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Specialty Certificates

Instructors share insight about choosing specialty certificates in group exercise.

Group fitness class to show specialty certificates


Do you believe instructors should seek out specialty or branded group exercise certificates? What trends do you see in group exercise and what advice would you offer for choosing specialty certificates?

From the Experts

Chronic Disease Certificates

Christine Conti, M.Ed., Chronic Disease Wellness Specialist, best-selling author and keynote speaker, Brick, NJ

In the last 20 years in the fitness industry, those fitness professionals who are constantly seeking continuing education courses and additional certificates have set themselves apart from the rest. While I have taken over 30 specialty and branded group exercises certifications over the years, I have not kept all of these certifications active. However, the knowledge and experience I have gained learning new programming and how to work with diverse demographics has helped me improve my resume, increase my communication skills, and grow my fitness business to an international level.

One major trend in group exercise right now is the explosion of classes that cater to clients suffering with chronic diseases or living with chronic pain. While lifespans have been steadily increasing, health spans have been drastically declining. With the increased numbers of people being diagnosed with various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more, fitness professionals with the knowledge and experience to work with this growing demographic are needed now more than ever. Enrolling in a specialty certificate course is a great way to expand your offerings and take your fitness business to the next level.

Aging Population

Sarah Fuhrmann, MEd, certified rowing instructor, menopause coaching specialist, functional aging specialist, and CEO of UCanRow2, Houghton, MI

I’ve done a number of specialty certificates over the years and I’m also a certification provider (for indoor rowing). So I’m a big fan! I think they’re a great way to stay current on the latest trends in group fitness, and to add more tools to your toolbox as a group exercise instructor.

We always ask people who sign up for our rowing certificate course why they’re doing it. In addition to reasons like learning to program group workouts or finding new ways to use rowing in their classes, we often hear people say they’re doing it to build their confidence and credibility as instructors.

I agree 100% with this for any certificate. It’s the quickest way to get up to speed on a modality. There’s nothing like taking a course from an approved provider and knowing that you’re getting exactly what you need to know, and that you can trust the information you’re getting.

As far as trends, I’m seeing a lot more focus these days on “active aging,” serving people in the 50 and older demographic. It’s an amazingly loyal, rewarding population to work with. There’s no shortage of challenge either, as you need lots of scaling options and tools in your toolkit to meet everyone’s individual needs in class. I highly recommend taking a functional aging certificate course to learn everything you can if you want to start serving this group!

See also: How to Become a Group Exercise Instructor

Sarah Kolvas

Sarah Kolvas is the content manager and digital producer for IDEA.

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