MLM, Network Marketing, and the Fitness Entrepreneur

personal trainer, personal training, fitness professional
Fitness Professionals build their business
by providing high quality services and support.

The fitness industry provides a wide variety of opportunities to be involved in a career that promotes healthier lifestyles and helps people pursue a better quality of life.  According the United States Department of Labor:

“Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.  As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.”

Although many personal trainers and fitness instructors choose to start their careers with an established fitness company, many look to starting their own businesses over time … to become a “fitness entrepreneur”.  There are several reasons for this including:

  • Opportunities to make more money.
  • Creating a unique brand of product and/or service.
  • A more flexible work schedule.

The reality for several fitness entrepreneurs (especially early in the growth of their business) is building a business is very time consuming and does not generate as much revenue as they had hoped.  In fact, differentiating your business from the competition can be very expensive and a constant struggle to stay ahead of the pack.  As a result, fitness professionals are looking to network marketing (a.k.a. multi-level marketing) companies that provide health, fitness and nutritional products to supplement their income … and with good reason.

What is Network Marketing?

Network marketing, direct selling, MLM, fitness professional
Network marketing leverages
relationships and an individual’s social network.

Network marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force consisting of independent, non-salaried salespeople are compensated for sales they personally generate and the sales generated by the salespeople they personally recruit.  Salespeople are most commonly expected to sell products directly to consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing.

Distributors (a.k.a. associates, independent business owners, dealers, franchise owners, independent agents, etc.) represent the company producing the products or provides the services they sell.  The recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, which can provide multiple levels of compensation.  Distributors are awarded a commission based on the volume of product sold through their own sales efforts as well as that of their downline organization.

Distributors develop their organizations by either building an active customer base, who buy direct from the company, or by recruiting a downline of independent distributors who also build a customer base, thereby expanding the overall organization.  Additionally, distributors can also earn a profit by retailing products they purchased from the company at wholesale price.

Network Marketing and Fitness Professionals

Exercise alone will not “miraculously” change a person’s body.  A person can exercise every day, giving 100 percent effort, and not see visible changes in their body.  That’s because nutrition plays a significant role in body transformation and change.  Unfortunately, most personal trainers or fitness professionals are not nutrition experts, they don’t own a health food store or have a healthy food restaurant at their disposal.  Well established network marketing companies, with a focus on nutrition, healthy foods and exercise solutions may be the answer!

Fitness professionals (i.e. personal trainers and strength coaches) build their business through their relationships with each of their clients.  Their clients initially come to them for help, over time they come to trust their advice and (if the client is happy with the results) will refer them to their friends and family members.  Fitness professionals are often asked for their advice on supplements, nutrition, dietary requirements and what foods to eat … or not.  With a growing number of fitness, nutrition and food services company moving towards network marketing there are now opportunities for fitness professionals to partner with products and services they believe can be beneficial for their clients while generating revenue at the same time!

Choosing the Right Product or Service

The decision to partner with a network marketing company is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Below is a list of what to look for when choosing products and services to sell to your clients:

  • You have used and/or believe in the product or service.
  • The company is well-established and has a good track record.
  • The commission structure and payment is appealing.
  • The initial investment (if any) is comparable to the potential to generate revenue.
  • The company provides marketing support tools and resources (i.e. print materials, customized web page, social media platform, etc.)
  • The company has an established customer service and support system.

According to, the following are the most popular companies that involve nutrition, fitness and food services.

Nutrition and Supplements
Fitness and Exercise
Healthy Meals Delivery

Final Thoughts …

Every fitness professional struggles with being able to do the work a ten people for their clients when they are an army of one.  It can be done if the right amount of effort and time are put into the process.  Expanding your products and service offering with companies that provide value to the client experience is an effective way to grow your fitness business.  Take the time to research the potential partnerships, put the necessary effort into marketing the variety of products and services your business will offer and watch your business successfully grow over time.