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?
No, if you are not experienced enough to lead a class you should work on developing your skills. Group fitness is like a well rehearsed musical play. If you don’t know the cueing, beats, moves, etc., you should attend classes and practice until you do or don’t try to teach. Getting experience is not hard and cannot be skipped. Even boot camps need some experience to be run correctly and smoothly.
Good answers. My answer is NO. There is a great deal of difference in being a professional group fitness instructor and in being a personal trainer. Unless an individual has recognized certifications in both areas, I would not be comfortable in having a personal trainer lead a group fitness class.
Hi Serena – Love the question! I’ve had to deal with it as a Training Director and as a Group Fitness Director (I am a Trainer and GFInstructor, as well) – and as many said, it depends upon individuals skills/training as much as just the “title”. Some Trainers look at Group Fitness as an easy way to make an extra buck (disregarding or ignorant of the skills required) AND some Intructors who teach sculpting can get the idea that they can also be a Personal Trainer. It really depends on the individual – and while some of our skills overlap in looking at your comments about “no cueing, modifications, or class instruction for that matter”, I might question the individual Trainer’s personal training style/experience, and whether it can translate to group. As Trainer it is very important to que proper technique and form and to offer up modifications, if this person cannot do it as a Trainer then he/she definately couldn’t handle a group. My qualifications for hiring Trainers (or GFInstructors) were to find out if they can identify, correct, and modify movements, for their relative “clients”. That is a transferrable skill, and I would have to know my Trainer’s ability to do so before I let them lead a group class which requires that same ability. Risk versus cancelling a class? You have to be the judge. I have learned that just having a title doesn’t mean someone can do the job, in ANY profession.
As has been so eloquently addressed, teaching a group exercise class is quite different from conducting a one-on-one training session. Very different teaching skills are absolutely required. If a particular facility “plugs in” an unqualified instructor simply to sustain dollar numbers, that is sad.
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.