Group fitness classes have exploded in recent years. Millions of people every week engage in classes like Zumba, BODYPUMP, CrossFit, and BootCamp among other classics like cycling and swimming. And as the demand for these classes continues, the demand for instructors will only increase.
Being a group fitness instructor is certainly a rewarding job. It allows you to have a satisfying experience doing what you love, helping people who want to get fit all with a flexible schedule. Getting a job is a more complex process, however, than just signing your name on a dotted line.
In order to become a group fitness instructor, you’ll need an energetic personality, the proper certification(s), and to be in tip-top shape. There are a number of certifications out there as well as a number of group fitness classes, so things may seem overwhelming at times. Don’t worry though, we have a definitive action plan here to help you get started.
Build a Reputation
If you want to build a career as a fitness instructor, you’re going to need to be good at what you do. This means really becoming a master of your craft.
This is going to require you to spend a long time learning your dance or fitness style. This shouldn’t be too hard because a.) You should enjoy what you do and b.) You’ve already been doing it for years.
But that may not be the case for everyone. In fact, you may have only taken a few classes and are already hooked. If you aren’t sure yet what type of course you’d like to teach then try out a few different classes. This could include body-weight training, Pilates, spinning, strength training, dance etc. Gauge how the workout went after each session and ask yourself if you could see yourself being in the position of the instructor.
Get the Right Certification
If you want to build legitimacy as a group trainer, or at least get a solid training gig you’re going to need a certification. This shows potential employers and clients that you are the real deal and that you know what you’re doing. And of course, it gives you the knowledge and skills you need to be a fantastic teacher.
When looking around for your certification, you want to make sure that it’s with a reputable, accredited program. One of the most reputable certifications is the ‘ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification’. ACE is one of the most recognizable names in this industry. Not only are they an NCCA-accredited certifier, but their program goes above and beyond the requirements to give you top-notch training.
Another option is the AFAA Primary Group Exercise certification. The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America provides a great course on teaching future instructors everything they could want to know about the body, program design, and fitness.
What you may want to consider before spending time and money on a certification is to reach out to people and see what they recommend. For example, if you regularly attend a group training class just ask your teacher what they have or recommend. You could also call your local gym and ask what they require of their trainers.
Scout out Jobs
Now that you’re all set with your certifications, it’s time to get that job you’ve been waiting for. Those with fitness certifications don’t have to limit themselves to gyms- they can work at hospitals, wellness centers, community centers, cruise ships, large corporations, universities and more. Thinking outside the box will open a lot of new doors for you.
You also may not want to work directly for a business, you may just want to work for yourself. This is very common at gyms. If you do so then make sure that you take care of all the financial and legal aspects of being a sole proprietorship or a similar entity.
In order to succeed in this industry, you really have to be on top of your game. This means staying on top of the latest trends, products and research in fitness. Not only is continuing education a part of your job, but it also helps you to be able to build rapport with clients when questions arise. Additionally, if you see a new trend in group training becoming popular, than you may want to get on board.
Tips to Be the Best Trainer Possible
There a few more things to keep in mind when getting started as group fitness instructor.
Teaching a fitness class isn’t all fun and games. Remember: It’s work! You’re going to have to be prepared for class with music and necessary equipment, be ready to go and give it your 110% effort even when you’re tired.
Expect a tryout. Most traditional jobs have interviews as it’s a way to put potential employees on the spot to test their skills, and the same goes for fitness instructors. Gyms, health clubs and other organization may want to see your stuff before hiring you, so don’t be surprised when they ask you to ‘try out’ and put on a performance for the sport or program you’re applying for. This is done to test your basic knowledge of fitness, the class you’re teaching and your energy level, which is a huge factor.
Be social. People do group fitness classes in part because it’s a social activity where they can meet similar people. As the teacher, you should facilitate some socializing and discussions.
Always try to improve yourself. This may mean asking for feedback from attendees in order to improve your instruction. You should also consider going to other classes to get new ideas on how to improve your class. To be the best, you always have to get better!
Substitute for other teachers. When a teacher can’t do their duties, the show must go on, and a backup instructor may be called in. By staying on call you give yourself the opportunity to expand your base of attendees.
There you have it. Start doing your research now and soon enough you’ll be a qualified group fitness trainer!