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Original photo by Camryn Chernick

The Truth About Being a Fitness Instructor

Imagine a job where you get to change someone’s life all while you get to wear comfy leggings. 

My job as a certified group fitness instructor allows me to do just that! Guiding people to get stronger and healthier in a fun way is the number one goal for my job.

So, what’s it actually like being a group fitness instructor?

Being a fitness instructor is not all cute leggings and pump-up music.

A common misconception is that when I teach, I get a free workout in. Um, not exactly. I’m constantly moving, my heart rate goes up and my stomach is usually growling after a more energetic class, but I’m not really there to work out. 

Imagine if I was focused on myself the whole time? I’d be too out of breath to cue you! My job is to motivate you and maintain your safety. Sure, I’m burning calories, but my priority is my participants. This is your time to get work on your wellness goals, not mine.

Even with all this effort I put in to give my participants the best group fitness experience possible, I still get asked if I get paid. 

Yes, friend, I do get paid. There’s no need to be shocked about that either. If I get expensive certifications and spend time outside of the gym planning workouts, I better see my bank account balance go up!

I dedicate more time to my job than just the 45 minutes I’m jumping around in front of my participants. 

Did you love my playlist? Thank you! I combed through other Spotify playlists until I found hours worth of songs with specific beats per minute. 

Did you enjoy my guided meditations? Thank you! I learned from other meditation instructors.

Had fun at my POUND class? Thank you! I practiced the choreography and learned new songs every couple of classes to give you something to look forward to.

Were my cues easy to understand and did you resonate with my motivational affirmations? Thank you! A lot of practice and rehearsing went into those.

You thought my workout seamlessly worked out your full body? Thanks! I looked up a variety of moves that each target different areas in your body and placed them in a specific order so you wouldn’t get too tired, strained or so you wouldn’t have to flip around constantly to do different moves. 

Sadly, not all fitness instructors hold this much integrity in their classes, as explained in the science-based fitness podcast Wellness Nerds. It’s way too easy for instructors to get certified within a day and think that’s all they need to be a quality instructor. 

Just because you sweat a ton and feel sore from a group fitness class does not mean the instructor knows what they’re doing.

I’m fortunate enough to have phenomenal coworkers who dive deep into fitness research and have helped me refine my technique. If I focused on my certifications alone to give me the tools to teach an exceptional fitness class, I wouldn’t be a strong instructor!

When I get in front of a group of people and need to hype them up to move their bodies, they’re feeding off of my energy. Most of the time my eyes sparkle when I get to instruct, but there are a handful of times where I’m faking a smile because I’m tired, sad or stressed. My participants can feel that.  

Regardless of how the instructor is feeling, there should never be a time where you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable in a class. My goal is to welcome individuals from all levels of fitness to have the best workout or yoga class of their week! I want you to leave feeling strong, confident and rejuvenated. 

It’s incredible seeing familiar faces pop into my classes and watch their progress as the months roll by. It’s an honor when I have regulars because there’s so much passion that goes into my classes and it fills my heart with joy when I get to share that.

The next time you take a group fitness class, be sure to genuinely thank your instructor and let them know what you loved about the class. It’ll make their day!

If you’re considering becoming certified as a fitness instructor, I encourage you to do so! But please, continue to research and take workshops so you can keep growing your education. 

Lots of love,


Camryn is a senior at Montclair State University with a Communications Studies major and a minor in Entrepreneurship. She is a passionate certified fitness instructor specializing in yoga, POUND, and barre. When she's not instructing classes or writing inspiring articles, you'll find her experimenting with her makeup, crafting, eating dessert, going on thrilling day trips, or obsessing over Disney.
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