In this article readers will learn exactly how you can educate and qualify yourself to be a fitness professional, and work as a fitness instructor- leading group classes such as spinning and circuits.
1) Choose which awarding body you will be best suited too.
The two main ones are AIQ (Active IQ) and YMCA, these awarding bodies are the most recognised in the United Kingdom and are therefore the ones that most gyms and employers prefer you to have.
Choosing an Active IQ qualification means you can register with REPS (the register of exercise professionals) upon completion of your course- you will then be able to pay a yearly fee to be featured on their website, and have their public liability insurance which is a must have for all fitness professionals!
Although you do have to do CPD (continual professional development) to stay registered with REPS, however you should be doing that anyway and most fitness instructors really enjoy the chance to learn new things to include in their classes and own training!
YMCAfit are part of the YMCA charity which helps develop skills within communities, they’re associated with training for young people and fitness qualifications.
You’ll need to gain either the AIQ Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification, AIQ Level 2 Exercise To Music Qualification, or the YMCA Exercise To Music (ETM) Qualification.
2) Choose a course type that you wish to enroll on.
Think about whether you are most suited to distance learning or would you prefer to learn from a mentor, or even in a group with other students?
If you are self motivated and happy to plan when you will revise and stick to it, then a distance learning course will be suitable for you as it is flexible enough to fit completely around your other commitments. However, if you haven’t studied much on health and fitness before, or you are not self motivated then you may find it useful to have a mentor to teach you and help with accountability.
If your schedule is very flexible, or you’re taking a gap year for example, then a group course may be suitable for you as this is usually the quickest route to qualification as it’s full time. However, if you are currently working set hours this can be a difficult option unless you have a large amount of annual leave saved up!
3) Complete your learning assessment portfolio (LAP).
For this section of your training course you will need to answer a series of questions and worksheets using the relevant units in the course manual. These are fairly straightforward as there is no memorising to be done, they simply check your understanding of key topics.However, your course tutor will provide support should you need help and guidance to complete your portfolio.
4) Revise and prepare yourself for your theory exams.
There are two (with AIQ), understanding the principles of exercise, and anatomy and physiology. To study for these theory exams you should use your course manual to make learning resources such as quizlet quizzes, flashcards or mind maps. Just think about what you have done to revise for previous exams and get creative with your revision!
5) Get prepared to take your practical exam.
Upon passing the two theory exams you will begin preparation for the final exam- the practical one. Here you will be delivering a gym induction with an assessor (who may or may not be your course tutor) watching. They are observing you delivering a number of different exercises and deciding whether your sessions was safe and effective, if so well done!
6) Upon passing this qualification you need to decide which CPD courses you would like to take. The easiest way to do this is by deciding which exercise classes you enjoy participating in and would like to teach. So if you enjoy spinning take an AIQ or YMCA group cycling course, or if you enjoy circuits classes take AIQ or YMCA Instructing Circuits. These courses are far shorter in duration and usually consist of a learner assessment portfolio and a practical exam where you deliver a sample session of the class you are qualifying to teach.
If this is something you may be interested in use the button below to find out more.
Laura Ciotte is a personal trainer and tutor/assessor for trainee personal trainers. She is based in Worthing, West Sussex and likes travelling, motorbikes and good food.
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