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Shape Up NYC Instructor Training Application

This autumn, NYC Parks will offer a comprehensive 10-week training program designed to teach individuals to become fitness instructors for Shape Up NYC. Topics will include: basic anatomy, exercise physiology, injury prevention, music, cueing and body toning with light weights. After 10 weeks, participants will get practical experience by leading a one hour Shape Up NYC class per week as part of a six month internship. Upon completion of the training and internship, participants will receive an NYC Parks Certificate of Completion, and will be equipped to pass a nationally accredited certification exam.


West Bronx Recreation Center
1527 Jesup Avenue, Bronx, NY 10452
Saturdays from 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Starting October 4, 2014

McCarren Play Center
776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Saturdays from 9:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Starting September 27, 2014

Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center
232 West 60th Street, Manhattan, NY 10023
Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Starting October 2, 2014

McDonald Field House
775 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10310
Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Starting October 1, 2014

Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center
93-29 Queens Boulevard, Queens, NY 11374
Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Starting September 23, 2014


$60 for background check and fingerprinting. Background checks are conducted by GoPass, which is operated and in cooperation with Department of Education (DOE), NYC Service, and the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY). A NYC Parks recreation center membership is required by the second class. If you are not a member already, you can purchase a $50 six-month membership at any NYC Parks recreation center, or find more information about becoming a member.


The program is open to anyone who has a desire to lead free group fitness classes through Shape Up NYC.  Applicants are not required to have a fitness or exercise science background to apply, but the strongest candidates are the ones with a demonstrated interest in fitness.

This program is not paid; it is a volunteer opportunity. The majority of the Shape Up instructors are volunteer instructors who want to give back to their communities.

Course Requirements

This program requires a commitment of at least nine months, and includes: attendance at ten 2.5-hour training sessions, as well as approximately three hours weekly to study and practice material independently. Upon completion of the formal training sessions, participants must teach one weekly Shape Up NYC class for six months. The Shape Up NYC internship must be completed in the same borough as the training. All together, the commitment is 8 1/2 months. Participants are allowed one excused absence, but are strongly encouraged to attend a make-up session at a training site in a different borough.

You must be 18 years or older and be able to provide a US government-issued photo ID (passport or driver’s license) to apply to the Shape Up NYC Fitness Instructor Training Program.

Classroom Sessions

During the span of ten weeks, the classroom-based sessions will cover key areas such as basic anatomy and physiology, cueing and movements, creating routines for different populations, and preparing a group fitness class. The training includes a midterm and final practical demo, along with a final written exam. Upon successful completion of classroom-based training, the participant can begin an internship, in which he or she leads one weekly Shape Up NYC group fitness class for six months.


Each individual participant, in conjunction with the Training Leader, can decide the format for the class. The program trains participants to teach a basic group fitness class—including body conditioning, aerobics, dance fitness, chair-based classes for seniors, and boot camp. Participants are not permitted to teach Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or other formats that require additional certification, unless they already posses that certification.

Classes take place in the borough where the individual was trained. Currently, Shape Up classes are taught at both NYC Parks sites and non-Parks sites, including schools, libraries, faith-based centers, senior centers, community centers, and hospitals/healthcare facilities.  Shape Up NYC is always looking for new host sites, and frequently turns to new instructors for suggestions.

Please apply for this program by August 31, 2014.

For questions or for help with the application, please email



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