TikTok and Gym Owners: A High-Speed Entry-Level Guide

A social media influencer films a workout video in a gym.

How should a gym owner use TikTok?

My No. 1 piece of advice: Showcase your expertise.

If you do, you’ll stand out from the army of influencers who aren’t concerned with accuracy when they fill the #fittok and #fitnessadvice hashtags with videos.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

You can find this stat in various articles: 25 percent of workout videos have questionable advice.

According to this article, the stat comes from an informal research project in which an experienced trainer watched hours of content and flagged inaccuracies and sketchy tips.

You can do your own research by auditing about 20 posts yourself. You’ll find some good stuff, some kinda bad stuff, some horrific stuff, and lots of “see how good I look” stuff. That’s always been the case in the fitness world.

With that in mind, you should have no end of content ideas:

  • You can tell people how to do specific movements.
  • You can tell people how to combine movements in workouts.
  • You can tell people how to warm up and cool down.
  • You can tell people how to stretch or improve mobility.
  • You can tell people how to eat to accomplish their goals.
  • You can tell people what supplements will help them and which are useless.
  • You can answer any commonly asked fitness question (here are 13 to start).

I’m sure you can think of more ideas.

Here’s the big tip for microgyms: I wouldn’t try to compete in the major hashtags like #fittok (47.6 billon views), #gymtok (167.2 billion views) and #fitnessadvice (321.5 million views). Focusing there is like trying to get your gym’s website to rank on Google Page 1 for the search term “fitness.”

Instead, I’d focus on your local market. Try to make an impact in a smaller area—just as gym owners are advised to prioritize “local SEO” when working on their websites. (Resource: “The Guide to Local SEO for Gym Owners.”) Remember: Many people now use social media as a search engine. 

So consider local variations of tags like this #clevelandfitness (172,800 views), #fitnessboise (3,400 views), #bostonworkouts (17,400 views), #stlouispersonaltrainer (916 views).

No, this strategy will not earn you 100,000 followers and 2 million likes. But that isn’t your game. As a microgym owner with a bricks-and-mortar location, not an “influencer,” you don’t need to attract attention from thousands of people all over the world. You just need about 150 people who live in your area.

Another piece of advice: I would survey your current clients to find out which social media platforms they use, and I’d target my efforts on those platforms first. I wouldn’t prioritize TikTok just because it’s cool. If your ideal clients aren’t using that platform, feel free to skip it.

That said, there is an argument that can be made for carving out a presence on a platform that boasts revenue and user growth rates that beat every other social platform.

If you want to plant your flag on TikTok, I’d recommend you do it with minimal time investment. Vertical videos perform well on every major social platform, so if you if you can create and post a simple “how to deadlift” video to multiple platforms in about 10 minutes, why not include TikTok in your publishing list? Just be sure to tailor the content to your local market and your perfect clients.

Finally, here’s the most important advice for gym owners who are considering TikTok: Make sure you don’t spend 20 hours a month on social-media gimmicks, trends and dances when you could be doing goal reviews with current clients, building solid business systems and responding to leads. Do all that first, and do it well.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.