Finding a Profitable Niche in the Crowded Fitness Industry

The fitness industry is in massive growth right now. The opportunities for personal trainers or other fitness professionals are astounding.

But, if you haven't clearly defined your niche within the industry, chances are you'll simply be lost in the ever-growing crowd.

What is Niche Marketing?

Niche marketing is a strategic concept that can be applied to just about any field of business. If you are initially dealing with the entire world as your audience, it makes sense to narrow that audience down so you can put more effort into targeting a smaller group of people.

What? Why NOT leave room for everyone to become your customer or client?

Niching down allows your marketing efforts to have a more significant impact and a much better chance of growing your business quickly.

People tend to seek out personal trainers because they have specific goals in mind. Maybe they want to burn fat, bulk up, or get ready for their sporting season. When those prospective clients start their search for a personal trainer, they are more likely to search for a niche trainer instead of a generalist who claims they can do it all.

Just think, if these potential clients search online, they are going to search for things like, "best personal trainer for new mom" or "top bodybuilding personal trainer." 

Even if they only search "personal trainer near me," they are still going to be more inclined to work with a trainer who specializes in the same area as their personal goals.

Less Really Is More

Is it possible to succeed without branding yourself within a specific niche?

Absolutely.

Plenty of personal trainers have done it. But even more personal trainers have failed, or at least experienced minimal success, by attempting to take this route as well. They are targeting an audience far too wide and aren't pulling in the dedicated clients they need to maintain a successful business.

No niche = more marketing challenges, less authority, and reduce loyalty. Pick a niche!

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Therefore, having a niche isn't mandatory to succeed, but it's important if you want a higher chance of success.

Find your niche

Two Huge Benefits of Narrowly Defining Your Fitness Niche

Targeting a smaller audience with a specialized set of niche services or products has multiple benefits.

#1. Become THE Expert

For one, not only do your marketing efforts yield better results, but it makes it easier to improve as a personal trainer. You will spend so much time working in this tightly-defined area of fitness that you will exceed beyond the level of expert. You can reach a point where you are considered one of the greats for that niche or even the best.

For example, Build My Body Beautiful specializes in helping women prepare for fitness competitions. They do this in a specific geographic area, making their services quite a narrowly defined niche.  

They don't market services to everyone - they know who they are and what they offer. This allows them to project as the true experts in their field and geographic area.

#2. Reduce Your Competition

Not only does niching down allow you to have a smaller audience and smaller core set of skills to improve, but you also have a smaller pool of competition.

Just think about the city or town you live in. How many personal trainers operate there who can help someone lose weight? Likely a lot.

Now think about how many personal trainers are known to be experts in training clients for ultramarathon races. Is there even one? Chances are there is a niche that you could fill that would allow you to be the only one (or one of a very small few) who provides those services. Less competition sounds pretty good, doesn't it?​

As you can see, creating a tight niche increases your chance of running a successful business. It becomes less of a gamble and more of a matter of skill and perseverance.

Your Clients Will Thank You

Clients love working a professional who they believe is the best in their field. Attempting to market yourself as "the best personal trainer" is a heavy claim to maintain. It is much more likely that your clients would label you as "the best for weight loss" or "the best for bulking up," especially within in a local area.

When clients feel like they are working with the best, they are more likely to return in the future. They are also more likely to recommend you to friends, family, or coworkers who have similar goals. When a friend of theirs needs to lose weight, they will let them know that they know the best trainer in town when it comes to burning fat! Your clients thank you by helping your business.

Of course, none of this helps you if you aren't able to clearly define, market, and deliver upon your niche. That may be the hardest part of the entire process. How do you choose what niche to work with and how do you make yourself a success?

Two Steps in Determining Your Personal Training Niche

​Defining your perfect niche can be a tiring process, but it doesn't have to be. Here are the simple steps that will help you zero in on a niche that will be perfect for you and your business:

#1. Examine Yourself​

The first step towards defining your niche is understanding yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses.

There is a debate whether you should focus more on your strengths or more on what the market wants. This debate is somewhat trivial because at the end of the day you can only be viewed as a leader in your niche if you have a strength and passion for that niche.

Even the most profitable niche is only valuable to you IF you enjoy working in that niche!

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Understanding the marketing aspects of presenting yourself as an expert in a given niche will only get you so far. Clients can tell if you have a genuine passion for what you are doing and that will impact their opinion of you and your business.

#2. Define the Scope Of Your Niche

You need to work in an area that is actually large enough to support your target niche. If you live in an area with a population too small to support a tight niche, then you may have to expand your target audience somewhat while still carving out a smaller target niche within that group.

You can look to other successful personal trainers to see how they have defined their niche. Use them as an example, but without blatantly ripping off their business.

You should find that the most successful trainers have a niche that is neither too narrow nor too broad. There aren't many personal trainers who are known as "the best push-up trainer" (too narrow), and there aren't many who are known as "the best trainer for men" (too broad). A niche middle-ground between the two could be focusing on building muscle mass using bodyweight training techniques.

Your current client base is another great tool to use to define the scope of your niche if you have them. For example, are the majority of your clients in a specific age range? Do a majority of your clients come in with similar goals? You might find that your clients are already defining your niche for you even if you haven't realized it.

Successful Niche Examples

There's nothing wrong with working in a niche that has already been defined by other successful trainers. As a matter of fact, pretty much all quality niches have been tapped by trainers somewhere in the world.

The key is finding one of these niches that isn't overworked in your local area and that you have a general passion for.

Most niches have been filled somewhere in the world, but maybe not in your area?

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"Bodyweight training" is an example of successful niche, but what other examples are there? A slightly more narrow niche that you could target is "middle-aged women who want to burn fat." Other age ranges you might target include children or senior citizens. All three of these age ranges require different workout techniques to achieve similar results.

Clients who have enjoyed your sessions are more likely to share their experience with others who are in the same age range, thus increasing your business by word-of-mouth, and furthering your reputation as the master in your chosen niche.

You can also choose your niche based on function. What will you help your clients be able to do? This could include anyone who's training for a race, a particular sport, or a competition of some other sort. Again, ask yourself what type of clients you enjoy training, and then do your research to see if this niche is already being served.

As another example, Team Dillon Coaching has carved a niche with those who want to compete in triathlons. They don't train powerlifters or clients looking to lose 100 pounds - they train triathletes.​

​You can create a niche surrounding any characteristic that allows a certain type of people to be grouped together. Again, it could be age or desired function, but it could also be based on their career type, medical conditions, or a life stage such as an upcoming wedding. The options are endless!

Go For It!

In conclusion, it makes sense to tighten your niche to help increase the success of your business. The key is finding just how tightly you can go without losing too many potential clients. Finding the right niche in the right area can quickly propel your personal training business to new heights.

About the author

Jim Sanders

Jim Sanders

Jim Sanders is a health enthusiast and enjoys working out. Visit his site, OutdoorExerciseIdeas.com for the latest outdoor exercise tips and advice.

  • T-Sizzle

    I’m thinking about starting an online business and I want to pursue the health and fitness niche, this article really gave me the confidence boost I needed.

    Thanks for sharing

    • That’s great T-Sizzle. The health and fitness industry is huge, so I’d encourage you to think about a tiny segment that you’d really like to serve. The more narrow your niche, the easier it will be for you to be THE expert in it. Good luck!

  • https://youtu.be/3qLOWsql_1g

    I really enjoyed this post! As a trainer, i agree that you need to find your niche because everyone and there brothers and sisters are personal trainers now a day (lol) but if you specify in lets say booty building and fat loss with women (as i do) your likely to get a more targeted audience reach out to you

    • Couldn’t agree more. Good luck with your booty-building business!

  • Victor-E

    Great post! I just started online coaching as a side gig after years of personal training and after reading this I realize my niche is too broad. I am a pro drug-free bodybuilder who enjoys intense training to build muscle and cut down for contests. Gonna narrow my niche down around this type of client as I’m most passionate about it

    • Hey Victor – do it!

      You may alienate some of your current clients right now, BUT you’ll gain so much more credibility with your ideal clients in the long-term. Make it happen!