On becoming a fitness instructor

First things – I was supposed to come into work super late, but ended up having to come in early because my email was EXPLODING, so to alleviate the pain and suffering I was dealing with from having to answer 65,000 emails, I bought myself an inappropriately large coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and it’s been sloshing to and fro in my belly.  Wanna know how good it feels to have 18 million gallons of a diuretic sloshing about in your stomach?  Not good at all.

But enough complaining, life is wonderful, and I’m not here to talk about my GI issues.

But I am here to talk about a question I’ve gotten a lot since becoming a fitness instructor in late 2009, after I completed my undergraduate degree.

First and foremost, I can, without a doubt say that becoming a fitness instructor completely changed my life.

I’d been taking Zumba® Fitness classes for a number of years, and had always toyed with the idea of teaching, because I loved the way my instructor made me feel.  After a boyfriend made fun of me so badly that I didn’t want to get certified, I finally got up the nerve and took the plunge a few months after I graduated.  I’m still amazed that my chubby ass got up the gall to to to the licensing weekend, but I went and it changed my life.

Before
As a total side note, I was never obese, but I was eating really poorly, and had put on about 40 pounds when all was said and done in college.

 

So my process for getting licensed and certified in fitness goes like this.

Zumba® Fitness ->Schwinn Cycling Certification->AFAA Group Exercise Certification->Body Pump™ Certification

So for those of you interested in getting certified in group fitness and becoming a fitness instructor, here are a few steps that can get you from the process, to getting the credentials needed to effectively teach a class.

Becoming a fitness instructor

1.  This one seems pretty obvious but go to a lot of classes.  What do you like about your favorite teachers?  Start paying attention to their cueing, their mic level, and how they interact with the class.  My strengths are my dance classes as well as my toning, but it made me a much stronger teacher to see how different groups do different things.

2.  Get the basics.  Before you hop to teaching/getting certified/licensed in something crazy or a specialty like Yoga or Zumba® Fitness, look for a group fitness certification through a program like AFAA.  I DID NOT do this, I did it all backwards, but looking back on it, AFAA was valuable and helped to remind me about some of the safety cues we often forget when we’re getting all hot and heavy in a class.  Like I said, I did this all backwards, but an AFAA cert is really valuable.

3.  Sign up for a training.  Whether’s it’s AFAA, Zumba® Fitness, Pound, or what have you, go ahead and sign up for a training.  Once you sign up (early, cause those things can really sell out), you will be sent some materials.  Definitely look them over, and if it’s a training where you will be presenting for evaluation, definitely study.  ‘Cause you don’t want to be the problem child who has no idea what’s going on.

4.  You’re all signed up for a two-day training!  It’s the night before!  Pack your stuff, pack some snacks, and be prepped to be sore.  I am super active, but the Body Pump™ process had me the most sore that I’ve ever been in my entire life, mostly due to the fact that in the span of 48 hours, we took like 5 classes, and did the Les Mills challenge.

So all of this is how you get to become a fitness instructor…stay tuned for info on how to get to teaching at the gym!

 

 

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4 thoughts on “On becoming a fitness instructor

  1. I’ve been toying around with becoming a cycling instructor for a couple of years. I’d so love to do it but we recently relocated to Switzerland and in order to teach any class here (be it Cycling, Zumba or even personal training) you have to take about 1.5 years worth of classes that will certify you to teach (and train) almost all classes found at a gym. It’s so crazy!

    1. Wow! Just go for it though! That 1.5 years will be up before you know it!

      I didn’t address this in the post, but a lot of yoga instructors go through multi-year processes to get their certs which is why it can get so pricey to go to classes!

    1. Funny enough, my undergrad degree was in Psychology, but during my Masters my focus was on Psych as it related to weight loss and weight loss counseling. I worked for campus recreation and in the summers I was on fitness staff at a weight loss camp. Now I’m the group fitness director for the central Y!

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