I’ve gotten some questions on what it is like to become a fitness instructor – each type of class you’d like to teach will require different certifications or training, so I can’t speak to it all but I do have experience in what the experience is like to become a cycling instructor!
A little background on my journey: I started taking indoor cycling classes at 24 Hour Fitness. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I always heard fun, loud music coming from the cycling room so that always intrigued me. I thought why do they get to have all the fun in that room? Haha Once I took my first class, I was hooked. Not just by the music but by the energy the instructor and the riders had, the amount of sweat that was left on the floor(!), and just how good it made me feel afterward, knowing that I gave it my all, going up some steeps hills!
I decided to turn the passion and curiosity into something more, so I tried out to become a cycling instructor about a year ago. And I made it! However, after teaching a couple of classes, it became apparent that it wasn’t the supportive environment that I needed, especially as a new instructor. I let the dream die for a little bit but over time, realized that I craved a platform where I could motivate and inspire others to living their best lives. I continued riding, working out, and decided to try out again at Sanctuary Fitness.
Here are some quick tips on what you need to know for anyone considering getting into fitness as part of their profession:
1. Be prepared!
I was asked to prepare 3-5 songs of a “real” ride for my audition, showcasing my skill and overall vibe. I say “real” in quotes because it’s just one or two people in a sea of bikes, writing notes down while you’re pretending to talk to a full class haha. It can be intimidating but if you prepared your songs and all of the verbal cues, it’s less scary! Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
Not only is preparing your song selection key, you also need to be prepared by having the right certifications. I am certified through Mad Dogg and what’s great about this is that you always have a certificate just ready to go. If you hear of an opening at a studio you want to teach at, you’ve already got the basics of what you need!
2. Network with your local studios!
The LA fitness scene is crazy competitive – so many fitness instructors and there are a limited number of gyms! My best advice is, with most things in life, you must network. If the studio has a personal relationship with you, knows you, understands your passion, whether consciously or not, when they receive your instructor application, they will pay a bit more attention to it because you’ve already established a bond. Any studio that I’ve ever worked with, whether in an instructor capacity or as a social media influencer, it has all started with a “hello”, taking the gyms classes, talking to the staff, etc.
3. Confidence is key.
This is such a huge one that I also still continually work on. It’s one thing to understand technical aspects of your ride and really working up to the right skill level, but what’s equally important, is being confident in your abilities. If you aren’t confident and constantly question yourself, it will show up to your riders. One of the first pieces of feedback that I ever got was that I shouldn’t be afraid to let go and be myself. Because of my nerves, I let that show and I was so focused on ‘what do I say??’ that I wasn’t present in the moment with my riders. Don’t be afraid to be you. You might feel awkward or silly at times, but the energy you actually outwardly express will translate for a stronger more engaged ride for your class.
4. Know your voice.
What is it about other instructors’ classes that have drawn you in? What feeling do you get after a sweaty class? These are thoughts you should think about and actually write down. This will help further define what type of instructor you are destined to be and you can take this into your audition and class. For me, personally, I gravitate more toward instructors who give life motivation vs those that focus on calorie burn. Because I know that’s what speaks to me most, I want to make sure everyone in my class knows that it’s not about calories when you work out, it’s about feeling confident and strong.
I hope all of the above tips help in your road to becoming an amazing cycling instructor! There’s so much more I’ve learned since teaching classes, that I will do a part 2 to this and talk more about the balance of teaching and my full time job, how to prepare for a class, and more!