Fitness Resort Travel and Teaching Fitness classes for Fitness Professionals

Hey Fitness Pros,

If you are like me, I’m already planning spring vacations.  Gotta get some sunshine!  I’m taking my kids and my niece to Dominican Republic and can’t wait!

So as I’m pulling all the details together, I wanted to encourage you all to try a Fitness Resort teaching contract. Teaching classes at a resort has been one of the most rewarding and fun travel experiences for me. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and I’m so surprised that it’s only been in the last year that I’ve tried this approach. I guess I always thought, “Who wants to work when you’re on holidays?”  Well here are the reasons that I will continue to travel this way from this point on:

FREE Accommodations, Food & Drink: Well, this is probably one of the biggest perks you will enjoy.  You and a guest get to stay for free!  And for the family resorts, you often get to bring 2 kids for free too!  The resorts I’ve stayed at so far cost an average of $400/person per night so teaching 2-3 classes per day in trade is a sweet gig! Many of the resorts also give you discounts on additional services such as massage and spa treatments.

Meet people from all over the world: People who are going to take your classes while they are on vacation are probably pretty cool people with similar interests to you. It’s an easy way to engage in conversation and really get to know and connect with people including the staff at the resort. I have made life long friends on some of these trips.

Commitment to your workouts: Let’s face it, it’s easy to get lazy when you’re on vacation.  But you’ll be forced to stick to your workouts if you have to be there to teach!  And you will feel so much better and enjoy your holidays if you are still taking good care of yourself. Plus most of us would workout anyways and love to teach so it definitely doesn’t feel like work!

Beautiful Venues:  Many of the companies that contract out professionals offer opportunities around the world at amazing exotic locations including Cuba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and so much more. All of the resorts I have stayed at have been world-class with incredible amenities.

Although this is an amazing industry perk, there are some expectations that you should be aware of.

  • Apply: You have to complete an application and submit a copy of your certification to the travel company. I have submitted applications to a few separate companies to keep my travel options open.  All have been extremely professional and easy to work with.

  • Registration Fee: Most of the fitness resort travel companies charge a small registration fee per trip of about $300-$400 total plus some ask that you bring a gift to the resort hotel (about $150 gift fund).  Still an incredible deal considering you will receive accommodations, food and alcohol for free for you and a guest for the entire week.  And remember, you still have to pay for your own flights.  Fortunately, many of my trips, I’ve been able to use frequent flier points so my vacations end up costing almost nothing!
  • Promotion: A resort is not going to see the value of continuing a guest instructor contract if no resort guests are attending the classes.  So it is expected and extremely important that you have fliers listing your classes and time slots posted throughout the resort in high-profile locations. It’s also important to personally invite people to your classes.  If you do a good job, your class numbers should build throughout your week.
  • Variety: It’s helpful and often required that you teach a variety of classes for the resort.  So you might teach a morning Cardio and Muscle Bootcamp class, an afternoon Aquafit class and an evening Yoga or Pilates session.  Many of the resorts will allow you to customize the class schedule based on your specialties but most require some variety. Each resort will list specific requirements but most like to see a yoga/pilates option, an aquafit class option and a cardio/muscle class format.  Dance classes like Zumba are also becoming a requested class format. I have never taught at aquafit class before but had a blast teaching this format at my last resort vacation. I’m sure Charlene Kopansky from Canadian Aquafit Leaders Alliance would have cringed and given me some critique but I gave my group a great workout and it was a ton of fun.  Sometimes, you just gotta fake it till you make it!
  • Customer Service: You are still recognized as one of the staff so be ready to answer questions and be able to direct guests to an actual staff person who can help them.  Get to know people’s names and where they are from.  Encourage people, applaud them for working out on their vacation, foster the development of friendships among participants and create a fun, inspiring environment.  I will often finish my yoga sessions with a little foot massage for some extra TLC or finish a workout session with a group huddle and cheer or have them stop for a few moments to long around at the beauty all around them and to have them appreciate how lucky they are to be able to enjoy such a wonderful location.  Bottom line: We’ve got to act professionally and take really great care of people so we can enhance their vacation.

Fitness Resort Travel is definitely an industry perk that I hope you can take advantage of in 2011!

Happy and fit travels!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps.  Leave a comment or tip if you’ve ever traveled like this. And if you decide to book a resort teaching contract, let me know how it goes!

Posted in Business, fitness career, fitness industry, fitness instructor, fitness professional, personal trainer, personal training, Sherri McMillan, Uncategorized by Sherri | 20 Comments

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