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How To Go From Zero Clients To Fully-Booked Fitness Trainer

by James Anderson
Posted: November 03, 2016

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The title of this article should really be how to be a fully booked out fitness trainer in as long as it takes for you to step out of your comfort zones, writes Fitness Trainer and Business Owner of PHAT Fit, James Anderson.

Because this process could either take you three weeks, three years or 30 years - it’s 100% reliant on you putting in the hard yards to work for what you want. 

So with that said, let’s get started on the process of building your fitness business using the things you already have.

1.    Have a good product

Fitness trainer who is training his clients in the gym on the chin up bar

One of my favourite quotes to remind me of the importance of quality and consistency is “you can only sell s*** once”. What I mean by that is the fact that you’ve likely a purchased a product or service only to find out after the fact that it wasn’t nearly as good as it was made out to be, right? 

You also probably felt a little ripped off and angry that you wasted your hard earned money on something that didn’t meet your standards, right? 

Well, imagine you’re the product and your service is your training session. How many times do you think you’ll be able to sell someone the same old boring, inconsistent, result-void session before they’re looking for the exit button?

Answer: Not many, if any. 

First and foremost, if you’ve got any hope of building your fitness business from zero-to-anything, then you MUST make sure your product and service offerings are great-always-striving-to-be-better. 

This means planning your sessions, having systems in place to ensure clients feel looked after, your sessions yield results, and you’re always motivating and inspiring them to become better versions of themselves. 

In other words – care about what you do and who you do it for. 

2.    Know your numbers 

Calculator, sheets of data and graphs and keyboard

“If it can be measured, it can be managed”. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s tracking your client's results, or tracking your client numbers – you need to keep account of what’s going on in your business to ensure you’ve got objective data to tell you where you are, compared to where you want to be. 

So, let’s talk figures first. 

  • Question 1: How much money would you like to make?
  • Question 2: How much will you be charging per session? 

Knowing the answers to these two things is a great starting point to getting a client base figure to ensure you make what you set out to make. 


  • Steve wants to make $1000 per week and he would like to charge $50 per session. 
  • So for Steve to make $1000 per week he would need to do 20 sessions. 

Simple enough? 

*Note: This is completely hypothetical and is not to be taken as advice as to what I believe you should be charging - this is simply an example. 

With our financial figures done, now know what Steve’s “fully booked” looks like – it’s 20 sessions per week. Now we move onto getting him clients…

3.    The 100 List 

Group of casually-clothed female friends standing in a line outdoors in front of trees, smiling and supportive

If you’re waiting for “leads” to come to you because you’re a nice person, you’ll be waiting a while because business doesn’t work like that. You’re going to have to go out and work for what you want, and what you want is 20 sessions! 

My business coach completely changed my business with this one strategy – “the 100 list”.

The 100 list is a list of…wait for it…a hundred people. Because we all know 100 people. Friends, family, hairdressers, café staff, colleagues, the list goes on and on. To be honest, when you think about it hard enough you probably know a lot more! 

Now, once you’ve got your list of 100 contacts, you now need to break them into A’s, B’s and C’s. 

A’s are people that are raving fans of yours, they absolutely love everything about you and what you’re about and will likely do whatever you tell them to. 

B’s are friends or acquaintances that know and like you but may not yet be raving fans. These are people that may have to be given something before they’re likely to do something for you. 

C’s are people you hardly know but may have had contact with in the past. These people will need to be given something.  

So, you’ve now got your 100 list broken down into A’s, B’s and C’s – great! 

Now it’s time to pick up the phone and start making calls to all your A’s offering them a complimentary training session or a coffee to chat about their health and fitness. Please use these sessions to give as much value as possible regardless of whether they’ll continue to train with you or not. 

Important note: DO NOT text message, email, or send a carrier pigeon – THIS MUST BE either a phone call or by speaking to them in person. 

The aim is to get as many booked in for sessions as possible. Then it’s up to you to show them your amazing service and then sell them into continued training.  

So using Steve’s goal of getting 20 people. His aim is to get as many complimentary sessions booked in as possible, not just stopping at 20. This is because no matter how hard you try; some people will likely not continue with training.

But, don’t let this dishearten you - this industry is a contact sport, meaning the more people you contact, the better you’ll do. 

Now, if you’re at the end of your A’s and you’re not “fully booked”, then move into your B’s, then C’s. Sound simple enough? Good. 

Note: Don’t get complacent. Remember what can be measured can be managed, if you’ve got 15 people booked in and your goal is 20 then suffice to say, the numbers don’t match up. So you’ll need to pick up that phone and start dialling again until you get to your “fully booked” number - whether paid or complimentary sessions. 

4.    Referrals

Female fitness trainer sitting down in the gym and asking her client for a referral

People like people that are similar to themselves, right? 

So then I’m sure we can agree that it’s also highly likely that your amazing new clients who are now getting amazing results will also have amazing friends that would also love to be getting those same amazing results, right? 

Right! So ask them. Yep, it’s as painfully simple as that. And if you don’t know how to approach it, try something like this:

“Hey Jennifer, you’ve now lost 30cm off your measurements, dropped 2 dress sizes and your transformation photos are looking fantastic. Would you know anyone else who might be interested in getting similar results as I still have a few remaining spots available?”

And that’s how it’s done (if you’re willing to ask the question). Yep, the process of going from zero clients to fully-booked fitness trainer is as simple as that. 

Have a good product, know your numbers, offer good people the chance to try your product, ask those clients for referrals, repeat until the desired outcome is achieved. 

You’re going to have to work hard and focus your time and efforts in these first few months but once you get the processes down and refine your products and services – the gym is your oyster! 

So, now we are all said and done, I’ll leave you with a great quote to hopefully help motivate you to make a start on your 100 list today.

“If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.” 

– Nora Roberts. 

Good luck!


If you're interested in a career in Health and Fitness, read our Fitness Expert series featuring 18 of Australia’s top fitness experts and their advice on how they got into the professional fitness industry here.


James Anderson

James is the owner of a women’s only tribe based at Bondi Beach that focuses on strength and conditioning team training for optimal outcomes and long-lasting solutions.

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