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?
As a personal trainer AND a group fitness instructor, this situation
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!
On the other hand group training is not personal training and many group exercise leaders easily switch or add on personal training for income.
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.
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 this is a very tricky situation because we have personal trainers like Todd Durkin who teaches group fitness. He calls it boot camp. However, it would be really crazay to see Todd teach–let’s say Zumba.
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.
As both a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Spinning Instructor, I can attest to the fact that individual instruction and group instruction entail different skill sets. An entirely different level of focus is needed to scan a group, monitor form, provide appropriate cueing, and adjust the class intensity quickly to match what is happening in the group. Every fitness professional has an obligation to work within the scope of their training aand expertise.