Group Fitness Instructor or Group Fitness Imposter?
A growing number of personal trainers are expanding there scope and teaching group fitness classes to supplement income and help keep group fitness programs running while instructors are out. I recently witness a nail biting tragedy where a personal trainer was covering a sculpting class a argument broke out in the middle of the class, there were people in the back of the room doing there own thing, no cueing, modifications, or class instruction for that matter. We all know that personal trainers are not group fitness instructors... But, would you let a personal trainer teach classes if you did not have an instructor?
and any fitness professional involved deserve to be evaluated on a case by case basis. I train one on one, small group and teach small and large groups. While a different skill set is required to effectively execute each, don't count the trainers out for being able to handle more than one at a time! The best gift you can give someone who's been through something like you described (and it is definitely harrowing when you are out of your comfort zone in front of a group of rabid exercisers!) is to offer a little guidance and mentoring. Any skilled fitness professional can adapt with the right mindset, tools and a little help. One on one may be our bread and butter, but teaching group forces one to rise to a whole new set of challenges and it is really worth making the leap. In a club setting, your worth increases DRAMATICALLY when you can step in to any situation and sub. Just my 2 cents!
I train one on one, small group, and teach large group-ex (I went the other way around - started in group-ex, found a passion for small group, then moved into personal training). They're very different skills and energies, but it's possible for one person to be skilled at both. Someone already suggested Todd Durkin as an example of this ability.
The broader issue i see is club subbing policy. I have worked for clubs whose mentality is that it's better to have an unqualified warm body teaching a class than cancel a class for one day or find an appropriate sub.
Wow, what a mess! I would not let this instructor teach out of his/her relm of certifications. Could you imagine if a spinning instructor, yoga or aerobic instructor filled in while a Personal Trainer was out?
How does the club management feel about this issue?
It doesn't appear that the personal trainer who was covering is making a habit of teaching group fitness class. He/she was simply helping and something unfortunate occurred.
I wouldn't blame the personal trainer in this case. It appears he was directed to cover the class by management perhaps? Perhaps management learned a valuable lesson.
I know of some awesome personal trainers who teach group fitness classes--boot camp to be precise.
However, to answer your question what would I do in situation like that? I make it a habit of being able to teach what I offer at my studio, so likely, I'd teach the class.
you are really hitting on an interesting subject, particularly since personal trainers are more and more often beginning to train 'small groups'. So where is the demarkation line between small group personal training and group exercise?
I found it interesting that the incidence happened in a scuplting class; weight training is the 'bread and butter' of personal trainers, and I have a personal issue with that class format in group exercise exactly because of all the issues you raise. To be frank, I have seen my share of certified group fitness instructors who did not adequately rise to the challenge of a sculpting class.
It is a tricky issue. I teach group exercise but I stay within the formats I am comfortable with. But I can see how a personal trainer, when pressed, may decide to help out with a format like that.
I think if you can teach you can teach, it's not something that occurs because you are a personal trainer.
I think these situations can occur during any class, not just because this trainer was not deemed as a group exercise leader.
I go back to our industry and our levels of professionalism. We need to maintain it at all times.
Possibly the manager of this studio would feel obligated to insist on more group exercise training and implement a certification policy.
Can a personal trainer be a good group exercise instructor? Of course. But it requires an adequate and qualified training. I guess it all comes down to the facility's commitment to professionalism.
I teach at this studio that was a personal training studio and recently started offering classes, twice a week. I am close friends with the manager/owner. I am not sure she knows how bad the situation is. Being short staffed, she is overworked and possibly over looking a lot of things. Luckily her clients/ members have not made any complaints, yet. I have shared my opinions, hopefully they are taken into consideration. FYI - the trainer enjoys teaching wants to continue.
This is definitely outside of the scope practice according to the credential the individuals possesses, and I am not condoning it in the least, but, a personal trainer teaching a well-planned and prepared boot camp and one who teaches a class off the cuff because the regular group fitness instructor wasn't available is very different.
All of us for the most part have attended workshops taught by personal trainers who lead a GROUP and have learned a great deal from them
I think this is a very sticky situation.
Thanks for the question Serena.
By and large, I noticed that the trainers were not that effective as group instructors. On of the hardest things for me was when I was in the kickboxing class and couldn't hear the trainer because his back was toward me and the music was so loud. I understand they didn't have a mic, but these are small things that trainers don't learn until they have to or care to.
Ultimately, if it's my space, I would require the certification and/or relevant experience. And, of course, an audition. We have to audition for our jobs and a PT shouldn't be covering a group class without the director really knowing if they have the skills to make that happen.
As both a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I believe that all fitness professionals have a responsibility to know their own skill set and to care enough about clients to say "no" when we aren't prepared for a specific task.