Do you know what level your instructor is? And would you know what it meant?
Instructor levels should show customers what level of knowledge and training their instructor has; and that they have studied within a recognised framework. Although this started many years ago now, most of the customers I speak to, do not have any knowledge of these levels or what they stand for.
The Register of Exercise Professionals gave what they call ‘entry level’ qualifications a Level 2. Entry level means that the instructor is qualified to lead an exercise or movement class, or work in a gym unsupervised. So this classification covers the Gym Instructor qualification and the Group Exercise or Studio Instructor qualification. This is the minimum requirement that your instructor should have to teach your class. Many instructors stay at this level and then acquire CPD training. This is Continuing Professional Development. In order to stay current and up to date, all instructors should undertake CPD training. Most of the class concepts that instructors teach are Level 2 CPD courses: BodyPump, FightKlub, Zumba, Kettlebells, Spinnning. A class concept is a packaged way of teaching a class. BodyPump for instance, is free weights to music. This is a trademarked programme of exercise.
Undertaking many CPD qualifications can make an instructor appear to be very well qualified, and they will have indeed learnt many new concepts. However, their underpinning theory knowledge will still be at a Level 2. They have learnt more about a particular way of teaching a particular class but they will not have advanced perhaps their anatomy knowledge or their teaching skills.
And sadly there are also instructors who may have taken a Spinning or maybe Zumba course for example, without completing a Level 2 qualification. There is no law against this, however, this most likely would stop your instructor from becoming insured, and therefore unlikely that they would be able to work in a fitness centre. This wouldn’t stop them from working in the community or running their own gym though.
The next level of qualification can be used to get into the fitness industry, or can be used to advance knowledge. Pilates, Yoga and Personal Training are Level 3 qualifications. These give the instructor more in-depth knowledge of the body. Please do note though, that there are Level 2 concepts with the words ‘Yoga’ or ‘Pilates’ in the title – this is not the same as doing a Level 3 Pilates or Yoga qualification.
Level 4 courses have even more information and are often specialised courses like Exercise for Low Back Pain
If you are fit and well, and just want to exercise and have fun then a well taught Level 2 class will fit your needs beautifully. Your level 2 instructor should be well qualified to deliver this. However, if you require more than this or would like one to one attention, you will need to go to an instructor who has a deeper understanding of the body and movement. Pilates for example, uses muscles deep within the body, muscles that cannot be pointed out to the participant. Incorrect muscle alignment and recruitment requires understanding of how the body works and compensates. These skills are not taught at Level 2.
Please take care of yourself and do not be afraid to ask your instructor what level they are. Do not be dazzled by class concepts until you know what level of knowledge they require. If you need specialist attention or would like to get more from your class, then look for the instructors who have invested more in their career and studied further.