AFAA Group Fitness Instructor dancing with group outside
AFAA cycle instructor high fiving client


Group Fitness Instructor

Grow your income and your impact by learning how to successfully teach group fitness classes. Whether it’s yoga, HIIT, Zumba®, indoor cycling, or any other popular format, this certification will prepare you to effectively teach groups both virtually and in-person.

  • Catapult your fitness career by multiplying the number of participants you can serve at once

  • Gain the skills you need to design, choreograph, and lead group fitness classes with confidence

  • Learn how to lead any group format with the foundational concepts presented in the AFAA GFI program

  • Expand your business to reach a new type of clientele with high retention

  • Self-paced online program makes it easy and convenient to launch your new career from home in just 6-8 weeks

  • CEU Value: 1.5 NASM, 15 AFAA

Starting at




One-Time Payment


Choose from Basic, Self-Study, Premium Self-Study or All-Inclusive + Virtual Coaching

Group fitness classes provide a proven way to reach more participants, and in this program you’ll benefit from our decades of experience teaching the world’s best group fitness professionals. Learn how to design group classes, adapt to class needs and dynamics, get your participants engaged and motivated, and create amazing group movement experiences.

When you choose AFAA to become a Group Fitness Instructor, you’ll get access to:

  • • World-class fitness & nutrition experts

  • • Peer-reviewed content from the brightest minds in the industry

  • • State-of-the-art digital learning platform designed to meet multiple learning styles

  • • A curriculum that is consistently reviewed and updated with the most up-to-date material available

See the full Group Fitness Instructor curriculum here.

AFAA’s online program makes becoming a Group Fitness Instructor as easy and convenient as can be. By completing the self-guided study materials at your own pace, you can become a Group Fitness Instructor and begin working with clients in just 6-8 weeks.

To become an AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, you simply have to:

  1. 1) Register in the GFI program.

  2. 2) Complete the self-guided online study materials in your own time from the comfort of home.

  3. 3) Schedule and pass your exam.

Motivating people to believe in their own power. And inspiring others to move toward healthier and happier lives. That's what makes the Athletics and Fitness Association of America™ (AFAA) a dominant force in movement-based health and fitness. Our vision isn't to just change bodies — but to advance the lives of instructors and those they guide through their own personal fitness journeys.

AFAA has been a leading force in the group fitness community for 40 years. AFAA instructors have gone out to the world to share their love for fitness and be the person that others look to for a superior experience.

customize your payment plan

All payment plans are 0% interest, with no fees, penalties or credit check!

Choose your number of monthly payments, then select your program below:



$25 down +
Monthly Payments
One-Time Payment


  • 100% Online Course
  • Proctored Exam
  • Digital Textbook
  • Learning Videos
  • Practice Exams & Quizzes

Most Popular

Premium Self-Study


$25 down +
Monthly Payments
One-Time Payment


  • Everything in Self-Study plus...
  • Hardcover Textbook
  • Fundamentals of Virtual Coaching: Teach Classes in the Gym & Online!

Best Value



$25 down +
Monthly Payments
One-Time Payment


  • Everything in Premium Self-Study plus...
  • Recertify For Life
  • CPR/AED Certification

Questions? Get guidance from our Program Experts

Choose My Program


To be eligible for this course, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, you need a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification. You may enroll in the course before having your CPR and AED certifications; however, you must have them before you take your final exam.

Chapter 1: Welcome to Group Fitness
Learn about the state of health and fitness today. Explore your what and why as you learn about common characteristics of Group Fitness Instructors. This chapter provides foundational benefits of group fitness classes across all formats and introduces you to the instructor mindset.

Chapter 2: Professional Expectations of a GFI
Helping others reach their fitness goals requires the knowledge to analyze the basics of human movement thoroughly. Biomechanics and the interactions of the muscle action spectrum provide you with the language of exercise science and a foundational understanding of the human body.

Chapter 3: Career Development
Identify various possibilities of employment and how developing a personal brand supports your journey as a Group Fitness Instructor. It will also provide career development opportunities and self-care tactics to help keep you a top instructor.

Chapter 4: Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
Identify your scope of practice as a Group Fitness Instructor and keep you within your legal and ethical boundaries as a fitness professional, in-person and virtually. It will provide information about safety responsibilities, emergency protocols, insurance considerations, and music licensing.

Chapter 5: Human Movement Science and Exercise
Review the benefits of exercise and connect them to applied human movement and exercise science. This chapter will go over the major systems of the body, planes of motion, and other exercise science topics as they relate to movement and bioenergetics.

Chapter 6: Training Science
Provide basic training principles and their relation to participant outcomes. This chapter will also go over acute variables, integrated fitness, and how to accommodate all participant levels through modification.

Chapter 7: A Supportive Approach to Group Fitness
The intent of this chapter is to make group fitness applicable and safe to all participants through inclusivity of individual considerations and adjusting external environmental variables.

Chapter 8: Defining Your Class
Connect the vision of your class to its desired objectives and explore how vision and objectives help you select other class considerations to ensure your class meets the needs of your participants.

Chapter 9: Building the Body of Your Workout
Discuss the selection of the intensity, exercises, arrangements, and modifications in alignment with your class vision to meet the needs of your participants.

Chapter 10: Other Vital Components of Your Workout
Show how to use the body of your workout to select other components of your workout in alignment with your class vision and objectives, as well as to support the expectations and success of your participants.

Chapter 11: Music
Show the connection between music and movement as well as explain components of music and how they can be used to align with your class vision and objectives and meet the needs of your participants. This module will also provide an overview of different sources of music and the legalities connected to each source.

Chapter 12: Communication
Discuss the different types of communication, their value to participants, and how you can use inclusive communication to engage, motivate, and build trust with your participants.

Chapter 13: The Art of Cueing
Identify various cueing techniques, establish their purpose in group fitness, and explain how to effectively deliver them. This chapter will also review proper exercise technique, safe body mechanics, and how to build your own cues.

Chapter 14: Monitoring Participants and Adapting to Class Dynamics
Review monitoring techniques for your participants’ exercise technique, form, and intensity as well as how to appropriately modify to ensure the success of your participants. This module will also explore unexpected events in the group room and how to best resolve them.

Chapter 15: Instructing Virtually
Explore instructing virtually, the relevance of virtual instruction to instructors and participants, and how to create an engaging virtual workout. This chapter will also review legal, ethical, and safety considerations when designing and offering virtual workouts.

Chapter 16: Your Journey as a Group Fitness Instructor
Review your next steps as you prepare for your final exam and explore employment opportunities as a Group Fitness Instructor.

Successful completion of the final exam is required to become a Group Fitness Instructor.

Proctored Exam: AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor (CGFI)

This is a closed-book exam and consists of 120 questions. You must pass with a scaled score of 70 or better. This 3rd party proctored exam can be administered either in-person or online, and you will have 2 hours to complete the test. You must take this exam within 180 days of your enrollment date.

Group Fitness
Instructor FAQs

AFAA GFI is approved for 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

  • NASM Approved

    1.5 CEUs

  • AFAA Approved

    15 CEUs

After passing the AFAA Group Fitness Instructor exam, you will become an AFAA Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA GFI).

The exam is valid for 180 days from your date of purchase. You will have access to the course content for 5 years from your date of purchase and as long as your account stays in good financial standing. This is helpful so you can refer to the content while you're first starting as an instructor.

The AFAA GFI course is completely self-paced. You have 180 days to take the final exam from the date of purchase. Many students may complete the course in as little as 6 to 8 weeks. Exact times will vary depending on the student, prior experience and dedication to the material.

To support AFAA's commitment to protecting health and safety, the AFAA GFI certificate must be renewed every two years.

As an AFAA GFI, you are required to renew every two years. In order to renew, you must complete 15 CEUs (continuing education units) as well as maintain a current CPR and AED certifications. CEUs ensure you're current with best-practice guidelines, plus they will expand your knowledge, skills, and abilities in key areas. To start the renewal process, please visit AFAA's renewal page.

The proctored exam can be taken online or in-person. For more information click here.

No. You cannot purchase the final exam separately.

You do not need prior experience before taking the AFAA GFI course. To sit for the exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and you must have current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certification.

The AFAA GFI certificate is the foundation of a group fitness instructor. You will learn the latest instructional techniques, coaching skills, and leadership strategies for teaching safe, effective, and enjoyable group fitness classes no matter what the format is.