How Do Bodybuilders Make Money?

How Do Bodybuilders Make Money?

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It is no surprise that bodybuilding requires a great deal of dedication, time, and money. With so much effort put in at the gym and following a strict yet high-quality diet, how do bodybuilders make money to support their lifestyles? 

Bodybuilders make money in a broad array of work like modeling, fitness blogging, personal training, coaching, and building their own brands. Bodybuilders make relatively little money from actual competitions, but they do earn a small percentage, sometimes more if they have sponsorships. 

This article details how bodybuilders make money, as very little money is made through competitions. Thus, bodybuilders can take on various ventures to generate income. 

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Top 6 Income Streams for Bodybuilders

Bodybuilders are marketable as either contractors or entrepreneurs. Given this high marketability, bodybuilders may be able to generate one or more streams of income from various business ventures.

1. Modeling 

One perhaps natural transition may be fitness modeling. Fitness modeling may not be lucrative in the beginning. In fact, you may have to take on some free work first. The key is gaining exposure to start with, then working up to a living wage. 

However, with dedication and developing a sound reputation, fitness modeling can be lucrative over time. There are some caveats, such as remaining in peak condition practically all the time. 

Preparation is important. You will need to find out all the details, like tanning, styling, and makeup. Of course, you will need to practice your smile and poses and learn your best angles. Finally, expect to spend hours on photo shoots and holding poses for several minutes.

2. Fitness Blogging or Journalism 

If you are a bodybuilder that enjoys writing, fitness blogging or journaling may be a natural choice. There is a wide range of topics directly or loosely related to the bodybuilding world. In fact, just about any topic that is health or fitness-related will suffice. But fitness blogging and journalism require a great deal of crafting your writing brand. 

You can further monetize a fitness blog by partnering with others in the fitness industry. This can be achieved by incorporating sponsored posts, doing paid reviews, or joining an affiliate program. 

If you happen to have your own line of products, you can advertise and sell them on your fitness blog. You may also choose to offer training, coaching, e-books, or webinars. This is one of the pros of fitness blogging; you can advertise for yourself. 

However, it should be noted that fitness blogging and journaling can be time-consuming. You will need to spend time writing, and if fitness blogging, you will likely be doing your own editing, strategically planning your content, and captivating and engaging your audience. 

If you have a fitness blog, you will have to find a hosting site, and a hosting site does incur a monthly or annual cost. Your fitness blog will need to generate enough revenue to offset the cost of the hosting site fee. 

3. Personal Training 

Personal training may be one of the top income-generating ideas that come to mind for bodybuilders. While bodybuilders may have developed a strong foundation of fitness-related knowledge, they should still move forward with certification.

Fortunately, there are several entities that offer personal training certifications, while the cost is not substantial. Some of the most well-known are:

  • NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
  • ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)
  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)
  • NCSF (National Council on Strength and Fitness)

Most programs can be completed in just a couple of months following a self-paced study method. Some offer online testing. All require periodic recertification. There are a few other requirements besides a minimum age of 18 for each candidate and CPR certification.

Further, more and more people are looking for online options; they want the flexibility to work out on their own time. You may be able to create fitness plans and more from the comfort of your own home!

Overall, the key takeaway is that in just a short time, bodybuilders can cross over into personal training. Their physique alone may draw in a clientele base. If you’re a bodybuilder looking to become a full-time personal trainer, you can check out some personal trainer jobs available here

4. Creating Your Own Brand of Fitness Products

Bodybuilders and other fitness influencers can branch off and create their own brands, offering products ranging from supplements to clothing. Fortunately, from beginners to casual gym goers to professional athletes, people need quality fitness clothing, and many also turn to supplements. 

Creating your own brand takes significant work before it is ready for launch. First, you will need to select a name and logo. Then, you will need to apply for an EIN or employer identification number. 

There are several business entities to choose from –  sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations, or LLCs (limited liability companies). You will want to choose the best for your business venture. 

E-commerce is booming. It is the quickest and most cost-effective way to get your fitness brand to the public. Before you start your e-commerce business, you will likely need to secure a business loan and develop a business plan. 

At some point, you will have to determine your customer base to ensure you offer products they want. Market research is essential to ensure that you’re producing top-of-the-line products that your customers want and need in their fitness journeys.  

Your next step is researching and securing a manufacturer for your clothing or supplement line. Most importantly, you want to make sure the manufacturer can work with you to bring quality products to your brand. 

5. Contest Coaching 

Contest Coach is built on the foundation of personal training certification. Becoming a bodybuilding trainer is an additional certification. Another option is also obtaining a nutrition certification as nutrition plays a significant role in bodybuilding. 

These knowledge pairings give bodybuilders the information they need to help others reach their competitive physique. Additionally, bodybuilders have experience and first-hand experience in the industry. 

Preparing for a bodybuilding competition requires much discipline. A contest coach provides accountability, ensuring that their clients remain on their plan and continue to progress. 

If you choose to obtain a bodybuilding trainer certification, below are a few that you may want to look into. 

  • ISSA Bodybuilding Specialist
  • AFSA (American Sports and Fitness Association) Competition Bodybuilding Trainer Certification
  • IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) Master Bodybuilding and Fitness degree

6. Sponsorships

Some bodybuilders with the right personality and social media presence may be able to generate through sponsorships. A sponsorship is a business relationship where the sponsoring party provides resources for the beneficiary, and the beneficiary takes on marketing in return. 

The most significant sponsorships are generally awarded to the most elite bodybuilders. However, opportunities are still readily available to tier one bodybuilders. One benefit is that sponsorships generate not only a supplemental income but also free products.

How Do Bodybuilders Make Money From Competing

The first thing to consider is that bodybuilders only earn money when competing with the caveat that they place. If a bodybuilder is not one of the top performers, there is no income generated from that competition. In other words, unlike many other professional sports, bodybuilders only earn money from competitions when they win. 

The actual income of a bodybuilder has skewed figures. There are several determining factors, including gender, skill level, and geographic location, to name a few. 

Although winnings for some competitions may appear large, it must also be taken into consideration that bodybuilders typically have a contest coach, follow a strict diet, take supplements, and get professionally tanned, cutting sharply into the winnings. 


Participating in bodybuilding competitions is not a lucrative career. Many professional bodybuilders have full-time jobs or other revenue streams that stem from bodybuilding, and this article has outlined different ways to earn money as a bodybuilder.