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How To Get Sponsored In The Fitness Industry

How To Get Sponsored In The Fitness Industry

 “How can I get sponsored?” is as you can imagine, a question I get asked on a daily basis. It is one of the most asked questions I get and I have probably got well over a hundred emails of this kind over the last few weeks alone. The fitness industry is saturated with companies and equally saturated with ambassadors, “athletes”, and affiliates let alone the thousands of people waiting and looking for an opportunity to work with some of these companies. I think I can safely say that this is an area that is very much misinterpreted and often misunderstood by a lot of people in the industry.


The term sponsorship is one that doesn’t sit well with me. This is a term that suggests a company is supplying an individual with goods on their progress towards a specific goal and in return the company gets recognition for the affiliation. Unfortunately this is rarely the case and isn’t how I view the relationship. The term “athlete” is also a very misleading one. Being sponsored and being an athlete by definition are extremely different things and although I understand the stray logic behind the term in this context I think there are far better words that can be used to more accurately describe this relationship. Nonetheless, what you call it may be irrelevant, but what is relevant is how the relationship works between a company and the individual.


Very often do I see people moaning and complaining about people who are sponsored or have an affiliation with a company. I try not to generalize, but it is very often bodybuilders or even some physique athletes complaining about other people with good sponsorship deals that either don’t do well in competitions or don’t compete at all. Why is this? I’m not quite sure? I think people get clouded by competing and see it as a badge of honor. It can be, don’t get me wrong, and that debate is for another blog, however when it comes to being sponsored, there are very few attributes that will benefit you in terms of sponsorship that you acquire through competing.


Why Do People Want Sponsorship?

This is the first question I ask everyone who asks me about sponsorship and to be honest 9 times out of 10 I am extremely let down by the response or lack there of. There are a lot of different answers to this question and the truth being told I am yet to get a response I appreciate or can relate to.  Some reasons to look for sponsorship include:


  • To get free goods (supplements/clothes)
  • Financial gain
  • To increase ones following
  • To increase ones credibility
  • To get ones name out there
  • To help a brand/person launch a brand/company
  • You agree with the idea or concept behind a brand
  • You like being part of a collective in a very lonely industry
  • Being able to network
  • Being able to attend events
  • Being able to travel


My 3 favorite responses to date:

  • “I want free sh*t.”
  • “I really want to get with X who is also sponsored by Y.”
  • “I want to be able to say that I am sponsored.”


How Should You Go About Getting Sponsored?

Firstly you need to make sure you are worthy of the sponsorship you are looking to attain. Not a lot of people give this much thought. However, it is essential to consider the company you are looking to work with, their brand, their target market and the direction they are looking to go in the future. For example: you wouldn’t see a 20 stone bodybuilder promoting herbal tea? It just doesn’t happen. You need to align the direction you want to go with the direction of the company you affiliate yourself with and vice versa.


Things you should consider when looking to work with/alongside a company and think you might tick the companies boxes might include:

  • A large following
  • The ability to sell product
  • Credibility
  • Likability
  • Easy to work with (good attitude)


Types of Sponsorship Include:

There are loads of different types of sponsorship or affiliations you can have with a company and these vary massively from company to company or person to person. There are a few different types of sponsorship/affiliations I have and all vary massively:


  • Payment and product: where a company simply pays you a monthly wage to use their product. This is a great situation to be in and shows that you are of significant value to the company. Some companies I work with and have this relationship with will also have other requirements like writing blogs, attending events, photoshoots etc but this is probably the ideal affiliation.


  • Monthly products: where a company will offer you unlimited or a certain amount of free product per month to use. This can be great as long as you are planning on using the product. Even now, if a company offers me free product, unless I am going to use the product there isn’t much use in me taking it and will ask for something more substantial or payment.


  • A very popular one for me at the minute and one that is becoming ever popular especially amongst bloggers are companies offering to pay per post on social media (e.g Instagram) whereby a company will send you free product and pay you a specific amount of money for a single post or a specific amount of money for a few posts. This is pretty beneficial once you have a big following and means that I don’t need to sign a contract, it is a short term relationship (although very often companies will return and pay you to re-promote) you get cash immediately and still get free product.


  • There are also things like once off product gifts without payment that quite a lot of companies give to people who have a decent following but just want to get the companies name out there. This is very common for new or growing companies that want to gain exposure without tying themselves to any individuals or contracts.


All of these are well and good, and luckily I am now in a situation where I can value my worth as the above, however, you need to value your own worth. You also need to realize that you cannot expect free product unless you are earning it, let alone payment. Far too many expect something for nothing and a good physique is probably last on the list of attributes to being affiliated with a company.


For the vast majority of you reading this you might take away some useful tips but I really cannot stress enough the importance of being able to sell a product for a brand. You need to remember that these companies are all businesses that work of profits, turnovers and income. If you can sell product for a company then you will be on the right track and be very difficult to let go of.


Find a niche; make yourself unique and almost irreplaceable. There are a lot of people with abs in the industry so make yourself different. Stand out and try to offer things that not a lot of people can offer a company. As in the job market or life in general, the more you can offer a company the more valuable you are and the bigger an asset you will be to the brand. Be unique, be you.


by Chris Spearman

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