Teaching in a Studio vs Gym Setting

Teaching in a Studio vs Gym SettingWhen I first started teaching, I associated ‘real’ yoga with yoga in a studio setting. I felt like yoga in the gym was a cheap imitation so I avoided taking those classes and I certainly didn’t apply for any teaching jobs in any gyms.

Since I was set on making fitness my career, I was always looking for more classes in the early years and a very good instructor at one of my studios recommended applying at a local health club. She was way more ‘yoga’ than me so I thought, if she likes teaching there, it can’t be that bad. I gave it a shot and, many years later, I still teach at that gym today. In fact, once I started teaching there, I started to phase out my studio classes and most of the classes I applied for were in gyms, health clubs or fitness studios that offered more than just yoga.

It turns out, you can take or teach a quality yoga class no matter the location and I shouldn’t be surprised since I’ve taught in a variety of settings. Also, in my experience, the students in my gym-based classes have been all levels (just like in the studio) and (I’m super generalizing here) they have also been more welcoming and less judgmental than their yoga studio counterparts.

Here are some pros and cons of each:

Studio Setting PROS:

  1. The schedule is usually more flexible and management/owners might be more open to new class ideas or workshops.
  2. You can usually add a workshop, class or event to the schedule with little notice.
  3. If you teach yoga, a studio usually provides a zen vibe you can’t always replicate in a gym.
  4. There are usually few rules so you can often wear anything and take any class that you like.

Studio Setting CONS:

  1. A lot of studios pay instructors as independent contractors when they do not actually qualify as such and instructors end up paying more in taxes when they are self-employed.
  2. Payment structure is often inconsistent.
  3. Some boutique chain studios require a non-compete.
  4. A flexible schedule can mean losing classes with little notice.
  5. Few rules can mean unclear expectations.

Gym Setting PROS:

  1. You have the opportunity to teach students that wouldn’t go to a yoga or specific fitness studio.
  2. You can more easily encourage cross-training for your students.
  3. Schedules are often set for a quarter or, at least, a month at a time.
  4. Payment is usually very consistent because gyms often have a long payroll beyond group fitness and yoga instructors.
  5. Rules and structure can be nice for clarity of expectations.
  6. If you want to expand beyond one format, it is usually easier to do so in a gym since they tend to offer a wider variety of classes than even multi-use fitness studios.

Gym Setting CONS:

  1. A set schedule means change can take a long time if you have ideas for a new class, event or workshop.Teaching in a Studio vs Gym Setting
  2. You don’t always get the ideal sensory experience for your class since many classes usually share the same studio.
  3. Some gyms and health clubs have limitations on employee use of the facility.
  4. Some gyms and health clubs require uniforms.

Where have you taught? What has been your experience? What is your favorite? I would love to hear! andreablairc@gmail.com

♥ Andrea

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