I am lucky enough to have been involved in the fitness industry in a number of different capacities over the years. One of the roles I have found most rewarding, but challenging has been that of being a fitness tutor. Teaching fitness and related subjects has changed massively over the years. There has been a large growth in the number of awarding bodies and also number of training providers offering courses such as Level 2 – Fitness Instructor and Level 3 – Personal Trainer. This has been in response to the massive growth in demand for these types of courses, based on the extraordinary growth of our industry over the last 10 year.
We are currently seeing an influx of people who are looking to take their career in the fitness industry to the ‘next level’. They way they see themselves doing that is by becoming involved with the education and training of new fitness professionals. I probably receive two to three messages in some form or another a week from people who would like to find out more about becoming involved in education. So this article is to try and give some realistic and balanced advice on what being a fitness tutor means!
The first question to ask yourself is can you actually teach? Many people have this idyllic view of what being a teacher in the fitness industry is all about, basically you walk into a classroom full of people and they hang off every word. They all then do exactly as they are told in terms of getting the work in and the marking is interesting!
Well first thing I am going to tell you is that it is hard work, if you think education is an easier route than standing on a gym floor… In my opinion it is not! You will be responsible for building often a group of people up to a point where they are ready to take their assessments. In many cases in a very short period of time (could do a rant here about course duration but will leave that for another time). So how do you do that? First thing is you need to be hot on your knowledge… this is one that often stumps new tutors, now I am not saying that they do not know personal training… but do they still know the valves of the heart? Not only know them but know them in enough depth that they can be confident that they can clearly explain them to somebody else?
Personal training and fitness courses are not all that people assume them to be, a great deal of learners expect to spend an amount of time out on the gym floor… basically working out. Then they will be handed a certificate making theme a fully qualified personal trainer. This really is not the case… there is a great deal of theory in the qualification, which many students really do not expect. Some of it, particularly the anatomy and physiology elements are very in depth and many learners who have been out of education for a while or do not grasp the importance/relevance of this to their new career find it hard to engage with the subject. This is where you stat to earn your money as a tutor, you will need to engage the learners bring the subject to life and make sure that they retain the information in order to pass the assessment. This is where you are going to have to demonstrate a good level of leadership and the ability to motivate. Here’s a little tip just sitting there reading the slides off, or even worse asking them to read the manual really does not cut it!
This is really my way of saying that you need to find a way to motivate your group, now this is not as easy as it sounds. I know many of you may have come from backgrounds where you have been motivating clients for a long time, but this can be a little bit more challenging as the groups all tend to have different end goals, and levels of interest in different aspects of the course. It becomes your job to get them to pull together and work through the content, in order to pass their assessments… then on top of that you want to build them into great personal trainers!
You need a very particular temprement when teaching fitness qualififcations, one fo the things that is oftern overlooked is that on the whole you will be working with adult learners and these people have paid a good deal to be on the course. Now this brings with it a level of self motivation, but also a much higher level of expectation in terms of the quality of delivery/teaching they expect. They expect to have a great experience that gives them all the skills that they require to go out and work in the fitness industry in whatever area they chose to.
There are however some learner who are more disengaged, this tends to happen when the learner is not paying for the course themselves. So in some cases younger learner are coming on the courses as an alternative to collage and this may have been funded by parents or via a learning loan. This can bring with it a lower level of engagement, it is then your job to engage and bring them into the group and get them through!
So if that has not scared you off and your sat there thinking I can do that… then what qualifications do you need? This is the easy bit, you need as a minimum a level 3 teaching qualification such as the Award in Education and Training, or AET for short. This is a very basic teaching certification but will get you started. A good number of training providers are now looking to have tutors holding fuller teaching qualifications such as the level 4 Certificate in Education and Training. I would recommend starting with your AET and then see where teaching takes you and if you are enjoying and getting regular work teaching look at up skilling.
Once you have have these it is then a case of contacting some of the training providers out there with a copy of your CV and look for your first gig. Normally without experience it is unlikely you will walk into a full time role, may new tutors bounce around on the freelance circuit, building up experience and honing their skills before getting a more full time role. Many of the training companies also use their tutors to assess, so looking into how to become a fitness assessor may be a good bolt on.
If you want some honest advice on anything above or have any questions use the comments box below and i will be happy to give you some advice. If you would rather talk 1-1 drop me a line through any of my social media or using the contact form on this site and again I will be happy to give you some time!