Purdue University, Division of Recreational Sports Website

Rec Sports
Group Fitness Instructor Course
Updated 3/21/14

Group Fitness Instructor Course


Becoming a group fitness instructor is a life-changing career that carries both privileges and responsibilities. In the Group Fitness Instructor Course, you will learn how create innovative fitness classes that will inspire the Purdue campus community to move. Purdue Rec Sports is committed to our mission – “enhancing the quality of life at Purdue through engagement in recreation and programs, which foster an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle and promote lifelong learning.” 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. This class is free to selected Purdue students and affiliates.

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January 28–April 24, 2014

No classes during Spring Break


Tuesdays and Thursdays 3–5:30pm (12 weeks, 60 hours) in MP6


In order to provide the appropriate level of instruction, space is limited. Therefore, we ask all applicants please take time to complete the Group Fitness Instructor Course Application.

We are no longer accepting applications.  Please check back in the fall for more information.

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This twelve-week intensive program is offered every spring semester and provides in-class theory and hands-on practical training. A certificate of completion is awarded upon completion of the course, passing exams, and providing proof of current CPR certification. Instructors selected to teach for Purdue Rec Sports will complete a semester-long mentorship program the following fall semester.

Lecture (24 hours)

  • Anatomy, Exercise Physiology, Fundamentals of Applied Kinesiology, Nutrition and Physiology of Training
  • Primary, Secondary and Continuing Education Options
  • Principles of Pre-class Preparation and Participant Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Group Exercise Program Design
  • Teaching a Group Exercise Class
  • Principles of Adherence and Motivation
  • Exercise and Special Populations
  • Exercise and Pregnancy

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Practical (36 hours)

  • Group X Format Training: All Purdue Rec Sports Group X Formats: cardio, strength, fusion, dance and water fitness (ZUMBA®, Turbo Kick® and Drums Alive® are not Purdue Rec Sports Formats)
  • Warm-ups and Cool-downs
  • Flexibility Training, Sequencing and Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)
  • Manipulating Workouts: Using Various Equipment Modalities and Variations
  • Progressions/Regressions
  • Instructors as Role Models: Body Image, Communication and Creating a Healthy Emotional Environment
  • Creating a Participant Centered Group Fitness Class
  • Creating Community: Group Cohesion Research and Application Strategies
  • Group X Black Book of Resources and Teaching Tips

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Course Completion Requirements

  • Passing grades on both the written and practical exams
  • Attendance at 11 of the 12 weeks of the course
  • Purchase of a Group X Pass and evaluate two classes a week
  • Proof of current CPR, First Aid and AED

Instructor Team Selection Requirements

  • Upon successful completion of the course (written final exam, audition and interview), top candidates will be hired on to join the Instructor Team. 
  • Instructors will complete a semester long mentorship program the following fall semester.
  • Each Instructor will start team-teaching right away, working alongside an experienced iinstructor, who can immediately begin to mentor you through a process of continuous and incremental improvement.
  • A final audition with the Assistant Director of Group Fitness and Instructional Programs is required before an Instructor can begin teaching his/her own class the following semester.

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A Word of Caution

  • Becoming a Group Fitness Instructor can be a rewarding part of the academic experience; it is also a time-consuming 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 fitness program requirements. Before beginning the course, consider carefully your current involvement in academics and extra-curricular activities.

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  • 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

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