A lot of group fitness instructors start teaching because they simply love the group fitness classes they attend and many have no initial plans to turn that into a career. Fast-forward a bit and that one class on the side turns into many and then the natural progression is to look for full-time work in the fitness field.
It is possible to work full-time in fitness or with a focus on fitness and it’s even possible to find one full-time job at one location (although these jobs are rare and there’s usually a lot of competition). Here are some options for working full-time in fitness. I should also mention that I have worked full-time in fitness and I did so for years but, now that I have two little kids, I balance teaching classes, freelance writing and this blog along with being a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers!
If you dream of working at one location full-time, keep your eyes on job listings but also be a bug in the ear of your group fitness/gym/studio manager and let them know that you’d love to do more! Sometimes these people in charge will hand-select the new person for the job.
Teach a lot of classes and get a flexible side job
This is how I started. I wanted to dive head-first into teaching yoga so, right as I was finishing up my 200-hour teaching certificate, I looked for a part-time job and I lucked out. I found a job at a real estate office and it included very flexible hours so I could work around my yoga schedule. I kept this job for four years.
Manage yoga or group fitness
This is the dream job of so many instructors but it’s really not for everyone. I think some are surprised to find that you’ll spend more time on the computer than in studio but I actually loved the balance. The hours can be a little hectic and it’s on you if no one else can sub a class but getting to take classes as part of your job, be involved in class planning and mentor other instructors all while still getting to teach classes is totally worth it, in my opinion!
Write fitness articles
This is my favorite option. After you have some experience in fitness, share your knowledge and earn extra money or make writing your full-time gig! This is one you can truly do on the side, in your off hours. I have several blog posts here, on this site, about fitness writing, where to get started with freelance writing and even view my free master class with the 8 Steps to Freelance Fitness Writing.
Get your personal training certificate
This tends to be the go-to for a lot of instructors and I’m totally guilty. I got my personal training certificate because I thought it would be a great way to fill in the gaps of my teaching schedule and I could learn even more about movement and the human body. If you really do want to train clients or just want to learn more about the body, go for it! If you feel it’s the only way to fill up your work hours with fitness, I say keep looking and consider other options. Most clients want to train during popular group fitness class times anyway.
Work in health/wellness coaching
This is getting a lot more popular since everyone seems to finally be taking a well-rounded approach to health and wellness but since I haven’t worked in this field myself, I’ll refer you to a friend’s site so you can see how she runs her business: Northwest Health Coaching.
Work in nutrition
Of course, nutrition go hand-in-hand and you’ll just want to make sure you stay within your scope of practice when giving this advice. If you write about nutrition, just quote a qualified expert but if you’re giving advice, directly from you, make sure you have the appropriate degree or certification.
Manage a gym
If you have experience in many parts of the gym experience, you might enjoy managing the entire gym. These jobs are often full-time when group fitness management positions are more often part-time but they often require experience beyond group fitness.
Teach private Pilates
In some gyms and studios, you can fill up your schedule with private Pilates clients. The training is more involved and you can expect some non-business hours but this is a great compliment to group fitness.
If you’ve found another way to fill-up your schedule, please let me know!