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Starting Your Own Personal Trainer Studio: Expert Advice from Jose Hernandez

Starting Your Own Personal Trainer Studio: Expert Advice from Jose Hernandez

Jul 2nd 2024

Starting Your Own Personal Trainer Studio: Expert Advice from Jose Hernandez


Could you introduce yourself and your background in the fitness equipment industry?

Hi, I'm Jose Hernandez, owner of CSM Fitness USA. I have set up gyms all over the country and have been doing so for over 20 years.

Why do you believe starting a personal trainer studio is a good business opportunity?

I think personal training studios are a great business to get into if you're passionate about fitness, health, and helping others. Plus, it is a great way to make a living today where you make your own schedule, set your own pay, and have a gratifying profession that can really create change in others.

Planning and Preparation

What are the initial steps someone should take when planning to open a personal trainer studio?

Besides the obvious of having the proper certifications in order to start training others, a good place to start is to work for a big box gym either full-time or part-time to get your feet wet in the industry and get used to dealing with customers' needs and developing your training style. Once this is developed, building a rapport with clients and creating a client list should be something you work on constantly by asking friends and family. Once you have those steps covered, you can start training people from your home or a small place that is close to your cluster of supporting clients.

What are the key considerations in selecting a location for the studio?

You should take a few things into consideration:

  • Demographics: Understand the local population. Look for areas with a high concentration of your target market, such as young professionals and families who value fitness.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the location is easily accessible. This includes good parking availability, proximity to public transportation, and major roads.
  • Proximity to Clients: The location should be close enough to at least half of your client list to make it convenient for them to attend sessions.
  • Safety: Safety is crucial, especially if you're training clients early in the morning or when it gets dark. Choose a location in a safe neighborhood.
  • Size and Layout: While there is no minimum size requirement, I find that 1,000 square feet works well. This allows space for small group classes if that fits your training style.
  • Competition: Being close to competitors should not significantly affect you since you are building personal relationships with clients. Personal training clients tend to be more loyal.
  • Visibility and Foot Traffic: Choose a location with good visibility and foot traffic to attract walk-in clients and enhance local marketing efforts.

Equipment Selection

From an equipment perspective, what are the essential pieces of equipment that a personal trainer studio should have?

You need a functional trainer, dumbbells, one or two adjustable benches, and training accessories at a minimum. If your budget allows, I recommend adding a leg press, some sort of half rack or Smith machine, a leg extension, and a leg curl. The list can grow, but I feel anything more than this will depend on how you train your clients. Additional equipment can be added to the gym later on as you get comfortable with your space.

How should one balance between cost and quality when selecting equipment?

I am always in the mindset of buying the best quality you can afford since good quality equipment can last a lifetime. To save money, consider buying dual-function products that can serve multiple purposes. This not only helps with the budget but also maximizes the use of your space.

Budgeting and Financing

How can new studio owners budget effectively for their equipment needs?

I would not spend on specialized machines unless absolutely necessary. Budgeting can range from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on your needs. Keep in mind that some of the budget might be needed for sports flooring if required by the space you are moving into.

What financing options are available for purchasing fitness equipment?

We offer commercial financing in-house that works with startup businesses. As long as your personal credit is not a total mess, you could get away with financing the studio in full.

Space Utilization and Design

What tips can you offer for maximizing the use of space in a personal trainer studio?

Fold-up racks and dual-function machines are great space savers. Additionally, having a good storage solution is critical to keep the place clean and organized.

How important is the layout and design of the studio in ensuring client satisfaction?

I think a 3D layout of the space is the most efficient way to get an idea of how the space can work before even moving into the location. This would be a great benefit, especially if you are signing a long lease.

Maintenance and Longevity

What are the best practices for maintaining fitness equipment to ensure longevity?

Maintenance on cardio equipment is key, and if well-maintained, it can last you 10-15 years. Having a good service technician come out to your place once a year is a good place to start. This ensures you are in the habit of servicing your equipment regularly, which helps prevent service prices from snowballing into a huge bill or, worse, a full replacement of a machine.

How often should equipment be serviced or inspected?

Having a service technician visit once a year is a good practice to maintain the longevity of your equipment.

Industry Trends and Future Insights

What trends do you see in the fitness industry that new studio owners should be aware of?

There are many trends in the fitness industry today that may become obsolete in the near future. Therefore, it's essential to focus on being the best trainer you can be and building a strong community. However, some trends, such as booty-focused studios and bodybuilding-focused studios, are currently performing well. Additionally, coaches who specialize in specific needs or events, such as bodybuilding or sport-specific training, are seeing success and show no signs of slowing down. If you specialize in training for specific sports like boxing, basketball, or tennis, you can leverage this expertise to attract clients who seek specialized training to achieve their personal goals.

How can studio owners stay ahead of the competition in terms of equipment and services offered?

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, make sure your cardio equipment is up to date and current with the times. Cardio equipment changes the fastest and is the hardest to keep up with trends. Today, many places are adopting interactive, connected solutions, but as a trainer, be careful not to buy something that can replace your training.


Do you have any final advice for someone looking to start their own personal trainer studio?

Follow your dreams and trust in yourself. It can be done if you're willing to work hard.

How can people get in touch with CSM Fitness USA for more information or assistance?

Just reach out to us at