I need a little "Baby Steps" help.
Hi all, I have decided I would like to move from "Fitness Enthusiast" to "Fitness Professional". The best thing to do when embarking on a new journey is to ask those who have done it - so a little background on me and then my goals: I lost 115 pounds a few years ago by changing my lifestyle habits. Shortly after this I quit smoking and gained back 30 pounds - I think I have finally curbed the gain.(!) So, I am currently still on my own journey, researching what approaches/workouts/further changes would be best for me. Rather than just sharing my stories, I thought since I've been in tough places, I can help the folks who are going through what I've been through. I have decided I want to get certified as a Group Fitness instructor - emphasize in kickboxing, circuit training and piloxing - and as a Wellness Counselor. My own business would be an ultimate goal, but I would also be happy working in community ctrs, gyms and nursing facilities. I'm starting to study for the written exams, which will take a little while. What can I do in the meantime to encourage these goals? What little nugget of advice has worked for you? Thanks for any first steps you can share.
I completely agree with the feedback that has been provided so far by Karin and Lisa.
Focus on what you love and what comes most naturally to you as your first stepping stone.
You may want to consider whether you want to come up with your own classes/choreography/music or whether you like pre-choreographed formats.
I entered this space through a Turbo Kick Instructor training over a decade ago and now I'm a presenter for the company. I loved the music, moves, energy, and community. From there I learned different formats once I had a foundation and a comfort level with teaching.
I love that you are coming into this space from a place of empathy and understanding.
So certainly find your home club, identify and connect with a mentor in that space, and just as you are doing now- ask questions.
If you do, by chance, find that Turbo Kick, Hustle, or PiYo interest you as pre-choreographed formats, please let me know and I'll help connect you to your APD in your area.
Again, congratulations and good luck on your exams (ACE/AFAA?)
The number of seniors will double in the next 9 years- I'm just saying...
One thing that worked for me was to volunteer. In Raleigh, where I live, there are wellness centers associated with a hospital. I became part of their volunteer program and spent some hours every week helping on the exercise floor. Even though I was already certified then, as a volunteer, I could not act in that capacity. However, it gave me a chance to observe the other trainers, interact with the members and get a feel for the environment from dfferent perspective than that of being a member.
It ultimately resulted in employment, and I teach classes there to this day. The Wellness Centers enjoy a very high reputation in this area, and it is a very good association to put on a resume if that is ever required.
I belonged to the club where I started teaching. I had friends there and I got them together and practiced teaching classes to these friends and got feedback. I also talked with other instructors about structure and such. Focus on what you do best first. You will find that as a group ex instructor you don't have to do every form of class. For example, I do spinning, aqua and strength well. I do not teach yoga, pilates, step aerobics or dance aerobics even though I have done them for many years and could in a pinch throw a class together.
You're first goal is to get your foot in the door. Sub classes then hopefully when a class needs a set instructor you may get it.
The next thing you want to do is get really knowledgeable. I would suggest getting a certification that goes beyond your immediate interests. I got a certification through NASM cause it was really specific about training people from extreme beginning to advanced.
If you don't belong to a club and intend to work in one... join one. It will be clear to you soon if you want to work in a club environment or on your own. If you want to teach at a club but aren't known there, it will be hard to walk in and teach without experience at other clubs.
1. Teaching is the best teacher:
Get a mock class together and teach! You will learn so much from simply doing it!
2. You don't know what you don't know:
Be open to feed back. As said above -get a mentor; the kind that will say to make the class more intense use longer levers and larger range of motion. NOT the type who says "it was good" in an effort to spare your feelings. ;o)
3. I echo the advice to start with ONE format:
Basic cueing, coaching and connecting are transferable skills. Branch to other formats after you've mastered your favorite format.
Keep in touch...
Personally, I believe one of the most important attributes of a fitness professional is having the ability to motivate ... and it looks like you will have no problem in that area. So continue to study, read and research. Also view DVD's and online tutorial's of group instruction which will help you immensely. Also as mentioned, if you have a chance to observe other trainers you will get a sense of how to conduct your classes once you become certified to teach on your own.
You can also set up a video camera and teach a mock class.
What made it very valuable to me was that we met once a week for 8 hours over six months. There was a theoretical portion and a practical portion.
At the end of the exam, I had to pass a written test and a practical test. For the written exam, I had to design a 10-week plan of a group fitness class (with stick people and all) demonstrating how I would progress high-lo aerobics class in addition to multiple choice. For the practical exam, I had to present a choreographed routine in front of 15 people who I had to organize and bring to my exam. The practical examination was before the London Central YMCA Board of Examiners as well as the examiners from the Royal Society of the Arts.
I am very grateful for that experience, as I left the course prepared to lead a group fitness class.
Here is my one piece of advice to you. Find a course that includes an practical that is longer than one day. If you take the time to learn the theory of leading a group fitness class as well as putting into practice you will be successful.
I wish you all the best!
If cost is a concern it would not hurt to check within your local network of clubs and associations to see if someone can sponsor you for certification. I have friends that have gone this route successfully.
Hope this helps!! Best of Luck!!
You may also want to consider The Health and Wellness Certification or Well Coaches with ACSM
It seems as though you are really passionate about lifestyle patterns and change.
Congratulations, good for you; you have already accomplished so much. You will definitely have much to offer to the public.
How are you doing? If you did not take your tests yet; I say, take it seriously and study, so you are able to better help your clients. I hope you are also learning through a NCCA accredited agency.
I wish you luck with your own business and/or working for someone else.