Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate

This course develops your ability to prepare and deliver fitness programs, based on a solid understanding of the body's energy and movements.

Course CodeVRE005
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

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The nature and variety of work in the fitness industry has been in a rapid state of change for several years.

Learn much more than the average Fitness Leader.

  • Compare this course to others -it IS longer; but that is because it makes you better!
  • Graduates are able to obtain professional indemnity insurance through arrangements we have in place with OAMPS in Australia, and Tower Insurance in the UK.


The requirements in order to be awarded the Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate are:

  • Students are to complete the Core Studies, followed by 2 Elective Modules, and then the Psychology and Counselling module.
  • Students are to fulfil the other requirements as outlined below.

The aim of the Core Studies is to elevate the standard of core knowledge and competency for people working in the field of fitness through the provision of a pre-service education program. 

The aim of specialist modules is to contextualise and expand the leaning process and competencies into one of the recognised specialist areas.


The following subject areas are partly covered in the first module, and completed in the second:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Recreation Management
  • Physiology and Anatomy

There are 12 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Introduction to Health & Fitness
2. Exercise Physiology
3. Exercise Principles & Cardio Respiratory Programming
4. Introduction to Biomechanics: The Skeleton & Muscles
5. Biomechanics & 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 & General Well-being
12. Fitness Programs for Special Groups 



There are 7 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Nerves & Motor Skills
2. Skeletal Muscle
3. Muscle Organisation & Movement
4. Muscle Flexibility & Posture
5. Managing Diet
6. Managing an Exercise Program
7. Writing an Exercise Program 



The student will normally choose to study from a module from the following: 
Advanced Aerobics 
Resistance & Gym Supervision

Other options may occasionally be accepted, students will need to contact the School to confirm acceptance of an alternative module to those listed here.


The student will choose one module from:
Sports Nutrition
Sports Psychology
Medical Terminology

Other options may occasionally be accepted, students will need to contact the School to confirm acceptance of an alternative module to those listed here.


The module Psychology and Counselling will be sent to you unless you arrange otherwise. Alternative psychology modules offered by the school may be accepted (e.g. Sports Psychology), but a special arrangement must be made in advance of the course being sent.



The student must complete a First Aid Certificate with either the Red Cross, or an equivalent course with a reputable body that holds good standing both nationally and internationally (e.g. the Red Cross, or St. John’s Ambulance).


Students are to undertake practical work in a health and fitness workplace (e.g. a gymnasium or health club) under the supervision of a qualified consultant or instructor.  This must be documented in detail for 40 hours of work, by your supervisor, in a log book supplied by the school.

An instructor is considered qualified if:

  • They hold a degree or diploma in Fitness or human movement; or
  • They were registered as a Fitness Leader under the old Fitness Leader registration scheme conducted by AFAC; or
  • They studied a “reputable and relevant” course, of 200 hours or more duration; and have the equivalent of 2 years or more (part time or full time) industry experience, within a reputable gymnasium or health club.

Students are to complete work experience in a reputable and relevant situation for a period of 150 hours.  This may be paid or unpaid work, in self employment, or in the employ of someone else.

Students must validate the nature and scope of this work by supplying two references (e.g. from employers, supervisors, colleagues or clients).

The references need to be letters which provide the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the writer.
  • Your relationship with the writer, and their interest in the fitness industry
  • The hours that you have worked, and the dates between which that work was undertaken.
  • What you actually did
  • Their opinion of the quality of the work you undertook.

Legal Liabilities For Fitness Leaders, and other Staff advising people on Fitness

Legal liability has become of increasing significance over recent decades. Leisure professionals, agencies and businesses today may be subject to law suits over accidents, provision of inappropriate services, or other aspects such as negligence.

Laws relating to negligence is based on precedence based upon prior legal decisions, and they can vary from state to state and country to country.

Typically: "Negligence is a tort (i.e. a civil wrong doing), actionable at the suit of a person suffering damage in consequence of the defendants breach of duty, to take care to refrain from injuring him.

Negligence is the omission to do something, which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. It is simply, neglect of some care which we are bound to exercise toward somebody. Reasonable care must be taken to avoid acts or omissions which can be reasonably foreseen, that would likely cause injury to others".
(Reference: "Osborns Concise Law Dictionary" 6th ed., by J. Bourke).

A person can only be judged negligent, hence considered liable, if they are considered able to foresee danger. Before a person can be sued for negligence, the following must be determined by the person claiming damages:

  • Legal duty to conform to a standard of behaviour to protect others from unreasonable risk.
  • A breach of that duty caused by failure to conform to the standard required, under the circumstances.
  • A sufficiently close casual connection between the conduct of the individual, and resulting injury to another.
  • Actual injury or loss to the interests of another.

(Reference: "Australian Parks & Recreation Magazine", Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, "Negligence as it applies to a Recreation leader" by John Andrews).

Various situations may arise in the recreation industry where negligence and legal liability become an issue. Planners, managers and recreation leaders, may all be subject to these concerns. A manager who inappropriately manages a facility or service, may be held liable for the results of his actions; and a leader who gives incorrect or insufficient leadership, may also be held liable.

When is Liability a Problem?

Liability may become an issue in the following situations:

  • Not adhering to established safety standards and procedures when leading a recreation activity.
  • Proceeding with activities in bad circumstances (e.g. during bad weather, or when equipment is discovered to be faulty).
  • Not showing reasonable care (e.g. giving very little attention to someone who has an accident, while a lot of attention was given to someone else).
  • Condoning or participating in unreasonable risks.
  • Using dangerous equipment or facilities (e.g. not checking for sharp edges or slippery surfaces in a facility).
  • Using dangerous equipment without having adequate skills (e.g. step or weights classes without having the appropriate certification).
  • Failing to give proper warnings.
  • Failing to restrict participation to those who are properly trained or skilled (e.g. failing to control overcrowding - letting too many people participate together in some activities may raise the risk of accident considerably).
  • Failing to become aware of special circumstances (e.g. that a person is diabetic, epileptic or has a heart condition).

Contributory Negligence

This is where more than one party shares liability for something. Responsibility for care may lie jointly with the recreation leader, the provider of facilities (including equipment), the facility manager, and the person participating in activities. If a manager and leader makes the participant fully aware of all risks involved in an activity, then much of the responsibility for participation is transferred to that person.  In other words, liability could be shared by the fitness leader, the manager of the gym where they work, the owner of the gym and even the manufacturer of a treadmill which they fell from.

A participant then must be aware of risks they are exposing themselves to, and must make their own decisions about whether or not to continue with the activity. If there is an accident in such a situation, the participant will be largely liable for their own damages; but depending on circumstances, not necessarily fully liable.

How to Protect Against these Problems

Some people believe that having studied a government accredited course guarantees protection. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no one answer to protecting yourself, however, all of the following help:

  1. Know your limitations and do not try to do things you are incapable of doing. The more training you have, and the better qualified people you train with, the more knowledgeable you will be, and the more aware of your limitations. Consider, Doctors train for 6 years to advise people on their well-being. With this in mind, a Fitness leader really needs training of at least several hundred hours before they should be advising anyone of anything. To think otherwise doesn't really make sense.
  2. Cultivate a conservative attitude with clients. Never push clients to do more than they are comfortable with. Encourage building their exercise slowly, rather than pushing themselves to the limit. Only a degree qualified Sports Scientist would be qualified to monitor pushing the boundaries in that way.
  3. Take advice from your superiors and those with more expertise.
  4. Make sure you have personal liability insurance.


Professional Liability insurance is available, and increasingly being used by professionals such as consultants, teachers, recreation leaders, fitness instructors and health professionals. One should note, that there may be a difference between liability and negligence, when it comes to insurance policies. Insurance companies may insure a professional against innocent mistakes, but they are unlikely to insure against blatant and premeditated neglect. Even in the safest and most carefully planned situations; accidents can still occur; and in fact they do occur! An innocent accident resulting in a major law suit can destroy the career of a capable but unlucky professional. Proper care together with appropriate insurance policies will save a great deal of heart ache for all parties concerned; and perhaps save a career. A relevant industry-based organisation or association may be able to provide you with advice as to what types of insurance policies you might require, and where best to obtain them.

Kick-Start Your Career Today

You can enrol on the Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate at any time. The modules in the course are studied by distance learning - in your own home or where you choose to study. You are guided and supported in your studies by our expert Health, Fitness and Recreation tutors.

If you have any questions or want to know more about studying the Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate then contact us today -

Phone us on - In Australia: 07 5562 1088; International: +61 7 5562 1088, or

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John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. J
Karen Lee

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Lyn Quirk

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Jade Sciascia

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