If you own a gym, adding an online training service doesn’t just improve your bottom line. It allows you to maximize revenue per square foot in your facility, giving you an advantage over your local competitors in two key areas:

  • Spending: The revenue you bring in allows you to spend more on advertising, marketing, and promotion than other gyms in your area.
  • Service: With this added profitability, you can outserve your members in ways other facilities simply can’t.

With online training, you also plug the two biggest leaks in your gym business:

  1. When clients move away. When your business is based on proximity—customers have to come to you to use your service—you simply lose that revenue when they’re no longer close to your gym. But when you offer online training, you can continue working with them.
  1. When a referral doesn’t live nearby. Referrals are the lifeblood of a fitness business. The best advertisement will never be as powerful as the personal endorsement of a satisfied client. But what happens when a client recommends you to a friend or colleague who doesn’t live close enough to train with you? With online training, you can actually take them on as a client.

So why don’t all gyms offer online training? Why don’t new gym owners include online training in their business plan?

It’s an unbelievable and potentially unprecedented opportunity—if you do it the right way.

How to add an online training service to your gym

There are lots of ways to offer online services, with and without in-person coaching.

The most common structure, and the one we recommend in the Online Trainer Academy, has three options.

Option #1: Online-only coaching

Your clients get access to your expertise, or your trainers’ expertise, with programming, support, and accountability.

Anybody can sign up for this service, whether they live next door to your gym or halfway across the globe. 

Some of your online-only clients will be people who’ve never stepped inside your gym. Others will be former gym members who moved away.

It’s also an option you can offer your current in-person clients when they go on vacation or travel for business.

Option #2: Hybrid training 

Gym members who choose this option get everything you offer in option #1—programming, support, accountability—for the same monthly fee.

They also have access to your in-person services, which they pay for a la carte.

One client might want to take a couple of group classes a week while also training on their own. Another might want to train with you or another coach in person from time to time.

This hybrid model offers a couple of advantages to you and the client.

Many of the clients will do your workouts in your gym, in full view of you and your coaches. Even though they aren’t paying for in-person training, they get to ask questions and get real-time feedback on their form.

They’re also logging their own workouts into your online coaching software, which means you have complete visibility into their progress without having to enter that data manually.

Most important, both sides can have the kind of personal connection that’s harder to achieve with online-only training.

Option #3: Premium service 

It’s human nature to want the biggest and best version of just about anything. If someone is willing to pay for a high-priced option, don’t you want to make sure you have one to offer them?

Your premium service usually includes everything you have:

  • Online programming, support, and accountability
  • Unlimited group classes
  • A fixed number of in-person training sessions
  • Nutrition coaching

If you don’t already offer nutrition in your online training, and aren’t qualified to provide it yourself, partner with someone who does.

The nutrition coach doesn’t need to be local. They can be based anywhere, and the service can be 100 percent online.

A partnership can be a good deal for you and the nutritionist. They get clients without having to go out and find them.

As the go-between, you make some money from everyone who signs up for the nutrition service, either as part of the premium package or as an a la carte option available to all your gym members and remote clients.

Learn more: Get answers to more online trainer questions.