Taking the Steps to Become an Instructor of Group Ex: Part II

Last week, I provided a road map to help folks who want to become a group fitness instructor make that dream a reality. (Click here to read Part I and to find the blog that I wrote about going from fitness class scaredy cat to a FWABulous instructor.) Now that you’ve found a mentor, gotten CPR certified and picked a certifying organization, here’s what to do next:

Study for the test. This is the part that makes the anxious student inside of each of us come alive — the group fitness certification test. In the last blog, I mentioned that both the American Council on Education and SCW Fitness offer group exercise certs, which would be accepted by most health and fitness clubs. But the one I have personal experience with is AFAA’s. Bear in mind, I took my certification test  about 10 years ago, so I’m not sure if much has changed. But after looking at the description on the website, I think things are still similar to what I remember. My first piece of advice is to sign up for a testing date at least a month or two in advance. There is a lot of material to study, and with everyone’s busy lives, cramming for a few weeks is not the way to go. One thing to be aware of is that the $299 you pay for your workshop does not include the study materials. The textbook and any practice tests, etc. are extra. My advice is to buy the textbook, “Fitness Theory and Practice,” which is $69. I only used the textbook to prepare and did fine. And thankfully, my mentor actually had a copy that she let me borrow. Of course, everyone is different, so if you think you'll do better if you have practice tests to study from, get what you need to be successful.

Take the test. Be prepared to spend most of a day attending your certification workshop. Over the course of the day, you will review information and have an opportunity to ask your cert leader(s) questions. And then you will “take” the test, which includes written and practical (meaning you have to demonstrate your knowledge of a warm-up and stretch, teaching a few minutes worth of eight count choreography and cool-down) portions. Now, I’ll be honest. As a newbie, the practical portion scared the heck out of me. But in reality, it’s not bad at all. Yes, you do have to “perform” in front of people, but there’s no time like the present to get over this fear if you want to teach. Then there’s the written test — I have dug deep into my records and see that I missed eight questions, for what that's worth. Questions pertain to everything from first aid to exercise physiology, which is why again, I recommend that you start studying as far in advance as possible. Better safe than sorry when you’re spending this kind of money, right?

And wait. Unfortunately, you do not learn if you passed the tests the day of the certification workshop. I received a letter following the certification, which notified me that I’d passed. I also received a card and certificate showing that I was AFFA-certified. (Most gyms will want to see your card before they will hire you.) 

Of course, if you have any questions regarding what I've covered, please feel free to let me know. Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous! And don't forget to "like" FWAB on Facebook and follow FWAB on Twitter.