All You Need to Know About Becoming A Group Fitness Trainer

Group Fitness

All You Need to Know About Becoming A Group Fitness Trainer

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Date: 2019-12-18T00:00:00-05:00

People are naturally social and generally enjoy being around other people. Fitness should be fun, engaging, and best enjoyed with others as well! Group personal training has gained popularity over the last 20 years and it is not a fad. There are many benefits to group fitness classes for both the trainer and the participants.

NBC news recently reported on the benefits of group fitness. The "tribe mentality" helps participants commit to their fitness goals, challenge themselves more, and increase their adherence to a program by keeping things fresh and fun. Humans have an inherent competitive nature and sweating and, hopefully, smiling with others increases endorphins! This typically means we feel happier and more satisfied. The fitness instructor for a group class has everything to do with how the participants feel!

Whether you currently train in health clubs or independently or are just getting into fitness, this is everything you need to know about becoming an instructor for groups of all sizes.

What Does A Group Trainer Do?

The first priority of a group fitness instructor is to keep their clients safe. Having an in-depth knowledge of physiology, movement, potential dysfunctions, and program design. If you are not a certified personal trainer already, dive into the guaranteed ISSA Certified Fitness Professional credential today. We guarantee you will get a job as a personal trainer once certified or your money back!

While being a personal trainer is not a prerequisite of teaching group fitness classes, the experience does help. Knowing how to navigate the fitness industry, working face-to-face with clients, and program design will make the transition smoother. Keeping clients safe means properly cueing and demonstrating the movements they will be performing as well as knowing how to make adjustments and corrections if needed.

A more subjective skill you must possess as an instructor is the ability to motivate and engage many people at once. This means different things to different clients, so it's up to you to engage with each individual on some level and learn how they need to be challenged. While this requires a lot of work, it is the best part about being a fitness professional! Small conversations and interactions generate meaningful, lasting connections.

A group trainer will also drive the tempo of the class. If you teach yoga classes, the tempo is understandably slower. If you run a boot camp or a running group, you'll need to pick up the pace! Knowing your audience and the goals of the group is key.

There Is More Than One Way to Be A Group Trainer!

Fitness classes are not one size fits all. The goals of the participants will dictate which group classes they should be doing to best fit their needs.

First, the type of group fitness trainer can vary. There are small group trainers who work with groups of three to ten clients at a time. This can come in the form of a small outdoor bootcamp, a small buddy group in a health club, or a specific seniors class working on something basic like balance.

There are also group fitness instructors who can lead classes of ten to 40 or more individuals at once in many different settings. From yoga to HIIT interval classes, running groups, and sports conditioning, group fitness is everywhere!

Next, you will most likely want to specialize the groups you are running to better market and capture the ideal clientele. Some potential groups to consider are:

  • Seniors

  • Youth

  • Corrective exercise (condition specific)

  • Sports training and conditioning

  • Bootcamps

  • Running and marathon training

  • Obstacle race training

The program design you create or use will be targeted towards the people you are working with. Spotlight the goalsof the group when planning everything from the location to the warm-up and even the music! Finding a specialty you are passionate about will make what you do even better. Special population training is a much needed, focused element of the fitness industry.

Benefits of Group Personal Training - Why Is It So Great?

There are so many positives for group personal training for both the clients and the fitness professional.

The cost of group personal training per individual is much lower than solo sessions in most cases. Instead of $70 per hour in a health club, a participant may spend $15 to $25 per class to engage in a group training session. Thus, the potential client pool gets larger and most clients can afford more sessions. This keeps them in the program longer so long as they are getting results and see a value, which also gives them more time to make strides towards their goals. In the end, results are paramount. Good results are what drive your clients to refer their friends and family and stay with you long term.

The personal trainer or fitness instructor also has the potential to multiply their earnings in a single hour. Instead of making a percentage of the same $70 the client spends for a single session, if they have, for example, eight clients each paying $25 in a small group, that's now a $200 session for the same amount of time! The fitness instructor has tripled their money and their time is now more valuable.

Another real-life scenario, should you choose to pursue group fitness instruction in a health club: On the gym floor, you may make $15 per hour working with individual clients. In a group class, you can earn up to $60 teaching a full fitness class in the same hour! It is a great way to supplement and boost your income.

Check out this ISSA blog post on earning more and saving time as a group personal trainer!

Reported salaries for group trainers range from $20 to $25 per hour in a health club setting. Smaller studios or franchises can pay up to $65 per class when the room is full!

Another great benefit of group fitness classes is the ability to affect more clients in less time. A common characteristic of a successful certified personal trainer is their passion to help people. Creating a fun, engaging, and results-driven environment is the formula for developing well-attended fitness classes.

So, You're In? How Do You Get Started?

Group fitness trainers and instructors should be certified. A general trainer certification is strongly recommended so you have the basic knowledge of kinesiology, nutrition, general dysfunctions, and program design. Being certified also gives you a chance to interact with clients (and potential clients for group classes) and understand the process of intake and workout programming that fitness professionals do.

The next step is to earn the group fitness certification. Why do you need a certification? Most health clubs and diligent clients will look for certified trainers when hiring or selecting a group to join. The certification is designed to teach you the ins and outs of program design for large and small groups, exercise selection, effective cueing and movement patterns, and even how to manage your business to name a few things. Having all of the tools the most successful group fitness trainers and instructors have will increase your rate of success as you progress.

Learn more about the ISSA Group Fitness Certification here:

ISSA Group Fitness

This certification will allow you to be a group fitness instructor anywhere you wish to teach! The self-guided course takes 8 to 12 weeks to complete and the exam is taken online when you are ready! The course even includes an online exercise lab that allows you to view more than 200 different movements from multiple angles to ensure you teach and cue effectively with the goal of preventing injury.

Set Yourself Apart!

As discussed earlier, finding a niche as an instructor will allow you to focus your efforts on a certain population with specific goals. Here are some additional certification courses to explore that will, again, give you the education needed to optimize results in your target populations. In the fitness industry, your certification reinforces your expertise and the results your clients get prove your proficiency!

  • The baby boomers are aging quickly! Keep them stronger with the Senior Fitness Certification.

  • Kids are starting sports as young as nine years old. Knowledgeable trainers are desperately needed to keep them strong, agile, and healthy! The Strength and Conditioning certification gives you the means to work with athletes of all sports and any age.

  • Speaking of youth, working with kids under the age of 18 requires a special skill set and an in depth understanding of the way we move as we grow. The Youth Fitness certification delivers these insights.

Now you know that you can do so much more as a group fitness instructor! It's time to get certified and see what you can create! Fitness professionals are a wealth of knowledge for those who seek us out for health and wellness. Do your part and gain the knowledge as you help others reach their goals and live healthy, strong lives.

Sign up to Stay connected to all the ways ISSA can help you grow your career

I consent to being contacted by ISSA.
Learn More
ISSA — 11201 N. Tatum Blvd Ste 300 PMB 28058 — Phoenix AZ 85028-6039 — USA