All posts by Amy

How about a free fitness vacation in Costa Rica?

Trip Tribe Paid Fitness Instructor Teaching Vacation
This jungle resort in Costa Rica looks exotic and the cost seems reasonable for 5 nights.

I’m always on the lookout for ways that I can leverage my ACE group fitness or Pilates certification to benefit me and my family. In the past I felt very privileged to teach fitness classes in Jamaica and Mexico as a representative of Fitbodies inc. Every trip was memorable, regardless if it was my whole family, just John or with a girlfriend… okay, the girlfriend trips were extra special!

The one caveat is that a Fitbodies trip costs money for the agent’s fee and airfare – that’s part of why I enjoyed the girlfriend trips the best. I provided the agent’s fee and my friends supplied the plane tickets – often using miles.

Now I’m excited at the prospect of travelling for free… and maybe even getting paid to lead fitness activities at a place I’ve always wanted to visit – Costa Rica!

Update: Click here to hear a review of TripTribe from a studio owner who recently completed a trip to Costa Rica –

I’ve been learning about the travel opportunities offered through Their program is similar to Fitbodies – you teach scheduled classes at a resort – except with you bring your own participants vs. instructing the people who are staying at the resort. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to teach a class full of familiar faces 🙂

Free fitness yoga instructor vacations
If a free trip doesn’t motivate you, well then you probably prefer to stay home.

How would you decide; Fitbodies or TripTribe?

I was discussing TripTribe with an instructor friend and John over dinner last week. This question came up… how would you decide?

The money part is always an issue (fitness pros aren’t very high up on the pay scale) so for a low (or no) budget trip, would be the first choice.

The romance and privacy that comes from being at an exotic Caribbean resort, where not a soul knows you, can be pretty magical. I’m not sure why, but john and I are a lot less self conscious when we know no one the whole week. If that’s important to you then Fitbodies would be the best choice.

Also: if you have a young family and this will be your first vacation alone with your spouse in years, (John calls these our marriage enrichment weeks) then Fitbodies for sure! And it doesn’t appear that you can bring children with

Traveling as a single, platonic couple or maybe you dreamed about being Julie from the Love Boat as a young girl? TripTribe could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Do you socialise with a group of singles from your club or studio? This would be a perfect vacation where you bring all your peeps.

And they pay your way…






How about bringing your fitness tribe with you on vacation?

Plan a free fitness vacation with

If you’re anything like John and me – many of your friends are members of your club, or customers at your fitness studio. Which is pretty common and makes complete sense when you stop to think about it. A successful group fitness class is built around a community of like minded people, working and sweating together. I’ll bet you also socialize with some of them outside of the club. They’re what you might call your “fitness friends”!

So would some of your “fitness friends” consider traveling on vacation together? They might… especially if someone organized the trip and made saying; YES! I’d love to go to Jamaica with you this winter, really easy to say yes to.

And for organizing the group you’d get to go for free? That would really be something, wouldn’t it?

That appears* to be what a new website is offering. You supply the group and they’ll do everything else.

I’m aware that Trek Travel offers a similar program to bike shops. The store recruits a group of cycling enthusiasts to go on a cycling vacation – often to Europe. With a large enough group, the bike store owner/manager gets a free trip in exchange.

Do you have a following of fitness participants/clients who you feel would be interested in traveling as a group on vacation?

You can learn more about this unique opportunity for fitness & mindbody Instructors here at

*I’ve requested more information from to clarify the exact details of their program.

Update: Damn spam filters 🙁 I finally heard from and spoke with Meg Aidekman who’s the Co-Founder, Marketing & Communications there. She found my request burried in her spam folder. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Instructors.

John is planning to interview a Trip Tribe “Ambassador” – an Instructor who’s actually participated on one of these trips – in the near future.

We had a great time at Secrets St. James in Montego Bay Jamaica

Teaching Yoga and Pilates in Jamaica
Sunset Yoga on the pier boardwalk was beautiful 🙂

I just wanted to post a quick note about our trip to Secrets St. James in Montego Bay as John and I are packing up to leave. We really love this place. The food is awesome and the service is top-notch.

I had good attendance for each of my classes @ 8:30 and 5:00 each day. I taught a combination of Yoga and Pilates which appeared to be appreciated by everyone.

As typical for us, we jumped on FitProTravel yesterday to look at options for us to return to the sun in a few months. We’re seeing a number of open dates and once we’re back in the states we’ll be booking flights.


Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Instructor Review

John and I have a delightful time teaching fitness classes at Jewel Paradise Cove Resort in Jamaica – so here’s a short review in pictures. We both highly recommend this resort – create a free user profile to check availability

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review main

This property is gorgeous – they’ve done a beautiful job with the restoration and upgrades from the old resort. I took this from the tower that leads to the disco and entrance to the water slide – very fun 🙂

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review Bishop Fitness Pro

Bishop is the local Fitness Pro. He and I worked out the schedule for the week on Monday morning. I had two classes a day – off on Saturday. We’d alternate between a Pilates and Spinning class + an 11:00 pool class. John helped out with a few of the early 7:00 AM power walks.

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review

View from our balcony, looking at the inner courtyard pool and hot tub. A swim up bar is beneath the platform. We found the rooms very nice (but not overly large) and the housekeeping staff did a great job cleaning up after us and keeping us with clean towels.

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review Pilates Classes

My Pilates classes were out on this pier – the view and sounds of the ocean were awesome.

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review Fitness Pro Amy

Last “Mudslide” of the trip with one of the entertainment staff.

Jewel Paradise Cove Resort Jamaica Review Barbie

John with Barbie – who was fantastic keeping everyone feeling welcome!

Would we return to teach there again? Absolutely.

Although I do need to caution you that Jewel Paradise Cove has a very small beach. Actually the whole resort is one of the smallest properties we’ve stayed at. For John and I small is fine, we don’t feel compelled to do much beyond hang at the beach.

I’ll be teaching Pilates at Dreams Puerto Vallarta in March

teach fitness in mexico on vacation

By Amy Macgowan

As a reward for our hard-working, soon to graduate, college student, I’m taking daughter Abby to Dreams Puerto Vallarta in March.

I’ll be teaching Pilates that week and after researching the place we’re both very excited so see this resort.

Named Best in Mexico Top 20 — Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award.

Puerto Vallarta is a place of magnificent contrasts. It wears its colonial Old Mexico charm like a glorious gown, while adding the jeweled necklace of adventure where every imaginable kind of fun is available. For example, Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco — the land of tequila and mariachis. Need we say more?

Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, for families, couples and friends, sits in a secluded cove on one of the 40 beautiful beaches along Banderas Bay. Here you will find yourself in a sunny and private world of Unlimited-Luxury® — where everything is included. Also enjoy daily complimentary greens fees at nearby championship golf courses. Just 15 minutes away, world famous fishing, antique browsing, dining and nightlife are all yours as well.

Actually getting excited to go anywhere warm is easy. I’m writing this on Christmas morning and it’s -2° outside.

If you’re already tired of the snow and cold, this maybe a good time to plan your own week where you teach fitness on vacation.



Could You Teach at a Resort for 8 Weeks or Longer?

Does this sound like you?

Instructor Amy Macgowan getting her resort pool class fired up!

Fitbodies Inc. is looking for some very special Instructors that can fly to Jamaica and teach for 8 or more weeks at a time.

Long Term Fall Opportunities We are looking for yoga and group fitness teachers to travel to Jamaica and teach long term this fall.  The booking fee will be drastically reduced if you are able to stay for at least 8 weeks.  We have availability at Couples Swept Away, Ritz Carlton, Secrets Montego Bay and others to mix it up a bit while you are there.

While not for everyone, with both girls at collage this year, I could see myself taking a long-term teaching gig in Jamaica… especially if I could spend time at Secrets Montego bay 🙂

First you will need to create your free account at FitProTravel

Then contact or for more information.

We just got back from Secrets in Montego Bay Jamaica

That's me and my old boss/friend Craig Andrews. Can you tell we aren't in Minnesota?

This place rocked! Great beaches, excellent food and a fantastic workout gym. I was done teaching by noon each day which was a real treat for me and John 🙂

We traveled with three other couples and they loved it as well. I will have more about teaching on a working fitness vacation at Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid soon.

Click here to schedule your working fitness vacation in Jamaica or other Caribbean location.

Spreken Ze Deutsch?

Teaching a pool class in Jamaica I am heading to Jamaica again soon and thought I would write about teaching to a group that does not speak English.  This has happened to me quite a few times, but I’m thinking particularly of a week I taught in Mexico and my 4:30 step class.  This group was fabulous, but nobody spoke English, and I mean nobody!  Unfortunately, I speak only English, so at first I was a bit intimidated, but made sure to welcome everyone with a smile and helped get them set up properly.  I also pointed to my tennis shoes, or “sneakers” and nodded “yes” to make sure they knew to have the proper footwear and did the same thing with my water bottle.   Hydration is critical in these hot, humid climates, especially when our participants are probably drinking more alcohol than usual!

I started some great music and got them marching.  From that point, I used all physical queuing and very basic movements in the beginning. Oh, I would verbally count down with my physical counts, as they knew English numbers from 1-8 and 8-1.  As we got comfortable with each other, I added more complex choreography on top of the basics and started to “layer” a bit.  As the group picked up the choreography, I would clap and give encouragement physically and smile……a lot.

The same people came back Monday through Saturday, with a few new people each day, so I was able to get quite complex with choreography by the end of the week.  I would review what we had done previously early in the class and then add new elements each day, so they would leave feeling successful.

At the end of each class I made sure to have a towel for each participant and made eye contact with each one of them.  This was my way of letting them know I appreciated them coming and that they had done a good job.  I also tried to put away each of their equipment while they were stretching after I cued them, so they were ready to leave after we were done stretching.  I always said “thank you” to each one of them as well, as this is a pretty universally understood word.

I used the same basic principles in the aqua classes I taught at this resort and they were the biggest classes I have ever had on my working vacations….between 50 and 70 people each day.  The resort entertainment staff would put on a house mix of music for me to use during class and the guests loved it because it was a mix of German, French, Italian, Spanish and American house dance music so everyone was happy!  It was a blast.  If the resort you are teaching at has an overhead stereo system by the pool, see if the staff has some music they will play for you during your class.

Trust your physical cueing skills and think big.  Over emphasize your physical directions and ability to convey what you want the guests to do.  They will do it!