WARNING: Is your Fitness Instructor Qualified?

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Earlier this year I wrote a piece to those out there teaching fitness classes in the community with only ONE DAY’s worth of “training”. This is a touchy subject for professionals who have invested a lot of time and money to ensure that they are up to scratch (and beyond) yet there seems to be a new fitness class popping up on every corner, prices ranging from scraping buttons to big bucks.

But are you, the paying customer, really getting your money’s worth?

So here’s the deal. Yes there is a difference between a Certification (license) and Qualification. A Qualification involves a prolonged period of time where you study and at the end take formal exams, both practical and theory in order to succeed… just like the Leaving Cert, a Diploma or a Degree. In Fitness, your qualification covers Safe Practice, Anatomy & Physiology, Warm Up, Cool Down, Stretching, Client Care and Ethics – this is generic, on my own course we covered a lot more and I’m sure that other courses go beyond that too. My course also covered care for clients with obesity, who are overweight, underweight, diabetics, arthritis, osteoporosis, pregnancy etc etc etc. So I know who I can have in my class and who I could not look after competently.
A certification, or license does NOT cover ANY of the above mentioned. It only covers the CONTENT delivered in said class. There is simply not enough time to go over the basics of safe practice in just 6-8 hours of training. Yes, in most cases there is an “assessment” at the end of the workshop, but in my experience it is extremely easy to pass them. There are programmes who are strict now on their passing standards, they may become more lenient in the future as the demand dwindles… all speculation of course but I have seen first hand with one programme in particular who significantly dropped their standards to allow for more “instructors” on their books.

So where does this come back to you, the customer, the one who wants to get fit, lose weight, tone up. Well this is pretty important.



Incase you were wondering, Specsavers employed a Qualified Instructor for this campaign.

There are some programmes out there that do not require ANY qualifications in order to obtain a license. This means that anyone, yes, ANYONE can sign up for the workshop, splash the cash and come out with a shiny piece of paper after 6-8 hours. Your neighbour Mad Mary, who has never stepped foot outside of the house in her life can go down and pick up a license and then take YOUR money and pocket it without a bogs notion about how to help YOU reach YOUR goals…
Now, there are loads upon loads of people with qualifications who are teaching these programmes, they’re teaching safely and efficiently, they’re great at what they do and they have jumped through all the hoops in order to make sure that you’re getting the BEST in the business. There are also those out there who have gotten their qualifications and are absolutely abysmal at what they do, but there are crap people in every industry… just like there are cowboys in every industry.
So here you go, here’s a list of Fitness Programmes and what you need to be an Instructor in them. In my opinion you should at least know your Anatomy & Physiology before stepping into any studio or hall, but this is Ireland, a sheep could go and teach a fitness class if it wanted to.

NO Requirements Pre Requisites (ETM/ Fitness/ Dance Degree)
Zumba Les Mills
Bokwa Metafit
Piloxing Clubbercise
Insanity Boxercise
Piyo Boogie Bounce (1 Day)
Fitsteps Spinning
Bounce Dancefit Powerhoop
Pound Block Fit
The Jungle Body Burlexercise
Boogie Bounce (2 Day)

These are only a few, if you are unsure then Google the main Company (e.g Zumba.com) and go under “Become an Instructor” to find out.
So do you want to put your health, wellbeing and hard earned cash in the hands of Mad Mary? Ask your instructor what credentials they have, if they’re the real deal they will be more than happy to oblige. And I have to stress, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these programmes, there are plenty of qualified instructors out there delivering fantastic classes. I started out myself as a “certified” instructor (with a degree in dance) and I constantly preach about upskilling and ongoing education. Tell your Mad Mary if she’s serious about what she does, go and do the exams.