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Marsh column: How to become an aerobics instructor

By Ester Marsh
For the Salisbury Post
Q. I really got informed after last week’s column on personal training. Can you tell me what I need to do to become an aerobics instructor?
A. One of my other passions! We actually call ourselves group exercise instructors. There are so many classes we offer that are not aerobics.
Aerobic means “with oxygen.” Your oxygen intake is the same as your usage.
In general, the word “aerobics” is understood as group exercise. Of course you can teach an aerobics class, weightlifting class, yoga class, and so much more. It all depends what you are certified in to teach.
There are certifications and training you have obtain to become a group exercise instructor. I am a group exercise instructor trainer through the YMCA USA. This means I have my certifications to teach and train instructors to become licensed instructors.
Now to become a Bodypump or any other Les Mills certified instructor, you have to go through their training/ certifications as I had to go to Zumba training to become a licensed Zumba instructor.
You won’t believe how many different training categories that are out there. If you and other readers are interested becoming an instructor, make sure that you are able to physically handle that particular certification. The average certification is 16 hours long and most of it is done in one weekend. Talk about a lot of exercise for your body AND mind!
There is a practicum and written test at the end of each training. With some certifications like Les Mills programs, you have to pass tests at the end of your weekend, and within a set amount of time you have to send in a video of you teaching a class. You are evaluated on technique, giving cues and overall teaching before you actually receive your final certification. I really like that, because people who have attended my training sessions and are doing a good job on their written test and a good job on a partial teaching test are not necessarily ready to instruct a group exercise class on their own.
As all certified instructors will tell you, it takes lots of time and practice to put a class together. I know when my new music and choreography comes in for Zumba, it takes me a while to learn all the moves. I choreograph my own songs, too. I get so involved with it that I dream about it!
If you want to teach, make sure you are passionate about it. People look to you for guidance, instruction, motivation, positive feedback.
That includes days when you don’t feel that good. You can’t come in to teach a class and be grumpy and negative.
But for those of us who do it ó and I’ve done it 26 years ó we LOVE it! You constantly have to move with the times and keep up your certifications just as personal trainers, teachers, physicians and everyone else does who works in their chosen profession.
Stay healthy and be the right example for your students.
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!
Contact Ester Marsh at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca.com.

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