Sunday, October 31, 2010

E: Becoming a Group Fitness Instructor & Pumpkin Seeds

Hello and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And a very special Happy Birthday to my awesome Daddy! We are going out to celebrate this morning at brunch- can’t wait.

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

Christmas 2009 009

(sweaty mess during a Body Attack Launch)

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 I 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.

P1080332 (Body Step launch)

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.

(group shot from another Body Step launch)

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).

(Body Pump)

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.


(Red, White & Blue Body Attack launch)

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!

As a side note- how has your weekend been? Ours has been pretty good. Josh is a little sick, so we’ve mostly been hanging around the house. Luckily, this has allowed me to get a lot of cooking/baking & cleaning/errands in. We finally carved our pumpkins (they are pretty sad looking- Josh and I are not artistic ;)). The best part of pumpkin carving is cooking up the seeds. I rinsed & dried mine, covered them in a little olive oil, chili powder and a pinch of salt and baked them at 250 degrees for one hour:

pumseeds 002 
Party time tonight! Details to come :).


Lauren said...

You have been such a wealth of information, support and encouragement in my own fitness instructor journey and I couldn't be more grateful.
I owe so much of it all to you!!! :)

Now if I can only make it to one of your classes someday, I'll be fulfilled. ;)

Corey @ the runner's cookie said...

I really enjoy hearing about people's careers and the paths they took to get there. That's awesome that you worked so hard and found something you really enjoy :) And Body Pump is one of my favorite workouts!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

You can always tell you're SO passionate about teaching your fitness classes--it must be inspiring to see everyone coming to learn from you! Oo have fun at brunch!

Nisrine said...

That is so cool. I wish to be as fit as you one day.

Anonymous said...

it would be so fun to teach a fitness class one day... I don't know if i'm cut to be aerobic class instructor, but I'd love to be able to teach yoga one day :)
happy halloween!!!

Susan said...

I always see the instructors at my local ymca and think gosh that seems so tough! I have tons of respect for you girl! Plus, you are doing something you LOVE, which is awesome.

I can't wait to crack open the pumpkin that's been sitting on our porch and roast me some seeds!

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

Hey Erica! I really missed reading your blog! I am attempting "time management" so I can continue to blog and read blogs :-) hehe
great story!
Happy Halloween!

Janetha @ meals + moves said...

I wish I could come to one of your classes! I bet you are a GREAT instructor. Highly motivating :) Marshall loves pumpkin seeds, I should make these for him. Hope you had a great brunch! Happy Bday to your dad!

Maria said...

Great info! I love Les Mills classes. I wish I could take one from you! I went to Step on Saturday:) Happy Halloween and happy birthday to your dad!

Sarah said...

What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing your knowledge on teaching group fitness! I've thought for many years that it's something I'd like to do; Ray doesn't think I'd like it because I tend to be shy in group situations, but I think I'd enjoy leading classes and I do love exercise. I still think when our kids are bigger, I'd get certified and teach part-time.

And I didn't know you once lived near San Francisco!! Where exactly, that's so cool. You never told me!

Have a fun Halloween! We're having a quieter night than usual since it's Sunday, but our neighborhood gets crazy this night so we're stocked with candy and will visit with some friends.

Julie said...

have fun at your partaaaay tonight :) can't wait to hear about all the goods that you and mandi bake up!

someday i'd definitely like to get my spin class cert :) when i have some spare time and cash moneeyy

Kelsey Ann said...

u seriously fit the job so well!! and ur energy would be so wonderful to be around during a workout, definitely motivating.. well that and the fact that ur fitness is amazing!!


lee said...

Ive always wondered about how you got into instructing the classes. Very interesting.

Where in MD did you live, by the way? Im originally from outside of DC.

Nicci said...

Have a great time tonight!!

Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete said...

I love your explanations on groupX! I've been teaching for a long time, and I absolutely agree with every point you made. :D

I just got home from Dallas, am getting ready to BBQ and hand out candy! I wish I had the guts to be one of those mean 'ole ladies whom hand out toothbrushes... :P

Rachael said...

Thanks for the info - I'm a yoga teacher, but I've considered branching out :)
Carving pumpkins as an adult is even more fun for me than when I was little - maybe finally being able to wield an uber sharp knife has something to do with it!

Krista said...

GREAT info, Erica!

This year is the first that I haven't roasted thepumpkin seeds. I just wasn't feeling it. :(

Hope Josh is feeling better!

Deva (Voracious Vorile) said...

That sounds pretty intense! Thanks for the info!

Our weekend has been really relaxing. I slept really late this morning - something I haven't done in a while. I loved getting the extra rest :-).

Stephanie @cookinfanatic said...

Being a fitness instructor would seriously be such a dream job for me - it looks like so much fun (but alot of hard work too!) Props to you for being so awesome and getting certified to teach all that, I'd love to come to one of your classes sometime if I lived closer :)

Paige is Running Around Normal said...

Wow Erica what a helpful post!! Very informative. Lots of steps involved to become Les Mills certified:)

Averie @ Averie Cooks said...

this post was a wealth of info, erica!!!

thank you for doing it!!

and happy Hween to you guys :)

carla said...

I suddenly miss teaching too...been pondering that a great deal lately.

Katie said...

It's so nice you've found happiness in group teaching! You always seem so enthusiastic about it, and you genuinely seem to have FUN.

I didn't know you were from MD!

hbobier said...

Yeay for pumpkin seeds! That's what fall is all about, right?

And, IDEA, you should totally do a workout-video style vlog! That way we can all get a taste of your classes--how fun would that be??

Britt said...

Great info! I have always toyed with the idea of getting certified to teach. I really wanted to be a spin instructor after college.... I had such great instructors while I was in college and found the ones here to be a tad boring.....