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How to find new Personal Training Clients?

December 9, 2020
5 minute read

People don’t just hire a personal trainer because they want the company.

​They do it because they have reached the point of realising that they need help to achieve their goals. Said goals might be health-related, fitness-related or weight loss-related—whatever they are, at some point they become important enough to join a gym or even hire a professional.

Generally, clients aren’t taking their decision to part with hard-earned money lightly. They have done some research, and are trusting a trainer to deliver what they need to make progress towards their goals.

Often, this point of realisation comes following or prior to significant life events. It’s natural to want to look and feel your best for major milestones, or to have your motivation increased by something important that’s going on in your world. Understanding a client’s motivation is key to providing them with a great experience, and also to targeting new ones. 

So, here are some of those life events that could be driving your clients, and how to frame your advertising and training around them.

Health events, injury, illness, or aging

The link here is quite obvious. When people experience a health scare, whether it’s a major or minor one, it is often a wake-up call. It could be a pre-diabetes diagnosis that has lit a fire underneath them to want to lose weight, or a back injury that means they need careful guidance in how to build up core strength. They might have simply noticed some effects of aging (perhaps hit a big birthday) and want to ward off any ill effects as long as possible.

The motivation to hire a personal trainer can even come from a health event in a loved one. Seeing someone that you care about suffer from illness or injury, particularly if it’s preventable, can make people start pondering their own mortality and quality of life.

So, how can you find and engage these new clients? It’s difficult to target them directly (short of ambulance-chasing or something equally predatory). However, if you focus on health and wellbeing in your advertising efforts, you are more likely to attract this type of client.

Also, one of the best ways to find new prospects is through referrals from happy customers who have seen the results they wanted to see. So basically, do your best for them, and they are likely to pass on your details when a friend or family member confides their fears or goals.

Here are our suggestions:

  • Talk to them extensively about any illness or injury and the implications of it. Gain a good understanding, and do your own research if possible (but make sure you’re looking at reliable sources). Ask professionals like physiotherapists or nutritionists if you have access to them.
  • If you don’t feel capable of taking on a particular client, be honest about it. It’s better for both of you—someone getting injured is not a good advertisement.
  • Frame your workouts around their goals and their health. Explain how what you’re doing will get them to where they want to be. Give them ideas for what they can do at home to continue their progress.
  • Always keep in mind why they are training with you. It’s easy to slip into talking about weight loss or muscle gain, but that may not be what they are aiming for. Measure results like how much they can do before getting out of breath, and how their reps are increasing and becoming easier.

A wedding (or similar)

Weddings and other “focus” events like engagement parties or even graduations tend to put people at the centre of attention for a few hours, and it makes sense that they would want to look their best. Heck, it’s not even always the bride or groom that seeks out personal training—the bridal party or close family of the couple often want to look and feel amazing, too.

How do you approach this? Well, there are many variables—the client might want to thin down or bulk up, might come to you a year beforehand or just a few months. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Find out whether they have a specific goal (i.e lose ten kilos in the next three months) and do your best to help them achieve it. Again, chase those referrals from happy clients.
  • Offer a “bridal party bootcamp” package if you think it would be helpful—several participants could train together for a specific length of time.
  • Consider offering and advertising specific packages for brides/grooms (or graduates—anyone staring down the barrel of a big focus event). Sometimes it’s easier for a person to sign up for a specific length of time at a specific cost, rather than an open-ended weekly contract.
  • Think about where you can advertise. Bridal expos are a great option. On the internet, you could consider buying ad space on a wedding forum—many brides seek advice and solidarity online.
  • Think about how you can retain event-based clients. Perhaps you could offer bridal clients a “post-wedding” discount or event to get them back for more training after their big day.


It might seem counterintuitive, but for many women getting pregnant is a motivation to get fit and healthy ahead of the demands of labour and parenting. For some, after having the baby (and recovering), they are determined to get back into shape and feel like themselves.

There are many opportunities to target this kind of client: with permission, you could advertise at baby expos, midwife clinics, daycares, play centres, and in mum-focused facebook groups (again, with permission). Mums most definitely talk to each other, so spread the news to any parents you know, and don’t underestimate the power of social media—even if your potential new client doesn’t see it, someone they know might, and pass it along. 

Again, referrals are a powerful thing. Make sure you keep your pre or postnatal clients happy, and get some buzz happening at coffee groups.

A few tips for training pregnant women or new mums:

  • Research the limitations that come with pregnancy. It’s very important to know this—consult with professionals where possible. If you don’t feel comfortable training pregnant clients, be honest.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the post-partum ab separation that many women experience, and how to navigate it safely.
  • Where possible, allow mums to bring their babies with them, and allow breastfeeding breaks.
  • Offer short (30-minute) sessions that are easier to fit into busy schedules.

Events like these can not only bring in short-term clients, but begin longer-lasting relationships with clients and also build your network. Happy clients, even if they only worked with you for six weeks pre-wedding, will likely refer you to family and friends in the future.

So, use the tips we gave above to target clients that have been led to personal training by significant life events—and then hit it out of the park!

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About The Author: Roslyn Ryan

I help Fitness and Health Coaches nail their niche and create an offer in 8 weeks by showing them how to make Impact, Influence and Income.​

With 10 years’ experience of digital marketing combined with my wellness and fitness industry experience I help business owners, like you, nail their social media marketing.

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