4 Reasons Why You Should Get a Group Fitness Certification

Posted by AFAA
 Woman Attending Group Fitness class lead by an AFAA Certified Instructor

Want to become a sought-after Group Fitness Instructor? Get a Group Fitness Instructor Certification! Here’s why…

Stand Out from the Crowd

If you are interested in teaching group fitness classes, there are many benefits to getting a Group Fitness Instructor (GFI) Certification from a credible organization. One of the advantages is that having a GFI Certification helps you set yourself apart from the crowd of others who are also interested in becoming an instructor.

Group fitness directors get multiple resumes for each position they have open, how do you know what they are looking for? How can an instructor get their resume to stand out above all the others in the industry?

As a group fitness director myself, the most important thing to me is whether or not the applicant has a GFI Certification. The fact that an applicant is a Certified GFI says a lot more about the applicant to a director than one might think.

We will get into that, but first, let's talk about the difference between a GFI Certification and other certifications.

The Group Fitness Instructor Certification vs. Specialized Group Fitness Certifications

A popular way into the industry is through a specialized group fitness certification. These types of certifications are generally a one-day workshop with some additional online training, followed by a continuous format licensing fee. These one-day workshops train the skills or concepts needed to teach that one particular format. Some require a skill check at the end of the day to be sure the instructor can demonstrate the requirements of the given format.

The skills taught are specific to the specialized format with some general knowledge of anatomy, cueing, and movement skills. The focus of these certifications is more on understanding the format and gaining the ability to repeat the unique recipes versus overall knowledge of group fitness. The specialized formats do all the work for the instructors and rely on the instructors teaching the content exactly how it was designed to keep participants safe.

While specialized group fitness certifications are a great career option to get your foot in the gym door, it does come with limitations.

Only having a specialized certification on a resume tells a director the instructor is only able to teach for that specialization listed. The instructor may have hundreds of hours under their belt teaching this format, but it's just one format. It is limiting to group fitness directors that have set weekly schedules to fill. There could be a need for a HIIT class or a stretch session, and some instructors may not be qualified to help out. Keep in mind that a unicorn is someone that can teach every class on the schedule.

Benefits of a Group Fitness Instructor Certification

1. Become a group fitness expert

Having a Group Fitness Instructor Certification on a resume, especially alongside a specialized certification, tells group fitness directors that an instructor has received additional training. These could be in cueing, participation engagement, anatomy, movement, heart rate monitoring and many other skills. The certification legitimizes an instructor's skill set.

2. Teach any group fitness class

Certification also shows the ability to teach the other 99 classes on the schedule. The GFI certification gives an overview of athletic cardio, floor, cycling, resistance training as well as mind and body style classes. It means an instructor can take on a few more classes or at the very least fill in when in a pinch. The certified instructor can prove to be a valuable and versatile employee by feeling confident in teaching various formats.

3. Educate participants

Group fitness directors know that Certified GFIs are a resource of knowledge to participants. Instructors are asked regularly about fitness routines, healthy eating habits, and questions about injury prevention. Instructors will feel confident and welcome these questions before and after class. The GFI Certification provides practical information about anatomical movement, injury prevention, general diet and nutrition, and so much more. Once an instructor is certified, they can continue to add to their knowledge with American Fitness Magazine or continuing education courses offered online. Directors can feel confident that a certified instructor can handle all of the questions and concerns a class may throw with the best possible outcome.

4. Serve a wide range of participants

Another benefit directors are aware of with a certified instructor is the ability to serve a broader range of participants. Participants don't show up to class with just one body type. Classes consist of all ages and abilities. GFIs, learn progressions and regressions to exercises so instructors can take any movement and have it benefit the entire class. A simple lunge can safely become more challenging for one participant, while seamlessly cued as a regression to another. Instructors receive skills in teaching special populations like pregnancy, injured participants, and seniors. Anyone and everyone wanting to join in will be cued in the best workout for them

Every group fitness director's goal is to raise the bar within their schedule, gym, and even community. The GFI Certification takes an instructor's skills that have been gained in a specialized certification up a level to create a fantastic overall fitness experience for participants. An instructor that raises their bar with a GFI Certification leaps closer to being an ideal hire that fitness directors are looking for.

You can do all that, you can be all that.

Topics: CPT

About the Author:

Learn more about
how to become a
group fitness instructor.
Speak with one our
AFAA Program Advisors. Chat Now