Business - Is it a dirty word in fitness?

Over the last 18 months every personal trainer, coach and gym owner has been sold a program by some ‘guru’ to become a six-figure trainer on Facebook. I’m not quite sure where it has come from, but it’s literally been everywhere in my news feed, and from what I see and what people are talking about as coaches in fitness, it’s the same for most others too.

Now I’m not sure where the idea of becoming a six-figure personal trainer came from as most personal trainers have an average income of around £16-26,000 per year. Sure, there are good ones earning more, or ones that are in London, or ones that have invested in their business education, but most are earning a low to modest wage, so getting from even £26,000 to £100,000, six figures, is a HUGE jump, whatever happened to getting to a good, and realistic £40-50,000 a year as a trainer?

The reality is, most personal trainers, gym owners and coaches want to earn more as a coach, have a better work life balance and better quality of life. And that’s good, so you should. Earning £16,000 a year as a coach isn’t as fun as earning £30,000 plus.

Now I’m going to be honest right now in that 99% of people reading this blog will never be a 6-figure trainer, and you shouldn’t aspire to be, or at least not when your current wage is £16-26,000, it’s completely unrealistic, but £40-50,000, 100% realistic. 

I think it’s unhealthy to focus too much on a financial goal, but instead as a coach you should focus on ways to make your customer experience SO good, and optimise your business in such a way, that the only possible thing is that your income goes up as a result.

Building Body Type Nutrition, at no point, EVER, have I said the company is going to earn X amount of money this year, how do we do it. What I have always done is said:

“We’re going to create the best coaching experience we possibly can and get results for everyone we possibly can”

“We’re going to create a nutrition course that personal trainers fight to get their hands on, and make the best nutrition coaches as a result”

“I’m going to write the best god damn nutrition book I possibly can and educate as many people as humanly possible with it”.

“We’re going to create a simple recipe book that gives people simple tasty things to cook which helps them towards their goals”

All these things are about us creating the best possible product, the best possible experience, the best possible education and value. At no point is there a financial incentive or target with any of it. It’s about doing the best possible job we can. And what happens as a result?

Good things happen, we get a lot of book sales, we get a lot of people in our education courses, we get good results, because we strive to be better and look to constantly improve the experience for everyone involved.

If we as a company, if you as a coach, focus on a number, a numerical target, do we lose sight of why we do it? Do we make the correct decisions? Do we create the best experience for the customer?

Possibly, possibly not. The core focus is now not on the customer experience, but the financial outcome. I don’t think that creates the best possible product or experience. 

See, when you look at business like this it does become a bit dirty, largely because we do things for the wrong reasons. Our focus and energy is not in the right place and we don’t always make the best possible decisions with the end consumer or customer in mind. 

But business should NOT be a dirty word.

Business is life. You need business skills as a coach and trainer, or you risk poodling along at £16-26,000 a year, and I know most would want to earn more, and can, easily, earn more.

Most trainers charge around £25 per hour, let’s say you aim to work 30 hours per week with clients. Working a 40-hour week like most people this leaves 10 hours for admin, marketing and any other jobs you must do as part of your 30 actual contact hours with clients.  

So, with that in mind, £25 per hour x 30 hours per week = £750.00 per week

x4 weeks of the month = £3000.00 per month

x11 months accounting for one month’s holiday per year = £33,000 per year 

So already, with some optimisations at a low per hour wage (you want to be good enough so you are charging £40-50 per hour), it’s very do-able to earn plenty more than the industry average, yet most are not.


"Business acumen allows you to create a better experience for your client and have efficiency in your business".

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To know how to market your services, know about the financial side so you don’t get shot in the foot with your tax bill (been there many times, don’t, it’s not worth it, please learn accountancy skills or find a really good accountant), know how to create various optimisations so you don’t work all the hours god sends just to get to a better income.

Business is life. 

That’s a key reason I became a good nutrition coach, a good trainer, then became good at business. Without those skills, more people wouldn’t have found Body Type Nutrition, we wouldn’t have sold thousands of books, educated nearly 1000 coaches now and added more value and knowledge to the personal training industry over most other companies.

Because people wouldn’t have heard us, our Facebook posts wouldn’t have got an ‘likes’, the podcast I crated wouldn’t have got to #1 and become the most #1 rated show in the UK, without business, I, we, BTN, it would still be stuck just coaching, just me being an online coach.

Yet today we are far more than that, offices, amazing staff, resources, intranets, intelligent systems, management, all sorts, just because we have had a commitment to excellence and knowing business enabled us to facilitate more. 

So are you going to continue to think that business is a dirty word in your fitness business, or are you going to grab the horns of business and appreciate that to have a thriving PT business, or gym, you need business acumen.

If you do, and you think we can help you, if you think I can help, if you think BTN can guide you to create more success in your fitness business, then consider joining our new BTN Business Academy. A program that won’t promise to make you a 6-figure trainer, but will give you more reach, more clients, a better quality of life, and more job satisfaction, and hopefully you will be kicking ass with lots of job satisfaction earning a good £30-50,000 a year.

Click here for more info on the Academy.

And here’s to business being a beautiful word, because it is, I am grateful now for what I know, and I know it will only take mine and BTN’s future to a higher level and help us educate more of the world!