Learn to be a Fitness Leader online -ACS Distance Education Course
- Work in the fitness industry
- Obtain Professional Indemnity cover through Tower or AJG
- Articulate with advance standing into a wide range of courses, through us or any of 18 affiliated colleges in seven countries.
What's Needed for Success?
Fitness Leader Certificates are popular courses; offered by many schools, in various forms. Most will tell you that this is what is needed to get a job as a fitness leader; and in many respects, that is true. In reality though; the type of fitness industry job which you can get with this type of certificate, is fairly low on the ladder of success; and most graduates find such jobs to be insecure, poorly paid and often part time. Most graduates in fact tend to become disillusioned and often leave the industry, before they really get properly started.
To be successful, and gain well paid secure work, as some type of fitness instructor; you will almost certainly need something more. There are lots of good opportunities; but it is important to recognise that it takes diverse, in depth learning, combined with experience over time (at least a year or two), to get a career in fitness on track for a sustainable career.
This certificate is a great starting point; but don't plan to stop there!
To obtain a Fitness Leaders Certificate, students must meet the following five requirements:
1. Complete the Fitness Leader's Certificate Core Theory which incorporates key sections of Human Biology IA, Human Biology IB, and Health and Finess I.
2. Undertake 40 hours of practical at an approved fitness centre (Under the supervision of a reputable instructor).
3. Obtain a current First Aid Certificate which includes resuscitation (Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance for example).
4. Sit and pass four examinations.
The aim of the Core theory course is to elevate the standard of core knowledge and competency for people working in the field of fitness through the provision of a pre-service education program.
The aim of specialty modules is to contextualise and expands the leaning process and competencies into one of the recognised registered categories.
On successful completion of this module you will have developed:
- abilities in describing the nature and extent of the health and fitness industry,
- abilities in explaining exercise and its importance to health and fitness,
- skills in preparation and delivery of basic fitness programs,
- an ability to explain basic human anatomy and physiology, and
- and ability to describe bioenergetics and environmental aspects of human biology.
The two parts I and 2 are made up of two units each with several lessons in each unit. Part I, unit 1 has three lessons, unit 2 three lessons. Part 2, unit 3 has three lessons and unit 4 has three lessons.
UNIT ONE – Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise
Lesson 1. Introduction to Health and Fitness
Lesson 2. Exercise Physiology
Lesson 3. Exercise Principles and Cardio-respiratory Programming
Lesson 4. Physiology: Digestion, Excretion, Physiological Systems
UNIT TWO - Biomechanics
Lesson 5. Introduction to Biomechanics: The skeleton and muscles
Lesson 6. Biomechanics and Risk
Lesson 7. Aquafitness, exercise, routines, and equipment
UNIT THREE – Program Design and Performance
Lesson 8. Fitness Program Design
Lesson 9. Delivering A Fitness Program
Lesson 10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance
UNIT FOUR – Safety, Injury, and Body Physiology
Lesson 11. Regulating Body Physiology
Lesson 12. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing
Lesson 13. Fitness Programs for Special Groups
INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH and FITNESS
a) To explain the nature of the health and fitness industries.
b) To explain the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues, and membranes.
The components of fitness
- Physical fitness
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Muscular strength and muscular endurance
- Motor fitness
To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness and exercise, with reference to physiological processes, including energy pathways during resting, work and recovery, and how energy is used in the human body to create work and power.
- The cardio-respiratory system
- The heart
- The cardiac cycle
- The vascular system
- Energy systems
- The ATP cycle
- The phosphocreatine, lactic acid and aerobic energy systems
EXERCISE PRINCIPLES and CARDIORESPIRATORY PROGRAMMING
To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness and exercise, with respect to risk involved in exercise.
- The cardio-respiratory system
- The heart
- The cardiac cycle
- The vascular system
a) To explain different physiological systems of the body.
b) To explain movement of materials in and out of living cells.
- Osmosis and Diffusion
- Digestive system
- Urinary system
- Endocrine system
- Respiratory System
- Breathing action
INTRODUCTION TO BIOMECHANICS
To explain features of the human skeletal system, and the human muscular system, in terms of structure and basic function.
- Bones and joints and Muscles and muscle actions
- The skeleton
- Four types of bone
- Factors affecting bone structure
- The three types of joint
- Synovial joints
- Joint movement terms
- Muscle group actions
- Muscle group actions on the joint(s)
BIOMECHANICS and RISK
a) To evaluate body movements during different exercises.
b) To explain the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.
- Nervous system
- Training and risk
- Injury prevention tips
To develop an understanding of how aquafitness activities differ from other fitness activities.
- Physiology of an aqua fitness session
- Types of exercises
- The components of a warm up
- Components of a cool down
FITNESS PROGRAM DESIGN
To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, to fulfill specified requirements of an individual.
- Design process
- Developing Physique
- Basic Conditioning Exercises
- Cardiorespiratory (Aerobic) Endurance
- Structure of an aerobic training session
- Weight Training
- Qualities of A Professional
- Leadership Communication
- Communication Barriers
DELIVERING A FITNESS PROGRAM
To deliver a fitness program to a small group of clients.
- Customer service
- Your communication skills
- Dealing with customer complaints
- Self Esteem
- Communicating for effective relationships
- Key communication strategies
ERGOGENIC AIDS TO PERFORMANCE
Explain ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise.
Ergogenic aids are substances which improve performance which can include Drugs, Vitamins, Water, Warm up activity, and Motivational talks.
REGULATING BODY PHYSIOLOGY
Explain body regulation processes
- The acid base balance
- The effect of changing atmospheric pressure
- Temperature regulation
- Acid Base balance
SAFETY, ETHICS, INJURY and GENERAL WELLBEING
To manage the wellbeing of participants in a fitness program, including safety and injury.
- Ethical practice
- Safety and injury
- General wellbeing, which can cover psychological as well as physiological wellbeing.
- Sample Screening Questionnaire
- Sample Medical Clearance form
FITNESS PROGRAMS FOR SPECIAL GROUPS
To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, catering to needs of special populations (weight control programs, handicapped/disabled persons programs or for the elderly).
- Program management
- Exercise variables (frequency, duration, intensity)
- Four zones of training
- Programs for weight control and evaluation of cardiorespiratory endurance and
- muscular strength and endurance
BEYOND THE CORE
- Undertake 40 hours of practical at an approved fitness centre (Under the supervision of a reputable instructor).
- Obtain a current First Aid Certificate which includes resuscitation (Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance for example).
- Sit and pass four examinations.
Working as a Fitness Professional
The fitness industry has emerged from almost nothing a few decades ago, to become a significant and rapidly changing field in today’s world.
Fitness Leaders are the “coal face” workers of the industry. They provide guidance to clients on development and maintenance of fitness (commonly dealing with a class or informal group using a gym). Fitness leaders often get very low rates of pay, and have relatively poor job security; but for many in this industry, this can be a starting point.
Personal Trainers provide personal guidance on fitness (dealing with one individual only in a session). Personal trainers usually earn a lot more than fitness leaders, but they are commonly self employed, and need good business and marketing skills as well as expertise in fitness if they are to be successful.
Life Coaches provide guidance on many different things that affect wellbeing. This may include fitness, career, money, general health, relationships etc. They also are commonly self employed, and require skills that are broader and deeper than a fitness leader
Fitness professionals find employment in small and large organisations, government and private enterprise, both self employed contractors and employed by others.
They may be employed in any of the following:
Fitness leaders or instructors in Gymnasiums, health clubs or Leisure Centres
- Personal Trainers
- Life Coaches
- Sports Coaches
- Fitness Teacher or Specialist Instructor
- Facility managers
- Marketing (eg. Fitness or Sports equipment, Sales, PR, Advertising, etc)
- Event Managers
Fitness jobs range from relatively low paid part time or casual positions to highly paid professional careers that require a great deal of expertise and training.
Risks and challenges
The fitness industry is highly competitive so can be challenging to find work/clients. You will need to develop skills to make you stand out from the rest - something that makes you unique, and inspires people to train with you over other trainers.
Many people choose this profession believing it to be relatively healthy and stress free; but in reality, if you run your own business or work in a position of responsibility in any industry, there will always be times of stress.
Fitness professionals in theory should be more conscious of how to manage their own wellbeing, but it is an unavoidable occupational hazard that you will tend to attract clients with problems and helping them deal with those problems will place unavoidable pressure upon anyone who cares. You need to care in order to do a good job; but if you care too much, your own wellbeing suffers and in turn your capacity to do the job suffers.
Also keep in mind the nature of your work – the majority of the day will be spent in fitness training, so you will need to be cautious of how much of the activity you do yourself, so as not to wear yourself out too much.
How to become a Fitness Professional
People get a start in this profession by both
a/ Undertaking some study
b/ Experience (as an amateur or professional athlete)
This is an industry where ongoing professional development is essential. If you want a secure future in the fitness industry; you need to be committed to keep learning, attending seminars, workshops, courses, being involved with professional bodies and overall keeping abreast of new developments.
Fitness leaders are often the lowest paid employees in this industry; and the entry level courses which fitness leaders take are often relatively basic.
There are lots of opportunities to advance to more challenging and better paid positions; but to give yourself the best chance of advancement, you need to be thinking well beyond doing a minimum entry level qualification.
Commonly fitness professionals find the best opportunity to advance will come from either:
- Starting their own business
- Moving into Management or Marketing
- Education: Teaching others to be instructors
You may need to consider joining a fitness association. There are many different bodies that are relevant to fitness industry, some amateur, some professional; some are national and others are international.
Professional Indemnity Insurance is important if you are giving advice to people on fitness. Most insurance companies will provide cover to people who have undertaken a credible course that is substantial in its content. (Note: The ACS Fitness Leader certificate and more advanced courses have been accepted for insurance in the past).
Other insurances may also be needed; particularly if you plan to be self employed. Talk with an insurance expert before establishing a business. Discuss insurance cover before accepting employment with anyone else.
- Nutritional counsellor
- Fitness or Health Centre Manager
- Weight Loss Consultant
- Life Coach
- Personal Trainer