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How to Become a Successful Group Fitness Instructor in 2021

May 27, 2021

Teaching group fitness used to be a challenging career path. You had to rely on your connections and the relationships that you built with other instructors.

You had to find a gym that would take a chance on you and allow you to become a group exercise instructor.

This way of doing group fitness is no longer the case.

You can become a certified group fitness instructor on the internet through different group fitness certification programs that will teach you everything you need to know about fitness training, teaching group workouts, designing workouts for specific populations, etc.

Also, with internet technologies, you can leverage to put you in the driver's seat to success as a group exercise coach that was unimaginable a few years ago.

However, the fitness industry has changed drastically over the past few years, making it easier than ever before for anyone who wants to become a group fitness instructor in 2021!

This blog post will discuss how you can become a group exercise instructor by leveraging technology and the internet.

Get Certified

First, you need to get a group fitness certification before you can start teaching as a fitness professional.

There are many group fitness certification programs to choose from, and picking one can be a daunting process.

There are few things you need to ask yourself before choosing a health and fitness certification path.

How long will the program take?

The first thing to consider when choosing a group fitness certification program is the amount of time it will take to go through the course.

The amount of time it will take for you to become a certified group fitness instructor can vary widely depending on the certification program.

  • The first is that some group fitness programs are in-person and occur at specific times, making them less convenient if your schedule doesn't allow for attending those times.
  • Second, look to see if the certifications course is self-paced. A self-paced course means that you could finish it in less than a month, while other certifications may be more intensive and require up to two years for completion.
  • A third thing to consider is how many contact hours are required. Contact hours are the amount of time the course will be in session. Contact hours usually range from 12 to 24+, and if you are working, it can make group fitness instruction not a possibility for you.

What is the cost involved in obtaining a particular certification?

You need to take a look at the overall price of the fitness certification program.

Some group fitness instructor programs may have a high upfront cost, while others charge per class or a monthly subscription.

Here are some factors to look into:

High upfront costs:

Suppose the group fitness instructor program has an expensive upfront fee. In that case, this can be more costly than taking a payment plan option that some fitness studios offer.

So be sure you know what your total out-of-pocket expense will be before you sign on the dotted line.

Class fees:

Some class fees could be $25, while others can be upwards of $100 per class.

The more expensive ones tend to have a higher quality instructor or equipment because they need to justify that high price point to survive in business.

Be careful when choosing this option since it might not always be worth paying for those extras if your only goal is a group fitness instructor certification.

Education Materials:

You'll also want to consider what other costs may come with obtaining your fitness instructor certification through this program?

For example, does the course include textbooks and materials like DVDs or videos?

Do you get access to a library where all your fitness training content is housed conveniently together so any time you can brush up on an exercise?

Continuing education credits (CECs):

If this course is for personal use, then you won't need to worry about getting credits.

However, suppose it's intended as a certification that will be used in professional settings. In that case, you should consider that there may be opportunities where continuing education requirements are required, which can get very costly.

Will this fitness modality work in an online class setting?

Does this group fitness class work well if it was taught over zoom?

Is there equipment required by you or the student?

Can exercises be done easily done in your living room?

These are questions worth checking out before making any commitments.

Making sure that this fitness certification will work online is a crucial factor. This is because:

  • It gives you access to students worldwide
  • It saves money on overhead
  • It gives you flexibility with your schedule
  • You can holder larger classes

Do I need any prerequisites before enrolling in a fitness certification program?

Before enrolling in a fitness certification program, make sure to see any prerequisite skills that must be met.

For example, many group exercise instructors have degrees in physical education or health and wellness before enrolling in an instructor training program.

Suppose someone does not yet have the necessary prerequisites. In that case, they may still choose to become a group exercise instructor by working toward obtaining them at the same time while participating in their group fitness instructor courses.

A bachelor's or master's degree in health and fitness may not be required. Still, the educational requirements may vary depending on which certification you choose.

One of the other things that group fitness instructors must do before enrolling in an instructor training course is to get CPR certified by taking classes locally at their own convenience and becoming first aid certified.

Create your own website and social media accounts

To compete in the world of fitness in 2021, you will need to have your own website and social media accounts. You should also share as much content on these platforms as is reasonably possible.

Ensure that your site has been optimized for search engines. This will make it appear higher up on Google's list when people search for things related to the types of group fitness classes you teach.

Add detailed descriptions about what type of classes you teach, where/when they occur, the price of the class, and any other pertinent information.

Include images and your classes so people can get a better idea of what to expect before they sign up for anything. This should include pictures from each type of workout you offer or individual exercises that make up a class like weights workouts, cardio only workouts, etc.).

Have testimonials on your site where clients have written about their experience taking one or more types of your group fitness classes.

You may also want to consider adding videos or podcasts featuring reviews by past participants to give even more insight into how great these classes are!

Keep an eye out for new opportunities that arise as you grow your fitness business

The job of fitness trainers is changing all the time, and it's essential to stay on top of trends and new developments.

Check out the latest innovations and programs in group fitness instructor technology for 2021:

Veterans Community Care Network (VACCN)

The VACCN is a nationwide program that is a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and providers in the community.

The purpose is to help veterans in their communities live healthier lives by connecting them with VA services, benefits, and resources outside of the hospitals.

Becoming an instructor for this network might be perfect if you are looking to teach group fitness classes for veteran populations or experience pre-military service!

You'll gain exposure and teaching skills that can translate into other areas of your life like personal training clients or even corporate wellness programs.

Also, the VACCN pays trainers at higher rates than traditional fitness industry rates.


This app enables instructors to create workouts and assign them to classes via iPads or other tablets. It also allows for a class outside of their studio by using Google Maps data and sensors from wearable devices such as Fitbit trackers and Apple Watches.

Start teaching online private lessons in addition to group fitness lessons

As you are building your fitness clientele, it is crucial to start teaching private lessons as well.

Not only does this open you to more opportunities, but it also gives clients a more personal experience for their fitness needs. 

Teaching private lessons over the internet has become increasingly popular because individuals can work on their fitness from the comfort of their homes.

Online classes also allow the customer the convenience of working out at home while still getting one-on-one attention from an instructor. This can help break through any barriers they might be experiencing with self-motivation in certain circumstances.

The other benefit of these private fitness lessons is that you can charge increased rates and target specific clientele based on their needs (such as special populations).

Tips for success in the field of being an exercise trainer

To become a group fitness instructor in 2021 can be confusing. With all the different information available on training and certification, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Becoming certified as a group fitness instructor will allow you to teach group exercise classes in various formats ranging from traditional step aerobics programs, yoga, tai chi, circuit weight lifting workouts, boot camps, etc. There's really no limit on your client base!

Many people want this type of service you provide. They might not have access to the classes they want to take because they live too far away from physical fitness facilities like a gym with instructors to teach them.

There are many options for an instructor to offer group fitness workouts online.

You can use sites like Facebook and Instagram to advertise your services and build a following. You can also use technology like Zoom to teach your classes and email marketing like MailChimp to contact your clients.

The most important thing is that people need to know what you do for them to become interested enough in signing up with you.

The hierarchy of group fitness coaching is no longer relevant

There is no better time than now to become a group fitness instructor. With internet fitness becoming the norm, developing your fitness business has become more accessible than ever before.

Group fitness instructors are increasing in demand as more people are starting to discover the benefits of working out from home. With all this new technology available to us, there's never been an easier time or way to start teaching group fitness workouts!

The best part about moving into a group fitness instructor career is that you can choose to have this be a side hustle or a full-time job depending on your personal goals.

There really is no ceiling. If you dedicate yourself to building your clientele and offering consistent classes, you can really develop a training career.


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