Here’s a number for you. Over 22.1 million people get into group fitness activities every year. Boot camps, water aerobics, spinning and zumba classes. These are just a few examples of the reach you will have as a certified group fitness professional. Whether you want your practice to be an exclusive training module for a small group or a huge class, having a certification can go a long way.
What It Means To Be A Certified Group Fitness Professional
To be a group fitness instructor means having the ability to teach a big class and make more money. You will need to know about physical fitness, balancing it with mental health and occasionally be useful to members of your class in terms of nutrition that will help them keep up.
Some of the programs listed below will be useful for those who are already in the industry and have one-on-one personal training jobs. These programs will help you take your career to the next level. Group fitness activities are a favorite among many fitness junkies and many gyms and studios now require instructors for the same. These jobs are not only fun but also have the potential to make you more money than a personal trainer. If there is a catch, it’s just that you won’t be able to do more than a few sessions every day since you have to demonstrate while teaching and that gets tiring.
Are All Certifications The Same?
Most certifications come in a bundle. Which means, you are likely to have multiple options to choose from whether it is exam materials or vouchers. Other programs offer training and review sessions. Sometimes they are in person too, if you prefer that. You will have access to the material even in the future for reference. That is an invaluable asset. Make sure you pick a course where you have the chance to interact with experienced instructors who can answer your questions and give you personal feedback. This way, you will also get insider tips and can avoid trial and error. If you already have some experience, pay close attention to the details of the modules in a course. Live workshops might not be for you. Some newbies study for months to pass the certification exam.
Most courses need you to be over 18 years of age. If you’re doing a CPR/AED certification, there might also be a hands-on assessment. That’s a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Automated External Defibrillator certification. So you see why that can’t just be online.
So let’s jump into your options and see what works best.
Best Group Fitness Certifications
ExpertRating: Group Fitness Trainer Certification
This course by ExpertRating is one of the most comprehensive certifications available at this discounted price. It is built for those who want to kickstart a career in the fitness industry. Through this course, you will learn about group training and fitness concepts. It is divided into 13 chapters and over 20 videos which explain exercises in great detail.
It is a premium course that is recognized by government bodies and reputed employers across the globe. You will certainly learn the inner workings of the human body but prior knowledge is an advantage. You will be taught how to assess clients, the different types of warm up and cool down protocols. But you will also gain knowledge of designing your own group sessions, using training aides and resistance training programs for fat loss.
NASM: Group Personal Training Specialization (GPTS)
This is a format that has become quite popular with trainers and their clients over the years. The course by The National Academy of Sports Medicine is about laying a foundation for the teacher in you along with adapting to new exercises quickly and with great ease.
It is divided into six modules built to create client impact and increase your ability to make money all at the same time (you know, because it’s a group exercise). You will be able to deliver a great experience and help your clients meet their fitness goals. The philosophy of the course is to take the best elements of one-on-one training and incorporate it into group sessions. When you are done with this course, you will be able to deliver successful sessions on any given day. You will get course manuals, videos and lectures along with 120 ready-to-use program templates. You can take quizzes to evaluate your progress before you take the final exam and become a certified instructor.
ISSA: Certified Group Exercise Instructor
This is a course by the International Sports Sciences Association which is a specialist in the group fitness space. The certification program itself is new but it has a strong focus on creating safe programs that benefit a variety of individuals. Through this course, you can discover the type of training and equipment that suits you. You will also learn how to market your class and expand your business.
You will learn how to perform fitness assessments to keep your classes safe. You will also learn to implement the program design effectively. There is a difference between flexibility, strength and endurance. You will learn all about that. These are just some of the things you will learn through this class. You will get their main textbook with a study workbook to guide you through the textbook. You will have access to ISSA’s online exercise lab which has 250 animated exercises. You will also be given access to their specialist for questions. You can take practice quizzes and tests to check your knowledge retention. While you’re at it, make sure you access the online student forum and make use of the free website that will be designed for you by fitness professionals. You can study at your pace and take the online exam whenever you choose. ISSA’s course in group fitness is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
ACE: Group Fitness Certification
This course by the American Council on Exercise or ACE is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). It is a long-time leader in fitness and is considered by many to be a leader in group fitness programs. This program was created to make sure fitness instructors can do a group class in an organized and systematic way. Their priority is to make it both efficient and fun. Hence, the classes focus on the dynamics of group exercise training like designing, constructing, choreographing and safely leading the class.
ACE is also non-profit and its goal is to help everyone follow a healthy lifestyle. The course comes with a primary textbook along with a booklet on how to read the textbook and another booklet on the essentials of the science of exercising. You will have access to their online resource center and the exam. You will have access to practice tests so that you can ‘ACE’ (sorry, we just had to!) the final. You will always be able to talk to a qualified instructor via email or call.
NETA: Group Exercise Certification
Apart from being accredited to the NCCA, this course by the National Exercise Trainers Association is also about practical application. By the time you are ready to give the exam, you will be ready to teach a class too. This is great for beginners. You will have in-person review workshops if you prefer that. If you are a newbie, you will have a live hands-on workshop to streamline the process before you teach an actual class.
This is not the most popular agency but it has been in the business for over three decades and has helped over 130,000 professionals. Apart from this course, they offer a bunch of other niche courses if you are looking for specialization.
This course provides a strong foundation for beginners through its emphasis on safe practices. The curriculum also focuses on the building and timing your instructions during a class and music selection to set the mood. You can learn at your own pace and in the end, you can opt either for a one-day workshop and take the test or do the same at a facility administered by Comira. That might be the only bummer.
AFAA: Group Fitness Certification
This course by AFAA or the Athletics and Fitness Association of America is very centered on group fitness. It has been in the business since the early 1980s and is kind of a pioneer on the subject. The course itself is accredited by the NCCA and teaches you how to design, choreograph and lead a class. You will also learn about training on modalities, aquatic exercise, kickboxing, circuit training, dance, yoga and Pilates
You will gain in-depth understanding of the essentials of physiology, exercise, nutrition and managing weight. It gets better. You will also train to conduct classes for pregnant and senior participants.
Side bar: AFAA has been acquired by NASM which also designs fitness courses.
In Conclusion: Getting Your Group Fitness Certification
Group classes have changed the way the fitness industry conducts and delivers its product. So there is a demand for talented and qualified professionals in a miasma of spaces. So, as they say, there is no time like the present to pull up your socks and get a couple of certificates in your kitty.