How To Start An Online Fitness Business

Updated: January 18th, 2023

💡 The Idea

COVID-19 prevented most people from being able to go to the gym. So where did people turn to? Customized online fitness classes.


Custom workouts, built for the consumer with one (or many) virtual coaches.

How it works

Customers sign up for a monthly plan and get access to unlimited schedule of workouts.

The Benefit

Providing top-notch exercise classes and training at a substantially lower cost than a studio or traditional personal trainer.

Typical cost

$0-$30 per month

Estimated gross margin


What's trending

  • Motivational coaches: Working out from home can be a transition for those that are used to the studio with a "group dynamic". It's important to have great trainers/coaches that can offer things like motivational tips, high energy, and/or good music during the workout.
  • Community-driven experiences: Facebook groups, forums and instagram challenges are a great way to provide customers with a sense of community.
  • Variety of classes: High intensity workouts, yoga, strength training workouts
  • Flexibility and Convenience: Mix between on demand classes and live classes with different class length options (ie. 10 minute quick workouts AND 45 minute classes).
  • At home-workouts: Workouts that can easily be done from home with options that involve little to no equipment.

A company that has seen the biggest rise is Obe Fitness, who provides live and on-demand fitness classes, anytime, anywhere.

The reason that they are doing so well is that they make at home workouts fun and motivating. They also give users more flexibility, offering more volume and variety of classes than a traditional gym.


📈 Market opportunity

Searches for "weight loss" have increased significantly in quarantine. As a direct result, 2.6 million home workouts were downloaded in March of this year.


Another example - people are searching for online fitness classes:

This surge in demand (and search interest) is due to COVID-19 and the inability to workout in a gym or get in-person training.

Surge in web traffic for

But is online fitness just a trend because of the pandemic? We don't think so. While online fitness saw a huge surge due to the pandemic, the reason online fitness will exist in the future is because of its cost.

On average, the cost of one class in a physical studio is $20/class, whereas an entire monthly membership to Obe Fitness is $27/month.

Here's an example of the price comparison of two very similar offerings (Corepower Yoga vs Obe Fitness):

Cost of traditional fitness:

Corepower Yoga: In-Person Studio Pricing

Cost of online fitness:

ObeFitness: Online Fitness Classes

🏗 How Others Are Building It

Critical piece: Identifying a target customer.

  • Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
  • The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".

For example, Jennis Fitness has a very clear and obvious niche: pregnant women.


  • Their landing page immediately states that they offer online workouts for pregnant women
  • The background video on the front page shows an instructor and a newly pregnant woman
  • The soft colors, pleasant font, and targeted copy complement each other and meet the goal of "resonating" and "pulling in" their target audience.

Another example, Body Fit targets a different fitness goal and demographic: bodybuilding.


  • They immediately state on their website that their programs are to help you build muscle, lose fat or become more athletic.
  • The bold blue/green colors and recognizable logo resonate with their target audience.

Just starting out or don't know your niche?

Another effective way people are building home-based workout businesses is by first understanding their customers and manually building programs one by one.

For example, Ryan Milton, founder of TeamFFLEX decided to build his concept from scratch by providing valuable content and proper nutrition advice to his customers.

The mistake a lot of people make is assuming they can just follow a random workout or a generic workout that they find on the internet. When in reality, we are all individuals and the way we need to train and eat needs to be custom-built for each of us.

The idea was to:

  • Get all the information I need from my clients on the front end.
  • Have them do a detailed consultation about their goals, health history, and any other relevant circumstances
  • Then, go to work on building a custom plan built for the success of the individual.

Picture of me in the old office creating ridiculous youtube videos

📣 Marketing

Create Legendary Content, For Free

Be different than any competitor and provide value to customers. One effective way to do this is by giving away the things that people would typically expect to pay for.

Providing free fitness and training advice is a great way to do this.

Just because you provide free content, does not mean you can't make money from it (more on this below). In fact, providing free workout classes or fitness tips is a great tactic to increasing your following and credibility in the space.

It’s almost impossible to get a session taught by trainer Megan Roup, Sculpt Society any other time of the year, but she’s been teaching free classes on Instagram live.


Freemium model

  • Free trials to your platform: Finding the right fitness platform is a big deal for most people, so it's important to offer a free trial (typically anywhere from 7-30 days) so the customer can test this out prior to buying.

For example, Glo offers a 15-day free trial as soon as you reach their website:


Build a stellar email list, from the start

One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free in return.

This could also be anything from:

People are hungry for health and fitness tips and information - sending newsletters and emails can be a great way to attract and retain customers (and sell your services).

Here's a great example from MyFitnessPal that is guaranteed to be clicked.


Viral social media

Social Media is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to fitness and health, as it's essentially a free outlet to engage with potential customers.

Examples that have been particularly effective for this industry:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Daily podcasts
  • Weekly youtube videos
  • Streaming workouts on Facebook and Instagram

Rachel Good Eats is providing a workout a day for free on Instagram IGTV to promote her fitness and lifestyle business.


By offering free workouts, she was able to grow her audience by over 60,000 in the last two months.


💰 Business Opportunity

Average Startup Cost


Full cost breakdown

Here's how this breaks down for an online fitness platform (hosted on a website).

*Please note that depending on your business model and marketing goals, there may be other costs that play a factor in starting an online fitness business.

How much revenue you should expect to make: $5,000-$15,000/mo

Based on research, online fitness platforms bring in an average of $5,000-$15,000/mo. Depending on the business model, here are the different revenue streams:

Monthly/yearly subscriptions

For example: If you have 100 subscribers at $27/month, monthly revenue = $2,700 month

Creating youtube content (which translates to sales)

Here's an example from fitness influencer, Yoga With Adriene who provides free yoga classes on youtube:


Selling eBooks + guides + merch

Kayla Itsines business and revenue model is primarily through online workout guides ranging anywhere from $46-$79 per guide.


📝 Dive deeper

Here are some of the most popular case studies from founders we've interviewed in the fitness space.

Individual nutrition coaching that provides education, 24/7 support through an app, food journal review, customized meal plans, and goal setting.

Flagship program: The Lean Lifestyle Transformation Program. This is a complete 12-week program that takes clients from sluggish, overweight, and unmotivated to energized, fit, and confident.

An authentic, and totally free, exercise app & community. Every workout video has been filmed in their home.

This article is part of our new Business Opportunity series, where we've identified the top trending business opportunities you can start today. If you enjoyed this and like to see more content like this, please let us know.

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.

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