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Qualification - Fitness Leaders Certificate

Course CodeVRE004
Fee CodeS4
Duration (approx)250 hours

Turn you passion for exercise into a life changing experience for others! Become a Fitness Leader.

This course will give you a more comprehensive grounding in the knowledge you can offer your clients than other similar length courses. 

Duration: 250 hours


There are five steps to obtaining the Fitness Leader Certificate. These are:


Complete Fitness Leaders Certificate by correspondence study (approx 150 hours) through the Australian Correspondence Schools:

  1. Introduction to Health and Fitness
  2. Exercise  Physiology
  3. Exercise Principles and Cardio Respiratory Programming
  4. Introduction to Biomechanics: The skeleton and muscles
  5. Biomechanics and Risk
  6. Fitness Program Design
  7. Delivering a Fitness Program
  8. Physiology: Digestion, excretion, physiological systems
  9. Regulating Body Physiology
  10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance
  11. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing
  12. Fitness Programs for Special Groups

Note: These 12 studies are equivalent to the following Advanced Diploma subjects:

*Human Biology IA   *Human Biology IB    *Health & Fitness I


Undertake a 40 hour practical 'hands on' component at an approved fitness centre (located throughout Australia) under the guidance of an approved/qualified Instructor Assessor within 6 months of completing the theory course outlined above. A Practicum handbook will be completed at this stage. Some students may need to travel to their nearest  Assessor.

A First Aid/Resuscitation Certificate obtained at or before this stage (eg. St Johns or Red Cross) must be current.


You must sit and pass four examinations. Minimum pass mark is 60%.


Complete a specialised module (Resistance & Gym Supervision; Advanced Aerobics; Aqua fitness; Sports Psychology or Fitness Risk Management)

(Note: This module will incur an additional fee)


CERTIFICATE qualification awarded.

Please note that some fitness centres may make a charge for the practical component.

Working as a Fitness Leader

Fitness Leaders are people who instruct and/or otherwise facilitate other people to undertake activities intended to improve or maintain individuals level of physical (and sometimes mental) wellbeing.

The job of being a Fitness Leader has changed greatly over the past few decades, and looks certain to continue changing.

In the mid 20th century, fitness leaders were fewer in number, and often just amateur fitness enthusiasts conducting exercise classes in a community centre or hall. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, public interest in fitness increased, as did the capacity of people in more affluent countries to pay people to help them improve their level of fitness.

Growth in interest, demand and economic potential has led the industry to develop in different ways in different countries. What was once dominated by amateurs and volunteers, has blossomed into an industry that employs people in a wide range of roles (eg. Gym Managers, Life Coaches, Personal Trainers, Health Consultants, Fitness Leaders,  Recreation Officers etc.). Concerns over legal liability have made it important for these professionals and their employers to be protected against legal action from disgruntled clients.

Appropriate legal protection may be achieved through various means:

1. By acquiring skills and knowledge which show an unchallenged capacity to do the job.

2. Insurance - A professional indemnity policy to protect against any impact from a law suit.

3. Statements relating to Liability -Displayed notices or membership contracts which clients are clearly advised of limited liability prior to using any offered services.

4. Registrations and Memberships- Joining an appropriate professional association and/or registering as a fitness leader under an accreditation scheme can provide an indication that the leader is maintaining professional standing.

Please note that our fitness leader courses are not government accredited, and may be not accepted by some employers.

CAUTION: Registration as a Fitness Leader alone may not provide adequate legal protection. Registration simply means you have satisfied what a government or industry body has determined as being required for their registration but if the courts determine you were still not competent to have done something you may still lose a legal challenge.

This course provides credit towards the new Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate (also recognised the by the IARC), and may provide credit towards other IARC recognised courses.

Fitness Testing

Monitoring your client's fitness is an important part of being a fitness leader. Exercise can be just damaging as no exercise, to anyone; if the intensity and type of exercise is not properly matched to the individual doing it.

The job of a fitness leader, in the main, involves prescribing appropriate exercise.

An important range of tools used by fitness leaders, will be ways of evaluating different aspects of a persons fitness. Some of these are:

Aerobic fitness

Aerobic is derived from the Latin words aero (air) and bic (bio/life) and aerobic fitness refers to the ability of the body to sustain activities through a period of time. Aerobic fitness is affected by the ability of the heart, blood vessels and lungs to sustain activities by supplying working muscles with oxygenated blood. Aerobic fitness is affected by age, gender, medical history and fitness level, it is something which can be improved with regular training over time.


Muscular Strength and Endurance

Muscular strength is the force exerted by a specific muscle/ muscle group during a single movement while muscular endurance refers to the ability of a muscle / group to perform repeated contractions over time. Muscular strength and endurance are important factors  in the prevention of disease/ injuries and measuring strength and endurance at defined intervals allows fitness professionals to plan effective fitness programs to show improvements over time. Muscular strength and endurance can be measured through equipment such as a Dynamometer or by free weights/ other pieces of fitness equipment or suitable exercises e.g. a half sit up, push up


Body Composition 

We have previously discussed the limitations of the Body Mass Index (BMI) in assessing the relative health risks of patients with a high lean (muscle) mass. Body Composition analysis overcomes these limitations by allowing fitness professionals to assess their client’s body composition that is the relative amounts of body fat, muscle and water. There are different methods of assessing body composition which vary in terms of cost, reliability and ease of use. Common methods include Bioelectric impedance scales which measure the relative resistance of body tissues to the passage of a small electric current that passes into the body through electrodes on two footpads. The percentage of body fat is calculated as the electrical current flows more easily through fat free mass (including muscle and water) than through bone and fat.


Blood Cholesterol 

Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) made within the cells of the body. Cholesterol performs many important roles in the body, it is naturally present in cell membranes and produces many important hormones including vitamin D and bile acids. Excess levels of cholesterol are detrimental, however, as it is deposited in artery walls including the coronary arteries which causes angina and heart attacks, and the carotid arteries supplying the brain which can lead to stroke. Cholesterol can be check via a simple blood test analysed in a laboratory or by a hand held cholesterol monitor. Cholesterol is measured in minimols of cholesterol in the blood (nmol/l) or in millimols of cholesterol per decilitre in the blood (mg/dl) cholesterol results whould be compared with a cholesterol measuring chart and depending on the results of this analysis a client may be offered lifestyle/diet advice or should be referred to a medical professional (please refer to your local health authority for guidance in this respect).



Flexibility refers to a client’s ability to move their muscles and joints through their full range of motion.Flexibility may be tested through methods such as a sit and reach test where a client sits on the floor and reaches up high and then reaches forward as far as possible to test the flexibility of their hamstrings, or a calf flexibility test where a client stands facing a wall and then bends their knees to touch the wall while keeping their heels flat on the floor. The results of a flexibility test will be affected by factors such as a client’s age, gender, body composition, jointr structure, fitness levels and any previous injuries.
Each individual health club, fitness centre or gym may have developed there own fitness tests which they prefer to use.  A comprehensive fitness test would include carrying out certain tests from each of the categories above. 
For people who are being tested for entry into the armed forces, you may be required to provide evidence of levels of fitness and statistical information to support them. Testing is a legal requirement in some professions, whereas, at other times testing is simply for personal interest, but if someone chooses to have their level of fitness tested it is of utmost importance to and should be carried out thoroughly at all times.  Remember it is only by testing an individual properly, and knowing which tests to use for participating in a particular sport or activity, can a sensible yet challenging programme of exercise be developed – and that is the primary aim of fitness leaders.


Why Study this Course?

The ACS Fitness Leaders Certificate will provide you with the core knowledge of the form and function of the human body in terms of energy and movement, giving you the foundation for developing fitness programmes. This knowledge is then applied in a practical environment where you will be required to undertake work experience in a health and fitness setting under the guidance of an approved Instructor Assessor.


Why Study Fitness with ACS?

CONTENT: The ACS courses are longer, more in-depth, and cover more than what is prescribed for Fitness Leaders in both the UK and Australia. (In particular we offer more Human Biological Science).

EXCEPTIONAL TUTORS: In other fitness courses you may find you are being tutored by a tutor who holds only basic qualifications, and may have very little industry experience. ACS tutors by contrast hold university qualifications, and have extensive industry experience.

SET YOUR SELF APART FROM THE COMPETITION! It is well known that the key to success in any career is to be different in some way to your competition. We offer just that to our graduates by designing a course that delivers to you a set of skills and knowledge that surpasses those of your average fitness leader;. This course is for those who strive to be better than ordinary and want to come out of their qualification with more specialised knowledge than other graduates. As with any career, a qualification will get you the interview, but it is your knowledge, attitude, capacity to do the job, and your uniqueness that will get you the job. Choose ACS and set yourself apart.


Start your career in Fitness with an exceptional Internationally recognised Fitness Qualification.


"I have been involved in sport all my life and now have an in-depth look behind the scenes so to speak."
- Comments from Judy on studying the Fitness Leader Certificate

Meet some of our academics

Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Karen LeeNutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.

Check out our eBooks

Aqua FitnessLearn to do low impact exercise in water. It is great for rehabilitation after injury, weight loss, and general fitness. This e-book is full of well illustrated exercises to try and has been written for both exercise professionals and amateurs. It is the revised edition of a book by John Mason, originally published by Kangaroo Press (Simon & Schuster). Lots of illustrations. 121 pages
Aerobic FitnessAerobic fitness contributes more to your quality of life than perhaps any other aspect of fitness! This updated version of Aerobic Fitness is full of information about the body and its functions. It also contains detailed illustrations of which exercises to use for individual muscle groups. 93 pages. 64 illustrations.
LeadershipWhat makes a good leader? Is it an innate personality trait or a skill that can be acquired? This book is an excellent guide to the theories and practice of leadership. It is full of interesting facts about social dynamics and examples of leadership styles. For those who are curious or in need of some leadership skills, this book will provide both entertainment and advice.
How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.