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What is a Gym Instructor?

April 24, 2024
5 minute read

If you have been around the fitness industry for a while, you would see there are all these different titles that people use. There is Gym instructor, Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness instructor & Group Exercise Leader. What are the differences and what do they mean? What exactly is a Gym Instructor? This blog will break it down.

In Australia, AUSactive is the leading registration body for Fitness Professionals there are four main areas you can register under:

  • Group Exercise Leader
  • Group Exercise Instructor
  • Gym Instructor
  • Personal Trainer


Group Exercise Leader:

Group exercise leaders are qualified to lead pre-designed programs in predictable settings. This basically means that you can’t write your own circuits or create your own bootcamp workouts. It does mean that you are able to lead pre-designed and pre-written programs such as Les Mills, Zumba etc. Predictable settings in the definition refers to places like gyms. The key difference is that as a Group Exercise Leader you can’t design your own programs, rather leading other programs.


Group Exercise Instructor:

As a Group Exercise Instructor you can do all the things that a Group Exercise Leader can, as well as create and design your own programs. So that means that you can lead programs like Les Mills, Zumba classes etc as well as design your circuits and bootcamp workouts.


Gym Instructor:


If you are qualified as a Gym instructor then you generally work in a facility such as a fitness centre, gym, recreation or a community setting. Some of the duties you would cover include assessments, program development, demonstrations and client reviews. Additionally, ensuring that the facility/equipment is kept clean for the members. As a Gym Instructor you are often on the gym floor, supporting and helping members with a friendly face. You would typically report to the manager, but not necessarily always directly supervised.


Personal Trainer:

As Personal Trainer you can do all things that a Gym Instructor can do. Plus there is also the ability to go more in depth with things like goal setting, motivation and providing feedback. Like the title describes, it is much more personalised with your client. Providing individualised support to get your clients to their goals. The environments that you work in are not just gym or fitness centres and may also include mobile (client’s homes), parks, community spaces and workplaces. There is also the ability to be able to refer to other practitioners to support your client’s care. These may include referrals and liasoning with physiotherapists, chiropractors, GP’s etc.


How do you become a Group Exercise Leader:


In order to become a Group Exercise Leader there is the requirement to complete a Group Exercise Leader (GEL) Certificate (Skill-set SISSS00128) plus a private course in the pre-designed group exercise program that you want to lead in. This then means that you have the qualifications to lead these pre-designed exercise classes.


The private courses may be in any of the following:
- Les Mills
- Radical Fitness
- Zumba
- MYND Tribe Fitness
- MOSSA


How do you become an Group Exercise Instructor:


If you are wanting to become a Group Exercise Instructor and create and teach your own circuit classes and bootcamps then you’ll need a Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321)

  • Note if you have the previous version of the Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30315) you can still register with AUSactive as a Group Exercise Instructor. However AUSactive will not recognise any versions before the SIS30315 for new registrants.


How do you become a Gym instructor:


If you are wanting to become a Gym Instructor and work in a setting like a fitness centre, gym or recreational facility then you will need to have completed one of these qualifications:


1) Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321)

2) Exercise Science or Human Movement Degree

Note if you have the previous version of the Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30315) you can still register with AUSactive as a Gym Instructor. However AUSactive will not recognise any versions before the SIS30315 for new registrants.

How do you become a Personal Trainer?


There are 2 ways to become a Personal Trainer.

1) Completing a Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40221)

2) Completing an Exercise or Human Movement Degree

Note if you have the previous version of the Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40215) you can still register with AUSactive as a Personal Trainer However AUSactive will not recognise any versions before the SIS40215 for new registrants.

First Aid and CPR

It’s also a requirement for any of the 4 areas of Fitness to also have completed a nationally recognised First Aid and CPR certification issued by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

The course codes for this are:
- HLTAID011 – Provide First Aid (valid for 3 years from completion)
- HLTAID009 – Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (valid for 1 year from completion)

Differences between a Gym Instructor & Personal Trainer:

Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer may seem very similar, let’s look at the offical AUSactive scope of practice for the two.

Gym Instructor Scope of Practice

According to AUSactive, it is within a Gym Instructors scope of practice to do the following

  • Pre-exercise health screening.
  • Fitness assessment and analysis within their scope of knowledge and skills through their qualifications and/or continuing education.
  • Development of safe, effective and appropriate exercise programs tailored to the client or group needs.
  • Exercise delivery inclusive of demonstrating, instructing, monitoring, reviewing and modifying program content. Taking into consideration technique, method and progression.
  • Working within professional limitations to provide basic healthy eating information and advice. Taking into consideration the nationally endorsed nutritional standards and guidelines.
  • Safety, risk assessment and management.
  • Application of first aid to clients where necessary.
  • Provision of general nationally endorsed public health information that will educate and support positive client health outcomes.

Personal Trainer Scope of Practice

According to AUSactive, it is within a Personal Trainers scope of practice to do the following

  • Pre-exercise health screening.
  • Fitness assessment and analysis within their scope of knowledge and skills through their qualifications and/or continuing education.
  • Development of safe, effective and appropriate exercise programs tailored to the client or group needs.
  • Exercise delivery inclusive of demonstrating, instructing, monitoring, reviewing and modifying program content. Taking into consideration technique, method and progression.
  • Working within professional limitations to provide basic healthy eating information and advice. Taking into consideration the nationally endorsed nutritional standards and guidelines.
  • Safety, risk assessment and management.
  • Application of first aid to clients where necessary.
  • Provision of general nationally endorsed public health information that will educate and support positive client health outcomes.
  • Through evidence-based protocols enhance client exercise adherence through goal setting, motivation, guidance, social support, relapse prevention and feedback.
  • Referring to medical or allied health professionals where necessary to optimise client health outcomes.

As you can see the role of a Personal Trainer and Gym Instructor are very similar. There are only two things that a Personal Trainer can do that the Gym Instructor can’t. Let’s break these down one by one.

Through evidence-based protocols enhance client exercise adherence through goal setting, motivation, guidance, social support, relapse prevention and feedback.

This essentially means as a Personal Trainer you are working for the "client", even when outside the gym. With a Gym Instructor you are essentially working for the "gym" writing the program for the member and helping the member when they are in the gym. As a Personal Trainer if that person needs extra support outside the gym then you are there also.

Referring to medical or allied health professionals where necessary to optimise client health outcomes.

This covers the ability as a Personal Trainer to be able to refer to other practitioners including physiotherapists, chiropractors and GP’s. This may include liaising with these practitioners for greater program outcomes for your client.

Summary

If you’re looking to become a Gym Instructor - check out our Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321)

Author:
Dee Harvey
Dee is an Endometriosis and Weight Loss Expert at Inspired Health by Dee

Blue Side BG

Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!

 

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