My journey becoming a Group Fitness Instructor.
A few years ago I joined the gym with the aim to recover my pre-baby body shape.
It was the first time that after having my 2 daughters I was going to do something about my body and myself in general.
I still remember attending that first Pilates Class at 6 a.m. It was hard but it was relaxing at the same time. I remember feeling so inspired by that beautiful instructor that I thought “I could do this too”, I would like to become a Pilates Instructor. I was doing my Yoga and my Pilates classes regularly. I must admit that I am passionate about yoga and I have been practicing yoga at home for many many years.
After a few months I got an invitation to attend a different class at a different gym, this class was called “Body Balance” and it is a “Les Mills” branded class. I was curious about Les Mills so I visited their website to find out how you could become a Body Balance Instructor.
It didn’t seem that hard, they require you to attend at least 20 classes of the class that you want to teach (what I had already done by then) but they also ask another “small requirement” they want you to be a “qualified group fitness instructor” or buy a different course from them that covers the basics of being a group fitness instructor.
I did my research and I found that there was more value if you had the full Certificate III in Group Exercise so I did more research to find a Fitness School.
I am good at searching and looking for information, this particular course however is not very popular, it is not like all these many Personal Trainer Courses (Cert IV) that you can find everywhere: online, at Tafe and at a 1000+ schools that teach you this.
My options were limited and because I had two little girls my best option was to find an online education provider.
Here I was calling to find out prices and requirements and this is when the tricky part started.
I clearly remember how I asked what were the requirements and I was told: “you have to pass the activities that are all online and then you just have to video yourself doing a class”.
It sounded easy and achievable. What they never mentioned was that it was not 1 class but 3, that it had to be in a proper gym, with different participants and that I needed to get a mentor who was supposed to help me through all my journey.
I am very dedicated and very committed with what I do so although I was devastated to find out after I paid that I had to comply with all these many requirements I did all my best and I completed my individual assignments quick. The fun part started when I needed a mentor and the support of my gym. It was hard to find a fitness instructor that could say “yes, I will be your mentor”, it was hard to get the support of my gym to use their rooms to get my video filmed, it was hard to find the participants who wanted to be part of that video and it was hard to find someone who could mind my children while I was doing my video.
Obstacles can’t be excuses I believe so I put my routines together, gathered the participants, arranged the childminding, paid to use they gym facilities and then I managed to video myself teaching 3 different classes: aerobics, step class and body scuplting.
Yes, Aerobics and Step are not related at all with teaching Body Balance, Pilates or Yoga. I am not good with rythm, I was not good with step and I still had to teach them. I thought I did a good job, I was proud of myself but the results weren’t good. The feedback wasn’t positive but I didn’t take that bad, I learned a lot from the experience and my instructor was amazing, she provided examples of the things that I did wrong and the things that I did bad. I understood better the craft of being a fitness instructor and I did my best to do it better.
My time was expiring so I had to put myself together and plan again a second round of videos. Too much planning, too much preparation but I thought this time I had it. This time I knew what I was expected and I felt confident.
The results were worse than what I expected: I received a call from the assessor asking me to reconsider my decision of becoming a fitness instructor. His words were: “you don’t look like an instructor, you don’t move like an instructor”
I have to admit that I was devastated, after so much effort and time… but not only that, when I enrolled I was never told that I had to look in a particular way… and moving in a particular way, that was what I wanted to learn from them. After all that is why you pay a course: to learn the craft of something that you don’t know.
Now, it has been nearly 2 years after my initial enrollment, I made a complain because I don’t believe that was the right way to approach a student who lacks of abilities. I hold a Cert IV in Training and I know that your duty as an instructor and assessor is to motivate the student to continue not to put her down.
My Fitness School explained that the assessor is used to deal with top Fitness Instructors and that was the reason why he made this comments. Now I was kindly given with another opportunity to prepare another set of videos + now I have to do other assignments to stay updated since it has been a long journey.
Two years later I am not even sure if I want to go and teach Pilates or Body Balance but I do want to complete this course. I paid for it and I have spent a lot of energy on this. Now, it is a matter of finding the time to get it done.
I thought this story is worth of sharing. I don’t intend to make people walk away from their idea of becoming a Group Fitness Instructor, I just want to say that this is not an easy thing. It requires dedication, time and money and if you are going to do it online it is hard because they are expecting that you will become a master of the skills that they just teach you in a short video or in a paragraph but you should demonstrate proficiency in order to become a qualified Fitness Instructor.
Good luck in your journey and I will tell you later how I went in mine. The good thing for me is that I have learned so many things about fitness and weight loss that I can use those in my blog to suggest exercises and routines (although I am not officially qualified).