The main responsibility of an aerobics instructor is to demonstrate and to coach or teach both aerobics and callisthenics, groups or individuals, and explain to them corrective measures necessary to improve their skills. For groups, they need to ensure that each person in the class performs them correctly.
Aerobics classes usually comprise mixed groups of beginners and advanced exercisers. The instructor needs to ensure that beginners are given sufficient attention without disrupting the momentum of the advanced learners. Beginners often perform the exercises incorrectly, rendering them ineffective or placing themselves at risk of injury. It is the instructor’s responsibility to demonstrate the correct movements and to pay close attention to each person’s breathing and movement. The instructor is responsible for motivating and encouraging groups to get the greatest benefit from their session.
Their tasks include planning the routines, choosing appropriate music, and selecting different movements for each set of muscles, depending on the participants’ capabilities and limitations. They advise clients about proper clothing and shoes. They need to teach proper breathing techniques used during physical exertion, and monitor participants’ progress and adjust the programmes as needed. It might be necessary for them to administer emergency first aid, wrap injuries, treat minor chronic disabilities, or refer injured persons to physicians. Ankles, fingers, wrists or other body parts may need to be wrapped with synthetic skin, gauze or adhesive tape to support muscles and ligaments, or massage body parts to relieve soreness, strains and bruises. They have to maintain equipment inventories, and select, store or issue equipment as needed.
Aerobics instructors conduct group exercise sessions that involve aerobic exercise, stretching and muscle conditioning. Some fitness workers may perform the duties of both aerobics instructors and fitness trainers. Fitness directors oversee the operations of a health club or fitness centre. Their work involves creating and maintaining programmes that meet the needs of the club’s members.
Success in this career is dependent on the instructor’s ability to motivate the exercisers through a balanced combination of hard work and fun.
Aerobics instructors need to know about choreography and leading exercise classes.
How to Enter
No specific high school requirements are necessary to enter this career, however, it is recommended that you go as far as you can at school.
What to Study
Various courses can be undertaken at universities, e.g. NMMU, NWU, UCT, UFS, UP, RU and UZ, university of technology, e.g. TUT, and academies for trainers or colleges
- private gymnasiums
- gymnasium and health centre chains
- universities and universities of technology
- large organisations
- self-employment – some do freelance work, work from home or have own gyms
Sports Science Institute of South Africa
Private Bag X5
Tel: (021) 659-5600 Fax: (021) 659-5601
Exercise Teacher Academy
Tel: (021) 689-1491 Fax: (021) 689-3590
- make an appointment to talk to an aerobics instructor and watch them work
- attend aerobics classes and ensure that you are very fit yourself