As your personal training business grows, so will your to-do list. From client management to accounting to scheduling, and more, – oh and don’t forget, delivering the actual training program and marketing yourself online – personal trainers have a lot on their plates!
Unfortunately there is no magic software that will do it all. But, there are plenty of platforms out there that can streamline the various aspects of running your business. Yes, that means you don’t have to do it all without any help.
The more time you can save with the right tools, the better equipped you are to help clients. And of course, the more clients you can help, the more money you can bring in, and the faster your business grows.
So what software do you really need? Here are the six essential types of software for personal trainers that can help you automate and optimize the most important parts of running your business:
- Online personal training software
- Nutrition coaching software
- Website builders
- Accounting software
- Scheduling software
- Email marketing tools
We will see what each software does and compare the best options for personal trainers in each category.
- Part-I: Online Personal Training Software
- Part-II: Nutrition Coaching Software For Personal Trainers
- Part-III: Website Builders
- Part-IV: Accounting Software
- Part-V: Scheduling Software
- Part-VI: Email Marketing Tools
- Part-VII: Grow Your Business With The Right Software
Online Personal Training Software
Online personal training software helps you deliver your personal training to clients more seamlessly. When deciding on the software for you, it can be helpful to compare all of them by the most important features and how those features actually work within each platform.
No matter what software you choose, the workout planner is where you will be spending most of your time, so it is important to see how different personal trainer software implement this feature.
Even though there are many personal trainer software, all of them provide workout planning features in one of two ways: consolidated or fragmented.
TrainerFu, Truecoach, and TrainHeroic are three personal trainer software that use consolidated workout planners. Trainerize, PT Distinction, My PT Hub use fragmented workout planners.
In a consolidated workout planner all the workout planning features at one place. From a single dashboard, you can:
- Create workouts
- Schedule them
- Review plan
- See exercise history
- See logged workouts
- And more
With a fragmented workout planner, the place where you create your workouts is different from the place where you schedule them. You will first create client workouts then you will go to the calendar and schedule them for your clients. The client schedules will also contain other things like messages and check-ins.
So what’s best? If you want to be more efficient when building plans for clients then the consolidated workout planner is a clear winner. Here are two reasons why:
- Workouts in a client’s plan are dependent on each other. The workouts you will have your client do in the second phase will depend on the first phase and how a client is progressing. Because all the workouts that you have planned for your client are in a single view, it is much easier and faster to review and design workouts.
- There is no need to go back and forth between views to design a workout for clients as everything is at the same place. No need to go to a different view to see the client’s exercise history or what you planned two weeks back or two weeks in the future.
If you simply like to send workouts to clients and not schedule them, then a fragmented workout planner may fit your workflow better.
Do you always train your clients from your desk? If not, then having a mobile app option is an important factor that you should consider while choosing your personal training software.
You will see many features listed on the website of every personal training software. All of those features are available when you use the software from your computer or desktop, but only a fraction of those features are available on the mobile apps that come with the software.
Here is our evaluation of the popular personal trainer software.
|Features available on the mobile app
Technology will determine the user experience for you and your clients.
There are two ways to develop a mobile application: native technology and cross-platform technology. With native technology you develop separate apps for each platform. While with cross-platform technology you create one app that can run on both the Android and iOS platform.
Trainerize and MyPtHub have used cross-platform technology to develop their mobile apps. That is the reason their apps look exactly the same on every platform. It does save them the cost to develop the app but user experience takes a back seat. On the other hand, Trainerfu and Truecoach used native technology to build their mobile apps – each app performs exactly as it’s expected to on any device.
This is something to think about since user experience can make or break your client retention efforts!
Obviously you are there to hold your clients accountable and support them during their fitness journey. But wouldn’t it be great to amplify the accountability and support you can provide to your clients without you spending any extra time? You bet.
And that is why community building features are essential in any modern personal trainer software especially when lots of clients train remotely. They not only help you provide added accountability and support, it also makes the whole experience much more fun and rewarding. Plus, community support can even bring your clients better results!
But every personal trainer software has a unique take on helping fitness businesses develop a tight-knit community. Let look at them:
- TrainerFu has implemented a Facebook group like feature inside their personal trainer software:
- A client can share their activities on the news feed.
- A trainer and other clients can comment and like the post and engage with each other.
- Trainers also get additional features like sending push notifications when they post anything on the news feed. They can also choose to pin the post and do news feed moderation.
- Trainers and clients can post their status or share content. They can share videos, files, images etc.
- Trainerize has implemented a Whatsapp style group for building community. A trainer can create a group and then clients and trainers can send messages within it.
- This community feature is very important but not every software has them at this moment. Truecoach, PT Distinction, MyPtHub don’t have any such community features at the time of writing this article.
One of the reasons you use a personal trainer software is to save time. And one key way to do that is to simply automate repetitive tasks.
But what can you automate with a personal training software?
Suppose you decided to run an online group fitness program. There are so many things that need to happen after someone signs up for your program:
- They need to get the workout program delivered at a set schedule.
- They should get their onboarding material like welcome message and other information delivered right away.
- You may decide to deliver them valuable content like recipe guides, meal plans, nutrition coaching articles.
- You’ll need to send them reminders and check-in on them.
- You’ll send them messages when they don’t log workouts for a few days.
- And more…
If you decide to do all these manually, you will end up spending a ton of time that is not adding value to your clients training. Good news for you – you can automate all of these if you use the right personal trainer software. But again there are still major differences on how automations are implemented in different software.
Trainerize uses a master program for automation. You can create an automation sequence just like above and subscribe clients to that automation sequence. Clients will get all the scheduled workouts, messages, reminders you have in the master program once a client is subscribed.
But there is a catch. A client can only be subscribed to one master program at a time. And if a client is subscribed to a master program their personal program is replaced with the master.
This type of automation works if all the participants have exactly the same needs and need no personal modification to their program. For example: If one of the participants in your program can’t do an exercise in the workout plan, you will have to create his program from scratch rather than make a personal modification.
These limitations are something that are fixed in TrainerFu. In TrainerFu a client can be subscribed to any number of automation sequences. Moreover every automation sequence is copied into the client’s schedule and you can make personal changes to a plan without needing to change the entire sequence.
PT Distinction also has implemented their automation sequence similar to Trainerfu. Other software like Truecoach, MyPtHub, and TrainHeroic do not have these automation capabilities.
With a custom branded app plan, you get your own branded app for both Apple and Android. Instead of downloading a third party app, your client will download your app. Your app will have your own logo, color scheme, images, and more. In short, it will reflect your brand.
If you want to get your own custom branded app then at this time there are only two choices:
1. Trainerfu - You get your own app starting from $99/month.
2. Trainerize - Custom branded app option is available on the Studio plan which is $250/month
Currently, Truecoach, PT Distinction, TrainHeroic, and MyPtHub do not offer a custom branded app plan.
Of course, price will play a big role in your overall decision. When comparing prices, keep in mind the features that you are getting with each personal training software. The expense of the right software is ultimately an investment in your business that will continue to pay off.
The table below compares the pricing for some of the best personal training software.
|$29/month for 20 clients
|$45/month for 40 clients
|$59/month for 60 clients
|$40/month for 15 clients
|$60/month for 30 clients
|$90/month for 50 clients
|$59/month for 15 clients
|$89/month for 50 clients
|$49/month for 20 clients
|$99/month for 50 clients
|$44.99 for 25 clients
|$74.99 for 50 clients
Note: These are the prices as of August 24, 2022.
More than likely, you check ratings when choosing which restaurant to eat at or what movie to watch on Netflix. So of course, these will factor into your personal training software choice as well. Ratings can help you determine how other personal trainers feel about the product, and can help you make a more informed decision. Here’s how the best stack up:
|Apple App Store (US)
|Android App Store
Note: These are the ratings as of August 24, 2022.
Nutrition Coaching Software For Personal Trainers
Great personal training programs include more than just workouts. To really help clients reach their goals, it’s important to build well-rounded programs that incorporate habit coaching, community support, and nutrition coaching.
There are many apps out there that can help you create meal plans, deliver them to clients, monitor your client’s progress, and help them stay on track when it comes to eating healthy.
Let’s compare some of the most important features of nutrition coaching software and see how some of the best options stack up.
When it comes to nutrition coaching, tracking clients meals is clearly an important way for you to help hold them accountable. And of course, if you’re dealing with several clients in a given day, you need a way to stay organized and easily keep up with what each of them are eating and how their meals are fitting into their fitness goals.
The right nutrition coaching software can help you maintain this open line of communication with clients so that you can motivate and support them. It can help you keep an eye on their daily food intake, so that you can help them adjust and stay on track. Let’s look at how each platform does it:
MyFitnessPal is a very popular calorie counting app that clients can use to log every meal. You can become friends with clients on the app, so that you can see their meal log in your newsfeed. MyFitnessPal makes it easy for clients to search different foods and add in the calorie count for everything they’ve eaten in a given day.
Calorie tracking is the most accurate way to keep up with a client’s meal log, but it can be pretty tedious to clients and some will forget to do it. TrainerFu supports three different ways for clients to log meals with both detailed and more basic tracking options.
- EatThisMuch, EvolutionNutrition, and Nutrium.io
These three are meal planning software. In each, you can prescribe meals to clients, clients can check-off the meal they ate, and the software will track the calories and nutrition. In these apps, it is either not possible or easy to track meals when you go off your meal plans, making this feature pretty limited for you and clients.
EatThisMuch, EvolutionNutrition, and Nutrium.io are all focused on meal planning, while MyFitnessPal doesn’t have a meal planning feature. Trainerfu will allow you to send meal plans if you have them ready in a PDF format.
EatThisMuch, EvolutionNutrition, and Nutrium.io differ in how they implement meal planning features. All three allow you to build grocery lists for your clients and create detailed meal plans. EatThisMuch also automates some of the meal planning process and aims to make shopping and meal preparation easier for clients.
Some clients will need help losing a certain amount of weight. Some clients want to gain muscle. For some clients, strict meal plans make a lot of sense to help them reach their goals. For others, sticking with a meal plan is tough. They might instead want a different approach that teaches them how to make their own nutrition choices for the long term.
This is where habit based nutrition coaching comes in. This helps you do more than simply give clients meal plans to follow.
Some nutrition coaching apps like TrainerFu have habit coaching features that will help you guide your clients into creating healthier habits. TrainerFu makes this easy by allowing you to schedule recurring habit check-in messages and reminders to clients so that you can easily monitor how they’re doing and keep them on track.
Planning great nutrition is only half the battle. Making clients actually execute the plan is the other half! When helping clients reach their health goals, supporting, motivating, and holding your clients accountable is incredibly important.
Because of this, using a nutrition coaching software with coach engagement features can be really helpful. Both MyFitnessPal and TrainerFu have a feed feature that will let you see what your clients are doing and interact with them.
Trainerfu has gone one step further with the engagement feature. The Trainerfu feed is similar to a Facebook group news feed. You can post content, questions, comments, etc., to inform, enage, and educate your clients.
Keeping clients engaged and even creating community support can be an added bonus of the right nutrition coaching software and can help you bring better results to clients.
EatThisMuch and Evolution Nutrition allow you to create PDFs within the platform. However, other than that, they are pretty limited when it comes to content delivery.
With TrainerFu, you can set up a content pipeline that automatically sends your personalized content to clients. This helps you add value to your programs without having to invest too much of your time.
When choosing the right tools for your fitness business, cost considerations play a big role. That’s why it can be really helpful to get multi-functional tools like TrainerFu that give you more bang for your buck. Ultimately, the right software is a wise investment in your business. When things are running smoother, you can make more money.
Here are how the top nutrition coaching software compare:
|$29/month for 20 clients
|$79/month for 10 clients
|$69/month for 50 clients (Pro Plan)
|$44.8/month for 25 clients
Note: These are the prices as of August 24, 2022.
The good news is that you don’t have to build your professional website from scratch. The bad news? There are dozens of website builders to choose from! Don’t worry, we narrowed down the options to the top three website builders for personal trainers and broke down the best features of each.
Squarespace is a highly popular website builder that can help you create a simple, yet striking website.
It has a plenty of predesigned templates to choose from that are organized into categories (like fitness) and goals (sell products, get membership, market yourself, etc), making it a great choice for non-tech savvy personal trainers that aren’t looking for too much customization.
You’ll find that it’s easiest to simply work from the template’s predetermined look. So, If you’re good with a more standardized site with minimalist design (which works just fine for most personal trainers) Squarespace might be the site for you.
Squarespace starts at $16 a month and goes up from there. For most small businesses, the starter plan or next plan up at $25 per month will offer all the features you need.
If you’ve already got a specific vision for branding and have colors, fonts, and a logo you’d like to see on your site, Wix may be a better option for you.
Like Squarespace, Wix has several prebuilt templates, but this website builder gives you more freedom to customize those templates. With Wix, you can move elements around more freely and change your fonts and colors. Though not quite as simple as sticking with a predesigned template from Squarespace, the Wix website builder is easy to use and a great choice for those that want more customization.
Wix has a free plan, but know that you will have to use a Wix subdomain, and Wix advertisements will be prominent on your site. To upgrade, Wix is comparable to Squarespace with plans ranging from $16 to $45 per month.
There are two versions of Wordpress. We’re going to talk about the version that is most fit for personal training websites – Wordpress.org.
Wordpress is a little different because it is a free platform. You bring your own domain and web hosting, which can cost as little as $3 per month. But before you get too excited about the low price, know that using this website builder is a bit more complicated than Wix or Squarespace.
Wordpress is for more tech savvy users that want ultimate control and total customization of their site. All sites have a bit of a learning curve, but Wordpress will likely be the most difficult and time-consuming for the average user to figure out. That being said, it is set up to handle major customization with third party templates and plugins (like pop-up forms and scheduling tools).
If you determine that this is the website builder you’d like to use and are not tech savvy, you may want to hire someone to build the website for you. Doing this will give you a fully built out and highly functional website that looks exactly how you want it.
If you do decide to build a Wordpress site yourself, it will be your cheapest option since you’ll only pay for the cost of web hosting. Keep in mind, buying templates and plug-ins for your site will likely cost extra as well.
Before choosing a website, you can also spend a little time trying each of them out. Squarespace offers a two week free trial. Wix has a free version that you can try out, and Wordpress, of course, is free. It may take a little time to play around on all three but it can save you time in the long run, as once you create a full website on one builder, there is no easy way to transfer the existing material to a new website builder.
Cost considerations may also play a big role in your final decision and that’s ok. All of these website builders are great options, and all will help you build a great website.
Ahhh accounting – the most fun part of running a business, right? Fortunately, if accounting isn’t your thing, there are several types of accounting software for personal trainers. Most of them will allow you to manage your finances, prep for taxes, automate payments, and send invoices. With that in mind, here are some great options and the features we like best about them.
Freshbooks is an easy to use accounting software that has a fun, fresh design. As you’re starting out, each section has short tutorial text to help you navigate and learn how to use the software. The site also has plenty of other helpful resources as well as a support center that you can call or message if you get stuck.
Freshbooks has a robust feature set that’s great for personal trainers including accounting, time tracking, invoicing, and project management. Freshbooks can help you stay organized and get a better idea of where your hours are going each week. This is super important if you dabble with online personal training, which is the best way to build an extremely profitable business
For tax purposes, Freshbooks makes it easy to upload receipts and keep track of your business expenses. It also allows for you to add users if you do decide to hire an accountant, assistant, or other team member down the road.
Freshbooks starts at just $15 per month, with additional costs as your client base grows or you decide you want more advanced reporting features.
When you started your own fitness business, your mind was probably filled with images of helping happy clients reach their health goals and fall in love with being active. You probably weren’t also thinking about sitting at a desk, surrounded by paperwork, as you try to figure out how the heck to do your small business taxes.
Quickbooks Self-Employed is an accounting software that can make tax time much less daunting. As you onboard, it prompts you with questions and even makes suggestions on what other people in the fitness industry typically write off.
Quickbooks creates a tax checklist and a step by step process so that you can rest assured you’re doing everything correctly. Quickbooks nails accounting and easily tracks time, expenses, and transactions. It’s not quite as efficient for creating invoices, though it is a feature that you can turn on. This may not be a big deal if you already take payments through another.
Quickbooks offers a free trial so that you can try it risk free. From there, plans are either $15 or $25 per month if you want more advanced accounting features and analytics.
Wave is another great option for personal trainers that can really help you visualize your monthly cash flow with their simple design and intuitive home page.
Since many small business owners have to teach themselves accounting, Wave created a really helpful resource: an E-book called Fearless Accounting with Wave that will teach you some accounting basics.
Wave has great reporting features and allows you to create and send invoices. You can even integrate Wave with your website to directly take payments. You can also keep track of expenses in the software by manually uploading data from your receipts. One big downside of Wave is there are no time tracking or project management features which are typically really helpful for personal trainers who’s wage is often directly tied to the hours they put in.
Regardless, Wave is still an attractive choice as there is no set monthly fee associated with using the software. Instead, Wave takes a small transaction fee for every payment coming in – which if you’ve used other payment processing software, you know is pretty standard.
If most of your client management is done digitally, Fiverr Workspace is a great option for you. This software has plenty of introductory videos to help you get started and chat and email help for any other questions you might have.
The accounting features are extremely robust. The software will help you create detailed invoices and contracts and send them to clients, as well as payment reminders.
The time tracking side of things is just as expansive. You can add projects and descriptions to keep up with where your time is actually going, as well as set reminders in the app to log your admin time as it happens.
Fiverr Workspace has some really unique features, so it’s not totally surprising that its price is on the higher end. To have more than one client and access all of its great functions will cost you $24 per month.
Zipbooks has a bright and intuitive interface and a search bar that can help you find what you need. This is helpful since the onboarding process leaves a little to be desired. It will be up to you to play around and experiment on the site to figure it out.
If you prefer to collect payment from clients via invoice, Zipbooks has one of the more robust invoicing features. It guides you into filling out your invoices with all the right details, so that collecting payments from clients is straightforward and easy.
Zipbooks, like others, also allows you to keep track of expenses by attaching your receipts and integrates with your bank.
Their time tracking feature also stands out as you can see a calendar with all of your time. The software shows you what time has been billed and which hasn’t. This is great for busy online personal trainers that sometimes forget to bill their time, and can help you make sure you’re getting paid for all the hours you put in.
Zipbooks does have a limited free plan available and subscriptions starting at $15 per month.
FreeAgent has a basic but clean design and offers step by step processes for many of your most common tasks. FreeAgent strives to help users with a thorough knowledge base, weekly onboarding webinars, and a helpful chatbot.
When it comes to features, FreeAgent has everything a personal trainer should need including invoices, expense and time tracking, project management, and cash flow charts. FreeAgent also has small business resources that should help you come tax time.
There is only one pricing structure for FreeAgent – $24 per month will get you access to all of its great features.
If you’re looking for an accounting software that can help with organizing other areas of your business, Hectic might be a good chance. A lot of its features were built with freelancers in mind, but personal trainers can still take advantage of some of the site’s great resources.
With Hectic, you can create contact forms and meeting schedulers that integrate on your website and help you catch leads. From there, you can keep track of leads as they make their way down your funnel.
Of course, Hectic also has all your basic accounting needs covered like invoicing, expense tracking, payment integration, and reporting.
Hectic does have a free plan to start, but it won’t allow you to take advantage of the meeting scheduler or sales pipeline. This may or may not matter depending on what other tools you have in your arsenal. For the full Hectic experience, expect to pay about $12 per month.
As you can see, there are many accounting software for small businesses, and all of them have unique features that set them apart. What is right for you depends on your business needs and the capabilities you need from your software. Keep in mind, your needs may change over time.
The more seamlessly you can schedule and book clients, the quicker you can grow. Clients need to be able to book themself based on your availability without all the back and forth. A scheduling software is how you make this happen – here are some of the best ones for personal trainers.
Calendly focuses on making scheduling easier for you and your clients. With Calendly, you can set your availability and meeting types. You can decide how long your meeting windows are, how far in advance someone needs to book, and how much of a buffer you need between appointments.
Calendly produces a link to a calendar that you can integrate into your website or send directly to clients. They select a time that works for them and the meeting info is sent automatically to them. This works for both in-person and virtual meetings.
Calendly’s has a range of plans starting at a free option, going up to $16 per month (which is built for businesses with multiple team members). Most personal trainers can get by with the $12 per month plan which will allow you to access integration and customization features.
Like Calendly, SetMore makes scheduling appointments easy for your clients.
This site has a well designed interface and is fairly easy to use. SetMore lets you create different service options and even group classes. You can share your unique URL with your audience so that they can book within your availability.
SetMore allows for customization on your booking page. You can add cancellation policy and your business hours. You can even request reviews right in the platform (which make great content for your social media channels by the way!)
Their free plan is really robust, and allows you to take unlimited appointments, take online payments, and add up to four employees.
Doodle’s strength is the ability to book multiple people at once. You can set up a survey that gives people dates and times within your availability. Clients can comment in the survey and let you know which dates and times work for them. Then, you can pick a time that works for everyone. As you can imagine, this can save you a lot of back and forth trying to schedule meetings with multiple people.
This is great for group fitness programs or online fitness challenges where you might want to get several clients together at once. Unfortunately, for one-on-one meetings, Doodle falls short. In fact, you may still need to use another scheduling tool to schedule those types of meetings with clients. Doodle is truly built for scheduling meetings with multiple people.
Doodle does have a free version. If you’re ok with their branding being prominent, then this choice gets you all the features you will need.
If you’re looking for scheduling and then some, Acuity might be a good fit. Acuity offers an automated scheduling tool, but also touches on other areas of business admin and organization like client management, intake forms, and invoicing.
If you don’t already have accounting software or CRM, it might be worth considering Acuity for its expanded features. Like others, Acuity is fairly easy to use and can help you manage your time more easily.
Acuity is now owned by Squarespace, so if you’re already using Squarespace for your website builder, you’ll be able to take advantage of great integrations including collecting payments and selling subscriptions or memberships.
Acuity plans start at $14 per month, but go all the way up to $45 for access to all of the premium features.
Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing is a powerful way to get more clients. To make the most of email marketing, you’ll need the right platform.
Mailchimp is a popular choice for businesses just starting out with email marketing. It has a relatively simple platform and is free (with limited features) for up to 2,000 subscribers. Mailchimp also boasts a wide variety of professional looking email templates.
ConvertKit is another extremely popular email marketing software and a good choice for personal trainers. Like Mailchimp, ConvertKit offers a free plan up to a certain number of subscribers — 1,000. You can get access to all of the features with plans starting at $29 per month for 1k subscribers or less.
ActiveCampaign starts at $9 per month for up to 500 subscribers, but whereas Mailchimp counts subscribers for every list they’re on, ActiveCampaign only counts by each unique email address. So if someone joins your email list through your website, but then also signs up to work with you later down the road, that person would be on two separate lists, and Mailchimp would count that as two subscribers. This may not matter now, but if you plan on continuing to grow your email list exponentially, ActiveCampaign might be a better choice longterm.
What’s even more important to consider is that ActiveCampaign allows you to send an email to all your lists at once, while MailChimp makes you manually send out a separate email to every list. ConvertKit also automatically sends every email to everyone on your various lists. This is something to think about if you think you’ll have multiple opt-in offers.
All three platforms have landing pages, email design templates, and automation features. Mailchimp has the largest variety of designs, while ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit have more advanced automation features. If you’re just getting started and want to keep it simple, Mailchimp is a good choice. However, if you want a platform that grows with you, ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign might be better options.
Choosing the right software is just one part of a great email marketing campaign. Be sure to check out Fitness Email Marketing: The Definitive Guide to learn everything you need to know about leveraging email for your business.
Grow Your Business With The Right Software
There you have it, the best software for personal trainers. Unfortunately, there isn’t one software that can do it all, but there are plenty of great options to help automate and streamline some of the most tedious and important parts of running your business.
Personal trainers should start with a great online personal training software that is multi-functional. As your business grows, you can continue outsourcing tasks like client scheduling, accounting, and more to various online tools.
Running a business is no easy task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Be sure to check out some of our other great resources for personal trainers: