So, you’ve been bitten with the fitness bug. Now you’re interested in becoming a fitness instructor. Congratulations! Leading workouts can be both rewarding and fun. As a fitness professional, you get to help students and clients get stronger, gain confidence, and achieve their goals of becoming healthy and fit. The question now is “What steps do you need to take to become an instructor?”

Read on to find out!

Step 1. Find out what certifications you need.

Most fitness centers require instructors to have a primary certification in Group Exercise or Personal Training. There are many options out there for aspiring professionals. A few of the most popular certs include the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Some gyms prefer certain organizations over others. Look at the job listings in your area to see what certifications you need. Most offer some combination of reading from a physical textbook, digital videos, and local workshops. Some are completely based on self-study. Choose one that best fits your personal needs. ACE is a great option if you prefer learning on your own and don’t have the ability to attend a workshop. AFAA is great if you’re on a budget and prefer hands on training.

You will also need CPR/AED and First Aide certifications. Both the Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer options online and in-person.

Step 2. Order Your Study Materials.

If you’re eager to get started as a fitness instructor, order your materials right away. That way, you can begin studying as soon as possible. Materials will take between 1-3 weeks to arrive. Once you have them, you will spend 4-6 months learning before you take the exam – less if you’re a fast learner and more if you have other responsibilities, like a family or a full time job.

If the funds aren’t immediately available, start saving. Book a date on your calendar when you know you can afford to purchase your books, and set a reminder. When that day comes, make the purchase. In the meantime, read any blogs or articles you can about the business of fitness.

Step 3. Book Your Exam.

Once you receive your books, it’s time to set a date for your exam. Most organizations have an online scheduling system. Book about 4-6 months out. Don’t make the mistake of waiting. Too many aspiring professionals make the initial investment without ever completing their certifications. Your exam date serves as a deadline for learning the material. It will motivate you to study your lessons daily. 

So, if you have your materials, but you haven’t booked your exam yet, do it today!

Step 4. Gain Teaching Experience.

The hardest part of becoming a fitness instructor is landing a job. Even if you are certified, those who have some experience have a better chance of being offered a position. Get ahead of the game by finding opportunities to teach. A few great ways are to:

  • Host a weekly Meetup. Offer a free class and invite your friends to attend.  Ask for feedback afterward so you an improve your teaching style. Remember that you should have good command of proper form and technique for any format you teach. To protect yourself, make sure to purchase insurance before you teach, and always have attendees sign a waiver before participating.
  • Get on a sub list. Do you attend a class regularly or have friends who are also instructors? Let them know that you are now certified and available to step in if they need a sub. This is gold for instructors who are often looking for reliable, skilled people to take over when they need a sick day or a vacation. Ask them to introduce you to their supervisors. This kind of referral holds a lot of weight in the fitness world.
  • Find a studio that trains their instructors. 24hr fitness is well-known as a place for beginning trainers & instructors. Although you’ll need to make sales in order to keep the job, it’s a great way to get started in the world of fitness.

Step 5. Interview EVERYWHERE. 

Finding a job is a full time job. Don’t wait for one to fall in your lap. Start interviewing as soon as you can, and try not to be picky. If you were hoping to teach cardio kickboxing, but are offered a spot as a bootcamp instructor, consider trying it out. If you wanted to teach yoga, but the only class available is cardio & flexibility, give it a chance. That isn’t to say that you should accept any position that you are offered (see my article on How To Choose The Right Studio), but keep an open mind. In the beginning, with little experience, options may be slim. In 6 months to a year, you’ll have a better idea of what you like and what you don’t, and more options to choose from.

So, there you have it. A simple, 5-step process to becoming a fitness instructor. Now that you know what to do, take the first step today. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment below. And, if you liked this piece, be sure to SHARE it with your friends.

Good luck 😉

 

 

 

Nadia

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s hard to strike a balance between eating right and keeping your energy up. Most of us learn that the hard way. Have you ever experienced a dizzy spell halfway through a cardio interval? Have you ever felt your muscles weaken in the middle of a strength session? It’s probably has something to do with your diet and fitness habits. Make the following tweaks to your routine so that you can burn fat like a champ AND stay energized. 

  1. EAT STRATEGICALLY

If you want to maintain high energy levels, proper meal timing is essential. While an overabundance of grains can contribute to weight gain, carbohydrates act as your biggest source of energy. Eat carbohydrates in small portions before your most intense sweat sessions. You will feel stronger during your workout, and more capable of exerting maximum effort. Make sure that this meal is 1.5 – 2 hrs before class. This allows for proper digestion. If you work out early in the morning, have your carb-dense meal the night before.

  1. REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE

Consuming alcohol can be detrimental to performance during workouts. It can lower your body’s blood glucose level, stripping your energy. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration. While every body is different, a good rule of thumb is to avoid drinking the night before you teach or take a high intensity class. For maximum results, reduce your overall alcohol intake to less than 3 beverages per week or eliminate it entirely.

  1. HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE! 

Did you know that, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated? Most people only begin drinking water when their body is begging for it. Unfortunately, you won’t magically become hydrated the moment you start sipping. You must drink consistently throughout the day in order to maintain proper hydration levels. Aim for 50% of your body weight in ounces every day. This is especially important if you work out 3 or more times a week at moderate to intense levels. If you sweat heavily during workouts, drink even MORE. 

  1. PLAN RECOVERY DAYS

When you exercise, your muscles tear and your body becomes inflamed. That’s why you feel sore after a tough workout. It’s a natural part of the process of getting fit. However, your health suffers if you keep your body in that state for too long. Do you often feel fatigued or lethargic after a week or two of intense workouts? If so, you may be over-training. Your muscles recover faster and more efficiently when you rest. Take 1-2 days off from strenuous activity every week. If you must to do something, active recovery is a great option. For example, go for a walk, get a massage, or take a gentle yoga class.

Now that you know how to optimize your healthy habits, implement one or two these tips into your routine today. By the end of the week, you should feeling stronger and more lively!

Good luck 🙂

 

Nadia

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For most of us, the story of our life around fitness and healthy eating sounds the same. There are times we are on. And when we’re on, we’re ON, full speed ahead! Working out every day, following the latest diet trend to the letter, and feeling great about ourselves… until one day we hit a wall. You’re tired, and getting up at 5:00AM to hit the gym before work just doesn’t sound appealing. Top it off with the fact that you skipped prepping on Sunday to relax with the fam, so now you’re stuck ordering takeout when you get to work. One day turns into two. Two days turn into an entire week, and before you know it, you’ve gained all the weight back. Because when we’re off, we’re WAY off.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, most of us only receive information about how to lose weight or gain muscle as soon as possible. We aren’t taught to incorporate it as part of our overall lifestyle. But the fact of the matter is that the essential components of a healthy and fit lifestyle – exercise, healthy eating, and practices for psychological/emotional wellness – are also essential components for a healthy and happy life. And that looks different for each and every one of us.

Just like you have a vision for what would be an ideal and fulfilling career path, relationship life, spiritual community, place to live, etc., it is highly beneficial to know what your ideal fit life might look like. By knowing your ideal fitness lifestyle, you can begin to take small steps that help you put into place the routines and habits that will build something close to it.

Here are a few types that I have seen among my own students and clients:

The Fitness Ninja

Your ideal fitness life is all about training. Although it might not be possible right now, you dream of 2-3x a day physical activity: waking up first thing in the morning for a run, strength training during your lunch break, then finishing off the day with yoga. You frequently attend fitness workshops to increase your knowledge and incorporate new activities into your routine, and your “off” days include active recovery like walking, foam rolling, and stretching. Food, for you, is planned and executed to fuel your body for optimal energy. Sure, you want a slim physique, but that’s not the most important. What’s key is that working out makes you feel alive. If you haven’t already, you would LOVE to organize your life around that.

The Moderate Yogi

You may (or may not) dabble in other areas of fitness, but yoga is your activity of choice. You practice 3-5 days a week and sometimes even meditate to reduce stress and increase positive emotions. Although you’re not quite ready to adopt a completely vegan diet, you are conscious about where your food comes from (local; organic) and try to make choices that truly nourish your body – lots of leafy greens and low sugar fruit, along with fermented & probiotic items. For you, yoga isn’t just a workout, it’s an emotional/spiritual practice that helps you stay balanced both mentally and physically. It makes you a better person and enhances your relationships with others.

The Maintenance (Wo)Man

If you’re a Maintenance Woman or Man, you can’t think of anything less enjoyable than going to the gym. To this individual, exercising is not only inconvenient, it’s also quite painful. I mean, really, who ENJOYS the feeling of their muscles “burning”?? You only feel exhausted afterward. But you can’t deny that exercise, in the long run, helps you look and feel good. So you do it, grudgingly, but routinely. 3 days a week at the same time each day. And you watch what you eat to lose weight or maintain your figure, because as tasty as that pizza looks, once you’ve inhaled it, it doesn’t look good on you. 

The Fitness “Parishioner” or Socialite

The “parishioner” is a practicing member of the church of fitness. Not only does going to the gym make them feel healthier and happier, it also connects them to like-minded others, who share the same love of physical activity. If this is you, although you attempt to eat healthy and often try out new diets and cleanses, your main focus is not nutrition. Rather, it’s attending workouts. But not just any workouts. You exercise with your favorite instructors/trainers in formats that make you feel like you’re killin the game! Whether it’s a bootcamp, U-Jam Fitness, pole dancing, yoga, or some combination, you go to socialize just as much as you do to burn calories. You are a lover of everything health and fitness, so you enjoy learning about it and sharing what you know with others. #Fitness4Life!

Do any of these sound like you? What’s YOUR ideal fitness lifestyle? Leave a comment below with your ideal type and why you think this is the one for you! Don’t overthink. Instead, have fun with it! Let your inner fitness spirit shine 😉

 

Nadia

PS – Have you joined the community yet? Find us on Facebook: That Fit Life Social