Purdue University, Division of Recreational Sports Website

Rec Sports
Group Fitness Instructor Course
Updated 12/12/14



Becoming a group fitness instructor is a life-changing career that carries both privileges and responsibilities. In the Group Fitness Instructor Prep Course, you will learn how create innovative fitness classes that will inspire the Purdue campus community to move. This course will help transform your desire to teach into knowledge and an inspired skill set so that you can deliver an incredible class experience every time you teach.

Course Information

Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 26 – April 23, 2015, 3-5:30pm

Multipurpose Room 6


This course is free to all Purdue students, faculty and staff.  However, in order to provide the appropriate level of instruction, space is limited. Therefore, we ask all applicants to submit a Group Fitness Instructor Course application form. Selected applications will be invited to interview with the Assistant Director of Group Fitness and Instructional Programs.

We are no longer accepting applications for the Spring 2015 course.


This 12-week course is designed to give participants the knowledge and understanding necessary to prepare for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Group Fitness Instructor Certification Exam and become effective group fitness instructors. Participants will also have the opportunity to audition for a Group Fitness Instructor position. However, employment is not guaranteed just because you completed the course.  All registered participants will receive a discount on ACE study materials and the ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor Exam.

Prep Course Completion Requirements

  • Purchase the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual (3rd Edition)
  • Purchase a semester Group X Pass
  • Attend 22 of 24 GFI Prep Course classes
  • Receive a grade of 80% or higher on written exam
  • Receive a grade of 80% or higher on practical exam (Instructor Showcase)

Mentor Program Selection Process

  • Upon successful completion of the spring semester GFI-Prep Course, top candidates will be hired to join the Purdue Rec Sports Group Fitness Instructor Team. 
  • New instructors will complete a semester long mentorship program and begin team-teaching right away, working alongside experienced instructors, who can immediately begin to mentor you through a process of continuous and incremental improvement.

Mentor Program Completion Requirements

  • Complete 5 weeks of team teaching a choreographed cardio class.
  • Complete 5 weeks of team teaching a strength or athletic conditioning class.
  • Complete 5 weeks of team teaching an elective class.
  • Complete a final audition with the Assistant Director of Group Fitness and Instructional Programs for the classes you are interested in teaching in the following semester.

A Word of Caution

  • Becoming a Group Fitness Instructor can be a rewarding part of the academic experience; it is also a time and energy consuming affiliation. 
  • Individuals should enter the training program knowing that in order to succeed you must commit time for practice and development. 
  • Only the most qualified candidates are promoted to the Instructor Team. 
  • At times students have found that other activities such as clubs, teams, and sororities often conflict with course requirements. Before beginning the course, consider carefully your current involvement in extra-curricular activities.

course instructor

This course will be taught by Purdue Rec Sport’s Assistant Director of Group Fitness and Instructional Programs, Michelle Whipple. Michelle has been a Group Fitness Instructor for 11 years and is certified to teach 9 different group fitness class formats: Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba for Kids, Drums Alive, Turbo Kick Gold Level, PiYo Gold Level, YogaFit Level I, TRX Suspension Training and Heart Zones/Cycling Fusion Indoor Cycling. She has a M.S. in Health and Kinesiology from Purdue University and currently oversees Purdue’s Group X and Learn to Play Instructional Programs.  


For more information regarding this course, please contact Michelle Whipple, Assistant Director of Group Fitness and Instructional Programs at 765.496.6234 or by email at mwhipple@purdue.edu