Group Fitness | Business

How Much Do Group Fitness Instructors Make?

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Group Instructors, How Much Do Group Fitness Instructors Make?

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You are the perfect fit for a group instructor! 

You’re passionate! You love helping people! You love fitness! You love group classes! 

Whether you are looking to make a career change, add to your personal trainer credentials, or make extra money, a group fitness certification is a great fitness cert to have. 

Follow along and we will explore some of the nitty-gritty details of a group fitness instructor’s role and the income potential. You will see why this credential is a favorite for many personal trainers and fitness fanatics!

The Group Fitness Instructor

One of the best things about being a group fitness instructor is that you get to help a lot of people at once. You have the ability to create an incredible community of people working towards improving their health. 

Group fitness instructors can work within a variety of different niches (yoga, indoor cycling, step, Zumba, etc.). And, although they don’t work with clients one-on-one, they should be able to observe and suggest proper exercise modifications during the class. They should be organized, flexible, educated, high-energy, and engaging. In addition to coaching a group exercise class, they are often responsible for the music, the set-up, and take-down of the class. 

Group Fitness Instructor Hourly Pay

Group fitness instructors may encounter a variety of pay structures depending on the facility they work for. 

  • Some facilities pay group instructors an hourly rate. 
  • Other instructors may earn a flat rate per class. 
  • Group instructors can also be paid per head (a flat rate for each client that attends their group fitness class). 
  • And, some facilities allow instructors to charge and collect payment from each client individually and pay a flat rate to the gym facility to use the space for each class. 

Although there is variance in the pay structure of different facilities, the average hourly income for fitness instructors in the US was around $19/hour in 2019 (1). The flexibility in income options makes group fitness instructing an awesome full-time or part-time opportunity. 

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Group Instructors, How Much Do Group Fitness Instructors Make?, Group Fitness Class

Group Fitness Instructor Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for group fitness instructors in 2019 was just over $40,000 per year (1). There are, however, instructors who make much more than this and there are instructors who make less than this.

Several factors play a role in how much money a group fitness instructor makes. Because of that, group fitness instruction can be an incredibly flexible field that allows you to structure your work and income to best fit your needs. Here are a few things you will want to consider regarding your income potential: 

Number of Classes

For instructors paid by the class or hour, increasing or decreasing the number of classes you teach will have the greatest influence on your income. If the number of classes in the niche you teach is maxed out at your gym, consider exploring class times at other gyms (if you are contractually able to).

Expand Your Skills

Another way you can increase the number of hours or classes you teach is by expanding your skillset. If you’re certified to teach indoor cycling, yoga, and step group classes, it may provide more teaching opportunities than if you are only certified as an indoor cycling instructor. 

Become the Best in Your Niche

If you are an incredible instructor, clients will go out of their way to come to your fitness class. The best instructors typically have full group exercise classes. If you’re an instructor paid per attendee, this can significantly impact your income. And, full classes are often a catalyst to the addition of extra classes to the schedule. 

Explore Different Pay Structures

As mentioned earlier, clubs have different pay structures. Do your research on the types of classes you teach, the availability, and the pay structures in your area so you can determine the best fit for you.

Consider Your Hours

Although clients will go out of their way for the best fitness professional, there are some limitations to that. If the demographic you teach is unavailable during the times you instruct, you may not have as large of a class. Whether your focus is new mom’s with babies, after-school athletes, or seniors, it’s important to take into consideration the times that are best suited for your ideal clients. If you teach fitness classes that aren’t specific to any demographic, you will want to consider the times that are busiest at the gym (ex. mornings before 7 am and evenings after 5 pm).

What Makes a Good Fitness Instructor—10 Bonus Tips for Success

The following list includes a few bonus tips to increase your success as a group fitness instructor.

  1. It is the clients’ workout, not the instructor’s workout. Although, instructors will likely get a workout while teaching, the class should include proper demonstration with an emphasis on client observation so they can coach, modify, and encourage!
  2. You set the energy of the class! Own it! 
  3. Safety and proper form should always be high priorities.
  4. Be open to feedback from clients and coworkers. If you listen, they can help make you a better instructor.
  5. Connect with everyone in the room during class. Many clients come for the encouragement, community, and relationships.
  6. Volume, tone, clarity, and articulation are extremely important. Practice them all!
  7. Know how to modify every exercise. This doesn’t just include those who have injuries or movement limitations. It is important to know how to challenge more advanced clients as well.
  8. Stay professional! Talk, build relationships, and get to know your clients but always remain professional.
  9. Visual and verbal cues are essential! Learn them, practice them, and use them.
  10. Have fun and be yourself!!

Whether you pursue a part-time or full-time route, group fitness instruction can be a great source of income or extra income. And, the best part is, you’re doing what you love, changing lives, and creating a healthier world!

Are You Ready to Become a Group Fitness Instructor?

The time is now! The world needs more fitness professionals that can help people improve their health. ISSA’s Certified Group Exercise Instructor course can be done from home, at your pace, and on your time. What are you waiting for?!



  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fitness Trainers and Instructors, Internet: (visited August 16, 2020).