Being an independent health and fitness professional can feel lonely. You don’t have co-workers, you don’t have any staff – it’s you and your clients.

As fitness-focused groups and communities have grown online (on top of what already exists “offline”), fitness, health and wellness professionals are starting to take advantage of the vast wealth of knowledge and benefits out there. Being a part of a group or community won’t just help you get more clients or help you learn tips/tools from successful peers, but they can also act as your psychiatrist – helping you connect with fellow fitness and health professionals across the world relating to your daily frustrations, questions and concerns.

We’ve spoken to thousands of personal trainers, wellness professionals and yoga instructors to get a sense as to the most powerful communities (online and offline) to help them get the upper hand when it comes to building their own small business.

 

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups can help your fitness business in two ways:
(1) Shed light on great educational resources
(2) Connect with peers to help your sanity

LindedIn Groups that are focused around fitness, health and wellness businesses are hyper-targeted and as a result can add hyper value to your business. Groups that were recommended to us include Fitness Trainers and Coaches (52,815 members), Health & Fitness Industry Professionals (21,507 members), and The Health & Wellness Networking Group (60,790 members).

The goal of these groups is best summarized by the group description from Fitness Trainers and Coaches: “Allowing professionals in this industry to network, gain knowledge and share techniques among other group members so that the common objective of improving the lives of our clients, can be achieved along with the advances in technology.”

LinkedIn Groups are great because the members of these communities share training tips, they share useful blogs, and they share tech tools that will help their peers succeed. The fantastic thing about these communities is the professionals don’t consider each other competition. Members are open and happy to be helpful to other professionals – it’s not a zero sum game in this community…everybody can succeed together.

Secondarily, LinkedIn is also a great way to connect with peers to help vent any frustration to keep your sanity. On top of public communication feed, you can create direct and private relationships with other trainers on the platform. You can share stories, experiences and advice (public or private) based on any working situations or experiences you’ve had with clients. You can decide if you’d like act as social media shrink doling out advice to peers, or act as the patient with a sea of eager fitness, health and wellness entrepreneurs who are willing to help.

 

Certification Programs

Don’t get me wrong – getting a 3rd party certification as a fitness trainer or health professional is work. You need to discover the program that will benefit your business, analyze its benefits, pay money for the certification, and then actually prepare and take an exam to complete certification. But the return on this investment can be huge for a variety of reasons.

Popular certification programs include ACE Fitness, IDEA Fit, and NASM. Becoming a part of these certification programs is great because it not only opens you up to a network of other professionals, but allows you to leverage the network for benefits. Things like employment listings, exposure within a client-facing directory, liability insurance discounts, product discounts and more. Here’s a great comparison table detailing the variety of benefits across certification programs.

Communities like these are more active, force you to do work, but in return the amount of work you put in can yield tremendous dividends. About 100,000 trainers across the U.S. are part of these certification groups so they are no joke.

 

Twitter Influencers

There are a lot of who are called “influencers” on Twitter that dole out useful tips, tricks and advice within the fitness and health industry. Typically most of these people cater to consumers who are looking for D.I.Y. advice, which is not as relevant to eager entrepreneurs looking to build their own business. But there are many influencers you can follow on Twitter who talk about broad or niche topics that you find interesting, which you can pass on to your clients in the form of consulting advice or enhanced services.

Adam Bornstein (@BornFitness) provides great content and articles around a whole host of educational fitness topics. Meaghan B Murphy (@meaghanbmurphy) is an ACE certified trainer and also provides useful tips focused on training integrated with a healthy lifestyle. Jen Sinkler (@jensinkler) has a hyper focus around female heavy lifting (niche industry for some trainers). Bobby Strom (@BobbyStrom) is known as the “trainer’s trainer” with must-read tips revolving around not just fitness but medical help as well. Bob Harper (@MyTrainerBob) is meal oriented and clearly one who is friendly with food-conscious celebrities. Point being, there are all types of fitness and health personalities you can follow to further your entrepreneurial career, depending on your business needs.

The goal of being a part of these Twitter communites is to keep you in-the-know on a variety of topics that are focused within your specific industry. Never let any trends, topics or tips slip under the radar – turn this knowledge into power by improving your client relationships and services.