I first met Alex, while taking a Bodypump class at Pottruck Health & Fitness Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Alex was not only super motivational while teaching, but you can tell he had a connection with everyone in the room. Months later, I subbed one of Alex's class, and while the classes seem to be scattered with people during the summer months, Alex's class was PACKED wall to wall! His participants clearly love his class and keep coming back for more. Like most instructors, Alex started out as a group fitness participant, so I asked him to share his story about making the transition from participant to instructor.
Sometimes it is the smallest moments in life that have the largest impacts. My fitness adventure began with one such moment… the small but powerful act of remembering a name.
I was standing outside the gymnasium at the Christian Street YMCA waiting to take my second Les Mills Bodypump class. The instructor named Matt (Matt and I are now close friends) came walking up and said “Hey Alex. Great to see you back.” It was the smallest thing, but Matt remembering my name from the first class I took made the biggest deal to me. I realized in that small moment that a group exercise class could be much more than strangers working out around each other.
In the weeks that followed, I got to know more and more fellow Pumpers. I began to make friendships with the people I sweated, grimaced, and smiled next to as we crushed our bodies for 55 minutes. I saw the connections that Matt built with the participants and became even more inspired by this example of what a fitness class could be. As my strength and fitness improved, I started to think for real about becoming an instructor myself. With tons of support from the entire YMCA fitness team, I signed up for the Bodypump initial training and officially took my first step to becoming a fitness professional.
Fast forward a few years, I am now an advanced Bodypump instructor, a Bodyattack instructor, a Spinning instructor and a certified personal trainer. I have made amazing friends, built strong relationships with members at multiple clubs, and most importantly seen people of all types get stronger, live healthier and feel better. I am passionate about working hard to make each class I teach be more than just an hour of exercise. I strive to make every workout I lead as welcoming, inclusive and positive as I can for each member. All of this happened because an instructor named Matt made the effort to remember my name, and that small moment completely changed how I viewed group exercise.
- Take lots of different group exercise classes to get a sense of what different instructors do and what classes you like and don’t like.
- Build up your own personal fitness level, and get really comfortable with a class you’d like to teach. Make yourself really strong at Spinning before you decide to try and become an instructor for example.
- Meet and talk with group exercise instructors! Learn their stories, ask for advice and don’t be shy!
- Check out the program website for the class you would like to teach, and find information on the steps needed to become an instructor. There are different requirements for all of the programs out there. Pretty much all programs require money up front to sign up for a training and/or purchase training materials. Some programs (like anything Les Mills) require weekend training, months of team teaching, and then an assessment video. Others require day training and some kind of written/practical exam. Find out what each program requires.
- When you feel ready…GO FOR IT! Have fun setting out on your fitness adventure!!!