I am starting a business teaching group fitness (specifically, but not limited to, teens), but I can’t decide what certification I should get. Does group fitness certifications teach you as much about proper fitness as Personal Training Certs? I want to learn as much as possible about fitness without going back to college!
this is not a question of ‘either / or’. Nor are they mutually exclusive. Nor does having a certification mean that you are at the end of all learning.
While there is of course a wide body of knowledge pertaining to fitness in general, the skills for group fitness vs. personal training are quite different. For example, a personal trainer working one-on-one has no need to worry about modifications for various fitness levels in classes.
Since you are planning to get into the business of group fitness, you obviously should have a certification in that specialty. However, since you plan to make that your business (and career?), you may want to contemplate over time to earn other credentials which may be additional certifications.
Do you currently have a degree in a related field? The type of certification and training (as generally you will not walk into a certification test without training to prepare you for that test, and that training does not have to be with the certifying agency) you decide on may differ depending on the answer to that.
Will you own your own facility? If not, where will the classes be held? It is always helpful to figure out what the requirements are for positions you want to hold. Or if you are running your own show, what is the standard for insurance.
I agree with Karin that if you are going into group fitness to begin that is likely the first type of certification you want. There is nothing to stop you from branching out later.
Even if you do not want to go back to school, per se, you will be required to take CEC classes to maintain your certification, and you can use these to give you a greater knowledge base if you want to start to work with individuals as well as groups as you move forward.
I’m not sure what your experience is as an instructor or a personal trainer, but if you are new to training then here is what I think (and it’s only my opinion):
Unless you have some experience in training 1-on-1 or couples or small groups of people (3-5), I would first get into this business as a personal trainer and then progress to a fitness instructor (for the type of training you are looking to do). The reason is that 1-on-1 training will expose you to a number of different issues and types of clients and you can use this step as getting more experience and feel more comfortable with larger groups. You could use your time as a personal trainer to learn different exercise modifications when your clients need one due to an injury or some other issue. Once you feel more comfortable with training one client at a time you could then start training 2 or more at the same time and expand your knowledge and experience on you way to become a fitness instructor.
I don’t know if this helps you with your question, but good luck with your new business :-)!
Thanks so much for the feedback! My plan is to offer mobile group fitness classes (parks, churches, neighborhoods). I don’t have formal fitness education (except for a cycle certification I got years ago), but I have been in the industry my whole life. My parents owned several gyms. My cycle certification taught me nothing about “fitness” but just about cycling, so I guess that my hesitation with group fitness certifications. Harris, I think you hit the nail on the head for me! I feel I need to educate myself on the actual exercise/muscle/modifications before I move forward, and then get the group certification.
Thanks for the info!
Good answers. I agree that since your immediate focus is on group instruction, that is perhaps the initial certification you should acquire. But, as Karin suggests, that’s not the end of your continuing education. Age-group related certificates, perhaps personal training certification if you want to expand your opportunities, continuing education throughout your career is what will set you apart as a fitness professional.