How to Become an Indoor Cycling Instructor
Teaching Indoor Cycling Classes
Group indoor cycling is a popular fitness method for both men and women. If you've taken a class, you know how much fun it can be and have possibly even thought that teaching cycling could be a good career move. Once you decide to actually make that move, you'll find yourself spending time to train and earn professional certifications, but the time you give can pay off. After you've developed good business relationships with studios and students, your fitness job will likely offer a fair amount of flexibility, something that a working mother often needs.
You might hear indoor cycling referred to as "spin" or "spinning." These terms, however, are both trademarked and owned by a fitness company. Becoming a certified Spin(R) or Spinning(R) instructor requires completing a training and certification program administered by Mad Dogg Athletics.
As an indoor cycling instructor, you'll lead group indoor cycling classes. Depending on your class style, your workdays may include:
- Planning class routines
- Selecting music
- Talking with new and current class participants about their health concerns and fitness goals
- Leading classes
- Assisting with administrative and maintenance tasks at the gym or studio where you work
Indoor cycling instructors typically complete a training program—offered either by the gym or studio where they want to teach—via a proprietary program such as Mad Dogg Athletics' Spinning program or through a third-party certification program. The length of these programs can vary significantly, anywhere from one to several months. You may also be required to complete one or more tryouts or auditions before being accepted into a training program.
According to an article at Self.com, many instructors get their start as standout class participants who are eventually recruited by instructors or studio managers. But, it doesn't work this way for everyone: Experienced fitness trainers may decide to complete additional training in indoor cycling classes and then pursue professional certification.
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics does not give indoor cycling instructor a category of its own, but, rather, includes indoor cycling instructors in the "fitness trainer" category when providing statistics about the profession. The median annual pay for fitness trainers and instructors was $38,160 in May of 2016. This means that 50 percent of trainers made more than $38,160 and 50 percent made less. PayScale.com also published a survey of "Spinning instructors" which showed a median annual income of $52,010 among its respondents.
Most indoor cycling jobs are available through fitness clubs or dedicated studios. In articles posted at both Cosmopolitan.com and Self.com, experienced instructors note that scheduling, particularly for novice instructors, can be erratic and the hours can be difficult to manage. Here are some reasons why:
- As a new instructor, you may not be able to get a full-time, or even regular part-time slot on a gym or studio's schedule. You may, instead, be asked to work as a substitute instructor or to provide private lessons until you gain enough experience to earn a permanent position.
- To earn a living, you may have to be willing to teacher or substitute at multiple locations, and this can require a fair amount of commuting.
- Many studios and gyms schedule classes as early as 6 a.m., which can mean getting up and heading to work before sunrise.
Instructors also note that it's important to take care of your body when you're instructing several classes each day. This may mean taking up other fitness activities, such as weight training or yoga.
Years of Experience
A survey by PayScale.com indicates that fitness instructors can expect to earn more as they get more job experience. The correlation between years in the field and annual salary are as follows:
- 0-5 years: $34,000
- 5-10 years: $45,000
- 10-20 years: $50,000
- 20+ years: $53,000
Job Growth Trend
The BLS estimates that employment for fitness trainers will grow by about 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is faster than average growth when compared to other professions, and the BLS explains this growth as the result of increased interest in health and fitness, particularly as a way of combating diseases that are the result of obesity and aging.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Fitness Trainers and Instructors
- Cosmopolitan: 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Spin Instructor
- Spinning.com: Spinning® Instructors and Spin® Instructor Certification
- NCCPT.com: About The Indoor Cycling Certification
- Self.com:The Intense, Cutthroat World of Group Cycling Instructor Training
- Racked: Meet the Company That Trademarked the Word 'Spin'
- PayScale.com: Spinning Instructor Salary
- PayScale.com: Fitness Instructor Salary
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.