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

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Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, How to Become a Fitness Instructor

How to Become a Group Fitness Instructor

Do you love your fitness classes so much that you’re thinking about a career in the field? Or perhaps you’re a lifetime athlete trying to utilize your best skill set to dive into work that you enjoy. A career as a group fitness instructor may be a great fit for you. The process to become one is very straightforward. Here are the steps you need to take to become a group fitness instructor.

Step One: Get GFI Certified

Fitness studios and gyms vary widely in terms of what they offer to members, but one thing that is consistent about 99% of the time is the requirement that instructors obtain and maintain a primary certification in group exercise or group fitness. There are many options for certifications. Among the most popular and recognized in the U.S. are:

The one you choose should reflect what studios in your area accept, as well as the one that fits your budget and learning style best. Most job listings contain a list of the employers’ top picks.

Step Two: Choose a Focus

While primary certifications give you a base of knowledge in terms of anatomy, teaching guidelines, and techniques, they are not specifically oriented toward particular formats. Nor will they teach you how to create and run a class from start to finish. That means, you will need to seek additional education in an area of specialty. Among the most popular group fitness formats are:

  • Group Strength (like my 15 Full Body Workouts series)
  • Dance/Dance Fitness (such as Zumba or UJam Fitness)
  • Bootcamp Fitness
  • Cardio Sculpt
  • Step Aerobics (yes, even now!)
  • Spinning/Cycling

Quick note: If you were thinking of yoga, it’s not technically a group fitness format. If you’re interested in becoming a yoga instructor, look into enrolling in a 200 hour certification program.

Step Three: Land a Teaching Job

Of course, in order to become a fitness instructor, you need to land a job teaching classes.

  • Search your local listings. I’ve had good results with Indeed and Craigslist. A good Google maps search to find out what local studios are in the area will also serve you well.
  • Send your resume with a brief introduction over email. Feel free to follow up with a call or a visit. That way, they won’t see you as just another potential candidate, but rather have a face and personality to attach the documents to.
  • Audition with as many studios as possible. As you will see, the group fitness audition is your gateway into the field, especially when you’re starting out. Click here for tips on how to rock your audition.

In the meantime, get as much experience teaching as you can. Hiring managers will be looking for that as they consider candidates.

Get Started Today

If you’re serious about a career in fitness, get started NOW. The sooner you get your certification, the sooner opportunities will arise for you to use it. I had no idea where my initial group fitness cert would take me. Almost 8 years later, I’m THRIVING in a career that I love. I hope this piece gave you the information and inspiration you need to help you take the next step on your career and fitness journey. Best of luck to you!

Sincerely,

Nadia

PS – Want more advice on how to become a thriving fitness professional and stories about life in the field? Click here to join my mailing list.

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.