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getting into teaching group fitness

by Heather

I’ve been reading Erica’s blog, Itzy’s Kitchen, ever since I first began blogging in 2008.  She’s such an inspiration to me.  When I started teaching group fitness classes she was there to give me tips, advice and tons encouragement.  Now she’s here to share some group fitness knowledge with you!

Hello Fit Mama Real Food readers! My name is Erica and I blog at Itzy’s Kitchen. When Heather asked me to guest post, I was honored. Heather has an amazing attitude towards fitness and life! She is truly an inspiration! We also have a ton in common- we love cooking, baking, our pups, we both teach group fitness classes, and (soon…or if shes had the baby already) are both new Mom’s.

Since starting my blog, one of the questions I get asked most often is: how can I get certified to teach group fitness classes? I wanted to share my experiences/what worked for me.

Why did I want to become an instructor? I have been taking group fitness classes for a very long time! My mom has always been big into group fitness and encouraged my sister and me to be active. When we lived near San Francisco, our gym offered group fitness kids classes and my sister and I would go every now and again. I still remember doing our first “number” to Cold Hearted Snake. Anyways, these first experiences taught me to love group fitness and I have been addicted ever since.

How did I start out? When I lived in MD, the head group fitness instructor at my gym asked if I would be interested in training to become an instructor and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I started with Turbo Kick & hip hop and then moved onto the Les Mills programs. I am now certified in and teach Body Step, Attack and Pump.

How do you get certified? Certification requirements depend on upon the gym you’re teaching at. I would recommend that you talk to whoever the group fitness manager is at your gym and find out what their requirements are. Most gyms require you to be CPR certified. Some also require first aid training. If you’re teaching free style classes, they usually require you to have general group fitness certification which you gain through either an online/study at home or in class program. You can check out ACE, AFAA, and AFPA for more information (there are tons of other associations that offer this type of certification as well, but these three are more well known).

Les Mills classes require you go through a full weekend certification for EACH of their programs. When you are done with the weekend, you receive one of three grades (pass, pass withheld, or re-sit). Given you get a pass or pass withheld, you will go back to your gym and team teach with other already certified instructors for a given period of time. Then you have to submit a video of you teaching a full class and then you get another score (which either requires you to continue to team teach, resubmit your video, or allows you to teach fully on your own). My gym does not require general group fitness certification if you teach Les Mills because their requirements are so high.

Teaching is SO much fun! But it is A LOT of work (especially when you’re first starting out). If you’re interested in trying it out, I think you should definitely give it a go! Again, this is just general information that worked for me. Let me know what questions you have!

Erica is a wife, new mom, group fitness instructor, and cost analyst. Erica lives outside Charleston, SC and absolutely loves it! Erica went to Penn State (where she met her husband!) and majored in Engineering.  You can follow her at Itzy’s Kitchen.

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries June 15, 2012 - 8:18 am

great post! i’ve been interested in getting my group fitness cert for a few years now, and i really just need to stop chickening out and DO it! 🙂

Erica June 15, 2012 - 10:54 am

Thank you for letting me guest post! Such an honor 🙂


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