IFA began in 1995 as a group of Aerobic Instructors and Personal Trainers sharing a common goal, to provide a category of Group Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers with the basic academic credentials necessary to instruct and guide the general population in health and fitness. We are dedicated not simply to a select few who seek certification but to the general population as well which is why all our services are free to everyone.
IFA began certification seminars back in 1995 in Orlando, Florida. The first website was put in place in 1995 and included our Fitness Training Manual. We added other fitness information that year. In 1998, we moved to our own domain name and put testing and web based certification in place. Hits per month began to climb at an astonishing pace. To relieve the load on our UNIX server, we put up a second website in late 1998.
All current certification processes are strictly academic and theoretical. We felt that many of the aerobic certification processes promoted less than what we felt was required to teach general fitness. Subsequent certifications were then necessary to achieve a complete and more comprehensive background. Some of the courses emphasized biological sciences rather than focus solely on training and the application of those sciences.
Our goal is to provide basic fitness knowledge and updated teaching philosophy to all. Our course is a three point comprehensive syllabus aimed at Nutrition, Weight Training and Aerobics. It is constantly being revised by our members and us as we monitor the pulse of the industry.
A general acceptance in the industry is that once certified by any certification organization the certificate holder is fully qualified to teach. This is a misconception. A certificate provided by us or any of our associate organizations demonstrates a quantitative proficiency in a theoretical and academic arena only. The true qualifications of an instructor should be qualified by the aerobics coordinator of the facility. Only that person can ascertain the other requirements of a teaching professional, i.e. teaching ability, personality, choreographic aptitude, even fitness level which cannot be measured in a written test.
Our course is designed to provide the basic knowledge that we feel a Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer should have. Many instructors are asked very technical questions about fitness. That kind of knowledge places them in a category of Personal Trainers (fitness instructors); and, they should be expected to know more than music and counts of 8. In essence, a Group Fitness Instructor, by our definition, should be all that a Personal Trainer is and more. Unfortunately, in some cases aerobics is sometimes still considered where it's roots are based, i.e. dance. A Certified Personal Trainer should be knowledgable in all three areas of fitness, i.e., aerobics, weight training and nutrition with a general understanding of motivational psychology.
As with any certification, degree or diploma, the real learning process comes in teaching and working with an experienced instructor. The aerobics coordinator is responsible for hiring and is therefore in a position to determine if a person who has the academic credentials (certification) can also demonstrate the choreography, personality and outright teaching ability to be on the staff. These cannot be measured in a written test or in a one minute choreographic demo. A CPR certification is required for most positions at a gym. We also don't require that certification for IFA certification. However, it should be required by the hiring authority who can properly monitor that certification. We also don't require CEU's for recertification. You pay the same to recertify. You'd pay more on the CEU plan, however, we also don't feel that a single course every two years satisfies the educational growth requirements. The learning process should be self motivated and continuous. Educational sources are numerous, books, health magazines, the internet, television and formal University courses or classes.
The book is free and available to anyone. When you're done reading it drop over to the web site again and take the certification exam. There's no charge for that either, just to test your knowledge base. If you fail, go over the area of study that you missed and take the test again. There's no charge unless you want to activate your certification and receive the certification card and certificate. Everything on the site is free to all and is constantly evolving.
Chuck Krautblatt, President, CEO, IFA