so you want to become a spin instructor?

20 Aug

As some of you may know, I recently started teaching spin classes! I thought I’d share with my little corner of the web how I did it.


I got into spin my sophomore year of college.  In an ill-fated attempt to join Cal’s triathlon team, I took a few classes.  I quickly learned that my swimming and biking wasn’t at a level I’d be comfortable competing at, so I dropped the team.  But I did stick with spinning!  I took classes at Cal’s RSF and my hometown’s 24 Hour Fitness when I returned for semester and summer breaks. I even joined gyms and took spin classes when I studied abroad in Barcelona and again when I lived in Madrid.  I take my obsessions SERIOUSLY.

Since being back in LA, I have enjoyed spinning at Gold’s Gym downtown, as well as YAS Fitness, Flywheel, and of course, Soul Cycle. So after years of spinning (roughly 6 years), I decided to accomplish the goal of becoming a spin instructor.

at the YAS-A-Thon 2013.

at the YAS-A-Thon 2013.

In my mind, there is NOTHING worse than taking a bad spin class, mostly defined by a low energy instructor with bad music.

How to Get Certified

In order to become a legitimate spin instructor, you need to get certified.  I chose to go through Spinning (R).  It was a one-day class, from 10 am to about 6 pm.  We had about 25 people take the certification course, led by a master trainer from Mad Dogg Athletics.  We learned pretty basic things like how to assemble a class, the different hand positions, and how to set up a bike. We also took a couple of rides.  It was really a fun day — I joked that I felt like I was at spinning camp.  Although the certification is about $300, it is really efficient. requires that you essentially get re-certified every 2 years, but I know this requirement is not enforced by many different facilities.  The week after the class, you have to take a 50 question multiple choice exam.  It is not difficult. (I took it literally while I was blow drying my hair).


How to Get Hired

Getting  certified is only the first step – you need someone to actually want you to work at their gym!  Many spinning specialty facilities (Soul Cycle, YAS) require that you go through their own teacher training.  I decided to wait to reach out to potential gyms until after I got certified.  That week, I reached out to my gym, Gold’s Gym in Downtown Los Angeles.  The group exercise manager responded and suggested I meet him for a brief interview.  I lucked out in that my gym was looking to add a new spin instructor to the team, so I was matched up with Marcus, a long-time spin instructor at my gym to co-teach a class or two.  I taught the first three songs of a couple classes.  This really got my confidence up and also introduced me to a lot of the regulars.  I would really recommend suggesting this to the gyms you consider reaching out to.

Since then, I now teach one class a week (Saturday mornings) at my gym, and may be picking up another one in the near future.  I’m also subbing occasionally.  It’s awesome to be a part of a fitness community and to be around people who share a similar interest.



I’ve also enjoyed assembling playlists and figuring out what I’m going to say to the class.  The hardest part is definitely getting comfortable with the mic and not sounding like a total dork when I’m coaching.


one playlist.

Hopefully over time, as I grow as an instructor, I can post more playlists, tips, and thoughts on instructing!

In the meantime, anything you’d like to know? 


31 Responses to “so you want to become a spin instructor?”

  1. Angela August 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    BWAHAHAH I’m pretty obsessed with the fact Tipsy is on your playlist. I still have very…umm…fond…memories of you singing this on runs 😉

    • gillian August 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Hahahaha LOVE it. And this remix is SICK – definitely a modernized version of the classic 🙂

  2. Matt September 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Good for you!! I hope you pick up more classes. It is addictive. If you want some mixes check out this site

    • gillian September 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Matt! I have been loving it. I will have to check out your site.

  3. EngelSmarts February 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    This is so inspirational! I’ve been mulling over getting certified in Philadelphia and have been hesitant..I googled ‘becoming spin certified’ and found your entry. Thanks for sharing!

    • gillian February 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Awww, so glad you found it helpful!

  4. Latrice May 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Great article Gillian! Very inspirational! I’m looking to get my spin class certification and this article really help boost my confidence to moving forward with it. Thanks so much 🙂

  5. Jax Sargent May 29, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Gillian – Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m taking my spin certification class on 6/21 through Schwin. I will be sub-ing for my mentor at the gym on campus.I will look to sub at other gyms to build my confidence as well and hopefully, like you, get a dedicated class. I wish you continued success! I look forward to reading more about your journey.

    • Gillian @ That's G May 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      That’s so awesome! I’m looking forward to following along with your experience as well! It definitely gets more fun and easier over time!

  6. rebcaneat July 11, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Hi! Oh my goodness I was looking for reviews of the spin instructor training that I’m doing tomorrow and your review was the first one to pop up! So glad I got to read your review online after you reccomended the training to me in class last week :))

    I wanted to ask: which heart rate monitor do you use? I bought a cheap one but I want to upgrade.

  7. rebcaneat July 11, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Hii!! OMG I was looking for reviews of the spin training and I found your blog! So glad I got to read the official review of the person who recommended the training to me 🙂

    Question: what heart rate monitor do you use? I just bought a cheap one for the training but I might want to upgrade.

    • Gillian @ That's G July 11, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Hi! That is too funny!! I actually don’t use a heart rate monitor, but I probably should get one!

  8. Joy August 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I’m thinking of getting certified, but I’m really nervous about my fitness level! I’m pretty fit, and I love working out in general, but some of my spin instructors’ life seem to revolve around fitness. I guess my question would be, at what fitness level should one be at? I’m usually pretty spent after a spin class.

    • Gillian @ That's G August 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Joy!

      Sorry for the delayed response! When I got certified, I was in good shape but definitely not the fittest person in the room by any means. I think you should have a general good baseline, but you do NOT need to be a “professional” in any sense of the word. Hope that helps!

  9. steph August 15, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Do you mind me asking how much you usually get paid per spin class at a gym? Do you have to have any other training certifications (like PT, CPR, etc)? THANKS!

    • Gillian @ That's G August 15, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Steph!

      I don’t have any other certifications, but should probably get CPR certified at some point (my gym didn’t require it).

      I get $30/class, and a free gym membership.

      • seestephtri August 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

        Cool thanks so much!

  10. Andie Marie Houck August 31, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Hi! I was curious, I am already primary group exercise certified, and we were required to do a demo for our certification. Is this more of a workshop, do they have you do an individual demo at the end? Thank you!

    • Gillian @ That's G August 31, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Andie,

      We didn’t do a demo at the end – we practiced commands but each person maybe spoke for 30 seconds or so. Hope that helps!

  11. Claudia September 5, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Gillian,

    Im actually pretty interested in going for the certification, I live in Long Island NY, and one of the current spin instructors told me they are in desperate need of spin instructors in my gym, also Golds Gym. I was wondering though, did you ask to co teach @ your gym before or after you got certified? I’m a little nervous to even approach them. I’ve been doing spinning for at least 8 years, but it’s still nerve wrecking to get up there in front of a group of people and hope they like your class. 🙂

    Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon!

    • Gillian @ That's G September 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Claudia!

      I asked to co-teach after I got certified, but I am sure you could approach it either way. It was nerve-wracking but DEFINITELY gets easier over time. And it is helpful to remember that the people in the class are just there for a good workout, not a crazy perfect performance.

      • Claudia September 9, 2014 at 4:36 am #

        That’s definetly true and very helpful to think about it that way. Thanks Gillian !

  12. nowlovethis October 24, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Do I need to be very good at spin to get certified? I am not at my goal but I have been doing it off and on for a few years now and I would love to teach

    • Gillian @ That's G October 24, 2014 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Jessica! No! You can get certified at any level. I bet you’re better at spin than you think, and the training alone will boost your confidence and hone your skills.

  13. Kari On Nutrition December 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve been interested in becoming a spin instructor and your post may have convinced me even more!!

    • Gillian @ That's G December 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      Aww yay! Happy to hear that 🙂 I’ve been teaching for a year and a half and I love it 🙂

  14. Trish April 9, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Very nice of you to share. Thank you! I’m seriously thinking of becoming an instructor but I’m quite shy!

  15. Hanna Garritson April 16, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Hey i have a question.. I am thinking of getting my certification to work at La fitness for spin classes and was wondering, does it matter who you get certified by? And does the cert really only take one day? You apply, do the day, take the test and thats it?


    • Gillian @ That's G April 16, 2015 at 7:48 am #

      Sometimes gyms have a specific cert they prefer – so I’d check with LA fitness before you sign up. But yes, it only takes one day!

  16. Kristina November 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    This was super helpful!! I’m just like you when you were thinking about becoming an instructor. Thanks for the post!

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