35 interview questions for a fitness instructor job

Updated 6 April 2023

If you have an interest in health and fitness and want to help people, a career as a fitness instructor might suit you. Whether you're just starting in the industry or seeking a promotion, you're likely to have a job interview at some stage. Knowing in advance what questions an interviewer might ask can help you plan and practise your answers so you're well-prepared, increasing your chances of success. In this article, we list 35 interview questions for a fitness instructor role.

What does a fitness instructor do?

Fitness instructors typically work in gyms, health centres and hotel leisure facilities, leading exercise groups and helping clients meet their fitness goals. Depending on the job you're applying for, your interviewer might be the centre manager or a senior staff member. The questions the hiring manager may ask during your interview may reflect the type of facility and the services they offer. For instance, the gym might cater for a specific age group or exercise style.

General interview questions for a fitness instructor

A hiring manager may ask general interview questions for a fitness instructor role to help them decide if you'd be a good fit for the team. General questions might include:

  1. Why did you become a fitness instructor?

  2. What steps do you take to maintain your own health and fitness?

  3. What do you already know about our facility?

  4. Is customer service an important aspect of your work?

  5. What are your long-term career goals?

  6. What are your favourite fitness activities to lead?

  7. How do you motivate your clients?

  8. How important is nutrition in your overall approach to fitness?

  9. How do you stay updated on the latest health and fitness trends and developments?

  10. Do you prefer working with a particular age group?

Related: Personal trainer vs fitness instructor: in-depth comparison

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Questions about background and experience

A potential employer may enquire about your qualifications, training and past work experience. They might also ask about typical fitness instructor scenarios to see how you'd handle certain situations. Questions about your background and experience might include:

  1. How do you facilitate a participant with mobility issues?

  2. What questions do you ask clients before they participate in a session?

  3. How would you adjust a session for extremely hot or cold weather?

  4. How do you break down a complex routine for a large group?

  5. Do you have first aid training?

  6. Can you tell us more about your health and fitness qualifications?

  7. How do you handle an injury a participant sustains during a class?

  8. Can you describe a time you've enjoyed a fitness session? And a time you haven't?

  9. What makes you a good fitness instructor?

  10. How do you prepare for an intense training day?

Related: How to become a fitness instructor

In-depth questions

Your interviewer might pose in-depth questions to test your knowledge of fitness techniques, health and safety or human anatomy. Enquiries about fitness instructor practices are a great opportunity to highlight your knowledge and experience. These questions might include:

  1. Can you describe a time you had an unhappy client? What was the outcome?

  2. Which squat exercises would you recommend to someone with a knee injury?

  3. Can you outline a warm-up routine for an older class?

  4. How do you know if you've pushed your class members to their limits during a session?

  5. How would you encourage clients to sign up for extra classes?

  6. What precautions would you take with a client who has recently had surgery?

  7. When a class member has achieved their fitness or weight loss goal, how do you work with them to maintain it?

  8. Have you ever had to turn a client away from a class? Why?

  9. Do you recommend nutritional supplements? Why or why not?

  10. How would you handle it if you heard a colleague offering a client inaccurate or unsafe fitness advice?

Related: Gym instructor qualifications for a career in fitness

Questions with example answers

If you practise for your interview in advance, you can appear calmer and more confident. Enlist the help of a friend or family member and get them to ask you some questions. When you answer, give examples that highlight your skills as a fitness instructor and include some real-life anecdotes of successes you've had when delivering fitness sessions. Below are some sample answers to help you practise. You can use these as a basis to craft your responses:

1. What measurements would you take if you're performing an initial analysis or a progress check on one of your class members?

An interviewer might ask this question to gauge your knowledge of goal setting and the health and safety aspects of being a fitness instructor. They may want to discover what factors you consider important to record when onboarding a new client.

Example answer: 'The measurements I'd take depend on the client's specific goals. I'd begin by asking the client about their objectives. If their main goal is weight loss**, I'd focus on their waist, hip and chest measurements. If their aims include fitness, strength or flexibility, I'd measure their VO2 max and analyse their body fat. I'd also ask them to undergo functional tests to measure their strength, flexibility and endurance. Additionally, I'd enquire about their nutrition and record their height and weight.'

Related: How much does a fitness instructor make, and what do they do?

2. Do you have any favourite exercises or routines you find most beneficial to your clients?

With this question, the interviewer wants to gauge your overall fitness knowledge and see if you prefer a particular exercise style.

Example answer: 'I have some personal favourites, but there isn't one exercise or class routine that's best. I always take into consideration who is participating in the class. Awareness of their current fitness levels, injuries and individual objectives is crucial. Typically, I try to mix it up. If I keep it too simple, the more advanced participants might become bored, whereas if I try to teach a complex routine, the beginners might feel it's too challenging.'

3. How would you motivate an aerobics class at the end of a busy day?

The last sessions of the day can be a challenge regarding energy levels. Your interviewer might like to see if you understand the importance of motivational language in fitness instruction. When answering, give examples of the techniques you use to help your groups stay motivated throughout an entire session.

Example answer: 'The last class of a day can be challenging, especially for clients who are fitting it in at the end of a busy workday. I always add extra energy into these last sessions, as my attitude can greatly impact the atmosphere. I keep the music upbeat and fun and always use motivational language to keep everyone lively. I also find that counting down or saying things such as “Just five more. You can do it!” helps with focus and motivation.'

Related: 20 jobs in sports science (with salaries and duties)

4. How would you handle a client who isn't losing weight as they had hoped?

As a fitness instructor, part of your role is to help clients stay committed to their fitness goals, even when they don't see results as quickly as expected. An interviewer might like to discover your understanding of clients' needs and progress. They may also want to know how you help a client through self-doubt.

Example answer: 'First, I'd emphasise that scales aren't the only indicator of success. If the client's main goal is weight loss and it's going slower than they'd like, I'd first point out the progress that they've made so far. Taking measurements could show them they've improved their muscle tone. Pointing out their improved endurance, strength and stamina could motivate them to keep going. I'd also find out if anything is impeding their weight loss by asking about any changes to their nutrition or medication that might interfere with their goal.'

Related: A guide to software for personal training (with options)

5. How important is technology in your daily duties?

Some gyms and health centres are very technology-centric, so an interviewer might like to gauge your proficiency with computers.

Example answer: 'I use a computer to track my classes, log client details and promote the gym's services on social media. I sometimes use a handheld device to play music during a session for motivation or a video to demonstrate the potential adjustments participants can make to exercises. Technology is important but not essential. I don't need gadgets to lead a group or energise a class, but they do help me stay organised and keep clients informed of class schedules or special events.'

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