Top 15 Tips for Auditioning to be a Group Fitness Instructor
How to Become a Group Fitness Instructor
A group fitness instructor is the high-energy person on the microphone at the front of the class who leads a group of people in a specific exercise routine. Group fitness instructors can teach all types of classes, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, mind and body, aerobic, strength training, spin, and more. Becoming a group fitness instructor is not difficult, but it does take time to practice and study. Use these steps to pursue your dream of being a group fitness instructor!
Becoming Certified to Teach Group Fitness Classes
Try out different group fitness classes to determine what you like.There is a long list of group fitness classes available. To be sure you’re really interested in becoming a group fitness instructor, it’s a good idea to try several different types of classes to make sure it’s something that really interests you. Pay attention to what the instructors do in these classes and ask yourself if you could do the same thing.
- Try a variety of classes such as mind-body, aquatic, bodyweight training, strength training, and dance fitness.
- Try classes that use a variety of different types of equipment.
- Pay attention to what the instructor does and says in the class, specifically notice the things you like and dislike about the instructor. Take away ideas on how you could either use similar techniques or thoughts on what techniques are not working well.
- A general group fitness instructor may end up teaching a wide variety of classes, so it’s important to understand you may need to be flexible and diversify your teaching skills.
Find a mentor.Becoming a fitness instructor is easier if you have someone helping to guide you. A mentor is a great asset to have as you work your way to becoming a certified group fitness instructor. Your mentor can be anyone who is already in the industry, but you should look specifically for someone who teaches the type of fitness classes you’re interested in.
- There is no step-by-step plan to finding a mentor. You may have to attend several classes and speak to several instructors before you find someone who you really admire.
- Don’t just learn from your mentor, learn from your mentor’s students. Attend your mentor’s classes and speak to the students about what makes a great instructor.
Decide what type of certification you’d like to obtain.Most employers will expect group fitness instructor candidates to have a certification. There are currently 5 different organizations which certify group fitness instructors in the United States. Each organization offers different benefits and has different downsides. You need to research all of them to determine which certification will work best for you.
- Information about the American Council on Exercise (ACE) can be found here — .
- Information about the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA) can be found here — .
- Information about the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) can be found here — .
- Information about the Aerobics and Fitness Association of American (AFAA) can be found here — .
- Information about the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) can be found here - .
- If there is a specific employer you’d like to work for, it may be a good idea to contact them to determine which certification they prefer for group fitness instructors.
- Different countries have different certification requirements for becoming a group fitness instructor. If you're note sure what the requirements are in your country, look it up online or ask a local group fitness instructor.
Enroll in a certification program.Once you’ve decided which certification you want to pursue, you’ll need to register for the program. The easiest way to register is via each organization’s website. Each organization offers different deals and bundles that may combine your study material costs and your exam fee into one payment, but you are not required to do this.
Study the exam material.Unless you decide to enroll in a course or workshop, studying for the certification exam is done at your own pace. Some certification organizations require that the exam is completed within a certain time period after you have enrolled, so check your registration to determine if you have a time limit.
- Some organizations offer in-class or online workshops or courses in addition to study materials and the certification exam.
Perform one or more practice exam.Some certification organizations may either provide practice exams as part of a package or offer practice exams for sale at an additional cost. Practice exams are normally exams from previous years that you can use to test your own knowledge at home. In order not to be surprised during the actual exam, it is always a good idea to complete one or more practice exam in advance.
Book your certification exam.Use the certifications online booking website to select a day, time, and location to take your exam. Be sure to read all the details about what you can and can’t bring to the test, and any other important logistics for test day.
- Some organizations require that you have your CPR certification before the exam and you will be required to present that certification before you begin.
- Some organizations will allow you to take the test at home and then submit it online for marking.
Complete the certification exam.Some certification exams will consist of both a written and a practical component, while others may only include a written component. If your certification includes a practical component, you’ll be required to demonstrate specific exercises. The written component consists of specific questions that you answer either on paper or via computer.
- Most organizations require that you attend the certification exam in-person at an exam location. However, some organizations may allow you to complete the exam at home and submit your results on your own.
- All of the certification organizations require a certain minimum mark in order to obtain your certification. If you were not able to achieve the minimum mark, they will usually allow you to write the test, at least, one more time, but there will be a cost involved.
Obtain your CPR certification.Most, if not all, employers will require group fitness instructors to have a CPR and AED certification before they can teach. These certifications are available through the Red Cross. You can find a location near you using the Red Cross’ website and sign-up for the appropriate course online.
- The Red Cross’ website can be accessed here — .
- The Red Cross offers classroom-only courses and blended online/classroom courses.
- The certification usually combines adult and pediatric first aid, CPR, and AED into one course.
- You will need this certification before you can work, and in some cases before you can take the exam, therefore it’s a good idea to work towards this certification while you’re studying for your group fitness instructor certification.
- This certification is good for two years, so you will need to renew it if you continue to teach after two years.
Preparing Yourself for the Job Market
Perform a job search.Once you’ve become certified, it’s time to look for a job as a group fitness instructor. Start your search by determiningwhereyou want to work geographically. Then start searching for specific gyms, organizations, and jobs within that geographical location.
- Be sure to include organizations like hospitals, wellness department, universities, community centres, country clubs, cruise ships, and even corporations in your job search. Many of these organizations employ group fitness instructors on some level.
- Research whether the certification program you went through has any tools or resources to help you find a job. Some of these programs offer their graduates guaranteed interviews for some positions.
Purchase music and put together playlists.The music played during a group fitness class is often the responsibility of the instructor. It needs to be set to the right beat for the movements being performed, and it needs to transition to a different tempo when required.
Prepare a demonstration class for a potential employer.Some potential employers will want to see you in action before they’ll hire you as a group fitness instructor. It’s a good idea to be ready for this by preparing a specific routine that you can have ready-to-go if and when you get a call for an interview.
- This demonstration won’t have to be as long as a normal class, it’s usually closer to 5 to 20 minutes in length.
Start your own business.As a group fitness instructor, you can also work for yourself and offer classes where you’re able to find space — you don’t necessarily have to own a gym. Keep in mind that starting your own business is challenging and has a lot of additional legal requirements you need to complete before you can start working.
- You may want to consider consulting a lawyer to ensure you have all the proper documentation needed to start your own business, including insurance.
Market and advertise your business to gain clients.As a new group fitness instructor, possibly with your own business, you may need to spend some extra time getting yourself known in your community and with potential clients. One of the best ways to bring in new clients is through word of mouth, so encourage your existing clients, friends, family, etc., to spread the word that you’re an awesome instructor.
- Great marketing tools include: personalized websites (that are well maintained), social media pages (that are frequently updated), flyers and posters, business cards, and newsletters.
- You may also want to consider offering free classes for new clients in order to encourage them to give you a try. If they have a great time, they’re likely to come back AND talk about you to their friends.
Keeping Your Skills and Knowledge Up-to-date
Keep yourself up-to-date on industry trends.The fitness industry is constantly changing. New equipment, exercises, diets, programs, plans — you name it — are constantly being introduced. New research into human health and nutrition is always being published. As a group fitness instructor you should stay as up-to-date as possible with things happening in the industry.
- Some great ways to stay up-to-date include: subscribing to industry newsletters and journals, attending continuing education seminars and workshops, attending new classes offered by other instructors, etc.
Ensure you obtain the proper number of continuing education units before your re-certification.As a group fitness instructor, you’ll need to be re-certified every 2 years. Re-certification usually requires a certain number of hours of continuing education units (CEUs) within that two-year span. Only some courses and activities will count towards your CEUs.
- Refer to your certification organization’s website to determine which courses or workshops qualify as CEUs for your specific certification.
- Don’t avoid a workshop or course just because it doesn’t count towards a CEU, any new information you can learn about the industry is still important.
- Note that some workshops and courses may require the support of a gym or fitness centre before you’re able to attend. This simply means you need to be currently employed to take the workshop or course.
Obtain feedback from your students, mentor, supervisor, and other group instructors.While you can certainly improve your group fitness instructing skills on your own, it is always a good idea to ask a variety of other people what they think. Students might be able to provide you with ideas on what’s working well and what they don’t like. Mentors and supervisors may be able to point out areas they’d like to see you improve upon. And other group instructors may be able to provide you with tips and ideas on how to demonstrate a specific move in a way you hadn’t thought about before.
Work to obtain other fitness certifications.Your group instructor certification should just be the first step in your fitness career. This initial certification teaches you the basics and will allow you to teach a variety of fitness classes. But if there’s a specific type of program you’re really interested in (e.g. yoga, pilates, etc.) you may need to work towards additional certifications.
- Ask other group instructors where they obtained their additional certifications and if they would recommend that route.
- Ask your employer what additional certifications they respect and encourage.
- Use the internet to search for other group instructor certifications available in the United States.
QuestionI want to become a group fitness instructor, yet I am overweight. How can I lose weight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCut out all drinks from your diet that aren't water. Walk for 1 hour a day. Start some kind of strength training even if it is just bodyweight exercises. Eat whole, healthy foods.Thanks!
- To become a group fitness instructor you do not need a college or university education. The main requirement you must meet before you can become certified is that you are 18 years of age or older.
- Becoming certified to be a group fitness instructor is not the same as being certified as a personal trainer. If you also want to do personal training, you will need to obtain a separate certification.
- Not all group fitness instructor certifications are valid in more than one country. If you are interested in teaching fitness classes in another country, or you are planning to move to another country, you will need to ensure the certification you pursue will allow you to do this.
- Be a role model to your students and clients. If you are teaching a weight loss course and you are overweight, the students will wonder why you are overweight since you are teaching a weight loss class.
Video: How To: Group Fitness Instructor - AFAA Certified
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