Getting into Group Ex

Hi friends! How are you? Hope you’re having a great day so far <3 It’s Indian Food Wednesday! And you’ll never believe it, but we’re actually celebrating tonight. The Pilot said it’s high time we brought it back.. and I’m not one to argue 😉

Lot’s of food prep has been happening over here 😀

Last night I made a double batch of macaroons– one for last week’s giveaway winner and one for my web designer, because he’s awesome


They’re uncooking away to glory right now.. the house smells AMAZING

roons (2)

Breakfast cooking:

The Pilot’s


(Fresh tamale from the madre’s + 2 eggs)



(oats + blueberries- repeat of yesterday)

I also got some food ready to take to work:


Smoooothie (almond milk, banana, Sun Warrior, ice, almond butter)

Gluten-free saltines

Veggie soup from Choice

If I’m in the mood, I’ll pick up a salad at work since they have awesome organic veggie salads 🙂

So quite a few of ya have asked about my history with group fitness, and since I’ve only touched on it a few times and have some new readers (hi!), I thought it would be fun to talk about today 😀

41591_2201167530_7612_n  (Sorry for the small blurry pic- I’m back row in the middle)

Back in the day, I taught dance classes. I had danced my entire life and started teaching my freshman year in high school, and didn’t stop until I graduated college. The dance studio was my life –my closest friends were also instructors and everyday after school, that’s where you could find me. I taught jazz, tap, hip hop and ballet.. and especially adored my 3-year-old ballerinas and my high school hip hop rockstars. When I stopped teaching dance to move to North Carolina and be with my Pilot love, I felt the huge void in my heart where dance used to be.


In college, I discovered the group fitness world and went crazy for spin, step and Latin Cardio classes. As soon as I got to North Carolina, I spent my extra time –which was a LOT, since I wasn’t working- taking classes at the base gym. I couldn’t believe all of the options that were available –there really is a group fitness soulmate for everyone- and I was hooked on taking classes. I met one of the newer wives, who taught spin classes at the gym, and she convinced me that it would be a fun extra something to do, and one of the rare things that we military wives can do anywhere.


(our first apartment in North Carolina- look how little the Pilot looks! Haha)

As soon as we got to Georgia in the fall, I got my AFAA group fitness certification. I was really intimidated by the certification process but it ended up being NBD. You study the textbook, take an all-day workshop (in which they go over the material you should know), and take a test (a practical and a written exam). After I received my cert –you also have to get CPR certification, which is offered through the Red Cross- I started teaching Step, Zumba and Cycling at the base gym and have been loving it ever since 🙂


Of course there are days where the last thing I want to do is teach. I’m driving to teach and thinking to myself, I really don’t want to teach these people. The second I walk in the door, and students come up to me and the energy is there, that’s all I need. It’s really helped to get me out of funk moods (especially when the Pilot is deployed!) and it’s especially amazing to see results in participants. One of my Zumba students lost over 50 lbs in the two years I taught at the base gym in Georgia, and it was so inspiring to watch her succeed.


Right now I’m teaching at a local health resort and it has already done so much to get me out of my comfort zone. I’m teaching classes that were new to me when I started (Stretch and Relaxation classes, treadmill and weight room classes), and in addition to Zumba, am teaching total-body drill classes and assisting water aerobics. The instructors I work with are truly the best of the best, and they inspire me everyday. It’s been a good thing 🙂

If you’re looking to get into group fitness, here are some tips:

-Call local gyms to see what certifications they accept for instructors (almost all gyms will take ACE and AFAA). Edited to say: for specialty classes (like Zumba, spinning, yoga, Pilates) you will need a specialty cert. I have my Zumba cert through Zumba Fitness (and am a ZIN member, which means my certification will not expire), but in almost all cases you will need a group fitness certification in addition to the specialty cert.

-Get your CPR certification – you will need this no matter what

-Take classes to see what you’d like to teach and also observe what techniques work for some teachers, and what doesn’t work

-Apply and interview! (For interview tips, check out *this post*)

Hope this helps a little 🙂

I’m off to do the work thang, and then Indian Food feasting with that one guy I kind of like 😉

See ya later!



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  1. Alyssa on May 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I just got my NETA group certification in October and have been loving it ever since!! It’s my goal to try Zumba though, they offer a class at 6 am in the morning here. I’m just intimidated that I’ll be even more uncoordinated when I’m tired!! lol

  2. Mel on May 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Did I miss what happened to your studio? Are you still working on that as well?

    glad you were able to enjoy your IF wed 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

      we were in the process of moving to a bigger studio, and then something else happened where i can’t focus on the studio right now. i’ll spill the beans soon 😉

  3. Leslie on May 26, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for this post! I always wondered how one gets started with teaching fitness classes and one day I think it’s something I might really want to do! This give me an idea where and how to get started!

  4. Chelsa on May 26, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Good post! I would love to teach fitness for fun. It sounds like a dream job, but I don’t know if I’m too shy :-/

  5. Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] on May 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    This group ex post was perfect timing! I’ve been doing some research on becoming an instructor and think I’ll go with AFAA. How long did you study the materials before the full-day workshop + exam? 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      i studied for about a month

  6. Nichole on May 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I have been wondering about this…about how much does one make for teaching a class? Is certification expensive?

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      certs are pretty expensive but i usually get my cert pair for in one paycheck. i’m very fortunate to work for a place that will pay for me to re-cert, too

  7. Bonnie on May 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I have really been wanting to get certified to teach group exercise classes for a while now. I had no idea what it entailed, so this has really helped me! Thank you so much!
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  8. Christa on May 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    and of course I am drooling over the macaroon pics, Gina… I’ve hid them in my freezer so I don’t eat them all in one sitting, guess what I’m going to have for dessert tonight!! <3 <3 <3

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      🙂 !

  9. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers on May 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for the tips! Great post. Enjoy your Indian food!

  10. lindsey on May 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I just signed up to get my group fitness certification and a yoga certification after my gym asked me if I wanted to start teaching group fitness classes. It’s a little scary, but this makes it better. It’s so exciting to be embarking on this new journey!

  11. Deborah Molwuka on May 28, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Over in the UK it is emphasised that we are not certified as Zumba instructors but licenced. There is a difference legally…

  12. Ashley B. on May 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I’ve seriously considered getting certified and becoming a group fitness instructor. I have always had a passion for fitness and have long contemplated what area of fitness I would like to get into. I’ve struggled with the decision since it was would be a big career change for me (I’m currently in marketing). This post was exactly what I needed. In addition, my husband and I have moved a lot with his job and it’s always hard for me to have to find a new one. As you said, this is something that can be done anywhere.

  13. Amanda P. on February 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I recently became an Independent Beachbody Coach and am considering also getting into teaching group fitness as well so this was great to read. I am already planning to take some of the classes they offer on post and I’ll definitely have to see if they have openings and what certifications they’d take if so. Since we have already moved twice since I got married in June I definitely want to be doing things I can keep doing wherever we are. For any military wives who are considering the same thing, look into MyCAA as I have found they do cover certain certifications for “portable careers” including some for personal training and group exercise certification up to $2000 a year $4000 total for spouses whose wife or husband are E-5 and below.

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