a fraction of the cost of building your own custom app.
With a white label app, there is no need to be involved in the development and project management process. You are covered with design, quality assurance, maintenance and support. White label apps are also reliable because their code is already tried and tested.
At Lean On, we build white label fitness apps for all types of instructors and personal trainers. We’ve taken great care to develop all the necessary features you could need to run and grow your online fitness business.
Your app includes a content management system that lets you handle everything in one place. You can build custom workout and nutrition plans. You can create exercise videos, as well as live steam your workouts with a cast to TV option.
Your fitness app includes a messenger for an easy way to stay in touch with your clients.
You’re able to write blogs and share other useful content, as well as track your clients’ progress with progress images.
You can monetize your content by offering your clients subscription plans or selling videos on demand. All payments are made directly within your app.
You also get a scheduling system where clients can book workouts and sessions, all organized within an in-app calendar.
You can get your app branded, customized, and available for download on the App Store and Play Store in a matter of days.
Drawbacks of white label fitness apps
White label apps can have some drawbacks depending on the quality of the vendor that builds them.
They can have issues with code quality and offer limited functionality. They can also have limited scalability or a lack of updates that can put a ceiling on the growth of your online business.
Finally, they run the risk of being rejected from app stores if they are not adequately built and customized.
We’ve made sure to eliminate these potential challenges by building our fitness apps according to the highest industry standards.
Cost of our white label fitness apps
At Lean on, we offer three pricing plans that range from $200 to $600 per month. Learn more about all the features included in each plan by visiting our pricing page.
Choose a solution that best fits the needs of your fitness business
As you can see, there are many options available for taking your personal training business to the next level.
It’s important to determine your specific needs and budget before committing to any of the available solutions.
The goal is to choose a solution that will help you grow your fitness business, while offering the best possible experience to your clients.