Fitness Instructor Qualifications UK

The role of the Gym Instructor is someone who is employed by a gym. They would supervise the gym and be on hand in case any members need reminding about their gym exercises or need a few words of encouragement.

The role of the ‘Personal Trainer’ is someone who can either employed by a gym or self-employed who takes on private clients and works with them on an on-going basis with their exercise and nutrition. The client would pay an additional fee to the gym or directly to the trainer, depending on how the personal training service was set up by the gym.

In the UK, we use the terms ‘Gym Instructor’ and ‘Fitness Instructor’ inter-changeably. But if you use ‘Fitness Instructor’ you need to specify the context of the exercise. For example ‘Fitness Instructor (Gym)’. The “Gym’ reference means the exercise takes place in a standard gym which contains all the usual pieces of fitness equipment, like cardio bikes and treadmill, fixed resistance machines – like leg press and chest press – and free-weights also. ‘Fitness Instructors’ could also be qualified in the context of ‘Circuit Training’ and also ‘Exercise to Music’, but this would be the exercise was a group-based class using more mobile equipment in a circuit format or, in the example of Exercise to Music, without equipment choreographed to music.

Personal Trainers can also be more creative and use more mobile equipment and body weight exercises alongside all the standard gym equipment. This is especially relevant now that many clients are used to exercising at home with a ‘virtual’ personal trainer. Having enough skills to become a virtual personal trainer is really is just a matter of gaining the right level of experience and acquiring a few different skills. HFI can assist you in this new area also.

Back in the old days, it used to be that you’d become Fitness Instructor qualified initially and then you’d get your gym instructor role working for the ‘health club’. While in this role you would be conducting members’ appointments all day long. Some were ‘gym-floor’ appointments – tweaking out the things the client didn’t feel were helping them, or the ones that they had realised that they didn’t like. And other sessions were members’ ‘sit-down consultations’ where you’d get a chance to use some of your ‘motivational skills’ in an attempt to turn around their wavering motivation and therefore increase the likelihood that they would continue paying their membership fees into the future.

Then, after about 5 years of serving this ‘apprenticeship’, you’d be nearly experienced enough to call yourself a ‘Personal Trainer’. In the UK, Personal Trainers in those days also had to have a relevant degree as there weren’t any personal trainer qualifications as such. There were only the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in the USA offering these.

Nowadays, the role of the gym instructor is pretty much obsolete, because even if the gym instructor role exists in a club there is little or no extra assistance offered to members without them paying addition fees to hire a Personal Trainer. It’s just how the gym business model has ended up.

As a result, these days, prospective instructors and trainers complete their Gym and Personal Trainer qualification as one single qualification – with the Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructor and Personal Training 

We have been offering UK and USA qualifications for nearly 30 years and recently as we are just coming out of lockdown, we can assist you in our own unique way with our Distance Learning + Remote Practical Skills Development programme so you are able to qualify without necessarily travelling to our gym in London. Alternatively, you can attend the two practical training day face-to-face with us (as soon as COVID allows).

The industry can be very confusing at times. There is definitely a lot of hard-sell companies offering you various courses, ‘qualifications and insurance. If it all gets too much please contact us for a chat, we promise to focus on what is right and best for you at the current time, and always keeping your aims at the forefront of any recommendations we make for you.

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