Cupids Health

Starting a Fitness YouTube Channel: The Ultimate Guide


Get the Basics…

  • You need to start a fitness YouTube channel because YouTube is the most popular online platform in the US.
  • Starting a fitness YouTube channel will increase your influence, increase your audience, and retain clients.
  • To start a successful YouTube fitness channel, study up on the channels that already are successful.

More people than ever turning to video to either guide or supplement their fitness journeys. Starting a YouTube fitness channel can help leverage what you’re already doing––producing really great fitness services––with the power of video to increase revenue.

Not only can a YouTube channel bring value to your clients, creating a YouTube channel for your fitness business can also help build your brand’s audience and your brand’s authority. A YouTube fitness channel can also help you survive the migration of fitness clients moving away from the local gym and the slow death of on-demand training programs.

Whether you’re looking to use YouTube to start a fitness business, to grow an existing fitness business, or to launch new fitness services, a YouTube fitness channel has benefits for every stage of your development as a fitness professional.

And, when it comes to sharing those videos with potential clients, look no further than the all-in-one power of the Exercise.com Fitness Business Software Platform that seamlessly integrates with YouTube and allows you to add that personal touch to your workout videos. Book an Exercise.com demo today to learn more.

Should I start a fitness YouTube channel?

Yes! Not only should you start a fitness YouTube channel, but it should be high on your list of priorities.

YouTube is the most popular online platform in the US. (Pew Research). It’s been reported that 74 percent of adults use YouTube, with Facebook trailing behind at 68 percent, and Instagram at 40 percent.

Benefits of Starting a Health and Fitness YouTube Channel

You increase your influence. The popularity of fitness video content has been on the rise but in 2020, Youtube reported that video content categorized as “home workout” rose by 515 percent. By managing a YouTube fitness channel as a part of your marketing strategy, you will diversify your internet presence and will make your fitness business more discoverable on Google.

You increase your audience. With 2 billion active users per month, a YouTube fitness channel gives you access to a mammoth-sized health and wellness audience. For digital fitness professionals, a fitness channel is a must because it’s hard to find YouTube’s audience volume and diversity elsewhere.

You retain clients. Plain and simple, people like to watch videos. 66 percent of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product and 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content this year.

Social media marketing is essential for fitness professionals, and when it comes to building your reputation and authority as a fitness professional, YouTube can help grow your community of followers.

As your community retains its audience and acquires new followers, the total number of followers that your channel has and the volume of views that your videos have increases the likelihood of your brand becoming a household name in your niche or even industry.

Fitness YouTube Channels 101: Common Terms

You don’t have to be a tech guru to launch a branded fitness channel on YouTube. Nonetheless, here are some common terms, in simple language, that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with before diving into creating a YouTube channel.

Audience retention: describes your channel’s ability to retain its audience.

Avatar: also known as your channel artwork; it’s the square space with a custom image of your choosing that represents your channel throughout YouTube.

Branding watermark: a brand image, or logo, that appears in the bottom right corner of your video that allows a viewer to subscribe to your channel by clicking the watermark.

Bulletin: messages that channel owners can send to the channel’s subscribers via the subscribers’ feed.

Call to Action (CTA): clickable phrases or images that request the audience to perform a task, such as click a link, complete a form, or subscribe.

Channel authority: your channel’s total watch time (in minutes) that affects your channel’s YouTube ranking.

Channel header: graphic displayed at the top of your channel homepage

Channel homepage: the front or feature page of your YouTube channel that includes your channel header, community tab, video tab, and channel trailer.

Closed caption (CC): captions and subtitles that are closed in a colored background for readability.

Community tab: the channel owner can post messages, digital content, and polls which the channel’s subscribers will see in their feeds.

Copyright: “In many countries, when a person creates an original work that is fixed in a physical medium, they automatically own copyright to the work. As the copyright owner, they have the exclusive right to use the work. Most of the time, only the copyright owner can say whether someone else has permissions to use the work.” (Visit YouTube’s Help Center for more details regarding copyright and rights management.)

End-slate: a graphic that is strategically placed at the end of a video with a CTA.

Evergreen videos: videos that cover non-time-sensitive topics––avoid news and current events––and are great ways to grow your channel because the content remains relevant for years.

Featured content: you can arrange your channel’s playlist to feature recent or popular videos on the channel’s homepage.

Metadata: text that describes a video in the form of titles, tags, and a description.

Monetization: the authorization of ads (Google Adsense) throughout your videos.

Paid content: videos that are pay-wall protected, keeping the content visible only to paid subscribers.

Sub for sub or collab: when channel owners follow each other’s channels for the purpose of growth.

Tags: relevant keyword or key phrase descriptions that are added to a video prior to uploading that make the video more discoverable on search engines.

Thumbnail: a custom image and simple text that represents your video when it appears in YouTube searches.

Video card: text (website or link) that is displayed in the top right corner while your video is playing.

Book a demo today to learn more.

Exercise.com integrates with YouTube fitness channels.

How to Start a Successful Fitness YouTube Channel

To start a successful YouTube fitness channel, study up on the channels that already are successful.  What are some of the most popular fitness YouTube channels doing to grow and maintain their audience?

Here are three channels that seem to have found the sweet spot:

BodyBuilding.com

Check out their YouTube channel.


BodyBuilding.com’s YouTube channel covers everything from workouts and exercise techniques to nutrition and supplements.

POPSUGAR Fitness

Check out their YouTube channel


With over five million subscribers, POPSUGAR Fitness has got the busy fitness enthusiast market cornered with their 15-30 minute workouts.

Calisthenicmovement

Check out their YouTube channel


The trainers at calimove.com focus on beginners doing things right. They match exercises with desired outcomes and focusing on fitness education.

How to Create a Fitness YouTube Channel

Ready to dive in? Let’s do it.

Both YouTube accounts and channels are free to set up. While both accounts and channels allow you to subscribe to channels and watch and save videos, a channel allows you to upload videos and create playlists.

A standard YouTube channel is different from a YouTube brand channel in that with the brand channel, you can change channel owners and managers. Standard channels always remain linked to a personal Google account and are not transferable.

Creating your YouTube account and brand channel are the easy parts of managing a YouTube channel.

These tips on starting a fitness YouTube channel can be done quickly and easily:

#1 – Create a YouTube Account

You’ll need a Google account (Gmail is fine) to manage your channel. Using your fitness brand’s Google account (versus a personal account) is recommended. After using your Google account to create a YouTube account, go to your YouTube account page a click create a new channel and a brand account.

If you already have a personal account that you’d like to switch to a brand account, there’s a way to do that, too.

Next, customize your dashboard and update the channel art (homepage banner) by uploading a photo (max 4 MB) that represents your brand. Edit your profile by completing the About and Description tabs––be sure to include links to websites, blogs, and social media accounts.

#2 – Plan Your Fitness Channel’s Content

Think about which types of video content you plan to feature. Videos for workouts, exercise instruction and technique, fitness and diet education, and brand storytelling are a great place to start. Also consider your target audience: what type of content are they interested in? Then start filming your videos.

  • Educational content includes videos that include workouts, exercise technique, stretching and recovery methods, diet/nutrition coaching, fitness equipment/home gym reviews
  • Brand storytelling includes inspiring lifestyle videos that project your brand’s image and show your clients aspiring to/benefiting from your brand’s service

Creating a schedule for publishing your video content helps with topic planning and filming logistics. A schedule also gives you the bigger picture: seeing where you’ve been and where you’re going; pinpointing content overkill and identifying which topics are being underrepresented.

#3 – Create a Fitness Channel Trailer

Your channel trailer is the first piece of video content a visitor sees when they visit your channel. Use it to provide a preview of your brand’s personality and value, so that visitors feel compelled and interested to come back––or subscribe.

#4 – Upload Workout Videos and Other Related Content

After uploading your first video to your channel’s video file, your video automatically opens in YouTube Studio where you can edit the video’s details and upload additional videos. Include a concise description of your video and relevant tags.

For each video uploaded, head over to your channel’s Video Manager to add a custom thumbnail. Thumbnails give the first impression of your video, so make sure each thumbnail is compelling and relevant to keep your channel optimized for maximum traffic.

How to Grow a Fitness YouTube Channel

The first four steps had you creating your fitness channel. Now, you need to use these tips on how to grow your YouTube fitness channel:

#5 – Incorporate SEO/keywords

A good starting point for optimizing your video’s discoverability on various search engines is to think about which words someone might use when they’re looking for content similar to your video. Gaining a basic understanding of how YouTube’s algorithm works is a good idea too.

Set your channel’s keywords by heading over to YouTube Studio where you’ll select Settings and then toggle to Channel to set five to 10 keywords that describe your fitness channel.

#6 – Promote Your Channel

Once you hit 100 subscribers, you’ll be able to customize your URL, which is definitely worth considering prior to sharing the generic URL you’re originally assigned.

Promote your new videos on your fitness business’s social media accounts, embed the videos, or include links when sending your business’s emails and newsletters (more on that in our Gym Email Marketing Guide).

You may also want to consider partnering with other YouTubers to maximize your channel’s exposure.

#7 – Engage With Your Audience and Subscribers

You want your viewers to do more than just watch your videos. Make sure to encourage them to like and share your videos, as well. Ask them to leave a comment and subscribe to your channel. Be sure to respond to visitor comments too.

#8 – Run YouTube Ads

While SEO is a helpful method to boost viewership organically, paid ads can also engage additional viewers. YouTube ads are designed to let you choose who you want to target (demographics, location, topics) with an ad campaign. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of ad campaigns and formats.

#9 – Monitor Stats and Optimize

Monitoring YouTube analytics (find a glossary for that here) can help identify which content is winning with your audience. Once you determine your videos’ engagement stats, you can then optimize future videos towards content that resonates with viewers and subscribers.

Remember that consistency is the key. YouTube’s Creator Academy offers courses and tutorials and is a great place to explore all things YouTube.

Contact our team today to learn how.

Use Exercise.com to share your fitness YouTube videos.

What type of equipment do I need when starting a fitness or workout YouTube channel?

There are a few essential pieces of video equipment you’ll need on hand before starting your YouTube channel. As your viewership grows, you can invest in high-end cameras and even hire videographers, but here are the basics needed to get started:

  • Camera: Initially, a smartphone with a tripod will get you started. As your channel grows and depending on which types of content you’re offering, you may want to invest in a professional video camera.
  • Lighting: A well-light space and a ring light are all you’ll need to cast off shadows and keep your video footage inviting.
  • Hardware: While there are apps that allow you to edit software on your smartphone, using a computer can give you storage space for editing software and video storage (500GB minimum).
  • Software: There are several free, easy-to-use video editors that are more than sufficient when starting a YouTube channel: Lightworks, Davinci Resolve, and iMovie for Apple.

Do I need a business plan for my fitness YouTube channel?

Creating a business plan for a YouTube channel is non-negotiable. It’ll keep long-term and short-term goals in sync while also keeping you focused on your purpose––the why–– for creating the channel in the first place.

Operating a YouTube channel isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll need to produce a lot of content and upload that content consistently. The business plan doesn’t have to be complicated but it does need enough structure to keep you on task.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a basic outline to get you started:

  1. Solidify your objective. Is your goal simply to build your email list or maybe generate revenue with channel memberships?
  2. Define your target audience and create a buyer persona
  3. Decide where you’re going to funnel your visitors (ie- website, landing page) and formulate CTAs accordingly. Also, consider where you will place your CTAs (end slate, branding watermark, etc)
  4. Identify alternative monetizing methods (discussed below)
  5. Create a budget, including marketing expenses and video equipment/software
  6. Decide on filming location(s)––build a studio or use multiple locations, but beware that public space may require permission
  7. Churn out new content ideas by monitoring competitors and doing keyword searches related to your services and customer persona
  8. Develop a filming template so all videos have a similar flow
  9. Design a marketing plan based on SEO––titles, thumbnails, tags, and hashtags are usually sufficient to generate organic traffic
  10. Decide on a method to build an email list from visitors/subscribers

How to Become a Fitness YouTuber

The idea of making enough money to live comfortably solely via YouTube is enticing – and it’s what draws so many to the popular video platform. But, how do you make money off of your fitness YouTube channel?

Making Money From YouTube Channels

According to YouTube’s Partner Program, a channel needs more than 1,000 subscribers to qualify for the program to monetize your channel. As well, you’ll need to have reached 4,000 hours of public watch in the past 12 months.

Once you’ve reached these milestones, start monetizing your channel by setting up a Google AdSense account. Since AdSense pays per click, the key to generating revenue is heavy traffic. As well, you get to choose which videos you’d like to monetize and which types of ads are shown.

You can also make money by creating a channel membership, where members pay a monthly fee to access bonus paid content. You must have more than 1,000 subscribers to activate the membership feature. Similar to influencers, creating sponsored content lets you negotiate directly with brands to feature their products––be sure to target brands that connect with your content and are relevant to your audience.

You can also earn a portion of a YouTube Premium Member’s subscription fee if they watch your video. And once your channel reaches 10,000 subscribers, you can feature a merchandise shelf on your home page as well.

In Summary: How do I start a fitness channel on YouTube?

While a YouTube channel can give your business or gym a marketing edge in the fitness industry, your channel’s content can also add value to your personal training or membership packages.

With planning and commitment, a fitness channel can help you build your brand, make your brand discoverable on Google, increase your brand’s authority, and ensure your business’s longevity in the ever-changing fitness industry.

Starting a fitness YouTube channel is only a small part of what it takes to run a successful fitness business. To manage your fitness business, build workouts, bill clients, and more, request a demo of Exercise.com Fitness Business Management Software today.



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