How can I make teaching group fitness into a viable career?
This year may have put some things into perspective for you. You may have always had a passion for fitness but thought you weren't good enough to become a PT or a group fitness instructor. You may have had insecurities about ditching your stable office job to start working in fitness. You might already be teaching classes, but just as a side gig. The world has thrown a lot of obstacles our way this year and it might have you realising that life is too short to not do what you love. Perhaps your office job doesn't fulfil you or all this time at home has made you realise that actually, you never want to return to the office. So, if you're thinking about changing up your life and making this fitness thing work as a full time gig then read on!
I'll be honest with you. It is hard to make a good living by JUST teaching fitness classes. The average pay for a fitness class in the UK is £25 per session, closer to £35/40 in London. The average wage in the UK in 2019 was £29,000 or around £558 a week. To make the average wage you'd have to teach 22 classes per week for all 52 weeks of the year. 22 classes of the same style each week may not leave you with much energy to give to your partner, family or friends and can be a quick route to injury and burnout. However, there are a lot of really good ways you can make teaching classes into a great career!
Get qualified in a wide variety of styles
My first tip to make teaching a viable career is to have a wide portfolio of classes to teach. Personally, I'm qualified to teach 5 Les Mills programmes, freestyle spin, circuits, stretch and tone and can put together a basic aerobics class if I needed to. If I feel like I'm teaching too much of one thing, I can pull it back. My current weekly set up is 3 spin classes, 3 BodyCombat classes, 2 BodyPump classes, 2 BodyBalance classes, 3 Circuit style classes and 1 core class. This set up is working well for me right now - I still have energy at the end of every day, I'm not feeling burnt out and I am still able to give it my all in each class. When/if this changes, I could look to teach more BodyBalance or stretch classes and pull back on some of the high intensity classes. Due to the fact I have a lot of qualifications. I have a lot of options!
Consider going into management
My second suggestion for making a group fitness career viable is gym or studio management. I've been a group exercise manager for almost three years which allows my body some time to rest whilst still being wrapped up in the world of group fitness! Whilst this job may not be for everybody (you need to be able to manage a team, work with instructors and customers as well as have an analytical view of programming and timetabling!), it's a good way of earning income in the fitness industry. This job will come with a more stable salary, benefits of employment such as paid holiday and pension provision as well as opportunity to progress through a company.
Take your services online
The third way you could make group fitness a full time career is to launch an online offering. You could conduct live classes via zoom or Skype, which would allow you to operate on your own time schedule from the comfort of your own home. Another way of doing this would be creating an "on demand" service where you create a bank of classes that a client could choose from, or that you programme for them to do each week. To be successful with this sort of offering you will probably need to have some sort of following already and be comfortable with using the technology.
Become a tutor or assessor
If you've been teaching, even part time, for a few years you will probably have grasped the skills necessary and have enough knowledge to train up new instructors as a tutor or assessor. You will need to be able to critique technique and coaching and be able to deliver feedback to people clearly. Becoming a tutor or assessor can be a great bit of extra income that again, can be done from your sofa! I did my own tutoring and assessing qualifications at the beginning of the year to be able to launch GFT and I love the idea of being able to help people pass their qualifications and start their careers. You'll be able to train the next generation of superstar instructors and positively impact people's futures. The sort of work you will pick up here will be on a freelance basis and a bit more sporadic.
So there are 4 ways in which you can make group fitness a full time career without teaching a million classes a week!
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