Greetings from Pattaya, Thailand! I'm here for the AFC (Asia Fitness Convention) gathering up CECs and recharging my batteries in all things fitness, but I'm so disappointed to report that there is not one Spinning® bike to be seen! No other cycle classes represented even... How can that possibly be? Well, I have no idea, but the one thing about not filling up my schedule with all things cycling is that I've gotten to go to some great classes. Hard to single out what a highlight would be, when all seem like highlights, but I'm glad to have attended the all day ACE GEL (Group Exercise Leadership) Specialty Certification course.
This course addresses a big gap in the fitness industry - this course is for people who become Zumba instructors, water aerobics instructors, indoor cycling instructors and other kinds of instructors but who have no certification as a group fitness instructor. Pretty cool - it is like a condensed course. I went in the other way - did that big general course a hundred years ago and then began to specialize.
To me, it seems that, as new types of classes and their subsequent certifications come out, there needs to be some external source checking to see that the people who are teaching the classes have more than just an 8 hour class under their belt before they lead a class. It feels natural to me that you would become a GF instructor and then specialize, but having the GF credentials doesn't seem to matter much anymore. This might not be a real conclusion - I'm just speculating and would love to know if you know differently. Do gyms require a big cert behind specialty certs or not?
Of course...OF COURSE!!!... there are great instructors out there who pursue additional (background/basic) knowledge in addition to their specialty cert, but I worry that Group Fitness is not taking itself seriously enough. How great would it be to go to a fitness convention and sit in a session on HOW to blend your music for your class - a technical skill. Or what about a session on cueing for a wide variety of clients in a single class. Or how about going to a session on the code of ethics and looking at case scenarios to get a really firm grasp on the C.o.E. Maybe there could be an entire session on what happens in the 15 minutes before and the 15 minutes after the group fitness class - the additional motivation you give clients, the setting up of the technical side of class, the inspection of equipment and reporting of problems. The list is endless and yet we find ourselves becoming Personal Trainers just to learn deeper anatomy/physiology/kineseology, sports psychology, nutrition etc etc etc...
It would be great to attend a fitness convention that was totally geared toward the needs of the group fitness instructor - I'll always contend it is a more specialized skill than personal training (I know that I may be alone in this thinking) but I'll stand by it. 20 people - 10 of them have special concerns - some are new today with zero experience and others have been coming for years - some need visual cueing others auditory - the music has to be considered - the choreography gets time too... There is a whole social, psychological, emotional angle too that is a bit different from personal training.
Anyway - I'm just putting it out there! It has been a great convention so far and I always feel so lucky to be a part of such a bundle of energy - some wonderful big names have come in to share their wealth of knowledge with us and truly I'm anxious to get back to my Spinning® bike - even though I didn't get any specific boost for indoor cycling, the take home messages are loud and clear and I'm surely remembering how great group fitness is! Yay, us!
Always happy to hear your thoughts - cheers! cori