Tips for a first group fitness workshop

One of my favorite parts about being a group fitness instructor is the ability to attend workshops for continuing education credits. One of main requirements to remain certified is to attend workshops or lectures that count for a specific amount of points throughout the two-year span. While it can be kind of a pain to make sure you have enough credits and send in the paperwork, I love the fact that it forces us to stay on our “A game” and keep up with current trends/techniques.

I’ve attended a few fitness workshops over the years including SCW, Fitness Fest, Zumba master classes and workshops, and this upcoming fall, I’ll be at my very first IDEA World Fitness Convention. I’m so stoked to take a variety of classes, learn new teaching techniques, and be surrounded by knowledge and inspiration.

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Since I know many of you are new fitness instructors or considering certification, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from attending fitness conferences in the past. Please share any tips you may have in the comments section, too!

Fitness conference tips

-Don’t feel like you have to go “balls to the wall” for every class. You will die. Ok, not die,ย but it’s easy to get overenthusiastic and overdo it. For my first fitness conference ever, SCW in Atlanta, I felt like I had to do every class, and for some reason (?) do it full out. By the end of the day, I was exhausted, crankypants and starving. Now, when I’ll attend a conference, I’ll pick the few classes I really want to do myself and the rest of the time, I’ll “mark it” or sit, observe, and take notes.

-Pack extra clothes, a towel, travel-sized shower essentials and LOTS of food. Many times, lockers will be available to store your belongings, but if not, a large duffel bag works. Usually food is available for purchase, but since the lines are gigantic, I’d rather bring free food from home and be able to spend more time learning/exploring the Expo.

Work snacks

-Network. Have a business card on hand, and don’t be afraid to chat with fellow instructors or the representatives running the Expo booths. You never know what opportunities can arise from being friendly and striking up a conversation. I’ve met a couple of friends and contacts in the fitness industry through conferences/workshops.

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-Bring a hoodie or something that will keep you warm. When you go from a hard, sweaty class directly into a lecture, and the AC is cranked up, you’ll be freezing. I’m always glad to have a hoodie with me.

-Take notes. I’ll bring a netbook or old-fashioned notebook and pen to write down tips from classes, make additions to lecture/class notes, and even little things like songs I enjoyed, cool moves or phrases the instructors said that really motivated me.


-This may seem like an obvious one, but be sure to plan out your driving route in advance, give yourself time to get there and get registered, and don’t forget any identification you may need. Print out the schedule, circle classes you want to take (if you didn’t sign up for specific classes in advance) and ask for help if you need it! The conference workers are usually very knowledgeable and eager to help.

Do you, or would you ever, teach group fitness? Any tips for a workshop first-timer??

I’m honored to have been included as one of IDEA’s Inspired Advisors and will be at their World Fitness Conference in August. If you’d like to attend the full conference, check out the website and enter the code “INSPIREDADVISOR” at checkout for 20% off. If you live in LA (or close by!) and want to check out the expo, here’s the link to download a free pass. I’m also in the middle of planning a fun event for that Wednesday night- I’ll let you know when then details are finalized.

Hope you’re enjoying your day! Loving all the SSU check-ins! Keep ’em coming ๐Ÿ™‚



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  1. Rachel on June 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    This is really helpful! I got my AFAA certification over a year and a half ago, and I only have a few CEUs – I’m not sure what to sign up for that will give me my most “bang for my buck,” but these are great tips for attending fitness conferences.

  2. Mer on June 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the tips as I’m really thinking about this certification.

  3. Leslie W on June 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I want to get certified for ReFitRev. They are my favorite. I go to Zumba at church, but we have a few ReFit songs. <3

  4. Mary Jane on June 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I have never taught group fitness but have been thinking about it for a few years. My boot camp instructor had me fill in once for a few minutes and it was awesome. If I had an official bucket list it would be on it for sure! Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. caroline on June 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    See you at IDEA! I am attending for the third year in a row. It is SO fun!!!!

    • Fitnessista on June 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      yay, i can’t wait!!

  6. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on June 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    How fun! I opted to take a pre-con course for my CEC’s this year instead of doing my regular fitness conference so later this week I’ll be getting my level one YogaFit certification. It’s a yoga based fitness class and the thing I like about it is that I can take more YogaFit courses at my own pace and eventually earn my 200hr Yoga Alliance certification without having to do it all at once (which is crazy expensive and time consuming).

    Fitness conferences are seriously fun though, I think the most fun was the year I went to the Zumba convention! I wish I could afford to do that every year!!

  7. Kari on June 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Semi related!
    I just graduated with a BBA in Human Resource Management and just today signed up for a fitness theory class that will help me in obtaining my personal training certification here in BC, Canada.

    I’m so excited and although I feel a little like I should be “using my degree”, fitness has really become a passion of mine. Your blog has been a part of pushing myself to do what I love.

  8. Brittani on June 18, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I have been researching becoming a group fitness instructor for months now, and am getting more and more sure I want to do it as the days pass! This post pretty much solidified it for me, since I love meeting new people and becoming more and more familiar with the fitness industry. THanks so much, I’m totally bookmarking this!

  9. Kathy on June 18, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I did the workout today. I loved it. It kicked my butt. I haven’t done renegade rows for a long time, I forgot how much they kick my butt. And I really liked the plie’ combo. I did a different cardio portion, because my sister called and wanted to go for a run. It is nice to have someone to run with. So we ran 6 miles together, not supper fast, because we were talking, but still a good workout.

    I do like your tips for the fitness workshops. I did a lot of those when I used to teach aerobics. Now that I am a personal trainer, they don’t do a lot of workshops for recertification. A lot is online stuff. I wish there were more workshops though.

  10. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on June 18, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Wow! Great advice, I hope to attend but we will see when I have to move to Bangkok! Crossing fingers I am able to go to IDEA and I hope to see you there ๐Ÿ™‚ Love + Shine CourtStar

  11. Sara on June 18, 2013 at 12:45 am

    This is super and came at a great time! I have read one blog on her tips for starting out as a group fitness instructor. Have you done anything like that? If not would you be willing to share your story/tips/experience? Thank you!

    • Cady on June 18, 2013 at 12:59 am

      This would be awesome! I really want to get certified, but I feel like there is so much out there. It’s so overwhelming! Even just to get a basic group exercise certification, you can do it through like 10 different companies/organizations! I would love some pointers. Thanks for all you do, Gina!

  12. Alyssa on June 18, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Thank you for the info on this! So excited I live in LA! I will be working during most of the conference but just booked my free pass for the EXPO (planning to go on Saturday). I am SO EXCITED–all of that fitness and nutrition info, gear, SAMPLES, workouts and entertainment? Sounds like my heaven. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Nichole on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Yay! Love that I live in LA ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m was thinking about attending the EXPO so thanks so much for the info! Also, I know you mentioned something about hosting a Zumba class while you were in LA – is that still an option? Keep us posted ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Gina!

  14. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on June 18, 2013 at 4:55 am

    These tips are SO helpful. This past March, I attended my first fitness conference and it was a Les Mills Quarterly…I honestly did everything wrong because I had no clue!! I did nearly every workout to the max (there was a LOT of adrenaline pumping through my veins), I did not bring a change of clothes (I was so sweaty!), I didn’t bring enough food, and although it was fun it was definitely a learning experience as to what I should do for future conferences ๐Ÿ™‚ Great tips!!!

  15. The Candid RD on June 18, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I have always thought it would be fun to teach group fitness on the side (specifically spinning). I’m sure it’s much more difficult than it sounds (or seems to be). It’s like teaching a large nutrition class, everyone is on a different level.
    Great tips!

  16. Holly@ EatGreatBEGreat on June 18, 2013 at 8:11 am

    As I’ve mentioned previous, I’m considering getting my certification to teach Zumba, so these are some really helpful tips. Thanks so much for putting this together!

  17. Jessica @ Prayers and Apples on June 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    haha your first tip made me LOL ๐Ÿ™‚ ..I def would consider getting certified.. when I worked as a trainer, our employees and the fitness instructors kind of kept to themselves (probably because our schedules were so crazy!) but i wish there would’ve been more overlap! any time i could take a class with a client i would! i love body pump but step is my absolute fave ?

  18. Jennifer on June 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I teach yoga but I am thinking about going to The Booty Barre teacher training in August. Just curious- did you get certified to teach barre or was that part of a Group Ex certification? I’m trying to decide if this is the training I want to take with SO many options!

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      i didn’t get certified- we had a workshop at work before we could start teaching it.

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