Answers to some of my most frequently asked questions:
Why is your blog called “Confessions of a Fitness Instructor”
I used to walk in on conversations before/after classes when people were talking about eating french fires or iced cream and the conversation would immediate stop the second I was within hearing range. For some reason everyone though that because I was a fitness professional I always ate perfectly, which clearly isn’t the case. I know there are lots of fitness professionals that do eat all healthy all the time (or at least claim to ) but I’m not one of those. I believe in eating well most of the time, but I also believe in eating whatever you want some of the time too. That’s why my tagline is, “because being fit isn’t about being perfect,” because it’s not. As long as you try to be healthy most of the time, a few french fries now and again won’t hurt ya!
Plus “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is one of my all-time favourite books (I heart Beck Bloomwood!) so it seemed like a good fit
I would like to become a fitness instructor too! How to I go about becoming certified?
Each country has at least one certifying body that trains, evaluates and provides certifications for fitness instructors and personal trainers. Here in Canada we have CanFitPro, and in the US you can become certified through the ASFA or one of the many other organizations out there. Check with your local gyms to find out about courses that are being offered or do a Google search to find courses in your area
How much money can I make as a fitness instructor?
There is no one answer to this question. I suggest anyone starting out to first try and get a job teaching one or two weekly classes at your local gym. This way you can focus on developing your skills as an instructor while letting someone else handle the marketing, licenses, insurance, gym fees, etc. Depending on where you live and your experience you can expect to make anywhere from $10-$50 or more per class teaching in a gym setting. Obviously if you are Chalene Johnson or Beto Perez you can charge more but for most of us we can expect our hourly rate to fall somewhere in that category. Keep in mind, many fitness instructors also get free gym memberships on top of their actual pay check, so that can be a pretty sweet bonus if you’re just looking for a part-time gig and are already a bit of a gym rat.
But can’t I make more money if I run classes myself like you do?
Sure you can – if you have the client base. Fitness classes aren’t a “build it and they will come” sort of thing. While the majority of the classes I teach now are ones I run myself, I spent a few years working for towns, red departments and local gyms gaining experience, skill and a client base. Also keep in mind while you get to collect all the money when running your own classes you also get to pay all the bills. Facility rental fees, professional & legal liability insurance, music licenses, equipment, marketing costs, the cost of all of your printed materials (signs, posters, business cards, punch cards, membership cards, etc.), and then there is your music and continuing education fees. This business ain’t cheap!
How many classes/week can a fitness instructor teach without burning out?
This is another question that depends on the person. Obviously someone young without any kids or family responsibilities can teach more classes than someone with small children (or children at all) because your time is more flexible. I’ve taught as many as 19 classes/week (which was total insanity) but prefer a class load in the 10-14 range. If planing to do this as a full-time job I would recommend starting out at around 8/week to see how that makes you feel physically and then you can add or subtract as necessary from there.
I thought people with fibromyalgia has muscle and/or joint pain most or all of the time. How can I possibly believe you have this condition and work as a full-time fitness instructor?
That’s 100% true, and you don’t have to believe it but it’s the truth. Staying really active helps me deal with my symptoms but some days all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep, and if I’m lucky at some point in the day I can do just that. For me, it is easier to go out and push myself to teach a one hour fitness class knowing I can then go home and rest than it was to go work an 8-hour day at an office job. I realize this lifestyle wouldn’t work for me, but it does for me.
But what about bad days? How do you keep going when you are exhausted and hurt?
Like anyone, I have my share of bad days. I’ve learned that on those days I rest as much as I can, when I can. And when it comes time to teach classes, I just do it. I’ll take a deep breath in the car and then it’s show time. These people aren’t coming out to see me looking sad and in pain, they are there to get their asses kicked and to have fun while doing it. The interesting thing is, on the bad days I tend to teach my hardest classes. Misery likes company you know, so if I’m in pain they should be too.
How much do you weigh?
I’m 5 foot 9 inches tall and weigh 140 lbs give or take a few cupcakes .
Besides the classes you teach, do you work out on your own?
I have been really bad about this the past year or so. After teaching all of my classes I’m often too tired to do any additional workouts and as a result I have lost a lot of muscle mass and strength. It’s one of my goals for 2013 to strength train 2-3x/week outside of my classes by doing the Physique 57 workout DVDs. I’m also trying to rebuild my lost yoga practice by doing a little bit each day and building from there. Lastly, doing all of one type of cardio leaves me wide open for muscle imbalances and injury (which I saw a lot of in 2012) so I am (fingers crossed) hoping to squeeze in one run/week in order to help keep myself from getting injured. The problem is how do I get all of that done plus teach all of my classes without burning out. We’ll see. I am a big advocate of “the nap” which certainly helps
Why do you call your husband “J” instead of using his real name?
Just because I decided to write a blog and let the world know who I am, how much I weigh and what I eat for lunch, doesn’t mean my friends and family want to do the same. I try to allow them as much privacy as possible so I refer to him by his first initial and don’t post his photos on the blog. If I post photos of my friends or family, it is with their permission only.
You say you live in Nova Scotia and teach at a local University – where exactly do you live?
I live in the Annapolis Valley a few minutes outside of the Town of Berwick in a neighboring community and the university I teach for is Acadia in Wolfville. Currently while I am still on staff at Acadia I am not teaching classes on campus. My schedule was getting too crazy so I’ve taken this school year off from teaching there but am thinking about returning for the summer session.
Besides Acadia, where else do you teach fitness classes?
If you are in the area and want to come to one of my classes (I’d LOVE to have you!) shot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll hook you up with the deets!