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, Gaining Experience, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, How to Become a Fitness Instructor

How to Gain Experience As a Group Fitness Instructor

As you have probably experienced at one point in your lifetime, one of the biggest issues for professionals entering any new field is that of experience. In group fitness, many gyms won’t even consider you as a candidate if you have been teaching for less than a year, let alone freshly certified with no classes under your belt. There IS hope though. Here’s how you can gain the experience you need to land a job as a group fitness instructor.

Organize a free class

A great way to start practicing your skills, build confidence as an instructor, and gain momentum in your teaching career is to teach free classes. There are several ways to host:

  • Start your own group through an event meetup site or offer to host on an existing group.
  • Host your own parties or gatherings with friends.
  • Put your name on the list of available instructors at a fitness clothing store (such as Lululemon or Athleta)

Just remember to protect yourself by obtaining liability insurance and collecting waivers from all participants.

Offer to Sub Classes

Subbing classes is my #1 Tip for getting hired as a fitness instructor at a studio or fitness facility. Hiring managers need too know that you are

  1. Skilled in your designated format
  2. Trustworthy, meaning that you show up when you say you will and are available when needed most.

Once they see that you are a great addition to the team at their studio, they will search for ways to get you a class on the schedule.

Post Videos on Social Channels

Having content on a social channel is a great way for companies to know that you are passionate about what you do and in it for the long haul. In fact, many applications ask for social media accounts, so they can check out your personality and style. I say, if you can carve out the time:

  • Film at least video per week displaying you working out/practicing. Teaching videos are best for the obvious benefit of showcasing your expertise, but any film of you performing in your designated format will work.
  • Post the videos across as many channels as possible. Instagram is one of the most popular right now (in 2019), but Facebook TV and YouTube are strong platforms as well. Plus, with YouTube (or Vimeo), you can embed videos onto your website.

If you’re serious about a career in fitness, make it your mission gain as much experience in the first year as possible. It will not only make you a better instructor, but it will give you the opportunity to gain a solid base of references you can lean on when the time comes to obtain a job.

The Magic Year Mark

Take it from someone who has been there, once you hit that magical 1 year experience mark, the % of callbacks will skyrocket. You just have to get over that hump.

What are you doing to gain experience now? Share your thoughts and any questions in the comments below!

And good luck 😉

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, How to Become a Fitness Instructor

Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor: My #1 Tip

Whether you just got certified as a group fitness instructor or you’re looking to add new classes to your schedule, getting hired can be an intimidating process. But after so many years in the business, I’ve found one way to land a class that works about 90% of the time.

My #1 Tip: Get On a Sub List

Probably the fastest path to landing a class of your own on a gym or fitness studio’s schedule is by getting on their sub list. In my experience, you can never have too many subs to call upon in a time of need. The last thing popular studios want to do is cancel a class. That’s a thing for their members and for you!

How to Get On the Sub List

The process of getting on a sub list can be smooth and seamless if you go about it the right way.

Attend classes in your chosen format.

Want to teach kickboxing? Become a regular student in a class taught by your favorite instructor or at least by someone whose style is similar to your own. Make it your goal to excel in class and to show up consistently once or twice a week.

Tell your instructor you’re available.

After a few weeks of attending classes, casually let your instructor know that you’re certified and available to sub if they need it. More often than not, they will be super grateful. After all, you:

  1. Know the group
  2. Are skilled in the format
  3. Are already available at the time you need them.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

Ask for a referral.

Hiring managers can sometimes be skeptical of new instructors coming on board, especially those with very little experience in the field. When I just started, my instructors and master teachers told me I had the skills, but managers did a double take with the fact that I had less than a year of experience (the minimum standard for most gyms). Having the instructor’s support will go a long way in overcoming those pre-set barriers. So make sure to…

  • Ask for an introduction. Ask your instructor if they would mind introducing you to the group fitness manager or whoever is in charge of hiring instructors. Most likely, they will be happy to help.
  • Follow up over email. Get your instructor’s contact information and shoot a quick email to say thank you in advance for the introduction.

Lean on Master Trainers

Instructors who led your format trainings usually keep in touch with their students. They often know of new opportunities that rise up or are able to connect you to people in your area who are teaching and need subs.

Utilize them as an ongoing resource. They want to see you succeed as much as I do 🙂

Good luck!

Nadia
Next Step: Auditioning. Click here if you want to know what to expect.

PS – If you found this blog helpful and/or it landed you an opportunity, please let me know in the comments! And since I know you love fitness, nutrition, and wellness as much as I do, join the community on Facebook!