The Simple Path to $86,000 as a Coach or $107,000 as a Gym Owner

A smiling fitness coach bumps fists with a personal training client in a gym.

Gym owners and coaches, I’m going to give you a career path that didn’t exist in the fitness industry five years ago.

A coach can get on this path in about six weeks and start earning the kind of money that turns a job into a career.

For gym owners, this path will add revenue to businesses and help them retain valuable staff members.

Here we go.

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

The Problem

If you’ve spent any time working in the fitness world, you know all about a major problem: You can only coach so many hours before you burn out, and, in many cases, the money earned in those hours isn’t enough.

Example: A young coach powers through eight hours of group classes at $20 or $25 a class. Push that out to a year and the coach might earn about $40,000-$50,000 for 2,000 hours of coaching. You can decide if that’s enough to support a family.

But here’s a harsh reality: No coach can sustain the required energy for eight hours a day. Quality of coaching declines, and eventually a skilled but burned-out and underpaid trainer leaves the industry to try and make more money in another field.

Even personal trainers burn out this way. Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper once coached 13 hours straight only to find himself exhausted and still unable to pay his bills.

Read on for a solution.

Semi-Private Training and Nutrition Coaching

Here are two services coaches and gym owners can offer to generate revenue and create careers:

Semi-Private Training

A coach leads a group of up to four clients through personalized workout programs designed to help them accomplish goals. They are not doing variations of the same workout. A skilled, well-prepared coach divides attention just as a talented server at a restaurant ensures guests at four tables all get exactly what they need when they need it.

Clients pay slightly less than they would for one-on-one coaching, which means they can train more often. A well-mentored gym owner takes a percentage of gross revenue—55 is a good number—to cover fixed costs and profit, and the coach is paid the other 44 percent of the gross.

Habits-Based Nutrition Coaching

A nutrition coach with a general credential helps clients create healthy habits that allow them to accomplish body-composition goals. The coaching can be done completely online.

Clients might pay about $225 a month for a service like this. In an ideal structure, the coach takes about $100 (44 percent), and the gym owner takes about $125 per client per month (55 percent). Nutrition coaching can be done quickly, so coaches can effectively serve many clients without accumulating huge hours.

Sample Career Profile

Here’s a general plan you might explore:

  • A coach spends four hours a day coaching semi-private sessions for three clients an hour. If each client is paying a very reasonable $47 per session and the coach takes 4/9ths, that’s about $21 per client per hour, or about $62 an hour. (The owner would take about $77 for the hour.)
  • The coach spends the rest of the day—let’s say four more hours—delivering habits-based nutrition coaching. Let say the coach serves just 20 clients who pay $225 a month. The coach earns about $100 per client (44 percent) per month, and the gym keeps $125.

The money:

  • The coach would earn about $250 coaching four three-person semi-private sessions a day.
  • Annual semi-private earnings: $250 x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year = $62,500
  • The coach would earn $2,000 per month for nutrition coaching delivered to 20 clients.
  • Annual nutrition earnings: $24,000
  • Total annual wages: $86,500

Gym owner’s cut:

  • $77 per semi-private hour x 4 hours a day x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year: $77,000
  • $125 per nutrition client x 20 clients x 12 months: $30,000
  • Total annual revenue: $107,000
  • Total annual profit in a well-run gym: $35,000 (33 percent of $107,000)

Keep in mind:

  • Skilled coaches can handle four semi-private clients per hour and earn more.
  • Efficient nutrition coaches can handle more than 20 clients per month and earn more.
  • These numbers are based on semi-private hourly rates of $47 and monthly nutrition rates of $225—some facilities deliver greater value and charge more than this.
  • These numbers reflect just one coach who follows this plan. Double the numbers if you have two coaches—and do more math if you can get more coaches on this plan.
  • Well-coached gym owners can develop the marketing systems required to acquire clients for these programs.
  • Well-coached gym owners can develop the retention systems that will ensure these high-value clients stay for years.

How Do You Make It Happen?

The exact details of this plan are laid out in the media below by Two-Brain mentors Brian Bott and Cynthia Fotti.

Both teach gym owners exactly how to get these programs in place at their gyms to generate revenue and create great careers for staff.

Semi-Private Training

Podcast: “How Coaches Can Earn $80 or More Per Hour”

Habits-Based Nutrition Coaching

Podcast: “How to Launch a Nutrition Program in 6 Weeks”

Go Further

A final note: This is just the free content Two-Brain puts out. It can help you dramatically increase profitability at your gym. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Clients get even more: One-on-one guidance, constant support, plug-and-play resources, checklists and implementation plans, customizable document templates, marketing strategies and ad campaigns, stock photos, hiring plans and much more.

To find out more about all that, click here.


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.