Learn to lead a fitness session or coach another person in their exercise routine.
- A starting point for anyone preparing for a career or business in fitness who is looking for a more extensive and intensive education than most "standard fitness leader certificates"
- Professional development for qualified fitness leaders who are finding they need to learn a lot more in order to really advance their career prospects
There are 8 lessons in this course:
Introduction to Health & Fitness
Exercise Principles & Cardiorespiratory Programming
Biomechanics & Risk
Fitness Program Design
Delivering a Fitness Program
Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing
Fitness Programs for Special Groups
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
To explain the nature of the health and fitness industries.
To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness & exercise, with reference to physiological processes.
To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness & exercise, with respect to risk involved in exercise.
To evaluate body movements during different exercises.
To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, to fulfil specified requirements of an individual.
To deliver a fitness program to a small group of clients.
To manage the wellbeing of participants in a fitness program, including safety and injury.
To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, catering to needs of special populations (including weight control programs and programs for handicapped/disabled persons).
What You Will Do
List the different types of health and fitness organisations and businesses offering services in your locality.
Explain the philosophical basis of health and fitness in a workplace you are familiar with.
Explain legal implications of providing fitness services in a gymnasium in your locality.
Explain official systems of accreditation, registration, and licensing which relate to providing services in the health and fitness industries, on a localor national basis.
Explain the status of professionalism, in the health and fitness industry.
Develop guidelines for ethical behaviour of staff in a health and fitness industry workplace.
Describe the history of fitness training in your country.
Explain a physiological response to a balanced exercise program over a period of months, in an adult who has not regularly exercised for many years (i.e. what happens to the adult over the time period of the exercise).
Indicate the likely response of the following different body parts to different levels of exercise:
List physical symptoms, which can result from a lack of exercise.
List risk factors associated with irregular exercise, for different types of people.
Explain the mechanics of body movement during three different exercises, using illustrations.
Analyse the movements observed during the three different types of exercises, performed by the three different people.
Explain the general benefits of regular exercise, for 3 different demographic groups(eg. children, teenagers & young adults; or teen males, teen females and elderly).
Explain the components of fitness in a typical young adult.
Explain the different goals of training including cardio-respiratory fitness, flexibility, strength, and endurance.
Apply the principles of training, to design an exercise program to suit your lifestyle, resources and aims.
Design instructions, for two different series of stretching routines, for different purposes.
Explain how the principles of leadership may be applied, in a fitness program.
Explain how the principles of learning apply, in fitness program.
Analyse different motivational techniques being used by a leader, in a fitness session which you observe.
Survey members of two different health/fitness clubs to determine differences in attitude towards services being offered.
Develop a checklist of criteria which are critical to customer satisfaction in the delivery of a fitness program.
Demonstrate the leading of one or several people through their first session of a 30 minute fitness program, which they are unfamiliar with.
List different options for screening techniques, to evaluate health in a gymnasium.
Discuss symptoms of poor condition, including poor fitness, sickness and injury; which you observed in the video/TV program where different people are exercising.
Develop safety procedures for a specified fitness setting.
Specify a fitness injury you are familiar with, then recommend an appropriate recuperation process for that injury.
List first aid facilities which should be available in two different specific types of health and fitness facilities.
Compare different weight loss programs.
Explain the general benefits of regular exercise, for different demographic groups including:
Design a weight control program for a specific person.
Design a healthy weight gain program for a specific person.
What is involved in an Exercise Class?
An understanding of basic human anatomy is an important part of understanding how the body moves during activity, which exercises are best for exercising different parts of the body, and which exercises are potentially dangerous.
Too much exercise can be just as bad as too little. Appropriate exercise is different for different people. The age of a person, their physical build, physiology, anatomy, physiology, current health and level of fitness can all impact upon what they should and should not do.
Through studies such as this course; you can learn to make better assessments about what you should and should not be encouraging people to do during an exercise session
A typical exercise class might have four components, as follows:
- The Warm-Up Stage
- The Main Session, with bouts of intensive exercise
- Final Phase, with a cooling down.
The Introductory Stage
This is the time to introduce yourself to participants you have not already met, and to welcome everyone to the class. This can be a very important step in encouraging and involving participants. A little personal attention at this stage can really make a new class member feel as though they belong and are welcome. New members to the session may be feeling nervous or apprehensive about attending in the first place, and so this will help break the barrier.
Check-off class rolls/ or check that everyone has paid! This is also a good time to check if any participants have any problems they might want to raise (e.g. need to leave early, have a sore back or other muscle soreness after the last session, they want to buy certain equipment off you or the facility, etc). Some of these may need to be deferred until after the class has been run to minimise losing any class time, but they should at least be acknowledged.
A brief description of what the class/group are going to do can help prepare them mentally, and ensure a smoother passage from one type of activity to the next.
Instructions can also be given about the use of equipment, etc at this stage, rather than having to stop during the exercise session which can reduce the session's effectiveness.
This stage provides a good opportunity to 'feel out' the mood of class members and to provide them with your motivation and cheerful personality to create a positive environment.
The Warm Up
Anyone, despite their fitness level, can be more susceptible to injury if they do not ease into exercise slowly.
The body needs to warm up, blood needs to be circulating faster than it would at rest, and movement needs to intensify gradually. If this does not happen, there can be risk of:
- Torn muscle tissue
- Damage to joints
- Cardiac problems
Preferably, allocate at least 10 minutes warming up before any intense exercise. Longer is even better. Warming up does the following:
- Gets the muscles moving and, in doing so, begins to lubricate the joints.
- Gently stretches the muscles conditioning them for more vigorous movements to follow.
- Increases the heart rate and respiration slowly, which is safer than a rapid increase.
- Gradually increases the thermal temperature of tissues which may be cold when you commence exercise. This increased temperature:
- Increases blood flow
- Increases the capacity to take in and utilise oxygen (i.e. improves VO2 max)
- Helps the transmission of impulses through the nerves.
- Alerts the hormone system.
- Energy sources become activated.
- Increases activity in the central nervous system, which leads to faster reaction times.
- Psychologically prepares the class for more vigorous exercise.
Warm-up can be achieved by any type of gentle movement (eg. slow paced walking, stepping, swimming, rowing etc)
This is the part of the exercise session which takes the longest time, and contributes the most towards the overall fitness of the participant.
If the warm-up section has been conducted properly then by the time this part of the session is reached, the muscles and surrounding joints should be adequately warmed up, and able to withstand optimum levels of exercise (within the limitation of what is appropriate for the individual concerned).
Even though the muscles and joints might be capable of optimum movement during this stage, the participant's energy systems are probably not sufficient to maintain optimum movement throughout this part of the exercise session.
This stage should be planned according to the goal(s) of the participant(s):
- 'Sustained movement' at 60% or more of the individual's maximum heart rate, thus being medium level, will utilise the source carbohydrate in the body and after a certain period will move on to using fats as its main source of energy.
- 'Excessive movement' at a high intensity may derive energy from body tissues which can be dangerous and, in a worst case scenario, actually cause destruction of muscle tissues.
These terms (sustained or excessive movement, medium or high activity, etc) are relative - they mean different things to different people according to their level of fitness and strength.
Generally, this part of the session should always be designed to incorporate periods of high intensity (but not excessive) movement interspersed with periods of sustained aerobic activity at a medium level of intensity.
A sequence of different activities should be programmed throughout this session, each one utilising different muscle groups to the previous. Doing this will reduce any chance of muscle fatigue, and allow muscles to replenish their stores of energy ready for the next period utilising the same muscle group.
The duration of this stage may be as little as 20 minutes and up to 45 minutes or more. When this stage is longer, it is increasingly important to manage the intensity of exercise more carefully to ensure a useful, but safe, level of exertion is achieved.
The number of different exercises incorporated into this stage will vary according to what is desired from the exercise session. The same type of exercise, or variations of it, might or might not be repeated several times. The amount of each exercise will vary, according to the level of fitness of the participant; and the intensity with which the exercise is being performed.
1) Cool-Down Stage
Muscles, heart and lungs are returned to their normal condition. If this is done correctly, there is much less chance of any negative after-effects or injury - including heart stress, or general soreness.
2) Muscle Conditioning Stage during the Cool-Down
This stage is not essential, and it depends on available time and the type of class being conducted. By undertaking certain muscle toning exercises at this point in an exercise session, the muscles are still warm and in an ideal condition to work on building muscle strength through resistance exercises.
This is also a great way to slowly cool the body and decrease the heart rate towards normal before concluding the class.
Come down slowly to the knees and place the hands on the floor. Level 1 might be performed on the knees and hands with the bottom in the air. The chest is taken towards the ground keeping the abdominals tight. Level 2 may follow, when the body is straighter, but the participant is still on their knees. Level 3 might follow that with the toes on the floor.
Repetitions of 8 should be performed with 3-4 sets. Emphasise that a level must be chosen according to what they think they are capable of. Perfect that level, then move up a stage at the next class.
Back arches are excellent for strengthening lower back muscles. If abdominal work is always completed then the back can often be under worked.
Lay on the ground face down with one hand under the forehead. The other arm lifts up with the opposite leg keeping the hips on the ground. This is performed slowly and controlled. The back muscles should be squeezed. About 8-10 repetitions may be performed before swapping to the other side.
An alternative would be to place both hands under the chin and then lift the upper body into the air. Once again, this is performed with control.
When performing abdominal work, it is extremely important that participants master the correct technique. The hands should be clasped together and placed behind the head to support the neck. The eyes are towards the roof, and the head is held in a neutral position.
The body lifts up until the shoulder blades are just off the ground. If the upper body is lifted higher than halfway, then the hip flexors come into action. Hip flexors that are too tight can create problems with the lower back.
Rotating movements working the oblique muscles can be performed, and different rhythms provide variety.
For example: 2 counts up and 2 counts down or curling up and pulsing the upper body on the spot before returning to the ground.
3) Stretching Stage
Though not an essential stage, it does help maintain flexibility and can help decrease any muscle soreness after exercise. This stage ideally should take 3 to 5 minutes to complete, and should stretch all of the same muscles that were used during the exercise session.
Why study this course?
This is an extensive and intensive course if you are looking for a career or to start your own business in fitness. It is also a great course if you already work in the fitness industry and are seeking professional development to advance your career prospects.