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So You Want To Teach Group Fitness

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Yesterday, when I got to work and unloaded the cupcake torches, I had a little disaster on my hands that looked something like this…


Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone or camera to capture a shot of the real thing.  I ended up leaving a note for the rest of the staff to enjoy a little Tuesday Treat.

At that point, I had pretty much given up and was going to toss the rest of the ice cream cone cupcakes I had sitting in the garage.  As the day went on, I continued to think about my little cupcake mishap and how I could have avoided it…surely I was not the first person to try to transport ice cream cone cupcakes!

So, I googled it, and I found a brilliant idea!



I took cereal boxes and cut little holes in them for the ice cream cone cupcakes to rest.  Perfect!  Another change I made was making my own icing because I knew that it would go through the piping bag better and hold up better on the cupcakes while they sat in my car during my morning gym session.

Yes, that is 110 servings of oatmeal…thank you Sam’s Club


Brian’s dad then had the brilliant idea to put the cupcakes in coolers to protect them and try to keep them cool.  Another perfect idea!


Let’s cross our fingers that we don’t have another disaster upon delivery this morning….


This morning, my sweet tooth was just as awake as I was, and a strawberry smoothie bowl was just what I needed to tame it.

The smoothie mix contained:

  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup banana
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a little water to get things movin’!

I blended everything all together and then topped it with part of a homemade luna bar.  The strawberry, peanut buttery, and chocolaty combo quickly satisfied my sweet craving 🙂

So You Want to Teach Group Fitness?

Recently, I had a request to write a post about how to get involved in the group fitness community and how to break your way into the industry.

I still consider myself very new in the industry, and I am learning new things all the time.  Here are some important tips that I have compiled throughout my experience to help you get more comfortable teaching in front of others, to help you truly get the most out of the group fitness program that you are working in, and to ultimately land your own class slot. I have found that earning your own class slot on the schedule is like gold, and when it’s yours it is yours to do whatever you want with…so don’t take advantage of it and let things fall to the wayside!! Give it everything you got 🙂

1.  Get Certified

Whether it is ACE, AFAA, ACSM, or specific to the type of class you are teaching pick the one that works best with your learning style, time schedule, and will teach you the information that you want to know.  The fact of the matter is, that no matter what you want to teach…you gotta be certified!

2.  Find a Mentor

I was lucky to start teaching group fitness while in college at my school’s gym where we had a huge educational component and a group fitness coordinator that understood what it was like to be a new instructor with many questions and concerns.  Another good thing to do is to find a facility (maybe the gym that you already belong to) that will allow you to sit in on some group fitness classes as a spectator and take some notes.  If you have a friend that is already an instructor, you may be able to sit in on his or her class.  While you may have taken many group fitness classes as a participant, there many aspects to the class that you probably never noticed as a participant that are essential to making it run smoothly.  So, find a mentor, sit in on a class, and take lots of notes.

3.  Treat it Just Like a Job Interview

Because it is a job interview!  I have a separate fitness resume that I have neatly typed up to bring with me when applying for a group fitness position.  Your resume should include:

  • certifications (including CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen, First Aid, etc.)
  • formats you are comfortable teaching
  • leadership experience
  • fitness experience (if you have previously had large fitness accomplishments like placing 3rd in the all-city women’s marathon)

The big question I had was, what do I wear to the interview, or to drop off my resume?  The answer…fitness clothes!  Now, this doesn’t mean the cut-off t-shirt and bleach stained shorts you have had forever, but it does mean to have light makeup on  (if you are a girl!), your hair neatly done, and a nice fitting, matching fitness outfit.

4.  Be Available to Sub

When you finally make it to the gym in your nice fitness outfit ready to turn in your resume, ask to speak with the group fitness instructor.  He or she may be busy and need to schedule an appointment time for you to come back, but he or she may be ready to speak with you right there!  All they will want to do is get to know you, what you love to teach, a little bit about your fitness background, and anything special about you there is to know.  The biggest piece of advice is right here:  be available to sub and let the group fitness coordinator know.  Everyone always needs a sub, and while some gyms have a list of 50 people to call, some gyms have none.  This will help you get your foot in the door, and will allow people to see what you can do on the fitness floor.

5.  Meet People

Once you are on the sub list, the next thing to do is attend as many classes as you can in the formats that you are comfortable teaching.  At the beginning or end of the class, make sure to introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know that you are available to sub.  This will keep you top of mind, and I can almost guarantee that they will call you at some point or another to fill in.  Also, use this opportunity to learn from his or her teaching style and pay attention to the way the class reacts to certain things.

6.  Send an E-mail

Again, once you are on the sub list, send an e-mail to the list of instructors letting them know who you are, what you teach, a little bit about yourself, and of course your availability.

7.  Get Involved

If your gym has special group fitness events, or launches…get involved!  Volunteer your time, attend the event, use it as a chance to meet people, have fun, get a great workout in, and promote group fitness.

There is so much more that could go into how to really make your way in your local fitness community, but these are some of the key tips that have really helped me out in my path.  I hope this helps, and feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have!!


7 Layer Webinar

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Last night, I mentioned that I had a little time zone mix up with a webinar I was scheduled to attend.  Luckily, it was in my favor and I had an extra hour of time before the webinar actually started.

Once 8pm hit the clock, I was ready!  I was completely prepared with water to drink and pen and paper for notes.

The Seven Layer Cake

The webinar was the introduction to a 7-8 part webinar series that will actually take us all the way into October.  Cameron Chinatti, the Director of Education at Stages Indoor Cycling will be presenting almost every other week, educating us on how to effectively communicate with our indoor cycling classes.

Some of the challenges that we face as instructors (and if you attend group fitness I am sure you know!) are how to effectively communicate what to feel, figuring out how to say the same thing in many different “languages”, teaching a class that is effective for the intermediates in the room but uses enough coaching for the newbies.


Cameron said that we will be addressing all of those issues.  She is going to show us how to think about things in the group fitness atmosphere much like a personal trainer does by setting goals for the class so that as a team we can have measurable results.  I like the sounds of that!

Over the course of the 7 or 8 webinars we will be covering everything that takes place in an indoor cycling class from the introduction at the start of class, how to bring awareness to the participants of what they are actually doing, all the way down to the music that we choose (or the icing on the cake as Cameron likes to say!).

I think we have all been in a situation where we have had an amazing instructor that really pushes us to the limits, but also keeps everything safe and integrates his or her knowledge of the body seamlessly into the workout.  On the other hand, we have all been in the class where we either felt completely over worked, or we felt like we had to do another workout afterward.

When I teach my group classes, I don’t want to be in either of those scenarios.  I am very excited for this education.  So many people communicate in so many different ways, and as an instructor we have to tap into all of those methods.  I am excited to be able to use measurable goals with my classes, and overall better my coaching ability.

If you are interested in joining, you can still register for the next segment “Layer 1:  Introductions” which is on Wednesday June 27 at 8pm Eastern time.

Question of the Morning:

What has been your best or worst group fitness experience?  What could have made it better?

Share some stories!

BodyCombat and New-to-Me Fish

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Hello from Fort Fun!  (that would be my hometown of Fort Wayne).


About a week ago, I went to a young professionals event and met some really great people.  There were a couple of awkward silences…but that just happens sometimes I guess.  Making small talk, someone asked where I was from and I replied that I was originally from Fort Wayne.  He then went on to ask if I called my hometown anything else…???  I thought that was a strange question.  Do you have multiple names for your hometown?  He then told me that he had heard it called Fort Fun and wondered if it was true.  While I think Fort Wayne is a great place to raise a family, I think the nickname “Fort Fun” is more of a joke rather than a serious nickname…but I could be wrong.


Anyways…on to lunch!

After coming home from the gym, I sent out another job application, responded to some e-mails, then headed out for a 3 mile run and the next thing I knew I had to shower, pack, and get ready to head to “Fort Fun.”

I quickly whipped up a salad using the rest of the baked tofu and some chopped veggies topped with a salsa and hummus mixture.  It was delicious!

With food in my belly, I then headed out to a meeting about volunteering for a local arts organization before I officially hit the road.  Although the drive home is only two hours…sometimes it is a long two hours.  Today, the drive was long.  I was thankful to finally pull into the driveway of my parent’s home-sweet-home.


As soon as I got there, Mom and I got changed into some workout gear so that we could head to one of my mom’s favorite group fitness classes, BodyCombat.  BodyCombat is a Les Mills exercise program that is pre-choreographed to music much like BodyPump and RPM.  It is a “high intensity martial arts inspired cardio program” that lasts 55-60 minutes.  It was my first time taking the class, but I have to say that I LOVED it!  My mom and I both agree that this workout is very empowering and makes you feel like you could use the punches, kicks, and ducks in an actual fight…although I probably won’t risk trying it 😉  Some of the footwork was a little bit “fancy,” but I can imagine that after attending a couple of different classes and getting used to the format things would get easier.



After our sweaty workout class, Mom and I were more than ready for dinner.  Mom had purchased a new (to us) fish called Swai.  I had never heard of it and neither had Mom, but it was on sale at the store so Mom thought she would give it a try.  What  a good decision!  It had a mild flavor, was nice and sturdy (it didn’t fall apart as Mom was cooking it), and tasted great with some taco style seasonings that Mom put on the fish.

I put my fish on top of some lettuce with onions, mini sweet peppers, and avocado with salsa.  Mom put her fish along with some veggies in a soft taco shell with some cheese.  We both agreed that it was delicious!


Mom also had a little surprise for me when I got home…a free sample of coffee for the Keurig!  Gotta love a free sample 😉

Now, we are watching Mom’s new favorite show, the New Girl.  I have heard a lot of good things about it, but never taken the time to sit down and watch it.  So far, I like what I see!



Have a great evening!