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Does exercise improve your mental health?
You need certain qualifications for jobs in fitness and training. Two popular routes are the Gym Instructor and Group Training but which one is best for you?  
If you want a job in fitness, you’ll need a qualification or two. 
 
To run sessions at your local gym or begin your journey towards becoming a personal trainer, a Level 2 qualification is essential. 
 
For most people this would be one of two qualifications in particular – Certificate in Gym Instructing or Group Training. 
 
You’ll need to go further to become a fully qualified personal trainer but what you might want to know is which route should you go down to get there. 
 
The options might be confusing for some so we’ve taken a more in-depth look. 

What’s best for you 

Ultimately which route you take will depend on your goals. 
 
The Level 2 Gym Instructing course is a starting off point for anyone who wants to help train people on the floor of a gym and provide guidance on how people can improve their fitness. 
 
The group training course is more for people who want to run group sessions and fitness classes. 
 
For some, one on one training may not be of interest to you, so it may be that the group training qualification suits you just fine. 
 
Whichever course you’re doing it’s important you make sure it’s CIMSPA approved to ensure that you’re getting the highest level of accredited education. 
 
Let’s look at each qualification in more depth to determine what they cover. 
Chart showing mental health increase

Gym Instructor 

There are a few gym instructor courses out there although at Sportsability we offer the Active IQ Level 2 course which is one of the best. 
 
In it you will gain an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and fitness, as well as a number of other areas related to training people. 
 
These include professionalism and customer care, health and safety in a fitness environment, supporting positive behaviour change in client consultations and planning and instructing gym-based exercise. 

Group Training 

The Active IQ Group Training course also offers learning on anatomy, physiology and fitness but has a number of other elements which distinguish it. 
 
These include professionalism for group training, health and safety in groups and planning and instructing group training sessions. 
 
Of course, whilst the focus might be slightly different a lot of the same ground will be covered. 
 
Both courses are assessed with a mixture of coursework, multiple choice and theory examinations, portfolios of evidence, session plans, practical demonstrations/assignments, and self-evaluation. 

Do I need both? 

There’s nothing stopping you doing both qualifications to gain that extra bit of expertise, but you don’t have to do both in order to progress further in your career. 
 
If you did want to do both, the good news is that you should be able to take a version of the other course without repeating modules you’ve already done. We offer this at a reduced rate. 
 
If your plan is to go on and get further qualifications, you also only need to have one of these to be eligible for higher qualifications such as the Level 3 Diploma in Personal training. 
 
Either one will provide you with a base level knowledge which will be built upon in the higher qualification. 

What else is available? 

So once you’ve done these, where could you go? We covered the full route to becoming a personal trainer and some of the other qualifications you could take in our post on getting qualified as a personal trainer. Be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. 
 
And actually if you’re set on becoming a PT, you may want to consider the Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training as an alternative route. 
 
You don’t need to have either of the qualifications mentioned above to be eligible for this as it includes the Gym Instructing course within it. 
 
This is a great way of including everything you need to go straight to where you want to be. 
 
As well as the Level 3 courses there are of course other Level 2 diplomas that further your development. Take a look at our courses page for more on those. 

Where do you want to go? 

That’s ultimately what it comes down to. There are many options available but hopefully this article has made clear what paths you should take, depending on what your career goals are. 
 
If this has made your decision clearer, then please let us know. We’d love to hear from you. 
 
And if you’re ready to take the dive, why not check out our fitness offering. We provide both the courses mentioned above. 
 
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