Can you make a living teaching group exercise?

Can you make a living teaching group exercise? I’ve had this discussion with several group exercise instructors who do this full time. I say full time, because some of us have day jobs and only teach a couple of times during the week/weekend in the mornings and or evenings. So for someone like me this is not the primary source of income.

The individuals I have spoken to provide mixed reviews. Based on the numbers that have been shared with me, some of them earn double what I’m earning, yet, they still feel that it’s not enough compared to what others earn. I guess I got somewhat short changed on this, but I’m okay with it since I’m relatively new, and its not my primary source of income. However, as I look for new opportunities, I’ll be aware of this and I will seek to earn more.

I won’t discuss exact numbers, but as I mentioned, I’ve noticed that there is a huge disparity in what group exercise instructors are paid. Seems to me that you have to negotiate that up before you start, because once you are in at a place, it’s not likely that you’ll ever get any increases. The main problem is that there are so many group exercise instructors out there that you have no leverage to use in renegotiating your salary.

Are you not happy? Bye, someone else will fill your slot within 5 minutes. This is why it is not my primary source of income, but rather a supplementary source where I don’t care if they do me wrong. And mind you, some have, and I take notice of this, but since this ain’t my living, meh, I don’t really care. But I do caution you to beware before committing to this path on a full time basis.

If I had to rely on this as my way to survive, then I’d be in really bad shape. The jobs are inconsistent and management may or may not even know how good or bad you are. I’ve seen some really crappy instructors keep classes they didn’t deserve. Also class schedules change often and some places will put a lot of emphasis on the number of participants in a class. If you get a bad time slot, with an unpopular format, hitting numbers can be hard.

For instance, if you have a 630pm spot, most likely you’ll do better than someone who has a 830pm slot. If you have a Zumba class, you’ll do better than a strength class. My zumba classes always fill up to capacity, no matter where I am teaching, the other formats, meh, not so much. It’s not an easy field and not everyone is built for it.

Group ex is a tough field, but you can earn a decent living if you pick up a lot of classes. It’s also a lot of fun and extremely rewarding at times. Note that the more certifications you have, the more value you have. I don’t care for Strong by Zumba or any of the Les Mills programs, but if this were my full time job, you bet your butt that I’d get those certifications! The more you have, the more you are worth! It makes sense seeing as though we have to personally invest our own money as well as our time into mastering these formats.

If you are a lazy person, I’d advise you to look elsewhere when it comes to making a living. But if you are passionate about fitness, the members will know and they will love you for it! You can live fairly well on the group ex income, as long as you get classes, and I’ll tell you, that’s not easy to do. As I said before, it’s a heavily saturated space, but the more you have, the better your chances!

Good luck!

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