Thanks to the wealth of information we now know about our bodies—and probably in no small part because of the ubiquitous presence of attractive social media stars all over the Internet—the general public has never been more concerned with their health as they are today. You only need to look at the sheer number of fitness products, services, gyms, and, yes, YouTube channels.
There is clearly a healthy demand for fitness content, and where there is demand, there is an opportunity to make money. That being said, just because the demand is there doesn’t mean that making money serving that market is straightforward or intuitive.
But fear not, we have put together this bumper post on how to make money on YouTube with fitness content just for you.
We’re nice like that.
1. Standard YouTube Advice Applies
The first thing to note is that fitness videos on YouTube are no different from any other videos on YouTube, and all the same rules for success apply.
This post may be on how to make money on YouTube with fitness content, but you should absolutely check out other more general resources on succeeding on YouTube. There are plenty on this very site, not to mention the YouTube channel.
There is lots to cover in the realm of fitness videos specifically, so we’re not going to rehash anything we don’t need to here.
Just be aware that all those posts and videos about YouTube success that don’t mention fitness in the title are still well worth your time.
2. Practice What You Preach
When you are claiming to be an authority on something—which is precisely what you are doing when you give any kind of advice on YouTube—there is an element of trust involved. Specifically, the viewer’s trust that you know what you are talking about.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times our mother’s told us not to judge a book by its cover, we always do. In other words, even if you have a wall full of qualifications in a host of fitness-related fields, the viewers are going to be sceptical about coming to your for fitness content if you are overweight, or you are out of breath after relatively mild activity.
Whatever it is you are demonstrating (weight loss, bulking up, improved cardio, etc.), make sure you can back up your words with actions.
If you can’t, your viewers might see it as a sign that your methods don’t work, and go elsewhere.
There is an exception to this rule, however…
3. Take Your Viewers on a Journey
The exception to the above rule is if you are creating journey videos. These are videos where you are going on your own fitness journey and taking your viewers along for the ride.
In these cases, it would make no sense if you were already in great shape at the start of the series.
For example, a journey series on you getting your weight down to 160 lbs won’t hold much interest if you are starting off at 171 lbs. If you are starting at 230 lbs, on the other hand, people will be interested in your success.
Success is another important factor here. If you start this series and, ultimately, fail in your goal, it can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your viewers and may put them off of coming back for other content.
If you have unflappable confidence in your own ability to stick it out and reach your goals, by all means, jump in. If you want to play it a little more cautiously, however, consider creating the whole series first, then uploading the videos when you are done.
If for some unfortunate reason, you don’t succeed in your goal, you don’t have to release the series.
4. Align Yourself With Suitable Partners
The fitness boom we are experiencing is not limited to YouTube, and there is plenty of opportunity in taking advantage of that fact.
Whether it’s a trendy new protein shake, an innovative piece of exercise equipment, or the latest in high-tech fitness gadgetry, there is seemingly no end to fitness products and services.
When looking at potential partners, whether it’s for affiliate linking, a full-on brand deal, or anything in between, be sure to go with a company or product that suits your channel.
Try to avoid some of the more common partners, like Squarespace, and opt for a product or service that will appeal to your audience.
Similarly, if you are preaching the benefits of an organic diet, don’t promote processed protein powder!
5. Don’t Promote Dangerous Diets or Unsafe Techniques
As much as we like to think a disclaimer at the start of our videos carries a lot of legal weight, they’re not as reliable as many seem to believe.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t put disclaimers in your video, but they won’t necessarily protect you from legal action if you advocate an exercise or recipe that ends up seriously injuring someone or adversely affecting their health.
The unfortunate reality of the legal system is that it is possible for anyone to take anyone else to court, even when there are airtight legal documents in place.
Granted, having said documents makes it far less likely such a case would ever see a courtroom, and even less likely that the complainant would win any resulting case, but the risk is always there.
All of this is to say that you should be wary of what you advocate in your videos. If something is extremely risky or highly controversial, it may be worth just steering clear of it.
6. Find a Niche Within a Niche
If you’re reading this post, you clearly already have a main niche—fitness. However, as we mentioned at the top, fitness is a big niche, and there is a lot of competition there.
If you want to succeed at making money with fitness content on YouTube, you will benefit from drilling down even further to find a more specific area within the fitness niche to focus on.
You could focus on vegan nutrition for athletes or deadlifting technique.
You could even focus your content on how to get the best workouts without going to the gym, or retrospectives of famous athletes.
And, of course, there are more obvious options, such as reviewing fitness gear or posting short workout routines.
Don’t feel as though you have to appeal to everybody.
By zeroing in on a smaller subsection of the fitness niche, you shrink your potential audience, sure, but you also increase your chances of capturing that audience in the process.
7. Be Interesting and Unique
Such is the interest in fitness right now that even with a more focussed niche, you will still be facing plenty of competition for views.
To combat this, try to make your videos as unique as possible. If you have a lot of personality, you could achieve this by simply being yourself on camera, assuming that all that personality you have is likeable.
You can also give your videos a unique flair by adding a twist to your content, such as showing unconventional ways to get a great workout, or even something as seemingly minor as shooting your workout videos in interesting locations.
These factors do not have to be significant. Every touch of uniqueness you add to your content sets you apart from other channels, making you more memorable.
Of course, some viewers may not like your unique touches and see them as a reason to go elsewhere, but that is part of being a YouTuber; you have to accept that not everyone will like you.
8. Sell Your Own Products
If your channel starts to really take off, you could look to leverage that success by selling additional products.
You could go the whole hog, and work with manufacturers to develop and market your own unique products or services, of course, but if that is a little too deep for you, there is another way.
Many companies provide turnkey solutions for merchandise in much the same way that YouTube’s own merchandise solution works. These services allow you to modify products with your own logos and designs, selling things like T-shirts and mugs.
Of course, mugs and T-shirts aren’t very fitness-specific, so you will probably want to look a little further afield than YouTube’s own merchandising solution. One option is Total Merchandise, who offer an enormous range of customisable products, including things like sports flasks and outdoor gear. It should be noted that you would have to buy a large quantity from a service like Total Merchandise, whereas YouTube’s solution would sell directly to your customers.
9. Consider Partnering With Other Fitness Channels
If you have taken the advice we gave above about drilling down into the fitness niche to find an area where you can flourish, then you might want to consider teaming up with other YouTubers in the fitness niche.
Of course, you want to partner with people who are not offering exactly the same kind of content as you. For example, if you had a channel specialising in cardio workouts, you might partner with a channel that focuses on weight lifting or a channel that covers nutrition.
You wouldn’t partner with another cardio channel, however, because you would then be competing with each other.
The goal of this kind of partnership is to help each other grow and succeed. Someone may come to your channel for cardio but then go looking elsewhere for weight lifting videos. In this kind of partnership, you would be able to direct those viewers to your partner channel, and vice versa.
This way, you and your partners get to provide your combined viewers with a total fitness package, while at the same time helping each other to grow.
Most of us mere mortals have motivation problems when it comes to exercising, and it is those motivation-deprived people that will likely make up the bulk of your audience.
Showing your viewers amazing techniques for getting toned abs or shedding that excess weight won’t count for much if they can’t muster up the willpower and interest to use those techniques on a regular basis.
In short, don’t neglect the motivational aspect of your videos.
We’re not saying you should don bright lycra and turn the cheerfulness up to eleven while you bounce around to upbeat dance music… unless you want to, of course. But put some thought into ways to help your viewers muster up the energy to do your workouts, or follow your routines.
Remember, the more success stories your channel creates, the bigger your reputation will become, and the more successful you are likely to be.
Ultimately, much of advice for how to make money on YouTube with fitness videos is the same as it is for any other video, and as such, hasn’t been included in this post.
Things like making eye-catching thumbnails and attention-grabbing titles, promoting your channel on social media, uploading regularly, all of these are crucial components to a typical successful channel, and it is worth taking some time to look over some of the other posts on this blog to learn more about that side of things.
For fitness specifically, the most significant piece of advice we can give you is to be good at what you do.
With other kinds of YouTube videos, the ultimate gatekeeper to success is the quality of the content. If the videos are poor, the channel won’t succeed. While this is just as true for fitness videos, there is the added dimension of the fitness content itself.
You could make the best videos in the world from a production and entertainment standpoint, but if they don’t help people lose weight or gain muscle or do whatever it is they are supposed to be getting help with, then the channel will ultimately fail.
And don’t be afraid to check out the competition. If you find a channel in your niche—or very close to your niche—that is incredibly successful, watch their videos, analyse their content, and see what they are doing that is leading to that success.
Please don’t steal from them, of course, but look for elements that you can incorporate into your videos.