Fun, varied, interactive, and exciting – just some of the words that describe what it’s really like to become a Fitness Instructor. Chances are if this feature has caught your attention you’re already thinking about taking the first step in a fitness career that’s focused on using your skills to get the best out of people and help them lead a healthier active lifestyle. So what exactly does the health and fitness sector have to offer in terms of your career? How exactly can you achieve your level 2 Fitness Instructor training? And what potential doors could you open up that little bit further down the line?
What Happens in the Health and Fitness Sector?
The health and fitness industry is focused on the provision of and or supervision of exercise and physical activity. This can be delivered one to one in an individual capacity or within a group setting.
Access to health and fitness centres is provided to the public through local leisure centres run by councils, educational establishments and private gyms ranging from national chains to smaller operations.
Across the UK there are thousands of health and fitness clubs and gyms providing services at a range of price points catering for peoples differing aspirations to be physically active and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Overall, the sector is deregulated which means it is not governed by state regulation. Instead it is overseen by the Register of Exercise Professionals, or REPs for short. They adopt a system of self-regulation that recognises industry based qualifications delivered by credible approved training providers and they have a code of ethical practice their members are expected to follow.
What’s it Like Working in a Fitness Centre?
As you’d expect the daily running of a fitness centre brings together many different roles, skills and expertise. Reception, sales, member services, food and beverage, health and beauty, the fitness team, kids club co-ordinators, managers, facilities and the not to be forgotten cleaning team all come together to deliver a range of fitness services designed to help each member get the very best out of their workout and gym experience.
Why the Fitness Instructor Role Provides a Vital Link
Fitness Instructors are employed to help people achieve and maintain good physical health by planning and implementing exercise routines and advising on aspects of diet and how to adopt a healthier lifestyle. They also provide that crucial element of motivation which people may find difficult when exercising on their own.
They will supervise customers using the gym and ensure that they are exercising safely and effectively. They also oversee the safe operation and cleanliness of the equipment on the gym floor and conduct new member inductions and existing member reviews.
Many modern jobs and lifestyles are too sedentary or hectic to include physical fitness and so helping people to include exercise as a regular part of their daily life is a valuable service, delivering wellbeing that may reach beyond the purely physical. By formalising exercise into a routine or programme, the Fitness Instructor supports members with setting goals which are typically focused on weight loss, improved fitness levels, toning, body sculpting and helping to address medically related issues. Acting as a regular point of contact the Fitness Instructor will also assist on an ongoing basis with goal review and resetting.
Everyday tasks focus on ensuring the smooth running of the fitness facility, completing inductions and interacting with members. Depending on the role and job description some Fitness Instructors are also given the chance to run gym based classes, such as spinning and circuits.
Employment is generally on a full or part-time employed salary basis normally in a gym, leisure centre or hotel leisure centre.
Common duties involve:
- Helping people to set and achieve their fitness targets.
- Completing inductions to show people how to use exercise equipment.
- Supervising the use of exercise equipment.
- Floor walking to help ensure exercise is being completed correctly and safely.
- Working as a member of the wider fitness team.
- Designing and encouraging participation in gym related challenges.
- Interacting with members and making them feel welcome.
- Monitoring and maintaining the gym equipment.
Qualifications Required to Become a Fitness Instructor
To get your career started you will need to complete a level 2 Fitness Instructing qualification. Once you have started your course it is highly advisable to start applying for jobs straight away. There is plenty of demand and many employers will consider you for a position knowing that you are working towards your qualification. In the interim before you are fully qualified you will be able to settle into your new role, commence basic duties such as maintaining the gym equipment and greeting members. In addition, you will gain valuable hands on experience for when you are fully qualified.
Choosing your Course
Your course will teach you a combination of theory and practical skills so that you are ready to start working in a gym fully assisting members with their workouts.
Course content covers; how to support clients who take part in exercise and physical activity, key aspects of health, safety and welfare in the fitness environment, the principles of exercise, fitness and health, how to plan gym-based exercise and how to supervise gym based exercise. In addition, at Diploma level you will also become qualified in supervising gym-based exercise.
Future Career Choices
If you’re serious about your aspiration to become a Fitness Professional and pursue a career in fitness then it’s sensible to think about how you could grow and develop in the future. A natural stepping stone is to progress to become a Personal Trainer assisting your own portfolio of clients. Alternatively, if you’re keen to become more involved in the day to day running of the gym then a typical career path is to progress to a Fitness Manager position.
What does a Personal Trainer do?
Personal Trainers help their clients achieve health and fitness goals by designing individually tailored programmes. They will demonstrate exercise technique, act as coach and motivator and provide general nutritional and lifestyle support. It all begins with a client consultation that evaluates health history and exercise background, fitness levels and dietary and lifestyle habits.
From this they can then;
- Set realistic short term and long term goals.
- Prepare and run the personal training session.
- Demonstrate exercise techniques.
- Motivate their clients to adhere to the programme.
- Test fitness levels and record progress.
- Advise on health and nutrition.
What does a Fitness Manager do?
Fitness Centre Managers are responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day running of the gym. They work closely with the Operations Manager or General Manager and help them to develop, coordinate and plan projects and programs contributing to the overall success of the leisure facility.
Duties will vary, however, typically they include;
- Recruiting, training and supervising gym staff.
- Managing budgets.
- Enhancing profitability by organising and delivering an appropriate range of fitness activities.
- Keeping statistical and financial records.
- Maintaining fitness equipment.
- Ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation.
- Maintaining customer service standards.
- Undertaking administrative tasks such as timetables.
- Promoting and marketing the gym.
- Dealing with enquiries, complaints and emergencies.
- Assisting with new member recruitment and member retention.
There’s no Such Thing as a Typical Day
Working in fitness involves rolling your sleeves up and inspiring, motivating and encouraging people to commit to regular exercise. If working with a variety of people appeals to you and you’re passionate about helping improve the way they look and function then our fitness industry training will help you take that next step and kick-start your Fitness Instructor career.
The Academy of Fitness Professionals provide the gold standard in accredited personal training courses with state of the art training fully endorsed by REPs, Skills Active and the NCFE. Their specialist knowledge features in the UK health and fitness media including the Mirror, BBC2 and Women’s Running. This is the ultimate learning destination for those serious about their fitness industry education and long term career as a Personal Trainer.
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