8 Top Fitness Entrepreneurs Who Built Successful Businesses from the Ground Up

Nov 28, 2022 - 11 min read
fitness entrepreneurship

There’s something about the fitness industry that seems to draw in entrepreneurs. Maybe it’s the challenge of building a successful fitness entrepreneurship in a competitive market.

Or maybe it’s the opportunity to help others achieve their health and fitness goals.

Whatever the reason, there are some amazingly talented and successful fitness entrepreneurs out there.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top ones. So if you’re thinking of starting your own fitness business, be sure to learn from these experts!

8 Entrepreneurs Who Built Successful Fitness Businesses

Behind every successful fitness business is a driven and passionate entrepreneur. The following are eight such people who built successful fitness businesses and now inspire others to do the same.

1. Joe Wicks: The Body Coach

If you’re into fitness, then you’ve probably heard of Joe Wicks—better known as “The Body Coach.” What started as a humble Instagram account quickly turned into a multi-million-dollar business empire.

Wicks now has over 4 million followers on Instagram , and his books and workout programs have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Not bad for someone who started out with zero following and no capital!

So, how did he do it? For starters, Wicks is an excellent marketer.

He understands that people are drawn to visually appealing content, so he makes sure his photos and videos are always on point.

He also knows the importance of building a personal brand, and he’s worked hard to make sure his name and face are synonymous with his business.

But above all, Joe Wicks is just genuinely passionate about helping people reach their fitness goals.

This comes across loud and clear in everything he does, and it’s one of the main reasons why his business has been so successful.

If you’re looking to get into the fitness industry, then take a page out of Joe Wicks’ book and make sure you’re passionate about your work!

2. Kayla Itsines: Sweat with Kayla

Like Joe Wicks, Kayla Itsines is an entrepreneur who built her business from scratch through social media.

She started by posting before-and-after photos of her clients on Instagram, along with workout tips and healthy recipes.

These posts quickly gained traction, and before long Itsines had amassed a huge following of loyal fans.

Itsines is now considered one of the most influential women in fitness, with over 15 million followers across all her social media platforms.

Her app “Sweat with Kayla” is one of the most popular workout apps in the world, and she’s even been featured on the cover of Forbes magazine !

If you’re looking to make it big in the fitness industry, then Kayla Itsines is certainly someone to look up to.

3. Jillian Michaels, Personal trainer

Jillian Michaels is a world-renowned personal trainer who has made a name for herself by helping people achieve their fitness goals.

She started her career as a personal trainer in 1993 and quickly rose to prominence thanks to her no-nonsense attitude and effective training methods.

In 2005, she became a household name when she debuted as a trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.

Since then, she has gone on to launch her own line of workout DVDs, create a popular Weight Watchers app, write best-selling books, and more.

Her success can be attributed to her willingness to evolve with the times and provide her fans with what they want–whether that’s workout DVDs or a Weight Watchers app.

By always giving her fans what they want (and then some), Jillian Michaels has built a highly successful fitness business that continues to grow year after year.

You can follow her content on her Instagram page.

4. Tony Horton: P90X & 22 Minute Hard Corps

Tony Horton is an American entrepreneur who’s best known for creating the P90X home workout program.

P90X was an instant hit when it was first released in 2003, selling millions of copies worldwide.

Horton followed up this success with 22 Minute Hard Corps—another home workout program that achieved similar levels of popularity.

What sets Horton apart from other entrepreneurs in the fitness space is his willingness to experiment and take risks.

While other companies were sticking to tried-and-true methods like personal training and group classes, Horton took a chance on developing new workout programs that could be done at home with minimal equipment.

This gamble paid off big time, and Horton was rewarded with massive success. Check out Horton’s social media account here .

5. Ben Francis, Gymshark

The founder of Gymshark, Ben Francis, is only 30 years old. He started the company in his mom’s garage when he was just 19 years old.

Today, Gymshark is a multi-million dollar company with over 200 employees.

The secret to their success? Unique designs, social media marketing, and–most importantly–a great product.

Their unique designs set them apart from other fitness apparel companies and their social media marketing strategy helped them reach a wider audience.

Of course, none of this would matter if their product wasn’t top-notch quality. Fortunately for Gymshark, it is.

Quality products and clever marketing have made Gymshark one of the most successful fitness businesses around.

If you are interested in following Ben Shark. You can find him on Instagram.

6. Mark Mastrov, 24-Hour Fitness

Mark Mastrov is the founder of 24 Hour Fitness, one of the largest gym chains in the world. He started the company in 1983 with just two locations in San Francisco.

Today, there are over 250 24 Hour Fitness locations across the states and they generate millions in annual revenue.

So, how did he do it? By understanding his market and catering to their needs.

When Mastrov first started 24 Hour Fitness, gyms were geared towards serious bodybuilders and didn’t offer much for people who just wanted to get in shape and be healthy.

Mastrov changed that by making his gyms more accessible and welcoming to everyone.

He also introduced affordable membership options and convenient locations–two things that are still key selling points for 24-Hour Fitness today.

By understanding what his target market wanted and delivering on those needs, Mark Mastrov was able to build one of the most successful fitness businesses in the world.

7. Jay Cardiello: Celebrity Trainer and Wellness Expert

Jay Cardiello is a celebrity trainer and wellness expert who has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including 50 Cent and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

He’s also the author of several best-selling fitness books, including The New York Times bestseller “Shred It!”

So how did Jay go from being a personal trainer to becoming a celebrity trainer and wellness expert?

It all started with one client: 50 Cent. Jay was working as a personal trainer when he met the famous rapper and convinced him to try out his unique brand of training, which combines traditional exercises with mind-body techniques like meditation and visualization.

After seeing results with 50 Cent, other celebrities began to take notice of Jay’s unique approach to fitness and started working with him as well.

This led to Jay’s career as a celebrity trainer taking off, and he’s now one of the most in-demand trainers in Hollywood.

In addition to his work as a trainer, Jay is also a sought-after speaker and has given TEDx talks on the importance of mindset in achieving success. Additionally, he shares health tips on his Instagram page .

8. Kathryn Budig: Yoga Teacher and Author

Kathryn Budig is a yoga teacher and author who is known for her relatable teaching style and her ability to make yoga accessible to everyone.

She’s the author of two best-selling books on yoga—The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga and Aim True—and she’s been featured in magazines like Elle, Shape, Yoga Journal, Women’s Health, and Self.

Kathryn started her career as a yoga teacher after completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification.

She then went on to complete her 500-hour certification under the tutelage of renowned yoga teacher Ana Forrest.

After several years of teaching yoga, Kathryn began to feel like something was missing from her practice—and that’s when she discovered acro yoga (a combination of acrobatics and yoga).

She quickly fell in love with the practice and began teaching acro yoga classes at her studio.

It was through her work with acro yoga that Kathryn began to realize her true passion: making yoga accessible to everyone.

This led her to write her first book, The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga, which became a New York Times bestseller.

Kathryn has since become a leading voice in the yoga world, using her social media platform to advocate for body positivity and inclusivity in yoga.

How do These Top Fitness Entrepreneurs Achieve Success?

Are you wondering how did these entrepreneurs achieve such enormous success?

For many people, it may seem like they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth or that they have some sort of magic touch.

However, the truth is that these individuals have simply learned how to set themselves up for success.

Here are some traits that they all share.

They Don’t Give Up

fitness entrepreneurs dont give up

The first quality that all successful fitness entrepreneurs share is an undeniable dedication to their goals.

They don’t give up when things get tough or when they don’t see results immediately - instead, they keep pushing themselves until they reach their goal.

This tenacity is often what sets them apart from other people who give up at the first hurdle.

When you’re trying to achieve something great, remember that success seldom comes easy - so don’t give up when things get tough!

They Develop a Unique Niche

fitness entrepreneurship unique niches

One of the first things that successful entrepreneurs do is develop a unique niche.

There are many different niches within the fitness industry offering specific training from CrossFit to yoga to martial arts.

By finding a niche and developing expertise in that area, fitness entrepreneurs can stand out from the crowd and build a loyal following of customers.

They Create Compelling Content

unique content blog fitness

Another thing that successful fitness entrepreneurs do is take charge of being an artistic director in creating compelling fitness content .

This could be blog posts, YouTube videos, or Instagram posts.

This content must be engaging and informative, providing value to the reader or viewer.

Most importantly, it should be aligned with the entrepreneur’s niche.

For example, if your health club niche is CrossFit, your content should be focused on CrossFit-related topics.

They Always Put Their Best Foot Forward

fitness business quality control

Another quality that the top fitness entrepreneurs share is a focus on always putting their best foot forward.

In other words, they work hard to ensure that everything they do - from their workouts to their social media posts - is of the highest quality.

This attention to detail ensures that they always maintain a professional image for their fitness brands and attract new followers who appreciate their efforts.

They Surround Themselves With Other Like-Minded Individuals.

Group of people near a wall

If you want to achieve success in any area of life, it is important to surround yourself with people who have similar goals.

This is especially true in the fitness industry.

When you are constantly around people who are working towards similar goals, it helps to push and motivate you to reach your full potential even if you are one of the small business owners.

Additionally, these people can provide valuable resources and advice when needed.

They Are Tech-Savvy

A computer and a mobile phone with a pink background

Technology has revolutionized the way we live and work. And the fitness industry is no different.

The top fitness entrepreneurs utilize online tools to their advantage by using social media and online marketing tools to reach a wider audience.

Additionally, they use technology to streamline their business operations and make their lives easier.

For example, many fitness entrepreneurs use online scheduling software to save time and money on administrative tasks.

They may also include an online offering of personalized fitness programs based on the client’s interests, fitness level, and goals

They Provide A Great Member Experience

Three people laughing

The top fitness entrepreneurs know that providing a great member experience and retaining gym members long-term is key to success.

They make sure their facilities are clean and welcoming, their staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and their programming is top-notch.

They know that if they can provide their members with a great experience, they’ll be more likely to continue working out at their facility and recommend it to others.

They Are Constantly Learning

A woman with glasses reading a book

The top fitness entrepreneurs are also constantly learning. They read industry publications, attend conferences, and participate in online courses.

They know that the only way to stay ahead of the competition is to continuously learn about the latest trends and best practices.

By investing in their own education, they’re able to provide their members with the most up-to-date information and services.

They Have A Clear Vision For Their Business

A man looking through binoculars

Finally, successful entrepreneurs have a clear gym business plan for their businesses. They know what they want their business to look like in 5 years, 10 years, or even 20 years.

This clarity allows them to make decisions today that will help them achieve their long-term goals.

If you can’t answer the question “where do you see your business in 5 years,” it’s time to start thinking about it!


All of these entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they were driven by their passion for fitness and helping others.

If you have an idea for a fitness business, don’t be afraid to pursue it! With hard work and determination, you could be the next success story.

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Eduardo Carreras

SEO Manager

Eduardo Carreras is Virtuagym's SEO Manager. With a background in sports & fitness and over a decade of Digital Marketing experience, he approaches the health-tech industry with passion and structure alike.