If you've been reading my blog for over the last few months, you'll know that I'm currently in school to become a personal trainer. It's a two year program, and once I'm done I'll have CSEP certification as a certified personal trainer (click here for details about the certification). After one semester I'm pretty excited about it and I'm looking forward to graduating and working in the fitness industry.
Although I know two years isn't very long in the grand scheme of things, I'm still itching to get my foot in the door. I figured I would go ahead and get certified to teach group fitness. I had a few options to go with, but I ended up deciding on the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association certification (AFLCA for short). There's a few steps that I have to take to become fully certified to teach (you can check out the details here). I thought group fitness would add some variety to my education and be a bit different than what I'll learn for personal training. In addition, once I'm AFLCA certified I'll have insurance which means I can teach! That means that in under a year I could have my own classes.
Today I thought I'd share the basics of the exercise theory course. When I was looking into it I could only find one or two personal experiences with it. As informative as the AFLCA website it, I was little for a little more insight about it from the perspective of someone who's taken the class. What did they like about it? Was it a good use of time and money? Was it easy or hard? I'm going to answer those questions and more below.
What did I like about the exercise theory course?
I took the class (there's an online option as well), and I really liked that everyone in the class was coming from a different perspective. There was one guy who was really into bodybuilding, a massage therapy student, a ballroom dance instructor, and a running coach. Everyone brought something different to the class. I appreciated that the instructors teaching the course (we had one Friday night and then a different one for Saturday and Sunday) were well known in the fitness industry in Calgary. They know what it takes to be a successful trainer/group fitness instructor because that's what they do everyday.
Would I take the class or do it online?
If I had to do it again, I'd definitely do it in person instead of online. I found that the instructors were awesome at giving us a heads up about what topics would be on the test. In addition they were really helpful at giving us tricks for how to remember certain things. For example, now that I know that the sartorius is the longest muscle in the body, I'm not going to forget that it's located in the thigh. Even though I had to give up a weekend to take it, I think it was well it.
How hard was the course?
I thought it was pretty straight forward. Will there have to be some memorization work that I have to do before I take the test? Definitely. Are the concepts hard to understand? I don't think so. It's pretty basic fitness stuff, so you're not going into the teeny tiny details of how you digest food or how actin and myosin makes muscles move. I was told to have a firm understanding of the manual, but I don't need to know anything above and beyond that for the test.
What was my favorite part of the course?
The workouts! Both Saturday and Sunday our instructor lead us in workouts. Throughout she'd ask what plane we were moving in or what muscle we were working. While I learned a lot in the classroom portion, I think things really started to stick when I was moving.
What was my least favorite part?
It felt like it was a really long weekend. I would have liked it more if it was spread out over two weekends. By the time I left on Sunday evening I was exhausted. There's something about spending most of the weekend in a boardroom that just zapped my energy. I also think I would have retained a bit more if it had been spread out over two weekends.
Overall I was pretty happy with the course. It was what I was expecting. In the class you got an overview of the entire manual, but I'll definitely have to spend some time going over the details before I take the test. You have to go into it knowing that you'll have to spend time on your own preparing before the test. One of the instructors recommended buying the study guide to prepare for the test. While I haven't used it much yet, it does cover the exercise theory course and a few designations. It contains all kinds of questions – from multiple choice to fill in the blank to label the diagram. I find that I do my best studying when I'm answering questions so I'm sure it'll be helpful.
If you have any other questions that I haven't answered here, feel free to email me.