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Group Exercise Instructor

Group Exercise Instructor Training Program


  • Undergraduate student enrolled at NSU
  • Interested in teaching group exercise
  • Have availability to teach a minimum of 1 class per week with assigned mentor for entire semester.

Program Details:

  • The purpose of the mentorship is for students to learn the fundamentals of teaching group exercise under another experienced and highly qualified group exercise instructor. 
  • A mentor instructor will work with a student throughout an entire semester in various group exercise formats.  At the completion of the mentorship, the student will be responsible for designing, educating, and instructing a group of participants of all fitness levels in a variety of group exercise formats. 
  • All essential job functions, knowledge, skills, and abilities will be assessed throughout the mentorship to move forward to independent teaching/subbing the following semester.  The student will be paid the based instructor rate after passing the mentorship program.

Program Information

  • Training begins on October 5, 2015
  • Cost: $75 (limited spots)
  • Class limited to 5 students, First come, first serve
  • Only Serious registrants accepted
  • Attendance is mandatory for all classroom hours and co-teaching scheduled
  • Must register for AFAA Primary Group Exercise by start of course to complete at end of mentorship. Date TBA.
  • 3 Phases to complete to meet requirements to begin subbing classes as an official employee. Must obtain AFAA Certification to begin teaching a class independently on the schedule.

 Phase I

  • Classroom/Lecture, review of AFAA Manual
    • Monday’s 5-6pm. Location – TBA
    • Attend/participate in a minimum of 2 different group exercise class formats per week

Phase II

  • Co-teach with assigned mentor/instructor for 4 weeks
    • Week 1: Attend, observe, participate in class with mentor
    • Week 2: Co-teach warm up and first 10 minutes of class format with mentor
    • Week 3: Co-teach last 10 minutes and cool down of class format with mentor
    • Week 4: Co-teach half of the class with mentor (25-30 minutes)
      • Must meet weekly (under 30 minutes) with mentor to review teaching expectations, progress, and feedback. Weekly meetings will be arranged with instructor/mentor at the start of the program.
  • Attend/participate in a minimum of 2 different group exercise classes per week

 Phase III

  • Co-teach entire class format with mentor present for 2 weeks
  • Practice exam due at end of mentorship

About the Instructor 

Maria PontilloMaria Pontillo is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and certified group fitness instructor with over 10 years of expertise in the health and fitness industry. Holding a B.S. in Health Science from Florida State University (FSU), a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Florida International University (FIU) and multiple group fitness certifications, Maria Pontillo has dedicated all of her life to fitness and health. Maria is dedicated to promoting fitness, healthy living and injury prevention. Teaching 10 to 15 group fitness classes per week has empowered Maria to have a genuine impact on the group fitness community. Maria has been featured in various media outlets for her fitness and physical therapy expertise and was even chosen from nearly 3,500 candidates as one of Fitness Magazine’s Face of FITNESS Finalist Spotlights. Maria is the current Group Exercise Program Coordinator at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Recreational Complex where she enables thousands of gym members to accomplish their fitness goals through various fitness programs. Maria remains active in her local community by participating in local 5K runs and obstacle races in addition to volunteering at various charity workout events, and attending continuing education courses at national fitness and physical therapy conventions. After a vigorous 10 hour workday, Maria is proud to live, breathe, and embody fitness.

For more information, contact Marcela Sandigo at or (954) 262-7018.


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