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Health & Fitness Side Hustles to Grow Your Training Business

Reading Time: 14 minutes


DATE: 2023-01-13

Approximately one-third of Americans currently have a side hustle according to a Zapier survey. (1) Another one in four plans to start one in the near future. Regardless of which category you fall into, you may be wondering what type of side hustle you can build in the fitness industry. Or, how much can you     make doing personal training as a side hustle? Here’s everything you need to know!

13 Health and Fitness Side Hustles

From meditation coaching to sports refereeing, here are some side hustle ideas to get you started. The options are endless!

Become a Meditation Coach

Meditation is quickly becoming one of the most popular practices in the fitness industry and provides a great opportunity for those looking to start a lucrative side hustle. 

Meditation coaches can teach people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels about how to practice mindful meditation, manage stress, set meaningful goals, and other mindfulness-related topics. With the right training and credentials, anyone can become an accomplished meditation coach and build an impressive following for their business. 

Meditation coaching also comes with the added benefit of being relatively low overhead; equipment is minimal and often clients don't need additional space outside of a comfortable environment. When done correctly, meditation coaching can be a great way to build reliable income while having a meaningful impact on your clients' lives.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Learn more: Better overall health is an increasingly common goal. Adding meditation, life, or health coaching to your offerings enables you to help clients with all their wellness goals. 

Rent an Exercise-Themed Airbnb

If you're an outdoor enthusiast, whether it's biking, hiking, or running/walking nature trails, a great side income for you would be to open an Airbnb in proximity to some great areas for that kind of activity. 

So many people who travel to an Airbnb want to make the time to maintain their fitness routine or experience the outdoor settings that they otherwise wouldn't be able to experience. A Florida couple stayed at an Airbnb in Arizona and fell in love with the mountainous views and hilly bike trails. All they have in Florida is flatland and beaches, so it was an easy sell for them. 

Travelers will pay top dollar for a great local experience, so make the most of what the local area offers. Sell them hard on all the physical activities they can enjoy within walking distance of their lodging. You'll make substantial money that way.

Rachel Blank, Founder & CEO, Allara

Build American Ninja Warrior-Style Equipment

Though very niche, working out like an American Ninja Warrior has become very popular. The show has an incredibly broad appeal and makes the exercises associated with the courses seem fun. 

Basically, people want to try these obstacles, such as the Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder, and Flying Bar, but don’t have the expertise to build them themselves or have access to them at the local level. Most gyms simply don’t provide such unique equipment, as it wouldn’t be cost or space workable. 

That is why I think, if you have some handy carpentry skills, you could make a good chunk of change building and selling American Ninja Warrior obstacle equipment at the local level. It could be a very nice little hustle, with each piece selling for more than $1,000 to the right buyer.

John Ross, CEO, Test Prep Insight

Host Corporate Wellness Lessons

Many companies are investing in health and wellness programs, so providing lessons or training sessions to corporate audiences can be a lucrative side hustle for a fitness professional. These lessons can also be another way to get new clients, as you can showcase your expertise to a group of people and then offer a discount on working with you one-on-one. 

It can also be a steady source of income, as it's easy to get referrals from companies, and there are many businesses that want and need your expertise in health and wellness.

Mark Pierce, CEO, Cloud Peak Law Group

Try Affiliate Marketing

You can't create more time, so you need to build a recurring income stream. Affiliate marketing is a great way to leverage your expertise into one of the most lucrative side hustles for the health and fitness industry. Now, this is not a "make money while you sleep" overnight side hustle. However, you will have an edge over the competition that calls this category "Your Money or Your Life." 

As you need to please search engines on your authority for the topic, you will have a competitive edge working in the industry. This type of marketing helps you sell products or services without having to invest any capital, all while building your core brand and audience for authority. It's a win-win situation for you to earn a side income without selling your time and still build your core fitness industry exposure.

Brian Hawkins, Marketing Manager, Ghostbed.Com

Sell Personal Meal Preparations 

Personal meal prepping is a lucrative side hustle in the fitness industry. It involves preparing and delivering meals to people with specific dietary needs or preferences, such as those trying to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain their current nutrition level. 

Personal meal preppers ‌charge per-meal fees for their services and typically require clients to sign up for a certain number of meals each week. People offering this service can also help clients with grocery shopping, creating meal plans, and providing nutritional advice. 

Personal meal prepping is a great way to make money while helping others reach their fitness goals. Additionally, it's a low-investment business that has the potential to bring in a good income.

Kate Wojewoda-Celinska, Marketing Manager, Spacelift

Work as a Local Fitness Consultant

You could become a fitness consultant for local businesses or organizations. Consulting is a great way to help people in your local community stay fit and healthy while also making money from it. 

Your knowledge of nutrition and exercise science will allow you to create custom programs tailored to the specific needs of each client. Whether it's a small business, school, or local fitness center, you'll have the chance to make a positive impact on those who need it. With your expertise and dedication to helping others, you can help create a healthier community.

Plus, consulting is a great way to make money while doing something that you love! Working as a fitness consultant also provides you with plenty of opportunities to grow professionally. You can use your experience to further develop and refine your knowledge in nutrition and exercise science, as well as gain valuable skills such as marketing and public speaking that will open up even more doors for you.

Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal

Open Your Gym's Clothing Brand

I have worked with multiple gyms and workout studios when developing personalized websites for them, and I have noticed an interesting trend. The workout studios that eventually become profitable and create a powerful brand often approach me again, but this time to create an e-commerce website catered to selling their gym's clothing brand. I find this an ingenious and lucrative side hustle. 

Not only do you have an existing consumer base who is familiar with your gym brand and will be open to trying out the clothing brand, but it also works the other way around. Consumers who aren't familiar with your gym may be attracted to the clothing brand, and that may inadvertently lead them to your gym. So‌ the main business complements the side hustle, and the side hustle promotes the principal business.

Alan Carr, Director, Webpop Design

Learn more: Starting your own fitness clothing company takes some work to get started, but it’s a great side hustle once it’s up and running!

Post Fitness Blogs and Vlogs

Digitally disseminating fitness knowledge is the ideal approach to supplement your income. A fitness professional looking for side jobs will find solutions in fitness blogging and vlogging. 

While vlogging or video blogging is the simple option for camera-friendly people, blogging can be the solution for people who have a knack for writing and are skilled with words. One can work together or partner with fitness and health firms to endorse their products to audiences. 

Being a digital side business, this one doesn't require significant upfront expenses at any point in the process because it can be started with simply a laptop and writing software tools (for blogging) or a smartphone with good video, audio, and storage quality (for vlogging).

Sean Harris, Managing Editor, Family Destinations Guide

Learn more: Writing a fitness blog and monetizing it is a fantastic way to make good money. Additionally, you can sell digital content through your blog, such as health and fitness eBooks or workouts.

Conduct Online Webinars or Masterclasses

There's no better time to offer your services online than now. People make New Year's resolutions, and they are also more eager to use online educational platforms than ever. 

Sharing your precious knowledge on fitness-related issues can be a great way to earn decent money on the side. The list of topics to discuss seems endless, including nutrition counseling, exercise planning, offering grocery shopping tips for weight loss, advice on feeding your baby, and many more. 

Just focus on what you know best. You can have 1:1 sessions or organize a digital course. Another option is conducting a paid masterclass on the topic you are a specialist in. Monetize your expertise and passion by helping others live healthier, happier lives.

Agata Szczepanek, Community Manager, LiveCareer

Produce a Podcast for Fitness Enthusiasts

If you're a fitness professional or even a fitness enthusiast, a fitness podcast is a great way to explore the lucrative side of a fast-growing industry. The podcast can have you and other fitness pros sharing their expertise and experiences. 

As the podcast's popularity grows, you can even add a celebrity quotient to it by signing on fitness-oriented celebs to feature in your segments. While monetizing a successful podcast is easy with brands and companies trying to make the most of your audience by showcasing their new products and services, you can also explore long-term associations with fitness ventures to keep the revenue flowing.

Brendan McGreevy, Head of Strategy, Affinda

Write for Fitness Companies

The fitness industry is massive, and as a result, there's a high demand for blog content. If you have a background in fitness, you can start a side hustle writing for fitness companies and fitness blogs.

Every large fitness company has a blog, ranging from Fitbit to NordicTrack. They need writers to produce that content, and many companies will work with writers on a freelance or part-time basis. 

To get started, you can create a simple portfolio site or launch a fitness blog yourself. From there, you can reach out to fitness companies to write for them. If they like your initial work from a guest post, they might work with you on a more permanent, paid basis. Overall, freelance fitness writing can help you leverage your fitness expertise for more money, and it doesn't cost much to start up.

Axel DeAngelis, Founder, Jumpcoast

Referee Sports

Refereeing sports can be a great way to make some extra money and stay involved in the fitness industry. If you have experience playing or coaching a sport, this could be an ideal side hustle. You'll get to stay active while making some extra cash on the side. 

Plus, you can develop relationships with other referees and learn more about the game. You can also typically work your own hours and make your own schedule. All in all, refereeing sports is a great side hustle for those looking to stay connected to the fitness industry.

Ryan Delk, CEO, Primer

How Much Can a Personal Trainer Make Providing Fitness Training on the Side?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median personal trainer salary is $40,700 per year. (2) This equates to roughly $19.57 per hour. Based on these numbers, if you do your hustle 10 hours per week, you would earn roughly $194.80. Hustle 20 hours and you would make double that amount, or $389.60.

It’s important to note that new personal trainers may make less while experienced personal trainers would likely make more. So, your beginner salary may fall below the median rate. Once you’ve been a fitness instructor for a while, it might go above it.

Salary can also vary based on where you do your side hustle. The states paying the most for personal training sessions are Connecticut, Vermont, and the District of Columbia according to the BLS. (3) New Jersey and Washington follow next. Whether you are in a metropolitan or non-metropolitan area can also impact your salary potential.

If your side hustle involves working for a gym, it will reduce your earnings. How much the fitness facility takes will vary. Though, it generally ranges from between 50% and 80% of the cost of the training session.

If your side hustle is your own personal training business, you get to keep 100% of your earnings (minus taxes and costs). How much you charge per training session is up to you. When setting your rates, it helps to look at what other fitness trainers are charging in your area. Also, consider how much you must earn to make training worth your time.

Pros of a Personal Training Side Hustle

Choosing to turn your side hustle idea into reality offers many benefits. One is that it enables you to do work you love while keeping your current job. This can be beneficial if you’re not feeling fully satisfied in your work life. It may even be a way to “dip your toes in the water” before jumping into becoming a fitness trainer full-time.

Or maybe you enjoy what you do but have a passion for fitness too. Offering training or workout plans on the side enables you to do both at the same time. You get to satisfy each of your desires without having to choose between them.

It can also be incredibly rewarding to help a client reach their fitness goals. The smile on their face when they complete a new workout or hit a new strength training milestone is priceless. In this way, each client adds a bit of purpose to your life.

Of course, we’d be remiss to not mention that a side hustle can put extra money in your pocket. This additional income can take some of the stress out of stretching your monthly budget. It might even give you a bit of wiggle room to purchase something you want, take that much-needed vacation, or save for retirement.

Challenges You May Face, And How to Overcome Them

Although having a side gig as a personal trainer offers many advantages, it also comes with a couple of challenges. One is the time operating a small business will take out of your current schedule.

If your days are usually filled to the brim, you may find it difficult to work more in. The good news is that how much time you commit to your side hustle is up to you. You can do it 2 hours a week or 20 hours a week. You get to decide how much time you commit to training clients. It doesn’t even have to be the same amount each week.

Or maybe your current work schedule often changes with minimal notice. This challenge might be a bit harder to overcome. Talking to your employer might help. Ask them to make certain time blocks off-limits. This enables you to set up a session with a client without worrying that it will have to be changed.

If you want to free up even more time, you can hire a virtual assistant. This person would schedule your sessions for you. They’d also be able to handle incoming emails and calls, giving your client a quick response until you have the time to respond more in-depth yourself.

Want to cut out the commute to and from the gym? Offer side services as an online personal trainer. Taking this route makes it possible to hold sessions before work, after work, or even during your lunch hour. You have maximum flexibility when your side hustle involves working with clients virtually.

Another potential challenge of being a personal trainer on the side is the costs. At a minimum, you should at least have your own insurance, even if providing services at a gym. This covers you in the event a client is injured during a training session. If you provide training out of your home, you will have equipment costs too. These costs will vary based on your specific workout routines.

Add these expenses to your budget so you’re not scrambling to find the extra income. If you set your own rates, make sure they cover these types of expenses. This keeps you from having to dip into your personal funds in order to cover your side gig.

Balancing Your Side Hustle as a Personal Trainer with Other Work

Even if you love being a fitness trainer, it’s important to keep some time of work-life balance. This can prevent you from getting burnt out or feeling overwhelmed. It begins with setting healthy boundaries.

Determine in advance how much time you will commit to personal training on the side and don’t go above it. Also, make sure there’s time in your schedule to spend time with friends and family. Don’t forget to include some downtime to either relax or engage in your hobbies.

When setting these boundaries, it helps to let your clients know when you’re available and when you’re not. This keeps them from developing unrealistic expectations. If you typically work during the day, let your client know that you won’t respond to their inquiries until the evening hours. If you only train at the health club on specific days, let them know this too.

If a conflict arises, it may be tempting to do what you can to fit a particular client in. However, over time, this can backfire. Not only will it leave you feeling resentful and overworked, but the client may begin to expect you to always work around them.

Setting boundaries upfront helps avoid these issues. And it makes you happier to do your side hustle because you’re doing it in a way that fits into your lifestyle.

How to Scale Your Personal Training Side Gig

Some people start a side hustle with the intent of keeping it a side hustle long-term. Others use their side gig as a starting point. Their goal is to scale up, eventually turning the side hustle into a full-time personal training gig.

If you fall into this second category, you may be wondering how to grow your personal training business and attract more clients. This begins with marketing your personal trainer services so your potential clients know you exist. Social media is great for this purpose.

Set up a business page on one or two social media platforms. Which ones should you use? The ones that your clients are on most. If you aren’t sure, ask people in your target market which platforms they spend the most time on. Alternatively, look at current social media trends. As of January 2022, the social media networks with the most users are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. (4) That makes these a good place to start.

Post regularly and engage with your followers. Though it may take some time, you can work on becoming a social media influencer with affiliate marketing. The more people look to you for fitness advice, the faster your side hustle can turn into a full-time job. Building your social media presence can also be helpful if you're trying to get more online personal training clients.

To attract more attention in your local community, rent a booth at an annual health expo or sponsor a free fitness workshop. Talk to your attendees about the importance of regular physical activity. You may even offer a free body composition analysis to draw them in. Get them excited about the prospect of getting fit. Then position yourself as the trainer who can help them do it!

How to Position Yourself as a Reputable Personal Trainer

People are skeptical by nature. They may want to improve their fitness but be unsure whether you have the education or skill level necessary to help them meet their goals. Obtaining your personal training certification can help them overcome this objection.

Earning the title of Certified Personal Trainer tells potential clients that you have a certain level of fitness knowledge. It says that you understand exercise science, how the body responds to movement, and how to get the results you want.

Having your certification also gives them peace of mind that you know what you can and cannot do. If they have an injury for instance, you know that rehabbing that injury is outside your scope of practice. So, you would refer them to a doctor or physical therapist. You aren’t going to try to take care of it yourself, potentially making the injury worse.

Ready to start your career in personal training? ISSA is proud to be the top-rated and reviewed personal training certification program in the nation. And we can help you learn, grow, and prosper in your new career in health and fitness! Explore our Certified Personal Trainer programs.

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  1. Side hustle report: 1 in 3 Americans have a side hustle | Zaapier. Zapier.com. (2022). Retrieved 9 December 2022, from https://zapier.com/blog/side-hustle-report/.

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fitness Trainers and Instructors, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm (visited December 9, 2022).

  3. Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022). Retrieved 9 December 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399031.htm#st.

  4. Most used social media 2021 | Statista. Statista. (2022). Retrieved 9 December 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/.

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