Fitness Qualifications UK

If you want to take it slowly and dip your toe into getting qualified, maybe our pay-as-you-go Personal Training Diploma is right for you. You can do one unit at a time and when you get the first 6 you will be fitness instructor qualified and when you have the full 11 you have your full PT Diploma.

In the UK, a “gym” or “fitness” instructor is employed by a gym or health club to look after members day to day. 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 “personal trainer” is someone who works with their own clients on a long-term basis and can either employed by the club or gym or “self-employed”.  The client would pay an additional fee to the club or directly to the trainer, depending on how the personal training service was set up by the particular club.

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’,  ‘Exercise to Music (group exercise)’, or ‘Pilates” etc but this would be in a group-based class format of that particular type.

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 the right skills to become a virtual personal trainer is tricky because you need to be a really confident trainer to be able to train virtually. Once you are PT qualified HFI can assist you get the right skills to set up and make a success of your Personal Training Business.

Back in the old days, everyone qualified as a Fitness Instructor initially and then you’d get your gym instructor job 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 was 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 usually 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, most candidates coming into the industry complete their Gym and Personal Trainer qualification as a combined qualification – with the Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructor and Personal Training 

HFI have offered the UK and USA (ACSM) qualifications for over 30 years and recently we offer distance learning course format.

The industry can be very confusing at times. There are 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 time, and always keeping your aims at the forefront of any recommendations we make for you.

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