Become a Group Fitness Instructor

If the idea of teaching fitness classes appeals to you, then you should consider learning how to become a group fitness instructor. This article will guide you through this process, covering:

You can launch your career today to be a group fitness instructor by qualifying with OriGym’s Personal Training Diploma. In doing so, you will be able to lead both group and 1-1 sessions!

You can also download our course prospectus (For FREE) to learn more about this course.

About the Role of a Fitness Instructor

how to become a group fitness instructor 2

Learning about the roles and responsibilities associated with this position will help you develop a better understanding of how to become a group fitness instructor. 

Whilst employed in this role, your main responsibility will be to lead class members through group workout sessions.

​​The actual content of these classes can vary depending on your chosen specialisation/what style you’ve been hired to teach, with popular variations including:

  • Circuit training
  • Indoor cycling
  • Dance fit

Hold dance classes as a group fitness instructor

Other responsibilities associated with the role of a group fitness instructor include preparing equipment for classes, liaising with management and adhering to safety policies to ensure the well-being of those in attendance.

An example of a job advertisement outlining a Group Fitness Instructor’s responsibilities can be found below:

Role of a group fitness instructor  

Keep in mind, the duties you’re hired to fulfil and the amount of hours you work will vary depending on how you’re employed!

Different Employment Opportunities When Becoming a Group Fitness Instructor

Those who are interested in becoming a group fitness can do so on both a contracted and self-employed basis. Let’s take a look at both routes, to understand how the way you work affects aspects such as salary and daily responsibilities:

Contracted Group Fitness Instructor Role

Contracted group fitness instructor

When working as a group fitness instructor in a contracted position at a gym or fitness centre, you will work a set number of hours (part/full-time) determined by your employer and receive a fixed wage! 

An example of this job role can be seen below:

Become contracted group instructor

When working in this capacity you will be expected to fulfil other duties assigned by your employer. 

This form of employment is commonly held by those who have recently qualified and are working in the fitness industry for the first time! There are several reasons for this, for starters you won’t have to recruit any class attendees yourself, as they’ll already be members of the gym or fitness centre.

Become group fitness instructor at a gym

Additionally, there will be senior and more experienced members of staff for you to network with. This will provide you with a great opportunity to learn more about the role and develop skills used by industry professionals.

Finally, as previously mentioned you won’t have to worry about working a certain number of hours or earning a specific amount of money, as all of these things will be predetermined by your employer before signing your contract. 


Self-Employed Group Fitness Instructor

Self employed group fitness instructor

Once you’ve gained enough industry experience, you can decide to become your own boss, as a self-employed group fitness instructor.

In this capacity, your earning potential is unlimited, as you’re in direct control over how frequently you work! 

There are multiple different ways you can earn income when working in this capacity. For example, you may decide to apply for freelance positions at gyms/fitness centres, such as the example below:

Become freelance group fitness instructor

In this instance, you will earn an hourly wage and will only be required to teach the fitness classes you’ve been hired to cover. This allows you to work at multiple different locations, rather than being confined to one site for X amount of hours every week.

As a self-employed instructor, you may also decide to run your own fitness classes business. In doing so, you will be able to control:

  • What classes you will teach
  • The prices you set
  • The demographics of clients you will work with

Kerry’s Fitness is a great example of a self-employed group instructor who hosts her own classes. As you can see from the example below, she capitalises on the needs of different demographics by offering varied classes at different prices. 

Kerry's Fitness - Group exercise instructor

You could even combine multiple different employment opportunities, working at gyms on a freelance basis alongside hosting your own classes to generate maximum income.

If you’re interested in becoming a self-employed fitness instructor who runs their own classes, check out our in-depth guide on how to set up a fitness class business. Here you’ll find valuable information ranging from organising the legalities to advertising strategies. 

How Much Can a Group Fitness Instructor Earn?

Group fitness instructor salaries

If you’re interested in pursuing this position, you will naturally question ‘How much does a group fitness instructor make?’. The answer to this is dependent on a variety of factors such as:

  • Your location 
  • Whether you’re contracted or freelance 
  • The amount of experience you have 
  • The number of hours you work 

As to be expected, experienced group fitness instructors will earn more than those who have just qualified. This is because they will have more skills and knowledge to pull from and will be regarded as ‘experts’ in the industry.

But to understand the influence your location can have on your salary, check out these stats: According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a group fitness instructor in Manchester is £30,825, whilst in London it is £31,236.

Group fitness instructor UK

As you can see, group fitness instructors in London will typically earn a more lucrative salary, but this is in line with their much higher expenses – e.g. rent, utility bills, travel costs etc. 

Likewise, when it comes to how you work, those who are self-employed will likely earn more than those who are contracted. 

This is because they’re able to set their prices and work as often as they like. For example, take JD Aerial Fitness who charges £10 per person for a class:

how to become a group fitness instructor 2

If you followed a similar pricing structure, you could earn £100 from teaching just 10 clients for one hour! So be prepared for your earning potential to vary between each group fitness instructor position you have an interest in pursuing.

What Qualifications are Needed to Become a Group Fitness Instructor?

Become a group fitness instructor with qualifications

Becoming a group fitness instructor isn’t a complicated journey! All you need is a Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification. The great news is there are no prerequisites to enrol on this course, you simply need to be over 16 years of age!

Getting this Level 2 qualification is absolutely essential as it is the minimum requirement the majority of employers will ask for when advertising group fitness instructor positions, such as this one from David Lloyd Clubs below:

Group fitness instructor david lloyd clubs

Keep in mind, these qualifications are still necessary even if you’re looking to be a self employed group fitness instructor. Having these certifications is crucial to show class members you’re a credible instructor and understand exactly how you can train them effectively.

Whilst enrolled on this course, you will develop the vital knowledge and skills required to become a successful group fitness instructor. For example, you will learn how to keep your class attendees engaged with your training, providing motivation that pushes them to reach new heights.

Motivated group fitness instructor

Likewise, you’ll gain experience in tailoring group workout sessions to meet the demands of different groups. This is vital for ensuring your classes are accessible and enjoyable for a wide range of attendees.

If you want to learn more about the qualifications you require, you can read our guide ‘Qualifications to Teach Fitness Classes.


How Do You Find The Best Course to Become a Group Fitness Instructor?

Study to become a group fitness instructor

Those looking to answer the question ‘how do I become a group fitness instructor?’, should always look for a course that meets their needs. But how do you find the right training provider?

First and foremost, you’ll want to look for a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course that has been endorsed by The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

This organisation regulates the UK’s sports and fitness industry, ensuring vocational training providers meet the same industry standards!

Likewise, you should look for a qualification that has been regulated by Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation). This is a governing body which provides vocational training courses with regulated examinations, qualifications and assessments.

Qualify as a group fitness instructor

At OriGym, we want to provide our students with the highest possible standard of training, which is why our Level 2 Gym Instructor Course is both Ofqual-regulated and accredited by CIMSPA.

Before settling on a training provider, you should ask yourself the following questions, regarding the validity of the training provider:

  • What payment options are available? – Good training providers will take your financial situation into account. For example, OriGym offers interest-free instalments, with flexible payment plans to suit your needs.
  • Do they offer post-course support? – Look for a training provider who offers career services. We help our graduates by distributing CVs and securing guaranteed job interviews. 
  • Are there any hidden fees? – Some training providers may charge you extra for services such as examination resists. OriGym will never subject you to this, we even offer FREE unlimited resists. 
  • Does the course come with free CPDs? – CPDs can help to bolster your experience and skill set. This is why we offer package deals, offering these courses for FREE as part of package deals.
  • What do previous students say? – Read reviews to see what former students have to say. Thankfully, OriGym is among the highest-rated training providers in the UK, you can even see our 4.9-star rating on Trustpilot

By asking these questions, you’ll be able to find the right course provider to help you become a group fitness instructor.

Do Group Fitness Instructors Need Insurance?

Insurance for group fitness instructors

As your understanding of the group fitness instructor role grows, you’ll naturally question – ‘What does a group fitness instructor do about insurance?’.

For immediate clarity, purchasing insurance is absolutely vital. Accidents can always happen, regardless of what kinds of classes you teach, insurance provides you with legal protection in the event that a claim is made against you.

When purchasing this be sure to opt for a reputable provider that offers both public liability and indemnity coverage – such as Insure4sport:

Insure4Sport insurance for group fitness instructors

By selecting a package which contains these policies, you’ll be protected against claims such as:

  • Professional negligence
  • Injury or illness suffered by you or your clients
  • Providing incorrect exercise guidance to clients

Reputable insurance providers like Insure4Sport will also provide you with the option of covering your equipment, in the event it’s lost, stolen or damaged.

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Enjoying this article so far? Here are three more you’ll find beneficial:

How Do I Become a Group Fitness Instructor Teaching Branded Classes?

Les Mills group fitness instructor

With popular brands like Les Mills, Zumba and Spin dominating the fitness industry, it’s easy to see why so many people want to become group fitness instructors with these companies. 

If you fall into this category you’re going to need more than just a Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification. You will be required to pay for specific training that has been created and approved by the brand itself.

This is because these types of classes and choreography will be trademarked by the brand, meaning you won’t be able to lead these sessions without that specific qualification. 

For example, the screenshot below shows how Les Mills requires applicants to pay £425 for a registration process alone!

Les mills group fitness instructor

Additional fees may follow, for example, the price advertised above is just for one Les Mills qualification. If you wanted to teach other classes for the name brand you’d have to pay the fee again and earn an entirely new qualification.

E.g. if you paid £425 for BODYATTACK training but also wish to teach BODYPUMP, then you’ll need to pay another £425 to do so.

Another factor to consider if you want to teach branded classes is where you’ll work. For example, as a Les Mills instructor, you will only be able to teach at locations that have paid for the rights to host Les Mills classes!

For example, you couldn’t go into a regular indoor cycling class and begin teaching Les Mills’ branded RPM choreography. 

Hold spin classes as a group fitness instructor

We recommend conducting thorough research into the brand’s popularity within your local area prior to undergoing training. This will determine whether the branded qualification is a worthy investment for your career. 

In some instances, it will make you a more valuable employee and will allow you to pursue job roles that were previously inaccessible to you! 

Become a Group Fitness Instructor with a Specialism

Kettlebell group fitness instructor

One of the most rewarding things about being a group fitness instructor is that the role allows you to develop a specialism, teaching a key area of fitness that interests you.

The job advertisement below posted by The Oakwood Club is a prime example of how employers want instructors who are adaptable and can teach multiple different classes:

Group fitness instructor specialisms

To become a group fitness instructor with a specialism, you may complete further training. Using the job advertisement mentioned above as an example, we can say that candidates who hold a Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga are more likely to be hired than someone who has not undergone training. 

That’s not to say that every ‘speciality’ requires you to earn additional qualifications. Some instructors may gain industry experience in specific areas and develop an interest whilst working – e.g. leading indoor cycling classes.

Opportunities for Progression as a Group Fitness Instructor

Now you know how to become a group fitness instructor, you can begin to plan your career and look towards your future. With this in mind, let’s discuss some ways you can progress professionally within the fitness industry.

Start Your Own Fitness Business

how do you become a group fitness instructor 5

After becoming a group fitness instructor, you will have gained enough experience working at a gym to start your own fitness class business, especially if you were a freelancer.

When running your own business, you’re in control! This means you can make all the important decisions, such as:

  • How to market your services
  • What hours you’ll work
  • The kind of classes you’ll teach

For example, you could decide to specialise in dance fit sessions for postnatal mothers or work out classes that promote wellbeing in elderly individuals – the possibilities are limitless! 

Become a group fitness instructor for the elderly

Running your own business also comes with unlimited earning potential. This is because you have direct control over the prices of your classes, rather than being confined to a fixed salary.

Progress by Qualifying as a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer progression as a group fitness instructor

After becoming a group fitness instructor, you may wish to pursue additional qualifications and become a certified personal trainer.

In doing so, you can begin to work with clients on a one-to-one basis, creating tailored workout programmes that help them achieve their specific fitness goals.

Other responsibilities of a personal trainer include conducting assessments to assess a client’s current fitness levels and providing check-ins that monitor their progress throughout the programme.

how do you become a group fitness instructor 25

This exciting career allows you to work across a variety of locations, including:

  • Gyms
  • Fitness Centres
  • Parks
  • Client’s Homes

You can also explore different employment opportunities, whether that’s in a fixed contracted position or becoming self-employed and starting your own business.

Whilst working in this highly lucrative position, you could potentially earn up to £39,860 according to Glassdoor – A drastic increase from the salary of a group fitness instructor.

Consider Nutrition Coaching

how do you become a group fitness instructor 6

Becoming a Sports Nutritionist is an exciting opportunity that allows you to expand your services.

Alongside teaching group fitness classes, you will be able to provide class attendees with nutrition advice and recommend meal plans that help to facilitate their health-related goals.

After qualifying, you can even begin to expand beyond in-person group classes and establish an online nutrition business.

Online nutritionist progress for group fitness instructor

In short, becoming a sports nutritionist will set you apart from other competitors, as you will be able to provide services they don’t offer. If this sounds appealing to you, then you will first need to complete a nutritionist course.

In doing so, you will receive the highest possible standards of training in the industry, as our courses are regulated and approved by Ofqual.

Run Your Own Bootcamp

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You could also consider starting a fitness bootcamp as a way of progressing your existing career. 

Bootcamps provide full-body workouts, not just physically but also mentally. These are intense group sessions that combine a range of training styles such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and military-style drills.

Bootcamps as a group fitness instructor 

You could even learn how to integrate specific pieces of workout equipment into these sessions. This also allows you to continue expanding your knowledge and skills with courses such as a Kettlebell Course or Medicine Ball CPD to keep things engaging for those in attendance. 

Similar to the point above, running your own bootcamps means you will have control over the prices of your sessions and how many people you train, providing you with more income.

Before You Go!

Now you know how to become a certified group fitness instructor, it’s time to take your first steps towards this career.

Completing a Diploma in Personal Training acts as a great launching pad for your future career. Upon completion, we will help you make an immediate impact in the industry, with a guaranteed job interview! 

For more information on what to expect throughout this course, you can download our FREE course prospectus.

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About the Author: James Brady

James Brady OriGym Author
James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, playing tennis, rowing, writing short stories, and watching classic movies.

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