Thinking of getting certified to teach yoga or indoor-cycling class on the side? Um, about that. Not that it's not a good idea (many women who've gotten certified couldn't be happier about it), but there are a few things you should know before you get started. Take it from women who've been there—and are ready to spill what they wish they'd realized on the front end of the process:
"I knew yoga-teacher training was going to be intense. I did a 200-hour training over the course of one month with a highly regarded, nationally renowned teacher who is incredibly smart and focused on anatomy and proper alignment. I knew it was going to be a lot to learn. What I wasn’t banking on was how emotionally intense it would be and how that part would feel like the biggest gift I could possibly give myself on a personal growth level. There was a group of 50 of us, and there was one day where almost all of us were crying—cracked wide open, thanks to the way yoga prompts you to take a deep, internal dive. It really surprised me in the best way possible." —Meghan Rabbitt, certified yoga instructor
"I wasn’t banking on how emotionally intense it would be."
"While getting your certification may seem like an end goal, it’s really only the beginning. From there, you have to build a reputation with your clients and put the time and effort in to gain their trust so that they’ll come back to your class time and time again." —Katie Warmuth, Pilates instructor at Pilates ProWorks in San Francisco
“I wish I would have known that music can make or break an indoor-cycling class. Now I spend a ton of time on the up front creating a perfectly curate mix that can guide my class—and I think my students appreciate that about me!” —Haley Bakker, indoor-cycling instructor at Chalk Gyms in Brooklyn
"Teaching yoga isn't a path to get rich quick, no matter how you slice it. Part of my decision to get certified through my particular studio was scheduling convenience—I was several weeks away from beginning rehearsals for a Broadway show, and the timing was right. I began teaching immediately after my certification with very low pay, but as it was a passion project for me, I wasn't bothered. When my Broadway show received closing notice, I knew that teaching yoga alone wouldn’t pay the bills. ... The low pay was extremely shocking—$10/class plus $4/head. After weeks of teaching with a paycheck that didn't add up, I was then informed that yogis who practiced through promotions like ClassPass and Gilt City didn't count, so $10/class was my reality." —Bree Branker, former yoga instructor and current instructor at Flywheel Sports in New York
"I spend a ton of time on the up front creating a perfectly curate mix that can guide my class."
"Get ready to spend a lot more money on cute workout clothes
. Once you start teacher training, you're in the studio almost every single day learning, teaching, or practicing. I got sick of wearing the same yoga outfits every week and ended up buying an entire new wardrobe of fun yoga gear that I absolutely love. I recommend anything dry-fit since in teacher training you do a lot of alternating between being sweaty and studying your manual." —Emily Meersand, a power vinyasa and sculpt yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in San Francisco
"I underestimated how present you have to be to teach. The quality of a class really depends on an instructor’s ability to be encouraging, excited, and knowledgeable every single class. In reality, that often means putting all of your distractions aside and just being present for your students. It goes so far beyond just being physically there for them, and it’s oh-so-important!” —Elizabeth Adamo, instructor at Pilates ProWorks in Chicago
"I wish I had known how helpful voice lessons would have been. I learned the hard way and started losing my voice from yelling on the mic. It’s so important to take vocal lessons to learn how to project from your diaphragm. In fact, I’ve heard some of the very best fitness instructors were former singers/actors!" —Erica Stenz, Barry's Bootcamp instructor in San Francisco
"Before entering fitness, I wish I would of knew how to push my own brand. Branding is very crucial; you don't have to be the best, but you need to put your best foot forward. Creating a fitness following is difficult if you haven't established your image." —Latoya Julce, instructor at 305 Fitness
"I never thought about being in front of a crowd. You have to be able to motivate people, even if you're not feeling well or are having a bad day. You also have to be heard—not screaming but loud—and have fun." —Shawn Belk, certified yoga instructor