Who likes doing anything alone? Humans are social creatures, and we prefer dining, traveling, and, well, hanging around with someone rather on our own.
Fitness falls into that category as well.
It turns out that the best way to motivate people to be physically active – and stick with it in the long run – is through group classes.
According to a Nielsen study of over 3,000 group fitness participants, 85% of members train together twice a week. What’s more, 43% do it 4 times every single week.
That’s a bit of exercise science for you!
In an industry struggling with client retention, organizing a group exercise class seems to be the way to go. If you’re looking for a way to boost your career as a fitness trainer, or want to provide further training for your gym’s fitness professionals, this may be the solution for you.
Skip ahead to:
- What is Group Fitness?
- Why Become a Group Fitness Instructor?
- How to Get a Group Fitness Certification
What is Group Fitness?
For many people, being into fitness means that:
- You’re a lone gym rat, spending dozens of hours exercising alone every week
- You’re working one on one with a personal trainer to motivate yourself
However, group fitness is a legitimate form of fitness.
Now, while the term “group fitness” has a specific meaning – fitness done in a group setting led by a personal trainer – it can mean a few things.
Group fitness classes, however, don’t have to revolve around a single type of experience. It all depends on the trainer and their preferences.
For example, a group trainer can change the program on the go if the members aren’t yet physically capable of doing the exercises.
A trainer can hold choreographed classes, so that the entire group could follow and repeat them.
Another option is to split members into different groups and have them do exercises that are suited for their strength, fitness, and experience levels.
A lack of flexibility certainly isn’t a problem for fitness instructors. That’s one of the many perks of getting a group fitness certification.
Why Become a Group Fitness Instructor?
In the past couple of years, the demand for talented and enthusiastic group fitness instructors has exploded.
So for those looking to start or advance a career in the fitness industry, this is the perfect moment to do so. It’s a great time to transition from personal to group instructor too.
If none of this sounds awfully specific, you still might be a little sceptical about it.
That’s completely understandable.
For that reason, we’ve prepared a few specific reasons to explain why now’s the time to try to become a group instructor.
1. Fast Growing and Diverse Industry
For starters, unlike many other industries at the moment, the fitness industry has found ways to navigate the pandemic.
While gyms have seen a steep decline in memberships in the past 6 months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the industry is holding up surprisingly well. Many fitness instructors, organizations, and businesses have managed to take their business online.
Not only did they manage to survive this period, but some even profited. Companies that launched an on-demand online strategy earned an average of $50k in the first month alone.
2. Help People Achieve Their Goals
Another huge benefit of a career in fitness is the high satisfaction level associated with the job. As a trainer, your job is to help people set fitness goals, achieve them, and feel better about themselves in a group setting.
The instructor is the one who anchors the entire group and makes sure that everyone is on the right course.
Research shows that when exercising in group a setting, there’s both more energy and healthy competition among the members. Motivating people to compete and observing their progress will keep you interested in your job and serotonin levels high.
3. Deliver The Best Experience Possible in Class
Admittedly, one-on-one sessions have their perks. But for most people, money is the biggest issue. People spend thousands every year, just to have someone force them into health and fitness.
However, that’s why personal fitness classes are not a lot of fun for most people.
On the other hand, group fitness classes are a lot cheaper, easier, and more fun for everyone involved. People feel less pressure and anxiety when it is time to workout.
You, as an instructor, will feel like a part of the entire experience and help maintain it.
4. Good Earning Potential
Despite how much we talk about positive energy and job satisfaction, we’re aware that when it comes down to it, most people are looking for one thing: money.
Fortunately, being a group instructor isn’t one of those enjoyable, low-paying jobs. Quite the opposite, actually. Group fitness instructors earn a healthy sum. According to the US jobs website Zip Recruiter, the average wage for a fitness instructor in 2019 is $41,794 a year in the USA.
5. Progress in Your Career
If you’ve just started your fitness journey, working as a group instructor may be the right career choice for. Before, credible certification for group instructors was optional. Nowadays, it’s practically mandatory. Most gyms won’t hire you without group fitness certification.
You shouldn’t look at this as a crutch.
Instead, you should view it as an opportunity to improve your skills as an instructor. Certification will help you develop your “people skills” and give you the tools you need to command a relatively sizable group of people.
Does all of this look enticing?
If this piques your interest, your next step should be to find the right certification course. But if you’ve never done this before, that could be easier said than done. Fortunately for you, the next thing we’re talking about is…
How to Get a Group Fitness Certification
When it comes to becoming certified, there’s more than a few options when it comes to picking an online course.
First, you need to make sure that the certificate you’re applying for is valid in your country. For instance, there are different certification courses for EU and US citizens.
Although most people can apply, there are certain requirements you need to fulfill in order to qualify for a group fitness certification, including:
- You need to be at least 18 years of age
- You need to have at least a high school diploma
- You have to currently hold a CPR/AED certification
- You have to go through a live skills demonstration
- You must give a government-issued photo ID with a signature
When you apply, you won’t be in a rush to finish the course. You can read up on the study materials for the final exam at your own pace.
However, most candidates are able to finish the course in 3 to 5 months. On average, you will need 80 to 100 hours of work to get your accreditation.
Now, let’s look at the different certification courses…
When it comes to fitness certification, the ACE – or The American Council on Exercise – has been the leading organization in the field for quite some time now. The organization is accredited by the NCAA and all of its basic certifications are included in the group fitness certification.
Furthermore, this is the only certification course on the list that’s valid in most countries of the European Union and the United States.
The American College of Sports Medicine is a highly-reputable organization that’s also certified by the NCAA. The organization has been active for a long time and their certificate gives you access to a lot of resources and research.
Their course teaches you about endurance, cardiovascular systems, and strength exercises. Other fitness areas like flexibility and conditioning are also covered in the course, so you can give your clients a well-rounded workout.
Despite it not being well-known as the previous two entries on the list, the Athletics and Fitness Association of America is possibly the most group-fitness oriented organization here.
They maintain a tight network of instructors.
Their website even has a “Instructors Who Rock” section where they praise some of their most efficient instructors. The course will teach you about a number of topics including how to design and lead a class and how to give nutrition advice.
To round up the list, we have the National Exercise Trainers Association. Their certification program is continuously updated so if you opt for them, you’ll be able see the cutting edge of the group fitness industry.
The program will help you develop effective teaching strategies and develop all of the necessary skills to become a great instructor. Their interactive group fitness program will ensure that you’ll be able to create amazing classes for clients.
Once you manage to pass the exams, you’ll become a certified fitness instructor and you’ll be able to apply for a job you want. You’ll have access to exclusive content and resources that will help you launch your career. This includes, but is not limited to, discounts on equipment, access to different fitness programs, and liability insurance.
Last but not least, you’ll have a wallet ID card and a certificate that you’ll be able to carry around and verify your crediants to potential clients you meet.
Not to mention that you’ll be able to go visit a gym and be hired on the spot.
Have you ever heard of the Kohler Effect?
If you haven’t, it’s actually an established phenomenon that occurs when a person works harder as a part of a group than on their own. No one wants to be the weakest member of the group.
That’s why people push themselves harder than they would normally.
That’s the psychology behind group fitness. It motivates people to work hard and to stick with their program for a long time. Once you pass your group fitness certification exam and get a group together, you’ll be able to have a secure job for years to come.
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