Group Exercise Instructor-Lauren’s Story

Hey guys! I am totally enjoying the snow, mountains, sun, and family. It is SO beautiful here and I really enjoy spending time in nature and with these beautiful mountains. Skiing is a favorite of mine–so thank you for understanding my absence from blogland, twitterworld, facebookness, and email returns. I will respond to all emails and other requests starting on Wednesday!

Today I am excited for you all to meet Lauren! Take it away Lauren :)


Hi there! I’m Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning and am honored to be writing a guest post for Enjoy Your Healthy Life.

Like Annette, I’m a group exercise instructor and absolutely love my job. I wanted to share my story with you about how I got here.

I wasn’t active as a teenager or young adult. Exercise was something that just didn’t interest me, and was only done if I absolutely had to. I was overweight, out of shape, and working was hard- and not fun.  I would occasionally pop in a workout video and daydream about how great it would be to have the confidence and fitness level of an aerobics instructor.

When I graduated college, I began taking graduate courses in the evenings and worked as a receptionist full-time during the day. I became friends with one of my co-workers who would rave about how much she loved going to the gym. She got me to go with her one day, and I joined the gym soon after that.

We would go together during lunch or after work, and I actually started liking exercise. And as a bonus, I started losing weight. I would usually just work my way through the cardio machines, and occasionally pick up some free weights.

Soon after, I began dabbling in group exercise classes. I tried everything- Pilates, kickboxing, cardio dance, step… but what I really loved was a class called “Rep Reebok.” It was a strength-training classes that hit all the major muscle groups and was choreographed to music. I got hooked on Rep Reebok, and began taking it 3x a week, along with some additional cardio on the machines or running outside.

Though I loved the group exercise classes that my gym had to offer, there was still one that completely intimidated me: Spinning. I can clearly remember watching and listening to the Spinning classes while I was on the machines in the cardio area. They sounded so intense- and everyone looked so fierce and fit! I thought that Spinning was surely only for the super athletic/super fit people. I made the decision to look fear in the face and sign up for a Spinning class the following week.

I remember that first class clearly- even though it was seven years ago! It was hard, the instructor was tough, and there were so many times that wanted to quit- but I didn’t. I was completely exhausted after that first class, but I was also completely in love!

I immediately signed up for another class, and another, and then another. Spinning came a part of my regular routine, along with Rep Reebok and I was taking each class 3-4 times a week, sometimes back to back. Our gym eventually dropped Rep Reebok and began offering Bodypump instead. At first I was a little skeptical, but once again- after that first class, I was hooked!

As the years went by, and I stuck to my routine, I began to wonder what it would be like to be a fitness instructor. My body had become strong, I had lost nearly 50 lbs, and my confidence level was at an all-time high. Plus, I was a full-time high school teacher, so the “teaching” aspect should come easily.

In the winter of 2008, I decided that I was going to become a Spinning instructor. I signed up for my orientation, spoke with the group exercise coordinator at my gym, and patiently waited for my instructor training session. The Spinning certification required a 9-hour (1 day) workshop and a final exam afterwards.

When the day arrived, I was excited and nervous. The training ended up being one of the most fun and informative days I’ve ever had- I loved every minute of it and the time just flew by! I passed the certification exam with flying colors and was lucky enough to land two weekly classes at my gym (another instructor had just left and the timing worked out perfectly).


When I first started teaching my classes, I was super nervous and planned out every minute of every class. I took a lot of time to create my “rides,” but really enjoyed making playlists and was always excited for the next class. Three years later, I’m still teaching a class on Sunday mornings and a super early class on Tuesdays (5:30 am!). I actually love the early morning classes- they get me pumped up and ready to attack the work day!

I recently also completed my training and certification to teach Bodypump- just like Annette! {from Annette: WAHOO!!!} You can read my re-cap of the crazy, intense training experience here.

I’m still very new to teaching Bodypump, but I absolutely love the feeling I get when teaching a class- I feel so strong and confident. Watching people push themselves and get stronger and love their workouts is such a great feeling! And nothing makes me happier than hearing “thanks for a great class” after it’s over. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty good to get paid to work out!

If someone had told me ten years ago that I’d be a Spinning and Bodypump instructor today, I would have laughed. But, going through the training and getting those certifications are some of the best choices I have ever made. I’m so lucky that I can combine my love of teaching with my love of exercise.

If you’re considering becoming a group exercise instructor- go for it!


Thank YOU, Lauren! This was a fabulous post–and one that gets me super fired up as well :) With this post, I am SO excited to be back teaching “my” classes again after my skiing vacation 😉

Go check out Lauren’s fabulous blog!

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  1. I love taking spinning classes but have never thought about being certified – I am pretty picky about whose classes I’ll take!

  2. This is really inspirational! It makes me think I could do something like this!

  3. great story lauren!! i’ve definitely considered getting certified for group fitness (particularly spin!), so i loved hearing your story. who did you get your certification through and how much did you pay for it (if you don’t mind me asking!)?

    • Thanks, Ashley! I think my spinning certification was $275 (I think it’s $295 now). I went through Mad Dogg Athletics, which owns the brand “Spinning.” It can get pricey, because you have to renew every two years, but if you are teaching classes on a regular basis then you at least work that money off. I would definitely recommend going for it- I absolutely love teaching it! And to be honest- it’s a pretty easy certification to get.

  4. That’s awesome!! I was definitely intimidated by my first spin class, but my personal trainer (who also taught a spin class) assured me that I could go at my own pace and could turn up the intensity as high or low as I needed… I took the plunge and now love spinning for it’s great workout!!

  5. I love snow skiing. I put those little packets in my boots to keep my toes warm!

  6. After I graduate college I am planning on becoming a group fitness instructor. I am taking the Zumba certification course this April. Besides the specific certifications for speciality classes such as spinning, body pump and zumba, do you have a general group fitness certification?
    Is it common that a gym would hire someone who only has the speciality certifications?

    • I know that you have to have specific certifications for certain classes at my gym. Some gyms also only offer Les Mills classes, and you have to be certified through them. Talk to the group ex. coordinator at your gym- they should know all the specifics.
      AWESOME that you’re getting your Zumba cert! That class is no joke!

    • Kayla, it is true that most gyms want a ‘general’ group ex cert first OR something comparable. With all my schooling and experience teaching there, every gym counts that (And beyond). So it is just a matter of where you want to put your training, time, and money. But yes, it is best to have a BASE of training or education first! But, some smaller gyms and places won’t care (it is mostly if you want to take that teaching to another level and/or get paid more).

      GOOD luck with the training! you will LOVE it. Zumba is SO fun to teach!!! :)

      • thanks for the information! It is a bit overwhelming to figure out what path is best to start teaching group exercise, and I know everyone gets to where they are in different ways.

        I’m super excited to take the zumba certification course and cannot wait to start teaching it in the future

  7. Awesome story!


  1. […] lastly- please go check out my guest post (about my story of becoming a group exercise instructor) on Annette’s blog. And if […]

  2. […] lastly- please go check out my guest post (about my story of becoming a group exercise instructor) on Annette’s blog. And if […]



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