How to Grow Your Group Exercise Team

Look within your studio for your next star.

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Jan 11, 2019

It’s time to build your group exercise bench. Where do you start? Here are some tips from Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and senior vice president of learning and product development for FIT4MOM®. Fable recommends that program directors focus on the following three areas:

  • Warm up to rookies. Don’t be afraid to hire a brand-new instructor. During the interview, home in on attitude and availability, then on aptitude. If the attitude is right and availability is there, and if the candidate can teach multiple formats and time slots, then you can teach the required skills.
  • Look within. Cross-train current employees inside and outside your department; this is one of the easiest ways to build your roster. Start with your current team and focus on instructors who are eager for more work, but keep in mind that no one should monopolize a category, format or time slot. And don’t forget about personal trainers!
  • Scout classrooms for potential superstars. Diamonds in the rough aren’t always in the front row! Watch the entire class—and also look for potential on the main workout floor. Notice people who move well, are consistent and have a positive attitude. If you don’t already have an internal mentoring program, create one to help members transition from participant to instructor.

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at

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