Ultimate Checklist for Your Next Group Fitness Instructor Audition

Feb 05, 2021

Do you have an upcoming group fitness instructor audition?

Congrats! It's an exciting time! As you start to practice your routine and prep your notes, I want to make sure you are as prepared as possible. Why? Well, anything can happen at an audition... and it sure did for me.

I was working at a print shop in Orange County and told my boss that I was going to audition at 24 Hour Fitness during my lunch break. I told her that it shouldn’t take more than an hour for me to change, drive to the gym, do my audition, change back, and get back to the office - after all, I had been to dozens of auditions and had even held many group fitness auditions during my time as a regional manager for LA Fitness.

When I got to the gym, I made sure that I had my music ready, my hair looked good, my outfit was on point, and then stepped out into the parking lot. Knowing that anyone could be watching me from that point on, I smiled as I walked into the gym, checked in with the front desk, and that’s when my jaw dropped…

There were well over 60 Zumba instructors in the lobby.

All I saw was a sea of neon, zebra print, and those jingly hip wraps (side note - do not wear anything that makes noise to a group fitness audition).

I walked over to the counter where four people appeared to be furiously checking people in. They asked for my name and handed me a number to pin to my shirt. That was a pretty big sign that this audition was going to be unlike any other I had experienced before.

Once everyone had their numbers, all 60-something of us were led into the group exercise room where we were instructed to do a warmup with one of the current 24 Hour Fitness instructors. We were told that if someone tapped us during the warmup, we were to stop dancing and leave the room - basically if they tapped us, we did not get the job.

The music started… and all around me, people were getting tapped left and right for improper form, messing up a move, or not appearing to have perfect rhythm in their dancing.

After the warmup, about half of the instructors had left the room and about 30 of us remained. The head Zumba instructor told us that one by one we were each going to lead the entire class for about one minute. They would put on a random song, call a number, and that instructor would lead the class with visual AND verbal cues to the best of their ability.

After we all taught, the group was then cut in half again. We all did one more round of teaching to the remaining group, and the audition was paused once more when there were only eight of us left. All eight of us were given a form to fill out with our availability to teach classes with 24 Hour Fitness, we were all thanked for coming in, and they finally sent us on our way.

I think I was about the sweatiest I have even been in my entire life after this audition! My head was spinning the whole time with crazy thoughts like “we can’t use the music we brought?” “we have to make up a routine on the spot?” “you don’t verbal cue in Zumba!”

Although it all ended well, the moral of the story is: always be prepared for ANYTHING.

Now, this story is not meant to scare you, but to let you know that even having experience in almost every type of group fitness audition imaginable, nothing is ever certain. Being prepared to do your best is usually the biggest thing that sets you apart from the crowd.

How can you best prepare?

Here is a list of things to do BEFORE your POP Pilates® audition to make sure you are well-prepared no matter what they throw at you!

  • Find out what is expected of you during the audition. You will want to find out if you need to teach an entire class, a small portion of a class, or just a couple tracks. It's best to be prepared to teach anything in any duration and setting. Sometimes, group fitness managers want to surprise you with different scenarios to see how you would respond. Also, be prepared to teach all of the formats you've listed on your resume! 

  • Prepare your POP Pilates® tracks. Choose tracks that best showcase the POP Pilates® format. This is all going to depend on where you are auditioning. If you are auditioning at a Yoga studio, choose more mellow, flowy tracks. If you are auditioning at a gym that has tons of HIIT classes, choose more energetic tracks that show how strong students will get from taking your class.

  • Set up your music. I like to make specific playlists for auditions so I am not scrambling around for my music under pressure. When you make your audition playlist, download your playlist to your device - maybe even two devices - and put your device on airplane mode before your audition so a call or text notification doesn’t come through in the middle of your class.

    Also, make sure you bring any necessary phone attachments, like an iPhone aux adapter, to connect your music. Most places have Bluetooth as well, so make sure yours is on and working. Last but not least, make sure your device is fully charged!
  • Prepare your class intro. Remember to give your class intro before you begin your audition. I like to keep mine around 30 seconds and I make sure to say my name, say hello to the class, and let them know what today's class will entail. Be sure to make eye contact and set a positive tone! We have great templates for class introductions in our POP Pilates® Training Manual.
  • Practice teaching to an empty room. There is a strong chance that it will just be you and the group fitness manager in the room together during the audition and they will not be participating in your audition. Make sure you are confident teaching to a room - while maintaining good vibes, energy, and cues - with nobody else in it.
  • Wear your brand. Make sure you have a POP Pilates® top or POPFLEX activewear for your audition. You don’t need to show up all decked out in POP flair, but having a clean outfit with a logo top and neatly pulled back hair will make you look professional. I am kind of a stickler about having an activewear jacket on top of your audition outfit for heading into the gym too!
  • Bring any props that you may need. Never assume that a gym or studio has Yoga mats for you to use for your audition. Always bring your own mat.
  • Bring a hard copy of your fitness resume. A fitness resume has your contact information, your certifications listed, and all the places you have worked in the fitness industry. Be prepared to hand this to the group fitness manager before you begin your audition.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about POP Pilates®. Be sure to review the POP Pilates® Instructor Manual and be familiar with the benefits of POP Pilates®, how it differs from traditional mat Pilates, and how you are able to accommodate all levels in your class by offering options. 

Do you have any questions about group fitness instructor auditions? Shout out (or share your experience) below! 

Want to become a POP Pilates® Instructor? Sign up for an instructor training today!

This piece was written by Master Trainer Maria Harrington. Maria has been teaching group fitness classes since 2009. As a former group fitness director, she’s implemented new fitness programs and developed instructors in many different formats. Her diverse fitness background and frequent engagement in continuing education allows her to tailor each class to her students. Maria’s passion is working with instructors to help them lead classes with students leaving strong, uplifted, and inspired!