Whether you’re considering taking a Level 2 Certificate in
Fitness Instructing, already following a course or established as a fitness
professional in a gym, it pays to keep informed about the role, from core
activities to industry developments.
There’s a lot more to the job than teaching classes, and new
technologies are continually being developed that have changed the face of
fitness in recent years.
What is the core role of a gym instructor?
Fitness instructors usually work out of a gym or sports centre,
but they might also be employed at places such as universities, hospitals,
holiday resorts or offices.
Most gyms employ fitness instructors to be on hand to give
advice to clients about machinery, technique or general training options. This
is to prevent clients from injuring themselves and ensure that they are getting
the best results and meeting their fitness goals. Customers should feel welcome
in a gym and be given incentives to keep coming in to train.
Gym instructors usually have a number of other core
responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Carrying out inductions for new customers
signing up to a gym
- Writing fitness programmes designed for the
specific fitness levels and goals of individual clients
- Teaching group fitness classes, such as
aerobics, spin, circuits or cardio kickboxing
- Advising customers on overall health and fitness
issues such as diet and nutrition
In addition to a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing,
a gym instructor might want to study for qualifications to teach specific
classes, for example, a Level 2 Award in Instructing Studio Cycling,
Instructing Kettlebells or Instructing Circuits.
What general duties might a gym instructor be asked to
In a busy gym it’s often all hands on deck, which means that
fitness professionals might also be asked to carry out out jobs not directly
related to fitness. These can range from giving tours of the gym and signing up
new clients to working on reception and tidying or cleaning duties.
Marketing is an ongoing process for any business, and as a
fitness instructor you could find yourself posting on social media, writing
blogs, creating flyers and devising promotions to attract more clients to the
gym (see our blog on Marketing
Your PT Business).
A fitness instructor will usually work alongside personal
trainers, sports centre managers, leisure attendants, life guards, and other
fitness professionals, and should have the ability to work as a team player as
well as autonomously.
What about new technologies?
New technologies are continually affecting the way that gyms
operate and how fitness instructors work (see our blog on Automation
of the fitness industry). Examples include:
- The introduction of new IT systems such as CRM
(Customer Relationship Management) programmes, which allow gyms to monitor
customer sign ups and activities, and to segment their marketing to have
- Digital fitness apps and devices, such as smart
watches, which measure, monitor and track a customer’s progress
- Technology that allows customers to take virtual
tours of a gym before joining, book online and visit 24-hour gyms at any time with
a pass card
- Virtual classes, which can be viewed online and
followed at home or taken at the gym with a virtual instructor
While technology can be a useful aid to attaining fitness
goals, it’s worth remembering that the information provided by things like apps
and smart watches can sometimes be one-size-fits-all, and that a fitness
professional can help a customer to understand how this information relates to
their particular level of fitness and give more tailored advice.
What sort of clients do gym instructors work with?
Most gym instructors will provide general services across a
wide range of the population, although some may specialise in a particular
sector, for example older clients, pre- and post-natal women, or those with
particular health issues, such as diabetes. Specific qualifications may be
needed for working with these groups.
A qualified fitness instructor might want to progress their
career with further study, for example by taking a Level 3 course such as a
Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training.