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How Fitness Blender Built a Virtual Workout Empire

By Patricia Cárdenas
8 Min Read

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Fitness Blender online video empire

Fitness Blender is the biggest fitness channel on YouTube.

They’ve built a following of over 6 million subscribers, and recently reached 1 billion views of their videos:

Fitness Blender Daniel and Kelli Segars

Kelli and Daniel Segars have been dominating the YouTube fitness scene for years now. And, their channel is the perfect one to study if you’re looking to grow an online audience. Why?

Because their ascent from unemployed personal trainers to industry-leading coaches is a masterclass in what it takes to become truly successful in the online video world.

In this article, we’re going to break down exactly what they did, so you can apply the same lessons to your YouTube channel or fitness membership site.

Let’s go…

Wait, What’s Fitness Blender?

Kelli and Daniel are personal trainers with over 25 years combined experience. 

They’re a married couple from Seattle who decided to start a fitness YouTube channel after losing their jobs in the 2008 financial crash. Here they are to introduce themselves:

They wanted to build an accessible, gimmick-free resource that catered to people like them. They have over 600 videos providing workouts from pilates and yoga through to HIIT and weight training:

Fitness Blender YouTube video library

The crazy thing about their business is that they give almost all of their content away for free. Anybody can go to their site and filter videos to find exactly what they need:

Fitness Blender free workout videos website

But how does an unemployed couple go from making videos in their garage to 6 million subscribers and full-time YouTubers by giving workouts away for free?

Keep reading to find out…

4 Things That Fitness Blender Did To Build Their Virtual Empire

Fitness Blender captivated viewers all over the world with their straightforward and relatable approach to fitness.

But more than that, they mastered four key traits that any video entrepreneur can apply to their own business.

They are:

  1. Be Approachable
  2. Listen to Your Audience 
  3. Be Resilient
  4. Know Your Data

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

1: Be Approachable

The first thing you’ll notice when you watch a Fitness Blender video is how approachable Kelli and Daniel are.

They’re just regular people who could probably be your next-door neighbors:

fitness blender coaches

Their videos have a down-to-earth feel about them. It’s the exact opposite approach to the rest of the fitness world that uses ultra-ripped fitness models and Instagram-ready locations.

It makes their content feel trustworthy and attainable.

Right away, you know you can trust them to help you get fit.

You can really see this in their workout videos. Almost all are shot against a white background with minimal equipment:

This makes it feel like they’re right there with you in your living room. It’s exactly what the average person wants: a workout buddy. 

You’ll also notice their videos are as authentic as them, so it’s natural to spot an error or two along the way.

But Daniel and Kelli embrace their imperfections. They often post intimate vlogs from where they open up about their personal struggles:

Sharing this side of them is a refreshingly positive way to reach people! Especially in a fitness world that’s focused on photoshopped perfection.

This healthy relationship between them and their viewers has also nurtured a strong online community. One full of support and understanding for each viewer’s personal fitness journey.

Take a look at this interaction between Fitness Blender and their subscribers in the comments of one of their more personal videos. 

Fitness Blender YouTube comments

It’s this transparency that has made them a safe space for millions of people who previously struggled with working out in a healthy, progressive and productive way.

You too can add these personal touches to your membership business and make it a welcoming and approachable space for your audience.

2. Listen to Your Audience

Fitness Blender does an amazing job of listening to their audience and giving them what they want.

Need proof? Look no further than the first 140 videos on their channel. 

These minute-long demonstrations were meant to teach viewers single movements or exercises.

Fitness Blender YouTube catalog

And though they were super informative, these did not spark as much excitement as they hoped for. 

So, what did they do?

They listened to their audience. Daniel and Kelli realized people were not responding to their content. If they wanted to be the fitness channel of the people, they’d have to find a bigger way to serve them.

So they revamped their content, focusing entirely on delivering straightforward workouts for folks of all fitness levels.

And just like that, their numbers went up by a landslide.

Their willingness to put their viewers first changed their business and their lives forever. It allowed them to take Fitness Blender from side-hustle to a full time business!

If you feel your channel isn’t clicking with the crowd, take a step back to assess your situation and consider gathering some feedback.

What can you tweak to get the results you want to achieve?

Though it might be hard to hear at first, the sooner you accept what’s not working for you, the better off you’ll be.

Here are some simple ways to include your audience in your creative process:

  • Encourage commenting: these can be a goldmine for tips that’ll help you redirect your vision and improve.
  • Ask them directly: share surveys, using free sites like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to collect tons of input from your viewers 
  • Check your analytics: are people watching your videos in full? Or are they jumping ship halfway through? What topics are they responding to and which should you phase out? 
  • Watch your subscriber count: any spikes, drops, or plateaus will tell you if people are really enjoying your content.

Paying attention to these and adjusting your content based on audience feedback will ensure your content is always improving.  

And remember: 

Your audience’s actions can speak just as loud, if not louder, than their actual words!

3. Be Resilient

Think about it:

Fitness blender created 140 videos only to find out they were the exact opposite of what their audience wanted.

Do you know how many hours of planning, filming, and editing went into that? You’re talking months of work!

Many would-be YouTubers would have given up there and then. Simply throw in the towel and returned to whatever they were doing before.

But Fitness Blender didn’t. Instead, they pivoted.

They accepted that Fitness Blender 1.0 simply did not work. Then they started forging a path in a new direction. Here’s that moment in their words:

There is every chance that version 1.0 of your channel isn’t going to work. And you’ll need to decide whether to quit or give it one more try.

You’ll need to be resilient and check your ego at the door.

Fitness Blender – the biggest fitness channel on YouTube – was not an overnight success.

It took them 3 years of trial and error to finally generate the revenue they needed to put all their energy into this passion project. 

Are you committed enough to your craft to consistently post content for years with no promise of success?

Whether you’ve got 10 or 100 subscribers right now, remember everyone starts at zero. 

4. Know Your Data

Back when they first launched and Kelli was working as a freelance writer, she might’ve picked up a thing or two.

Turns out, she was also becoming an expert in how to refine online content to reel in clicks and views.

She applied this knowledge to Fitness Blender, helping boost its videos to the top of Google and YouTube searches.

Fitness Blender workout video YouTube search

This made a massive difference in the early years of their channel, as not many people were aware of how to leverage search keywords on YouTube. 

So if you’re a small channel, remember: Search matters. YouTube is first and foremost, a search engine for video content.

And as Fitness Blender took YouTube by storm, they also leveraged data to expand their platform beyond YouTube – which is crucial to any successful online fitness business.

Based on their viewership data, which showed a demand for more exclusive and in-depth content, they decided to build their very own website and membership platform.

Fitness Blender VOD membership platform

Data can do so much for your business. It takes the guesswork out of things, so that you can make informed decisions in your next big step.

So, when trying to boost your YouTube channel or video business, ask yourself:

  • Are you learning skills it takes to get your videos to rise to the top?
  • Are you using tools like VIDIQ or TubeBuddy to help you do keyword research?
  • Are you titling your videos appropriately so your target audience can find them on their searches? 
  • Do your thumbnails stand out among the sea of billions living on the platform?

Learning From the Pros

There is so much to learn from Fitness Blender’s online success.

And though they’re definitely inspiring, this doesn’t mean you should straight up copy them.

Just remember to keep in mind the 4 essential values they embody, which have played a huge role in their success.

These are:

  1. Understand your audience – Make your content match their true needs and expectations 
  2. Prepare for an uphill battle – This is a long and winding road. If you really want this and are committed to the journey, then prepare yourself for the ups and downs ahead.
  3. Learn along the way – Not everything will be as it seems on your journey, and any obstacles could potentially be your next great move as a business. 
  4. Understand the data – Put in the time to analyze and apply the necessary data strategy to best serve your target audience.

Do these speak to you? What are the values you want to prioritize within your business?  

We hope this article was helpful for you, wherever you find yourself along your video journey.