Social media has paved the way for influencers to take over the fitness world. Influencers bring a relatable approach to health and wellbeing and create meaningful relationships with their audiences by building communities.
Gymshark, the UK’s fastest-growing fitness brand, grew the company to a £100m business in just six years by using fitness influencers to promote brand awareness. Fitness influencers have shattered the notion that fitness is only for the athletes and bodybuilders of the world; they’ve made fitness attainable for everyone.
While influencer marketing is now a household term for any marketer, there has been a noticeable shift in recent years. Fitness influencers are no longer just perpetuating their healthy lifestyles and regimes to inspire their followers. They are leading the new trends in the fitness industry.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the pioneering fitness influencers and how they’ve built successful businesses, as well as the influencers who are shaping the future of the industry. There’s something you can learn from all of them.
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4 Influencers for Fitness Business Inspiration
If you’re a fitness business owner, you likely have two important things in common with these successful influencers:
1. You’re passionate about fitness and leading an active, healthy lifestyle.
2. You’ve followed this passion and used it to build a business.
Just like you – these fitness influencers are entrepreneurs.
The main thing they have in common with each other is their marketing skillset; harnessing the power of social media to reach and build their audience. The good news is you can take the techniques that these fitness influencers use and apply them to your promotion strategies.
1. Bedros Keuillian
Known for: Being the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp
Find him on: @bedroskeuilian
Fit Body Boot Camp founder Bedros is a fitness entrepreneur, bestselling author, and business guru who has come through adversity to get to the top of the fitness game. A classic rag to riches story, he initially arrived in America as an immigrant with very little English and dumpster-dived at times to source food for his family. Through perseverance and hard work, he found his success in the fitness industry and founded Fit Body Boot Camp in 2009. In 2011, he decided to franchise the business out, and currently, he has about 500 locations in the US and Canada.
Bedros has taken the skills he acquired starting up Fit Body Boot Camp to get involved in different types of businesses and now presents himself as an all-around superstar entrepreneur. He regularly delivers bite-sized chunks of entrepreneurial and motivational gold to his 102k followers on his Instagram page. On top of that, he hosts a weekly podcast (who doesn’t) entitled The Empire Show, where he picks the brain of the most inspiring people from the worlds of fitness and business.
All in all, Bedros provides a brilliant combination of fitness business advice and general entrepreneurial motivation that can inspire you in developing your own fitness business.
2. Shona Vertue
Known for: Developing the Vertue Method
Find her on: @shona_vertue
Shona Vertue is an Australian fitness expert who has over a decade of experience as a yoga teacher and personal trainer. She runs a studio in Oxford Circus in London (which has a 10-week waiting list) and counts celebrities like David Beckham amongst her clients.
However, it is online where Shona has made her name. Her online courses are based on her original fitness program, The Vertue Method, which an all-over body program that Shona bases on three main pillars: strength training, yoga, and healthy food and meditation. This 12-week fitness program has proven extremely popular and allows her to showcase The Verture Method to a global audience.
Her Instagram account is where she has built up her fitness empire. Here she posts mini-tutorials of different Vertue Method exercises, general nutritional and wellness advice and body positivity messaging to help her audience live a healthy lifestyle. She also shares insights into her personal life and mixes in promotions for her range of apparel. Her style is easy going and fun – she uses the #vertuecrew to help build a sense of community amongst her 328k followers.
What you can learn from Shona’s brand of influencer marketing, especially if you are a yoga studio owner, is that you should put yourself at the center of your brand. Don’t be afraid to mix in some personal insights among all the tutorials and nutritional advice as this will make it easier to build a relationship with your audience. Also, consider developing a hashtag akin to #vertuecrew to help build a community of fanatics for your fitness business.
3. Jamie Alderton
Known for: Founder and owner of Grenade Fit gym and Train With Jay online training
Find him on @grenadejay
Jamie Alderton is a former member of the British Army turned pro-bodybuilder and fitness entrepreneur. He is someone who provides some great all-round info and advice for any budding fitness entrepreneur. He runs a gym called Grenade Fit, which is based in the UK and also operates an online course called Train With Jay.
Jamie’s YouTube channel is particularly useful. The page houses content that not is only focused on his typical audience but also shows his life as a fitness entrepreneur. Of particular interest is a video series that documents the setting up of Grenade Fit. You can watch the first episode here.
His Youtube channel is a goldmine in general if you are looking for inspiration on what type of video content you should be producing. Jamie has created a very cool and useful online course on how to make compelling video content for social media. This is something all fitness entrepreneurs will need to master as video begins to take over.
And for more tips and tricks on using video for your fitness business, take a read of our excellent guide here.
4. Kayla Itsines
Known for: The Bikini Body Guide and co-founder of the Sweat with Kayla App
Find her on: @kayla_itsines.
Like Shona Vertue, Kayla is another big name to come out of the Australian fitness scene. She is the co-creator of Bikini Body Guides, which is a super successful 28-minute workout designed to help women achieve their ideal bodies. She maps their fitness journey through a series of highly engaging, visual ebooks. According to her, the goal isn’t necessarily weight loss or muscle gain but the creation of an ultra-slim and lean physique.
Named as one of the “25 most influential people on the Internet” by Time Magazine in 2018, Kayla has over 10 million followers on Instagram. She posts regular “before and after” shots of the people who have used the Bikini Body Guide and, more recently, her own branded Sweat workout app. Besides her Instagram account, she also has a significant presence on Facebook (25 million followers) and posts regular tutorials and customer transformation style content.
And it is this type of “before and after” content that you should make a big part of your marketing efforts. It puts the customer at the center of what you do. It’s also the best advertisement for your fitness business as you are showing real people getting real results.
4 Influencers Shaping the Future of the Fitness Industry
Below we’ve highlighted two fitness influencers to keep an eye on. As mentioned in 10 fitness industry trends that could define 2020; outside of exercise, we’re expecting to see even more of a shift in the world of nutrition.
55% of customers now trust companies less than they used to and this is creating demand for influencers who are not just inspirational in their healthy lifestyles. Audiences want to see people who are authentic and transparent with their content as well.
Much like our previous section, these influencers are also extremely successful fitness entrepreneurs. However, instead of building a loyal following based on fitness content alone, these accounts have built a brand with a wider message.
They’re the fitness influencers you need to watch because their success extends beyond keeping up with fitness industry trends. Their brand appeals to a broader audience because they promote messages that are hot topics, generally for today’s society.
1. Lucy Mountain
Known for: Encouraging body positivity, calling out diet culture “BS.” Founder of the Nobs Training & Nutrition Guide
Find her on: @lucymountain
Lucy Mountain is a qualified personal trainer with an alternative approach to living a healthy lifestyle; one that involves “No BS.”
With over 300 thousand followers, Lucy has created a loyal, tight knit community of “Nobs.” Her content is a reaction to the overwhelming number of posts on social media that center around unrealistic food fads and has negative undertones for young viewers.
Lucy focuses on the importance of eating and enjoying a range of different food as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Her posts include infographics debunking common diet myths; which is relevant considering the growing media backlash against diet culture. Her content is leading a social media revolution that demands more transparency in the diet world when it comes to product claims and the placement of social media ads.
The key learning from Lucy highlights the benefit of making your customer your brand ambassador. The ‘Nobs’ community of followers are loyal people who promote the brand to others, helping it to scale and grow.
2. Zanna van Dijk
Known for: Powering workouts on a plant-based diet. Founder of eco-friendly swimwear line Stay Wild Swim.
Find her on: @zannavandijk
While Lucy Mountain’s content focuses on making the fitness world a better place; Zanna’s fitness messaging is linked with making the world a better place in general.
We know that plant-based diets are on the rise; It’s predicted that by 2040 only 40% of the global population will be eating meat. 35% will be consuming lab-grown meat, and 25% will be consuming vegan meat replacements. The trend is growing, and it’s here to stay. Zanna runs two social media accounts, including her fitness Instagram for almost 290,000 followers, and her swimwear range that makes its products from ocean plastic. The eco-friendly swimwear range compliments the influencers’ promotion of a plant-based diet; she is paving the way for fitness that’s healthy for people and the planet.
Zanna’s content is a mixture of people being active in nature, gym workouts and guided exercise, and plant-based recipes. Her plant-based E-cookbooks are available for purchase through her website. From Zana, we can see the benefits of tapping into current trends beyond fitness; how can you implement this with your fitness business?
3. Carly Rowena
Known for: Fitness blogging, encouraging audiences to ‘get moving.’
Find her on: @carlyrowena
Personal trainer and fitness blogger Carly Rowena is known across a range of social media platforms for sharing workouts, tips and advice as well as the daily happenings of her life.
With 164 thousand followers, the influencer’s content stands out with its lifestyle imagery and branding. The influencer has also created a brand of workout cards to help followers achieve their fitness goals. Her content covers overall wellness and since the birth of her daughter Jax who is often featured on the feed, family life as well. As a result, Carly’s fitness content also has a unique angle for appealing to mums.
Setting Carly’s popular Instagram account aside from the other examples we’ve looked at so far is the personal touch to her content. She invites her target audience to glimpse at her personal life; making her a relatable fitness influencer with content that resonates with viewers.
In terms of your studio; what angle can you take to build relationships with your social media audience? Posting exercise and nutrition tips is great as its helpful content. But you can mix this in with content based on your staff and members, to add personality to your brand and build a sense of community.
4. Alice Liveing
Known for: Pioneering the ‘clean-eating’ trend, best selling author of three recipe books.
Find her on: @aliceliveing
Alice Liveing originally shot to Instagram fame as ‘@cleaneatingalice’ with an account that she used to document her change from unhealthy eating habits to becoming a fully qualified PT. The inspiring content attracted hundreds of thousands of followers, and the Influencer now has over 630 thousand followers.
While at first glance, Alice seems similar to many generic fitness influencers; it is the personal trainer’s rebrand that every fitness business owner can learn from. The clean-eating fitness trend that she built her success upon received severe backlash in 2015. But 2016 saw the launch of her best selling cookbook ‘The Body Bible,’ and she has since written another two bestsellers.
Avoiding the media backlash and continuing to succeed is down to the influencer’s transparency in the fitness industry. She stepped out and spoke about food trends, accepting her accountability as an influencer and opening up about her own fitness journey: “I have realized in the past few years that what I do has a huge impact on people’s lives, and I really acknowledge that responsibility.”
The simple lesson from Alice is that trends come and go, but that doesn’t mean a business has to suffer. There are always ways you can adapt and make the best out of a situation.
The internet is an endless resource of relevant information that can help your fitness business reach success. Some of the best lessons come from the influencers we’ve mentioned in this article. They each have unique strengths, and they are the people who’ve been through it all and emerged as fitness professionals at the top of their game.