I’d like to thank all of you who have visited and provided feedback and questions for the series to assist with your fitness instructor training through the AFAA Primary Group Certification Worshop. Since those posts went up, there have been questions asked both on and off the blog about various aspects of the certification process that I did not specifically cover. In this post, I will attempt to further aid you in becoming a fitness instructor by providing answers to those questions. It is my hope to give you further insight into the workshops and fitness certification process. If you want to see the series, start with Post 1.
If I don’t have my CPR certification and can’t get it in time for the workshop, can I still get certified?
Yes, you can attend the workshop and take the tests before you complete a qualifying CPR course. You will not receive your AFAA certification until they recieve your proof of CPR, which can be mailed in anytime after the workshop.
What equipment will be provided for the demonstrations?
The workshops are held in a variety of locations. Some locations provide steps, mats, mirrors, balls and/or weights. Some locations do not. For example, all three of the APEX events I have attended were held on basketball courts. Mats were available, but no other equipment and no mirrors. Do not count on having a step, even if you plan to lead a step demonstration. Instead, lead your exercises as if there were a step present. The testers will not mark you down for not having the equipment, unless you do not do a convincing job of “using it” (See post #5 about miming tubes or weights). If you are worried about the possibility of not having a mat, you should bring your own. You can also call the hosting facility to ask what equipment will be available.
Will we be cueing during the group presentation, or just demonstrating with no words?
During the practical, the only time you will actually cue out loud is during your individual presentation. During the group movement and muscle group portions, when everyone is doing their own thing at the same time, you will not be expected to speak. In fact, I don’t recall specifically, but I think it might be forbidden. If anyone took it recently and knows, please comment!
Should I buy the primary study package?
I have heard from several folks that wish they had invested in the study package, instead of purchasing just the book. It really depends on how comfortable you are with what you know about group fitness. As one commenter put it, and I agree, “if you are looking for more than a practice exam, buy the package. It may cost a little more, but I felt it would have been nice to have before the big day.”
Do you think it is an advantage to take the AFAA group certification at a conference or should I take it at a smaller facility?
There are pros and cons to both. There will be lots happening at the conference and so much to do and learn, that you might not get the full benefit of the workshop. However, the conferences usually offer the workshops at a discount, and it very helpful to have the opportunity to take care of the certification at the same time as a conference. Basically, convenience vs. chaos — you’ll need to weigh out what works for you. The only other difference would be in the number of attendees. A conference will likely have a larger number of people, whereas a facility might only have a dozen or so. If you do better in a small group setting, choose the latter. And never hesitate to call the hosting facility and ask questions about the environment if you are weighing your options.
Any suggestions on how to remember all of the muscle groups?
Keep in mind that they are going to review muscle groups very specifically during the workshop. However, it is helpful to start learning anatomy several weeks before the workshop. To me, the best way to learn muscle groups is to head to the weight room with the book and do the exercises. As you perform each motion, feel which muscle does the work while repeating the name of the muscle group with some sort of pneumonic device to help you remember it. For example: Pectoralis Major (chest) is the major mover in a push up. So I repeat while doing pushups: “Pectoralis Push Up.” Here’s another one: Overhead press works the deltoids. The top of an overhead press looks like the position you are in when you dive off a diving board. So I repeat while doing overhead presses: “Deltoids Dive.” Take some time finding little devices like that to help you remember what the names of the muscles are, and you’ll do great! Another option is to take sculpting classes offered at your gym, or work with a personal trainer to learn the names while doing the exercises.