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Group Ex Instructing: Is it For Me?

Updated: Dec 18, 2017

Are you thinking of becoming a certified Group Exercise instructor? Read on.

If you are a self-proclaimed Group Ex junkie like I am, you have probably thought to yourself at some point in time, that you may enjoy teaching Group Exercise classes yourself. You probably find that you have all of the routines from your favorite fitness class memorized, no one stands in your "spot" in class, and you catch yourself thinking, "Hey, I could totally do this!" You are not alone - I would estimate that the majority of amazing Group Ex instructors started off as class addicts who just simply enjoyed the fun atmosphere, the motivational peer-pressure to perform a little more than they normally would with a solo workout, and the camaraderie that inevitably came along with joining their fellow gym rats each week in the front row. It's how I got started, as well.

You probably find that you have all the routines from your favorite fitness class memorized, no one stands in your "spot" in class, and you catch yourself thinking, "Hey, I could totally do this!”

I was an annoying front-row groupie myself, many moons ago. My drug was TurboKick, and I was addicted. Hard core. I showed up every week for our Thursday night class and TurboKicked my heart out. I became friendly with the gym staff and class instructors, and would put in a front desk request for more TurboKick classes to be added to the schedule, every week. The Group Ex coordinator (now my close friend, and fitness mentor), Jenni, surely fed up with my requests, approached me and said, "Would you ever consider getting certified in TurboKick, yourself?" I remember feeling stunned at her question, and a little scared. I was not a size 2. I didn't have super toned muscles. I didn't know one thing about leading a fitness class. There was no way I could get up in front of people and actually DO that... right? But to be honest, there was a large part of me that was just so flattered that she would even ask me, that I did not say no. I asked Jenni about four hundred times if she REALLY thought I could do it, and she reassured me that yes, I could, and she would help me. So I dove in! Ten years later, I'm still teaching TurboKick (it is my first love - I will never give it up!), along with several other formats, and have managed to do a pretty good job, if I say so myself.

So is Group Ex Instructing for YOU? Here's how you find out:

1. Do you have a passion for a certain fitness format?

And I mean a real passion. Do you wake up thinking about the format? Do you make up routines in your mind while listening to a fun song in the car? While you're in the shower, do you imagine yourself in front of a class, calling out cues? If you said, "OMG, yes!" then check! You have the passion, girl.

2. Do you have the time?

More importantly, can you make time to: learn your format, spend time with the choreography, and practice your toes off? Each class format takes time; you are either creating your own material or learning a pre-choreographed format. Either way, prepare to spend hours working to keep your participants engaged and your class fun and fresh.

3. Do you have some spare cash?

I hate to break it to you, but getting certified to teach, purchasing music and/or pre-choreographed programs, buying workout gear, and keeping your certification(s) current really adds up. Of course, if you teach classes, you will be paid to do so, but do not expect to become a millionaire. Each fitness club or gym will have their own hourly pay rate for instructors (this can range anywhere from $10-$50 per hour, with the average landing around $20-$30 per hour), but unless you are teaching many many classes per week, sometimes the cost of teaching outweighs the paycheck for teaching. Sorry. But! There are ways to make a buck when you get really good at group ex instructing. More on that later!

4. Do you want to change your life and have an impact on others?

Teaching group exercise classes is truly amazing. There's something about a room full of hard workers all hitting a move right when the beat drops that still sends chills down my spine. Have you ever gotten goosebumps when you are in full sweat mode? It's an incredible feeling. The impact you will have on others' lives is just as addicting. When participants tell you that you just made their day, show you progress photos, or refer to your class as their "happy place"... pure bliss. YOU can do that. YOU can create that. And I'm here to show you how!

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