How To Start a Personal Training Business

When I separated from the Air Force in 2012, I knew that I wanted to do something in the fitness industry. Fitness was always my passion and something I wanted to pursue on a larger scale. I worked at a couple of different gyms when I separated and gained some great experience. However, working at a gym just wasn't what I wanted. I decided to stop working at the gym and used the knowledge I gained there, in business school and information I found through online research to start my own personal training business. Today I am discussing How To Start a Personal Training Business.

*For informational purposes only, not an all-inclusive or step-by-step guide.

How To Start a Personal Training Business by Ivanna Baron at

Before starting your personal training business, you should make sure you have a personal training certification. I have written and extensive guide on how to become a certified personal trainer. Be sure to check that article out first if you are not already certified.

How To Start a Personal Training Business

Decide on a business name. 

The first thing I did when starting my business was I decided on a business name. I wanted my business name to be something unique and something that had a meaning to me. I decided on I AMfitness Personal Training. I used that name for the first two years of my business.

Eventually, as my goals for my business changed, I went on to change the name of my business to Wellness by Ivanna. This was mainly because I began to blog and monetize my blog, Wellness by Ivanna covered both personal training and blogging.

I suggest checking the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before settling on a business name. This site is used to verify whether or not the name you are considering is already being used by another business. Once you find out the name isn't already taken you can use it. You can also do a trademark of your own there if you'd like.

How To Start a Personal Training Business

Establish your business legally.

The next thing I did was filed for a sole proprietorshipI wanted to make sure I was doing everything legally and I didn't want to get into any tax trouble! I was able to do all of this online and it was fairly easy.

I used Legal Zoom to help me establish my business and found them to be very helpful. has a breakdown of the different types of business you can establish and helps explain the differences between them. You could also call them and they will walk you through everything.

US Legal Forms is another site I have heard great things about for starting a business, you could check them out as well. Another great choice if you can afford it is to hire a lawyer and have them help you establish your business. You also need to apply for a business license in your city and state. Search your city's website to find out more about applying for a local business license.

While establishing your business legally, consider creating a business plan. Having a business plan will help you establish a vision for your business as well as help you look at the big picture of running a business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a tool that will help you build your business plan step-by-step and its free!

Get Insured.

Before you train your first client, make sure you have Professional or General Liability Insurance for Personal Trainers. This is especially important when you are running your own business. Most gyms have insurance for their trainers, but if you have your own business you have to buy your own.

You can choose from multiple coverage options and most of them protect you against liability and trip-and-fall claims for wherever you are training clients. I use the IDEA insurance program. It is very affordable and worth it for the protection and peace of mind having insurance offers.

Now that we've gotten the legalities of starting a personal training business out-of-the-way, I want to discuss the fun part. Training clients, promoting your business and changing the world ;)

Decide how and where you will train.

There are many ways you can train clients when you have your own personal training business. You can buy a space a train them there. You can run an outdoor boot camp. You can rent a space from someone who hires freelance trainers. You can also run an in-home/mobile training business where you go to people's homes and train them or they can come to yours.

When I was actively training I ran an outdoor boot camp and a mobile personal training business. I would have to say that the mobile personal training was challenging for me. I had to drive a lot to travel to my clients home and I don't like driving. I also had to lug fitness equipment around because most of my clients didn't own any or at least what I needed for a session.

I eventually transitioned to only teaching outdoor boot camps and I enjoyed it very much. You ultimately have to think about your life and your schedule to determine what option is best for you.

How To Start a Personal Training Business


Promote your business.

Finally, now that you've started your personal training business you need to promote it. Now that we have social media, there is a multitude of ways to promote your business. Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, Instagram, and Groupon are just some of the ways you can use to promote your business.

Also, don't forget about good old word of mouth. Get a couple of t-shirts made with your business on it and wear it! You should also have business cards on your person at all times just in case someone asks about your services or mentions they have been looking for a trainer. I love and vistaprint for business cards and custom ink is my go to for t-shirts.

Personal Training is a VERY competitive business but all trainers bring something different to the industry. When you are promoting your business be sure to highlight what makes your business unique and why someone should choose your business over another personal training business.

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Here is a list of resources to make starting your personal training business a little easier.

How to become a certified personal trainer

US Patent and Trademark Office

US Legal Forms

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Business Plan Tool

IDEA insurance program


Custom ink

Fitness equipment for mobile training

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