Prechoreographed programs can be costly, which must also be considered when weighing the pros and cons of these classes. The costs differ depending on the program and can range from the simple one-time purchase of a product to a complete business package.

Push and Lift is a group strength training program based in Belgium. Once you purchase the video and music CD and the notes for one class, there is no other fee. At the other end of the cost spectrum, Les Mills International charges fees for initial training, a certifying video assessment, ongoing optional workshops and quarterly instructor kits. At 24 Hour Fitness, instructors can attend Group Xpedition miniconventions and select from a variety of prechoreographed classes and music. For their programs, Powder Blue Productions and Silver Sneakers offer a combination of initial training and ongoing access to customized routines and music. Jazzercise has the same type of ongoing support system, except that Jazzercise is a franchised operation, so instructors incur business fees as well.

For instructors buying a program outside of their country, there can also be costs associated with the exchange rate, shipping and local laws. Gisella Nano Revetria, a Jazzercise instructor, trainer and area director in Rome, found out the hard way that the Italian laws can be frustratingly expensive. “[What’s bad] for us in Italy are the costs for any CDs and branded clothing items we want to buy,” she says. “There are also huge rules that we have to deal with in our country, as we have over 30,000 laws that can make us crazy!”

Freestyle programs also have costs, yet they are sometimes more hidden. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, which offers a minor in fitness instruction, program design is part of the training that students receive, yet that training is included in the university fees (students do not pay anything additional for it). For many freestyle instructors, especially those who learned to teach years ago, training costs might have included their own club dues, as instructors were often members before moving up in the room!

Further education is also an expense, and many freestyle instructors attend both informal “choreography exchanges” and formal conventions, such as the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention®. And it can get pricey to maintain a collection of current music and educational videos.