Looking back on my first year as a fitness instructor

I almost can’t believe it, but it has now been one year since I completed and passed my Group Fitness Certification Exam! One year ago today, I was sitting in my car frantically cramming the names of various muscle groups into my brain from the ACE Fitness blog (HUGE help too) just minutes before I went into the examination room. The test was soo much easier than I had anticipated, but it’s far better to be over-prepared than the other way around. After calling a few close friends and my parents to share the good news, I remember thinking, “So now what?”

The answer for me, was to dive right in and begin cold-calling gyms in need of a new, awesome (but not-so-experienced) instructor. It didn’t take too long for someone to take a chance on me. One week after passing my GFI certification, I auditioned at LA Fitness to teach boot camp. The audition was rather awkward, taking place in an empty studio with the fitness manager standing 3 feet in front of me, asking me to show her some of my warm up moves, 10 seconds of my actual workout, and a verbal description of my cool down. I must have done something right as I was offered a teaching gig right away! My first class was kind of in the middle of nowhere in Northern Virginia, and at 8 PM on a Monday night, so that might have been why they were so eager to bring me on!

I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first class at LA Fitness. Walking into a unfamiliar facility, asking the Zumba instructor to show me how to use the ancient stereo system, and clutching my workout on index card in case I forgot the moves. My first class was also an interesting mix of students: four women over 50 years old, one 40 year old man, and one 20-something woman. They became loyal students after that first class, and they had energy and enthusiasm for days! After about 3 months at that location, I moved on to teach a bit closer to home and at better times. I still miss my very first students, and I hope they continued to take that boot camp class!

@getfitlikethat classes
Some highlights from my first year of teaching (the good, the bad, and the ugly)!

I’m now teaching several classes across the DC area, from boot camps to strength conditioning, and I can honestly say I don’t have any regrets after my first year in the profession. Even on my worst days, teaching fitness classes is always a joy. Whether I have 1 or 20 students in a class, we always have fun, and I like to think I push my students to new heights each time. Recently, I’ve started auditioning to teach at new gyms and studios and that experience has had its share of ups and downs as well. I’ve succeeded in three auditions and bombed one with a major gym. This shows me I still have a lot to learn and tons of skills to perfect. But I’m actually looking forward to trying and failing some more!

I wrote this post not only to commemorate my first year as a fitness instructor, but also to acknowledge that familiar question that’s been creeping up in my mind lately, “So now what?” Do I try to teach more classes? Should I look into working at new gyms and studios? Should I set out on my own to market myself and find my own clients? There are so many options, which is a blessing a curse at times. For now, I’ve decided to seek out new studios so that I can meet some more students and build up a following of my own. I also hope to step up my teaching style and get better at organizing larger classes.

The good news is this time, the unknown no longer scares me. It makes me excited. Whatever I decide to do related to fitness, I know I will not be disappointed. And I can always switch it up whenever I like! So I’m ready for year 2 which will mean more blogging, more teaching, and more learning! Stay tuned for updates and class schedules if you’re in the Washington DC area!

Thank you for reading and for your support, can’t wait to see what’s next!

Wish me luck this week on my next audition!

And in the meantime,

Keep it moving!

~ Sharita

Copyright August 2015

Comments 32

  1. August 31, 2015

    How awesome! I’m so glad to see that you’re making the most of your cert, teaching classes and making a positive impact on all your students! If I’m ever in the DC area, I’ll have to take one of your classes!

  2. August 31, 2015

    congrats on one year down!! looking forward to seeing what you do next!

  3. August 31, 2015

    That is awesome! Way to go on following your dreams and passions and turning it all into a success! It’s great when you can find joy and fulfillment in your work!

  4. August 31, 2015

    I didn’t know you lived in the DC area too! This post makes me miss teaching group x and spinning. It can be so rewarding-enjoy!

  5. August 31, 2015

    Congratulations on your first year! 🙂
    Can’t wait to see what year 2 brings you.

  6. August 31, 2015

    I think it would be a blast to teach fitness classes, but the auditions would give me diarrhea! I would be so nervous having to audition. I am actually thinking about down the road, getting my yoga certification. I don’t know if I’d ever teach, but I’d love to know more.

  7. August 31, 2015

    Congrats on 1 year of teaching, sounds like you have made an awesome career for yourself, whatever comes next I am sure will be amazing.

  8. August 31, 2015

    I can’t wait until I can say looking back at my first year as a personal trainer 🙂 I’m thinking about a group cert next.

  9. August 31, 2015

    well congratulations to you! sounds like the certification was a pivot point. Love hearing how an investment in yourself has turned up these opportunities.

  10. August 31, 2015

    congrats on one year and here’s to year 2!! you’ll have to keep me posted on where you teach so I can pop into a class 🙂

  11. August 31, 2015

    Congrats on reaching your one year milestone! Good luck with your audition, and the teaching road that lies ahead of you.

  12. August 31, 2015

    So exciting!! There are big things just waiting for you out there, I know it!!

  13. August 31, 2015

    Happy anniversary Sharita! Here’s to many more amazing years of fitness!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thank you so much!

  14. August 31, 2015

    Congrats on one year! I’d love to check out one of your classes if you ever teach in Arlington!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      I hope to teach in NOVA soon, hopefully early next year. I’ll definitely post a schedule once I have classes open to the public!

  15. September 1, 2015

    You should be super proud of yourself. Such an inspiring story.

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thanks Priya!

  16. September 1, 2015

    Happy Anniversary!! Your story is inspiring and awesome!! Congratulations on one year down of teaching, and many more to come!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thank you! Yes, I am hoping for many more years to come as well!

  17. September 1, 2015

    Congrats!! What a great mile marker in life! My husband is a trainer and he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world =)

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thanks Mrs. Barbelle!! (Love your blog!)

  18. September 1, 2015

    Congrats on a whole year as a fitness instructor! One area I really like to teach in is corporate wellness – going on site to companies to teach classes. I love it!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      I’m very interested in corporate wellness! Bringing the workouts to employees just makes it so simple!

  19. September 1, 2015

    Best of luck for your upcoming audition!!!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thank you!! 😀

  20. September 1, 2015

    good luck in year 2! My first year as a personal trainer was tough as well. Finding that first gig is always hard. I don’t train anymore, but would like to get group fitness certified. I think I would like that!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      It’s so much fun in the group setting! My students definitely keep my energy on high.

  21. September 1, 2015

    Congrats on your first year!!! You must feel so great and know so many awesome things to dream about doing!!! You will be awesome in your second year!

    1. Sharita Fit
      September 2, 2015

      Thanks so much! I can’t wait to expand my reach to more students!

  22. September 3, 2015

    Good luck! I’d love to become a fitness instructor someday, but I know I have a long way to go before I can even think of living that dream. Well, it’s the journey that counts. 🙂

  23. April 19, 2016

    Awesome post Sharita, I have always believed that going out on your own is a step that everyone must take at some point, especially in the PT industry. I wish all the best of luck. I am aware I am reading this post a little late, so I am curious what you ended up doing?

    – Matt

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