We have many enquiries each week from individuals wanting to change career or start their career in the fitness industry but are unsure where to start. We thought we'd focus this next post on just that!
The minimum 'entry' qualification is an industry recognised Level 2 Fitness Instructor. By "industry recognised", we mean a qualification that is recognised by the industry regulatory body, the Register of Exercise Professionals.
Depending on your goal and the area of fitness you want to work in, you can complete this qualification in the context of;
Exercise to Music
All four of these routes have four common 'mandatory units'. These are:
Anatomy and physiology
Know how to support clients who take part in exercise and physical activity
Principles of exercise, fitness and health
Health, safety and Welfare in a fitness environment
The good news is that once you have completed and passed these units once, you do not need to do them again if you choose to complete more than one of the four above routes!
If your goal is to work in a gym environment whether that be in a leisure centre, private health club, corporate fitness centre, or even to open your own facility, then the Gym Instructor route is for you! This is also the sensible option if you want to progress onto the Level 3 Personal Trainer course. Taking this route, you would complete two extra units in addition to the four mandatory units. These are called;
EXERCISE TO MUSIC
If you wish to teach group classes in a studio environment, again in a leisure centre, health club, fitness centre, or community venue, then the Level 2 Exercise to Music is for you! We're not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes, so I will say that this is a challenging course! You do need to have experience in attending group classes already and you do need to have a sense of rhythm! I may be a little biased, but our ETM tutor, Jo is fantastic! I'm sure our past learners on this course would also vouch for me here and a lot have been surprised about what they achieved. The two extra units you would complete taking this route are;
If you're looking to move onto teaching Les Mills classes such as Body Attack, Body Combat etc. then you need to do Exercise to Music first! Even Zumba now require that instructors hold an industry recognised Exercise to Music qualification. Apart from 'branded' classes like Les Mills and Zumba, you are able to teach any group exercise class. It is up to you if you wish to gain extra training by attending CPD courses in areas such as Step, Body Conditioning, Circuits etc.. Fit4Training are actually developing some fantastic one-day group exercise CPD workshops at the moment so keep a look out!
If your passion is water-based exercise, then the Aqua route is for you! In an aqua class, you typically find your more mature exercisers along with the odd pregnant Mum-to-be! However, aqua could be so much more! It is a fantastic class when taught well, when the instructor really appreciates the resistive qualities of the water. The benefits for injury recovery for sports person or even a member of the public, and those requiring a low impact option such as arthritis sufferers are massive. Water-based exercise is definitely an area that in my opinion is neglected despite it's potential!
The two additional units you would complete for this qualification are;
Due to the low interest in this course on a national basis, we currently offer it on a 1-2-1 basis with our group exercise tutor. You would need to be fairly local to us in Telford, Shropshire and you would need access to a pool and a group of family members or friends willing to take part in your class for the purposes of assessment! We do require that you have the Level 2 Exercise to Music already so you already have the knowledge and skills of working with music.
If working with children is your area of interest, then our Level 2 Fitness Instructing qualification in the context of Children's Fitness is for you! There is no pre-requisite for this qualification ,so you do not need to have completed the Gym or Exercise to Music routes first. It covers ages 5 through to 15, so you have massive opportunities in working with Key Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4! Your goals may be to work within schools or even set up after-school and/or holiday activities. Again, within the fitness industry, children's fitness is not a 'popular' course but that also means there is not much competition! The additional units you would complete for this qualification are;
It is also relevant for me to mention here that not only do you need to have a recognised qualification to work in the fitness industry, but you also need public liability insurance (minimum indemnity £5,000,000) and also a PPL Licence if you are playing music. The cost of a PPL licence varies depending on how many classes you are teaching so please contact PPL directly for a quote. Public liability insurance is available through any insurance company but a good place to start is Protectivity Insurance.
Please be aware that there are many fitness related qualifications out there that aren't industry recognised and therefore many employers will not accept them. These include: BTEC's, degrees, British School of Yoga Gym Instructor/Personal Trainer. For more information on training not recognised - http://www.exerciseregister.org/cpd-training/training-not-recognised.
I hope that information helps you choose the best route for you! Please get in touch if you have any questions or would you would like further advice.
Fit4Training Director and Quality Assurer