Are you thinking about getting involved with fitness in some capacity? Have you gone out on runs, taken group classes, and been interested in learning more? Do you want to better yourself and motivate others to reach their goals? But you’ve searched online and that’s when your head starts to spin. So many questions, but where to start!
First thing is to decide on what you want to do. Think about what you enjoy doing while working out. Think about what motivates you. Do you enjoy indoor cycling class? Do you enjoy HIIT or Boot Camp? Do you like the one-on-one environment of a personal training session?
One thing you need to keep in mind before diving into a certification is that it’s not “you get paid to workout”. The workout is no longer yours. You will be responsible for delivering an inspiring, motivating, safe, and effective class.
You may have a “typical” 9-5 job and you want to keep that as your main source of income and do the fitness thing on the side. And that’s totally ok.
Option 1: becoming a Personal Trainer where you work one-on-one with clients to help them reach their goals. At the gym that I work at, the trainers also teach two small group formats with the same concepts as one-on-one. You can be a personal trainer at a gym or individual business.
Option 2: becoming a Group Fitness/Exercise (Ex) Instructor. This ranges from Yoga to Zumba to Cycling and everything in between. You can instruct at a gym or studio. Now with this option, there are additional certifications to teach a specific format with more in-depth information. The base certification covers everything in the group fitness space.
Option 3: Management, Ownership, Entrepreneurship. I don’t have much experience in this area, but just wanted to mention it briefly. It is potentially where my future will lead me and will discuss in other posts when that time comes.
Once you decide on which route you want to go, I suggest you research certifications since there are several options available. Some require a combination of online and live workshop components to complete the certification. Some options are just online. Some organizations are Nationally Accredited and others are not. Do you want the prestige or does it not matter to you as long as you learn the material? Are you a motivated learner and will stick to a self-study plan or do you need more structure? Or are you a kinesthetic learner and can retain better when actually doing it versus visually or auditory. How much time and energy are you able to focus on getting a certification? Is the cost a factor? These are just some suggestions of things to consider when researching and deciding.
I would definitely suggest asking any favorite instructors you may have or gym/studio you would be interested in working to see if they have any openings or required certifications. Specific studios may require a certain certification due to their style or format such as megaformer Pilates. I’m learning that the fitness field is all about networking, so hone in on those skills.
The next thing is to get CPR/AED certified. Some certifications require that you have this prior to taking any final exams.
For me, I have always been a cardio lover between running and spinning® so becoming a spin instructor seemed like the right fit. You can read how I got into fitness here.
I have been enjoying my experience being a spin instructor and loving the gyms that I work at that I recently started my NASM Personal Training Certification and AFAA Group Fitness Instructor Certification.
*I’m not affiliated or compensated in any way, I just wanted to provide links in case you wanted more information*