Say what, it's almost SEPTEMBER?
Among many things, it's time for AFAA APEX again! Hundreds of group fitness instructors will be diving in and getting certified on the weekend of September 20th. I thought it might be helpful to those of you who are lined up to become fitness instructors to read some posts I wrote a couple years ago when I was in your shoes. In 2011 I decided to go for my AFAA Group Exercise Certification on a whim, without much preparation. As I've been telling you — I really believe in jumping in, taking a leap of faith, and doing whatever it takes to just GET YOU OUT THERE. 🙂
Said with love of course! If you're unfamiliar with AFAA Group Exercise certification, it's a common certification that many group fitness instructors have to prove that they've taken supplemental training in their teaching niche. It's more of an overall learning opportunity with less focus on specific group fitness formats. So it will work whether you're teaching a strengthening class, a U-Jam class, a step class, or Zumba.
Here's the first part of my blog series related to my AFAA Group Exercise experience. I hope it will be helpful to you! I know when I was preparing and studying for my exam I was reading blogs to get myself ready for what to expect. My hope is that these blog entries will help you as well! Part 2 (The Registration Process) will be released next Monday the 26th, and Part 3 (What To Expect On The Day of The Workshop) will be posted the Monday after that.
Please keep in mind that this is an old post from a blog I no longer keep up anymore. Some of the information (meaning some of my opinions!) may be inaccurate now since I have — as we ALL do! — grown a lot and gained much experience in the last two years. Still, I thought it would be better to present this to you in its original format without any edits, since it was written when I was actually going through the process of getting my AFAA Group Exercise certification.
On September 9, 2011 I took the AFAA Group Exercise Certification Exam. Reading other people’s blogs before my own test was VERY helpful in preparing myself mentally and psychologically for the workshop, so to add to the information available to future AFAA-hopefuls, here’s my experience!
Why I decided to take it
Not to bum everyone out right from the beginning, but my reasoning for taking the AFAA Group Exercise Certification Test was due to a funeral I attended about two weeks before the APEX day. But let’s back up…
A few days before the funeral, I had been talking with some girls at my gym (we were doing a Weight Loss Challenge together and they were on my team) and my team leader asked me about the classes that I teach. If you don’t know already, I’ve been teaching Beginning Hip Hop Dance for Adults since 2009. In the last year, in my mission to lose weight and be healthier, I’ve decided to switch it up and look into teaching group fitness classes that are hip hop dance based. My favorite class is Dance Party X-treme, which is a program that’s growing out of Sacramento, California. I’m hoping to take the instructor training session for that so that I can teach it myself, since I enjoy attending the classes so much. Another certification I’m pursuing is Hip Hop Hustle, part of Powder Blue Productions’ line of exercise classes (they are the makers of TurboKick).
So my team leader asked me if I was going to do AFAA, since it’s required at most gyms. I wasn’t in a hurry, and it’s not like I have job offers lined or anything, so I told her I’d eventually get to it. That’s when she told me about APEX and the class format, and she encouraged me to try for it. For a while I had been afraid to do it because it seemed so hard-core physical fitness, and being a graphic designer/architecture student whose only experience teaching was in a recreational setting for a beginning dance class, I didn’t have a lot of confidence. Hearing her talk about the process was more comforting than reading about it on the websites.
Well back to the funeral. A close family friend passed away unexpectedly (let’s call her Tracy) and my family and I were attending the funeral services. What got to me was the very end, when the daughter of Tracy said her eulogy. I felt a lot of sympathy for her, because my mom had passed away when I was 13. There’s nothing like hearing a eulogy that emphasizes the fact that we “only live once” to inspire you to do something you’ve been thinking of doing but have been putting off for a while and with no solid reason. I went home that same day and registered for AFAA.
UPDATE: 10/08/11: I passed both parts and received my results letter exactly 4 weeks after my test date. Thank you AFAA, St. Expeditus and St. Jude!