We should all value fitness and good health, both in ourselves and others – and some of us might wish to take that valuation into a lifelong career.
Becoming a fitness instructor has numerous benefits; you’ll maintain your own fitness and be working in an industry that prizes good health and you’ll also be helping other people from all ages, shapes and sizes be fitter and happier. It’s also a career that can take you in many different directions, from working at a school or at a professional sports club, to becoming a yoga or dance teacher, or perhaps a nutritionist or sports psychologist.
What’s more, the internet - and in particular social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube - allow a fitness instructor to teach people across the world from the comfort of their own gym.
So what qualifications do you need to be a fitness instructor?
Ultimately, there are a number of routes you could take towards your goal of becoming a fitness/gym instructor, but at the very least you’ll need a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing, from which you can move on to a Level 3 Certificate in personal training. These could be completed in the gym, perhaps as part of an NVQ to allow you to learn on the job, or from home.
The Level 2 concentrates on anatomy and physiology and the components of fitness. Level 3 adds to these, as well as looking at correct posture and nutritional advice. The certificates are usually taught in a combination of face-to-face training and online study, and can be achieved on a part time (over weekends/evenings) or full-time basis.
As well as the obvious fitness techniques you’ll acquire, you’ll also be taught other important aspects of becoming a fitness trainer. For example, a big part of the courses is that they give you confidence; it’s no use possessing the knowledge and technique, without the communication skills to deliver it so that the client feels assured. You’ll also be taught how to create a safe environment, both in terms of correct training techniques for clients and also general health and safety in the training environment.
The two courses are assessed through examinations and practical assessment, and can be taken in many different centres across the country. To check participating venues around the UK, and prices, check out our training courses page here. You can take a Diploma course, combining both the Fitness Instructing and Personal Training courses, which is our most popular offering.
Further fitness courses
We mentioned earlier the different directions that you can take once you’ve got your fitness instructor qualifications, to build upon your skills and CPDs (Continuing Professional development).
For example, Level 3 Nutrition will be important if you want to learn more about diet to complement your fitness knowledge. Other Level 3 courses could include the exercise referral diploma, which teaches clients to specifically manage illness and conditions, and Sports massage, to incorporate assessment, soft issue techniques and post treatment advice. Specialist courses, at Level 4, can tackle more prescriptive issues such as back pain, recovering from strokes, cardiac disease, and obesity and diabetes.
Registering as a fitness professional
Once you start completing courses you should sign up to the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS), and become part of a nationally recognized database for fitness professionals that shows the amount of training that instructors have done and are continuing to do. Members can also search for courses that they require, their location, and options for insurance. All Premier Global NASM courses are fully recognized by REPS.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Fitness Instructor?
If you’re wondering how long it takes to become a gym instructor, the answer is really down to your ambitions. It could take as little as six weeks on a fast-track basis, or could be fitted around your other commitments. Get in touch with course administrators to see what they suggest.