The energy gained from contributing to crushing goals in a physical activity, to being around others while they break barriers in a fitness and activity situation is infectious. It’s the high of experiencing others or your own ability that keeps people going back for more, and keeps fitness instructors teaching. You have participated in classes and you see yourself as that person in front of the crowd, or you see yourself leading one on one. Where do you go from here?

To further your journey, and inspire others, you need education. Your education for leading group fitness and personal training are different. Ask yourself a few questions as to where you would see yourself and start by picturing yourself in both sets of shoes.

Here are the steps you need to do to become certified in either group fitness and personal training, and this may help you decide where to start and what suits your needs.

Group Leaders need a primary certification from one of the two largest bodies in Alberta— CanFitPro FIS Fitness Instructor Specialist or Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA) Exercise Theory with Group Exercise Fundamentals—and a designation total of 44 hours. Both require a successful initial exam of 80%. AFLCA then requires the Group Exercise Fundamentals, with a designation. Both certifications then require annual and bi-annual Continuing Education Credits in order to maintain the certification. 

Personal Trainers need a base of education from a Personal Fitness Trainer Program — a NAIT two-year diploma program or a four-year degree from the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta. Once you have completed one of those two post-secondary options, you will need to complete a successful exam from the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) or with AFLCA’s Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) program. There are other certifications for personal trainers, however the path laid out is the most recognized as they are highly regarded, and CSEP is the Gold Standard.

Let’s talk less about the technical aspects of getting certified and more about the unique certifications that set you apart. With the wonderful community we have in Edmonton and surrounding area we have inclusion and diversity!

What do you like to take, what will your community be? Are you looking to lead at a facility, studio, or your personal business? Talk to those who are in your desired industry, and find out what it takes to coach others in those spaces. Here are some of the shout-from-the-rooftop inclusive programs we have right here in the YEG area:

  • Parkinson’s patients at the Buchanan Center have the need for personal trainers to aid in therapeutic exercise.
  • Join the center at Queerflex—a safe space for the LGBQT2+ community. In order to train here you will need to go through an onboarding program that ensures you are able to maintain the safe space and inclusive nature of the studio.
  • City Fit Shop has leaders that have a primary certification, with additional Obstacle Specialist certification. Requirements for working with children, and lead with programs that are programmed by Education Degree and a CSEP – CPT.
  • Fit Your Life for Prenatal and Postnatal clients has instructors with certification training that demographic, with special consideration from the owners for safety perimeters.
  • University of Alberta have Spin instructors with Inclusive Spin for leading classes with upright bikes and handcycles, seamlessly cueing both together.
  • Xtend Barre has an onboard program that is three days, with an audition that is additional to initial Dance certifications.
  • Strathcona County’s unique program is the Next Step that are for people with chronic health condition and mobility issues, Leaders need to be CEP’s
  • YMCA has in-house certifications they accept, as well as primary certifications.
  • SVPT Fitness & Athletics accepts leaders with only a institutional background, with a strong commitment to continuing education.
  • City of Edmonton Recreation centers take a primary certification from various groups, as well as a variety of supplemental certifications such as Triathlon NCCP coaching and NSPS weightlifting coach.
  • Evolve has been filling a niche market with coaches in Olympic Lifting Certifications and Powerlifting Certifications.
  • Generate Fitness has leaders with the ability to meet the needs of children with Autism and their caregivers with DiversiFit that promotes empowerment for all involved in a research and trial-based program.
  • Servus Place in St. Albert requires their Fitness Professionals that want to lead Aquatic fitness programs have the Aquatics exercise course through the AFLCA.

There is so many that I can’t mention them all, but I assure you there is something for everyone.

A wonderful aspect of being in an industry that is changing daily is that education is always available to expand your scope of practice.

Go forth, learn all you can, be awesome, and inspire amazing feats around you.

Danielle Smith – Assistant Program CoordinatorFaculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation – University of Alberta

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