If you’ve been to any of our Group Fitness classes, you know just how empowering, energetic, and all-around awesome our instructors are. We are so lucky to have them, and we need more superstar instructors just like them. Whether you’re a Group Fitness veteran or a first-timer, there’s a good chance you have what it takes.
As long as you have a base layer of fitness, our Group Fitness Lead Deb wants you to know that you can teach: “If you walk, or swim, or jog, you probably have the fitness level to become an instructor. I personally had no teaching experience before I tried out, I just loved the classes. I didn’t used to be a fitness person; I could barely run, and the most I did was walk, to be honest. But as you go through the training process, you tend to build not only strength and endurance, but confidence that you can teach as well.”
If teaching sounds like a good fit for you, sign up for a tryout. The first step in the process is a workout like any other Group Fitness class. Just get out there and have fun, because our team will mostly be looking to see if you’re enjoying yourself and recovering well from any mistakes.
If you pass through Level 1 to Level 2, you will be a given a short section to teach. The tryout timeline differs depending on the class, as Mind-Body and Group Cycling candidates will go directly to Level 2 a few minutes after Level 1. For Floor classes like Zumba and HIIT, there’s a meeting after Level 1 before Level 2. For all classes, you will be connected with multiple instructors after Level 1 who will give you pointers for the next step and are available to answer any questions.
If you’re hired, the spring semester is when you’ll be trained. You will be given a small segment of two classes a week to teach for the entire semester. The teaching portion will be 5-10 minutes of a class, but you’ll be with a seasoned instructor to assist you. These mentors practice with you, show you how to do moves, help with your cuing and mechanics, and whatever else you might need. We’re here to help, because we know that the process can seem daunting.
Once you’ve completed the tryout and training process, the benefits of teaching will soon follow: “As a PhD student, I’ve had to present my research in formal settings with rooms full of people, and had lots of eyes on me,” Deb says. “I remember one of my first seminars, my program director said ‘You’re such a natural speaker!’ I just thought, ‘Yes, because when I have a room full of sometimes up to 90 people, looking at me for what to do next, I have to have that command and confidence that I know what I’m doing.’ You just feel more natural being in front of a large group of people and speaking.”
That newfound confidence isn’t even Deb’s favorite teaching benefit, believe it or not. She says it’s more about the impact she has on people who take her classes. “At the end of the semester, when someone comes up to me and says ‘I really enjoyed your classes all semester, I looked forward to it every week, or it really brightened my week.’ It may sound cliché, but the fact that you actually touch people’s lives, and you actually keep them motivated to incorporate a healthier lifestyle, that’s what I find the most rewarding.”
Group Fitness Instructors not only get paid to work out, develop skills, and impact people’s lives, but also find a place and group to call home. “I am originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, so I moved up here when I started my program, Molecular and Environmental Toxicology, in 2013,” Deb said. “My little sister’s here, but most of my family’s still at home. Fitness has been something I’ve liked the most here, because after spending a lot of my life in the Caribbean, there was a huge culture shock when I moved here.”
“Through the fitness program, I found something to make this feel more like home, because I have such a strong connection with Rec Sports through teaching.”
Whether you want to help others, better yourself, join a new community, or all of the above, there are so many reasons to teach Group Fitness. Join us from 7:30pm – 8pm on Monday, October 8 at the Nat in Room 1190 for more tryout info and answers to all your questions. Register here for any of the three tryouts. The first tryout, for Floor Instructors, will be on Sunday, October 14.