Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Business Advice, Fitness Professionals, Getting Paid, Subbing Classes

How to Fill Your Schedule as a Group Fitness Instructor

Being a group fitness instructor is a labor of love. Many instructors get into the field because they like exercise and enjoy helping others have fun while getting fit. One of the toughest aspects of this career path is finding enough work to bring in a full time income. I’ve heard some say that it isn’t possible or sustainable, but I disagree. With consistent effort and a game plan, you can learn how to fill your schedule as a group fitness instructor. See my top tips below.

Tip #1: Teach Group Fitness for Multiple Studios

Both large gyms and small studios are constantly hiring group fitness instructors.

In fitness, 20-30 hours a week of scheduled classes can be considered full time work. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you will find that many class hours at one location. This means, you may need to work for three or four studios to have the load you desire.

If you’re a skilled instructor with a good reference from another current or former employer, it will be easy to get your foot in the door of new fitness centers. After the audition, managers typically start new hires off with one or two classes to see how their members like them. With the community’s approval, you stand a good chance of being asked to take on more classes. Larger gyms are constantly adding new classes or making changes to their schedule, so with any luck, you’ll be able to steadily gain more classes.

Tip #2: Master a Variety of Group Fitness Formats

An instructor with multiple formats and a few years of experience is a GFM’s gold star!

The most valuable instructors come in two types: 1) highly skilled format specialists and 2) seasoned multi-format instructors.

Although boutique studios that focus on just ONE thing grew in popularity these last couple of decades, there has been a recent shift to specializing in one thing while offering a little bit of everything (think yoga studios that offer pilates, sculpt, or spinning). Larger fitness centers offer a wide range of group fitness classes including but not limited to:

  • Spin/Cycling
  • Treadmill Running
  • TRX Suspension
  • Dance Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Water Aerobics
  • Circuit Training
  • Cardio Conditioning
  • Step Aerobics

The most common advice I hear given to fitness professionals is to specialize in one thing. I couldn’t disagree more. An instructor trained in multiple formats has a better chance of getting back to back classes and can step up to sub in a pinch. If they are someone students already love, it can open the doors for members trying new offerings. So if you’ve been thinking about picking up a new format, don’t walk. RUN and sign up for a training.

Tip #3: Fill Your Group Fitness Schedule By Subbing

Subs are needed almost daily across studios. Gain a reputation for saying yes when they need you!

A common struggle fitness companies experience is the lack of subs. This has always been an issue, but the problem has grown since the 2020 mass shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since being a GFI is a side-gig for many people, a staggering amount of instructors chose to retire from teaching instead of returning to their gyms once they reopened. Others relocated. This has made it difficult and near impossible to get classes covered when instructors are sick or go on vacation.

Personal Share: That One Time I Was a Go-To Sub

There was a short period of time when I cleared my class schedule to work as a part time staff blogger at LoveToKnow. While that took up about 20 hours per week, I made it a point to get in anywhere from 8-10 additional hours of subbing (my teaching rate was double my writing rate). Even now, as a full time instructor, I can easily pick up an additional 4-5 hours a week. I don’t because recovery is an important part of the job. However, the opportunities are there if I want or need them.

Check Frequently for Sub Opportunities

Most studios have a specific format for sending sub requests via email or text. Check your inbox regularly for open opportunities. Make it a point to respond quickly whether or not you’re available, that way other teachers know to contact you next time they’re in need. Note: Weekends, early mornings (think 5:30 to 7:00am start times), and holidays are particularly difficult to fill, so if you have openings during those days and/or times, you are a fitness manager’s savior! Some studios even pay a bonus for these slots on top of your hourly rate. So if you’re free, why not?

Tip #4: Ask About Open Slots in the Group Fitness Schedule

Group fitness instructors who ask more often for open slots get more slots.

The day I started sharing my open availability with my group fitness managers (GFMs) was the day my class schedule finally filled up. GFMs at large fitness centers are constantly reaching out to their reliable instructors to get them on the schedule for more classes. When I just started as a group fitness instructor, I often got frustrated when my availability didn’t match up to the days and times my managers sent me. One day, instead of getting frustrated, I simply said “I’m not available that day, but I have open slots on X and X days between X and X times.” Even if there were no slots currently available, I put it in their mind that I was interested in taking on more, so they continued asking. Note: This is also a great way to shift into your ideal schedule.

Although it didn’t happen right away, within a year, I had about 18 classes on the schedule across 3 studios. That didn’t include 1:1 training clients and subbing opportunities, which often raised my total hours to about 25 per week. 

Start Filling Your Schedule As a Group Fitness Instructor Today

If someone ever tells you that it’s not possible to make a full time living as a GFI, tell them they’re wrong! Just like any career, if you’re truly dedicated to teaching, you have to put in the work. With a little persistence, a commitment to honing your craft, and a reputation as a reliable fitness professional, you’re bound to build the class load you desire. Although it may take some time to fill your schedule as a group fitness instructor, it IS possible. If there’s one or more steps above you haven’t yet taken, I recommend that you start today. I have faith in you ❤️

Good Luck,


Want to see more of the content I create? Find all my latest content on my Instagram channel @transformwithnadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Business Advice, Content Creation, Fitness Professionals

Content Scheduling Made Simple for Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Professionals

Are you a fitness, nutrition, or wellness professional looking to engage your community and prospective clients? The content game can seem overwhelming at times, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can have several months to a year’s worth of content scheduled out in no time flat.

Book a Weekly “Get It Done” Day

I have every Friday set aside to work on my major to-do’s. This can be anything from writing blogs to updating my website to program design or marketing tasks. Racheal Cook, whom I just started listening to recently calls this her weekly CEO Date. What you call it is up to you, but pick a day in your week when you have a solid blog of time and use it as your weekly opportunity to get tasks like your content scheduling completed.

Create a Master Content List

Create a document that includes every single blog you and your company have written. Things to include are:

  • Categories
  • Titles
  • Links

You can link the title directly to the blog or include the link on the line below (whatever works better for your mind). Click here for a super simple blog list I created when I was writing for Love to Know.

Fill in the Blanks

I recommend that you have 2-3 blogs a week going out on social channels and newsletters. If you add it all up that means you need anywhere between 104 to 156 pieces of content for the year. If you don’t have enough of your own content, fill in the blanks using content written by professionals you trust. I regularly pull from the content posted on my fitness, nutrition, and wellness bloggers group.

Schedule Your Blogs

Nowadays, scheduling features are built into certain social platforms. Facebook is a good example of this. But I find that scheduling apps are more useful. Not only do they allow you to post the same content on multiple platforms, but they also give you a better visual layout so you can stay organized. My personal favorite is Social Pilot. I chose this platform after quite a bit of experimentation. It’s super user friendly, visually appealing, and serves every function I need as a coach and content creator. Click here to check out the plans they offer.

Scheduling Tips

Once you’ve created your list and booked your “get it done” day, make sure to sit down at your designated time and get to scheduling! My recommendations:

  • Schedule certain categories on certain days. For example, Mondays may be for motivational blogs, Wednesdays for recipes or Nutrition, and Fridays for workout videos.
  • Include a “teaser.” A linked photo is not enough to draw people in these days. Write a sentence or two describing why your community should be interested and how they can benefit from reading/watching.
  • Be specific about the next course of action. Specifically use words “Head to the blog now…” or “Watch the video” or “Follow the link…” You get the picture.

Get as much as you can scheduled in the time allotted, but don’t stress if you don’t finish it all. That brings me to the next important piece.

Book Another Scheduling Date

It always takes longer than I think it will to schedule out my posts, so I often schedule an email to myself (using Boomerang) reminding me to re-up anywhere from one to three months later. Then I forget about it until the reminder pops up in my inbox!

This set it and forget it mentality really takes the stress out of getting your content out there. Although it’s a necessary part of doing business these days, it shouldn’t be something you focus on all the time. After all, you have clients to attend to and prospective clients who are waiting for you to find them.

So, like you tell your own clients, don’t wait. Pull out your calendar and book your first “Get It Done Day” now! Type the word “DONE” in the comments once you’ve taken this first step.

Good Luck,

Nadia 😉