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.

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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!