Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, Group Fitness Audition

How to Choose the Right Studio to Work For

When people think about finding work, they start to worry whether or not they’ll measure up to the company’s standards. For fitness professionals, this can bring about a lot of stress during the first interview, the audition, and (if applicable) the initial trial period. But what I’ve found over the years is that not every company is worth working for. It’s worth putting in some extra time and effort to make sure you choose the right studio to work for. Read on to find out how.

Do Your Homework

Any time you consider applying for work at a new company, the best practice is to learn as much as you can before you submit any documentation. That includes:

  • Their mission statement
  • The types of clients they serve
  • The size of the gym/studio
  • How they treat their employees
  • How much they pay (if available)

Nowadays, most of this information can be found from a simple Google Search, by going to their website, or by checking out studio reviews on Foursquare or Yelp. You can also drop by the studio, check out the space, attend a free class, and chat with their employees. There’s nothing like actually BEING in the physical environment to give you a feel for a place.

Know Their Values (and Yours Too)

I’ve witnessed time and time again employers hiring people whose values don’t align with their own. Generally speaking, a great fitness company will be dedicated to

  • Helping clients/students achieve their goals
  • Great customer service
  • Employee growth and satisfaction
  • Cultivating a safe, positive, healthy environment for everyone

Specific companies will have additional values they seek to uphold. It’s important that you know what they are, so you can figure out if they align with your own. Note: If you don’t know what your values are, take some time to reflect on that. Scott Jefferey, founder of CEOSage has a great list of values and instructions for how to uncover yours on his blog.

Get Clear On the Employer’s Expectations

If you’re new to the fitness world or just becoming a group fitness instructor or personal trainer, you should know that instructor responsibilities vary from studio to studio. At some fitness centers, you are expected to show up only a few minutes before class and vacate the room promptly at the end to make way for the next session. However, others may require one or more of the following:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early to greet students and check them in for class.
  • Unlock the studio
  • Take out instructor supplies, such as mic headset, and audio cables
  • Attend to cleaning duties during the day or at the end of your shift
  • Shut down equipment, turn off the lights, and close the studio
  • Complete administrative tasks, such as making client/prospect calls, sending emails, completing client intake forms and measurements, etc.

Pro Tip: Don’t assume that employers have written out all responsibilities on the job listing. Always ask. Also, be candid about any tasks you see to be outside of the scope of the position. Although they may not always be flexible, it’s better to have the conversation up front than to have it come up later when your needs or the companies’ aren’t being met.

Inquire About Pay

Pay is a strange thing in the fitness industry. How much you make as a group fitness instructor or personal trainer varies from one place to the next depending the size of the center, their business model, the amount of experience you have, and where you live. Here are the questions to ask:

  • Does the studio pay hourly or by student?
  • What is the base or hourly pay?
  • Is there a different rate for administrative tasks?
  • If no one shows up, do you still get paid?

That last one is super important, especially if you’re working for a brand new studio or in a low traffic time slot. Make sure you know the details before you sign your contract.

Consider Your Commute

It is rare for group fitness instructors to gain a full time schedule (30 hours in the fitness field) at a single studio. Even the instructors that teach the most engaging classes, end up working at two or three. It’s easy to reason the commute time when you’re just starting out, but as you continue to add classes to your schedule, make sure you’re not spending a good chunk of it on the road. Here are the rules I’ve implemented for accepting classes:

  • 30 minutes max commute (20 minutes ideal)
  • Two classes back to back unless I’m subbing
  • Pay must be worth it. For example, if I’m making $30 for a 60 minute class, but spending 30 minutes getting there (and 30 minutes back), I’m actually only making $15/hour for your time… minus taxes. That’s a recipe for burnout, which we want to avoid at all costs!

These are the main things I consider when choosing a studio to work for. Questions? Comments? Additions? Thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Happy Job Hunting!

Nadia 🙂

PS – If you happen to be a blogger, in the fitness, nutrition, or wellness space, join my blogging group on Facebook!

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Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Group Fitness Audition

What to Expect at a Group Fitness Audition

So, you’ve landed an interview with a local fitness studio or gym and now they’ve asked you to come in for an audition. Whether it’s your first or your first in quite some time, it can calm your nerves to know what the process is like. Here’s what you can expect at a group fitness audition.

First Up: The Demo

In the world of group fitness, an audition is your opportunity to show the general manager and fitness director what you can bring to the class setting. That means, they will ask you to lead a mini demo class, which will likely include.

  • A brief introduction
  • A warm-up
  • A main block of exercises
  • A cool down

Know that you will likely be auditioning in a room alone with the people evaluating you, but some larger fitness centers like to host group auditions where you are required to participate as students for the other instructors while you await your turn to teach. I love group auditions because it’s much easier to teach to a room with energetic people rather than to imaginary students. The exact exercises/choreography you teach will be based on the format you are being hired for.

Second Level Criteria: Proficiency

Anyone can memorize a sequence of exercises, but what your assessors are looking for during a group fitness audition are:

  • Aligned movements a.k.a. good form and technique in your physical demonstrations.
  • Strong, efficient verbal cues that guide students from one exercise to the next smoothly and safely.
  • The ability to offer options for modifications when needed and corrections for students whose form and technique are off.
  • Smooth transitions from one section to the next, without a ton of note checking or stammering.

These elements show off your experience and expertise, which they know is key to helping students feel safe in the classroom.

Final Level: Energy

Last, but certainly not least, group fitness instructors are expected to bring a positive, vibrant spirit to every class they teach. GMs want people people on their teams who will make students feel like they had an amazing experience, even if the workout was hard! Bring a TON of energy to the table during your audition and, as long as the other elements are in place, you are sure to blow them away.

If you need more help crushing your audition, check out my blog titled: How to Rock Your Group Fitness Audition. And just remember, if you’re super new, it may take a handful of auditions before a studio gives you a chance to work for them. Don’t take it personally. Just refine your routine for the next audition and try again.

Good luck!

Nadia

PS – If any of these tips helped you rock your audition, I’d love to know! Leave a note in the comments below 🙂 Also, follow me on Instagram.

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Group Fitness Audition

How to Rock Your Group Fitness Audition

Auditioning is an essential part of being a fitness instructor, especially if you’re just starting out. A group fitness audition gives managers and lead teachers the opportunity to see your personality and your skill level when it comes to organizing a class, cueing movements, assisting students, and keeping them engaged. It’s all the gateway that will get you on a studio or gym’s sub list and eventually land you a class on the schedule. Here’s how to rock your group fitness audition so you have GMs begging you to join their team.

Know the Guidelines

Each studio has it’s own way of conducting auditions. Make sure you’re clear on what each gym expects from you well before your audition date. Guidelines include:

  • How long you are expected to teach.
  • What they would like you to focus on. For example, do they expect a warmup or should you jump right into the a main workout?
  • Will you be alone or will you be auditioning with other instructors?

If your contact person at the studio doesn’t share this information right away, reach out via email or give them a call and ask. This may even give you a leg up during your audition for doing your due diligence.

Plan & Practice Your Routine

It can’t be said enough. Preparation is a key aspect of being a successful and engaging group fitness instructor. The more familiar you are with the workout you are delivering, the more confident and grounded you will feel. So make sure to:

  • Write out your workout at least 1 day before. I recommend up to a week for brand new instructors (more for choreographed formats like dance).
  • Practice going through the movements and cueing out loud. If possible, recruit a loved one or a friend to join you and give you feedback. If that’s not possible, film yourself. You’ll have a good idea of what you look like to others that way.
  • Adjust your workout based on feedback. Ask your friends for feedback or watch your video to see which areas are working well and which ones need improvement. Then practice again to dial it in.

Pro Tip: For seasoned instructors, choose a workout you have already delivered and know well. When I do this, I NAIL the audition 99% of the time 😉

Walk In with a Energy & Positivity

Research shows that it takes a few seconds to form a first impression. And in the group fitness sphere, the stakes are higher. Group fitness instructors are often the main line of connection between students and their fitness centers, which is why we must bring enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence to every class we teach. It’s easy to get caught in audition day nerves. My suggestions:

  1. Plan to arrive early. Nothing adds to your nerves more than rushing into the studio at the last minute for an interview or worst, being late. Allow yourself an extra 15 minutes to arrive, find out where you’re supposed to be, and sit for a few minutes. You can also use this time to review your audition set.
  2. Listen to music that pumps you up on the way. On your commute, tune into a playlist that lights your inner fire and makes you feel like a winner! If you don’t have one yet, make one. Or feel free to use one of my playlists (PS – Body Challenge 10 is my fav!).
  3. Remind yourself that you KNOW the workout. All you have to do is deliver it, just like any other day.

Have Fun

When it’s all said and done, don’t forget that one of the reasons you’re in this biz is because you enjoy sharing your love of fitness with other people. When you think about it that way, the audition is simply a means to you gaining access to fulfilling your personal mission as a group fitness instructor and living the dream by getting paid for it!

Best of luck to you if you have an audition coming up! If you need any additional pointers, leave a comment below! Also, make sure to LIKE my Facebook Page and head over to the fitness, nutrition, and wellness goals community group where I post a ton of content that will help you feel healthier, happier, and stronger.

Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Well.

Nadia