Last night I completed my AFAA Primary Group Fitness Certification training via AFAA's online Group Fitness Instructor certification course. Over the past several years I have contemplated pursuing my Group Fitness certification. Time and time again, I kept putting it off as I was always uncertain whether or not I wanted to ever teach anything outside of pole dancing. I have also taken Discoveries Dance Pole Instructor Certification course via a live training which I completed in September of 2011. As a Registered Nurse, I am fully aware of the importance of educating one's self in the area of fitness when it comes to injury prevention. There are reasons certifications and programs specific to the fitness industry exist. I believe that you should be educated when it comes to properly teaching body mechanics so as not to teach someone right into an injury. Everyone's body moves differently and sometimes being made aware of what the limitations are and proper techniques can enlighten even the most experienced instructor. Aside from my advocacy on furthering education, I also felt it was a necessary step for personal reasons. Unfortunately, pole dancing is a fitness trend in certain parts of the world. A lot of people are going to go through the trials and tribulations of opening and closing a pole studio. I can't rely on pole fitness always being there as a position I will always be able to fulfill when it comes to teaching fitness. Unless of course, I take matters into my own hands. So in an attempt to secure a place in doing what I continue to love doing, I decided it was time to embark on exploring my options and expanding my capabilities.
My Experience with AFAA's Online Course
I would rate my experience with AFAA's online course as satisfactory. I really enjoyed having the ability to work at my own pace. The structured study guide really set the bar for the program and enabled me to cover all the necessary criteria for my test out phase. The structured format for the program is designed to be completed in 30 days. I completed the 30 day format in a week during Spring Break. The curriculum consists of reading 32 chapters, viewing 14 online lecture videos, and completing a 48 page study guide. Upon completion of the recommended study materials, you are able to schedule a live one-on-one video conference with an AFAA team member that will be proctoring your practical portion of the test or to answer questions over the written material. I did not take advantage of this feature. AFAA also has a set of 30 multiple choice practice questions available to prep you for the exam. I really liked this feature as it got me thinking about the type of information the exam would cover.
The testing phase is broken down into 2 parts- a multiple choice proctored exam consisting of 100 questions pertaining to the material in the reading, videos, and study guide and a proctored practical exam. The multiple choice test went very well. My initial setup of the proctored exam had a few glitches but the technician was able to remedy the problems and get me started on my exam. I immediately knew I had passed as soon as I completed the exam.
The practical portion of the exam was more involved. It required me to study the muscle groups and create a routine similar to a class lesson plan. The beginning of the practical was a warm up and cardiorespiratory movements. Following the warmup portion, the muscle groups were listed by the proctoring instructor. For each group, you had to demonstrate two muscle strengthening exercises and a static stretch. After the muscle group demonstration portion, each participant in the exam was to teach a progressive exercise. For my progressive exercise, I chose an abdominal stabilization exercise broken down into level 1, 2, and 3.
During my practical, I did standing Flys for the pectoral muscle group. Upon receiving feedback from the proctored instructor, the group of participants in my exam were told that standing Flys do not target the chest muscle group. An appropriate exercise for this muscle group would have been supine Flys.
My overall impression coming out of this course is positive. I really liked the program and would definitely recommend this program to others.