Fitness Leaders Certificate

Becoming a fitness leader gives you the opportunity to change peoples' lives. However, STAYING in the industry means building client trust. Avoid injuring clients, and understand dietary requirements – start with this quality course.

Course CodeVRE004
Fee CodeS4
Duration (approx)250 hours

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Fitness Leaders may be a dime a dozen, but exceptional fitness leaders are far less common.

If you want to earn more and be more successful in the fitness industry; you need to learn more, know more, and be able to do more than the average fitness leader.

This course will provide credits towards IARC (International Accreditation and Recognition Council) accredited qualifications.

The course goes beyond the scope of some other fitness certificates.

ACS has also developed arrangements with well established insurance companies that allows graduates to obtain professional indemnity insurance, to cover them working in the health or fitness industries. 


CONTENT: Our courses are longer and provide more than what is the prescribed minimum for Fitness Leaders in both the UK and Australia. In particular we teach 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.

PROFESSIONAL INDMENITY INSURANCE: AJG welcomes Professional Indemnity insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines including Fitness Leaders. Click here for more details.

TO 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.


To obtain a Fitness Leaders Certificate, students must meet the following five requirements:

1.  Complete the Fitness Leader's Certificate Core Theory which incorporates key sections of Human Biology IA, Human Biology IB, and Health and Fitness I.

2.  Undertake 40 hours of practical at an approved fitness centre (under the supervision of a reputable instructor)

3.  Obtain a current First Aid Certificate that includes resuscitation (Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance for example)

4. Sit and pass two examinations



The aim of the Core theory course 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 specialty modules is to contextualise and expand the learning process and competencies into one of the recognised registered categories.

On successful completion of this module you will have developed:

  • Abilities in describing the nature and extent of the health and fitness industry
  • Abilities in explaining exercise and its importance to health and fitness
  • Skills in preparation and delivery of basic fitness programs
  • An ability to explain basic human anatomy and physiology
  • An ability to describe bioenergetics and environmental aspects of human biology


There are two parts to this module (Part I and Part II), each of which comprise two units. Each unit in turn contains several lessons. (See below for details).

Part 1

UNIT ONE – Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise

Lesson 1. Introduction to Health and Fitness

Lesson 2. Exercise Physiology

Lesson 3. Exercise Principles and Cardio-respiratory Programming

Lesson 4. Physiology: Digestion, Excretion, Physiological Systems

UNIT TWO - Biomechanics

Lesson 5. Introduction to Biomechanics: The skeleton and muscles

Lesson 6. Biomechanics and Risk

Lesson 7.  Aquafitness, exercise, routines, and equipment


UNIT THREE – Program Design and Performance

Lesson 8. Fitness Program Design

Lesson 9. Delivering A Fitness Program

Lesson 10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance

UNIT FOUR – Safety, Injury, and Body Physiology

Lesson 11. Regulating Body Physiology

Lesson 12. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing

Lesson 13. Fitness Programs for Special Groups





a) To explain the nature of the health and fitness industries.

b) To explain the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues, and membranes.

The components of fitness
Physical fitness
Cardiovascular fitness
Muscular strength and muscular endurance
Motor fitness




To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness and exercise, with reference to physiological processes, including energy pathways during resting, work and recovery, and how energy is used in the human body to create work and power.

The cardio-respiratory system
The heart
The cardiac cycle
The vascular system
Energy systems
The ATP cycle
The phosphocreatine, lactic acid and aerobic energy systems




To explain the relationship between the body and health, fitness and exercise, with respect to risk involved in exercise.

The cardio-respiratory system
The heart
The cardiac cycle
The vascular system

Lesson 4.



a) To explain different physiological systems of the body.

b) To explain movement of materials in and out of living cells.

Osmosis and Diffusion
Digestive system
Urinary system
Endocrine system
Respiratory System
Breathing action

Lesson 5.



To explain features of the human skeletal system, and the human muscular system, in terms of structure and basic function.

Bones and joints and Muscles and muscle actions

The skeleton
Four types of bone
Factors affecting bone structure
The three types of joint
Synovial joints
Joint movement terms

Muscle group actions
Muscle group actions on the joint(s)




a) To evaluate body movements during different exercises.

b) To explain the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.

Nervous system
Training and risk
Injury prevention tips

Lesson 7.



To develop an understanding of how aquafitness activities differ from other fitness activities.

Physiology of an aqua fitness session
Types of exercises
The components of a warm up
Components of a cool down




To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, to fulfil specified requirements of an individual.

Design process
Developing Physique
Basic Conditioning Exercises
Cardiorespiratory (Aerobic) Endurance
Structure of an aerobic training session
Weight Training
Qualities of A Professional
Leadership Communication
Communication Barriers




To deliver a fitness program to a small group of clients.

Customer service
Your communication skills
Dealing with customer complaints
Self Esteem
Communicating for effective relationships
Key communication strategies

Lesson 10.



Explain ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise.

Ergogenic aids are substances which improve performance which can include Drugs, Vitamins, Water, Warm up activity, and Motivational talks.

Lesson 11.



Explain body regulation processes

The acid base balance
The effect of changing atmospheric pressure
Temperature regulation
Acid Base balance




To manage the wellbeing of participants in a fitness program, including safety and injury.

Ethical practice
Safety and injury
General wellbeing, which can cover psychological as well as physiological wellbeing.
Sample Screening Questionnaire
Sample Medical Clearance form




To design fitness programs, which are both safe and effective, catering to needs of special populations (weight control programs, handicapped/disabled persons programs or for the elderly).

Program management
Exercise variables (frequency, duration, intensity)
Four zones of training
Programs for weight control and evaluation of cardiorespiratory endurance and
muscular strength and endurance


If you wish to complete and be awarded a Fitness Leaders Certificate by ACS, you must sit and pass a core exam, then complete a series of additional requirements after the core studies. See these requirements outlined at the top of this page. Save
How Do You Get Someone To Start and Stick With an Exercise Program?
It is one thing to get someone to start exercise; but a different thing to get them to keep exercising, regularly, and for the rest of their lives.
Establishing the habit and maintaining the commitment applies in nutrition as much as in exercise.  Not only do you need  programs that meet the needs and goals of the client safely and effectively, you need to make it enjoyable enough that they stick with it in the long term.  A number of factors affect the likelihood of a person sticking with a program, or dropping out.  It is important to take these into consideration when planning a program for someone.


Time, energy, money, convenience are all factors that influence program adherence. A person’s lifestyle will influence how much time they have to dedicate to exercise, and what specific times are convenient for them to exercise. It will also influence the amount of money they have, and are prepared to spend on fitness. You need to take into account their other commitments, family, work and social and try to limit any sacrifices they have to make in order to keep to their program.
Energy and Motivation
Many people will feel they don’t have the energy after all their other commitments, to exercise. This can be related to motivation as well. Programs should be scheduled at easy, convenient times, when energy and motivation are likely to be highest. For some people this will be first thing in the morning, before they are swamped by the pressures and chores of the day. For others, getting out of bed earlier is not desirable and perhaps a 30 minute walk at lunch time is a better option. Exercise tends to lift the mood and often people feel energised after a session, so it is worth getting people to trial programs to experience this benefit, even if they claim they are too tired or don’t have the energy.
Social Support
The best support structure will be different for different people, but in general a combination of family, friends, professionals and people with similar fitness goals is a good start. Family and friends are great for encouragement and motivation, while professionals provide confidence through motivational techniques, information and personal attention and monitoring. Many people will benefit from regular group sessions as they will find other people in similar situations as themselves. Missing scheduled sessions also leaves a person accountable; they need to explain absences and risk letting people down. This can provide the extra motivation they need to attend.
Comfort and Facilities
People are much more likely to enjoy exercising and to therefore continue exercising in a comfortable environment. This means facilities need to be clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing. Staff need to make participants and clients feel comfortable and welcome and should be approachable. The comfort of the exercise session is also important – if a person leaves a class feeling exhausted to the point of feeling ill, or finds the climate too hot or cold they aren’t likely to return for long. If they feel that they can’t keep up, or find the exercises make them feel uncomfortable, self-conscious or embarrassed they are likely to drop out.
Personal Factors
Things such as your personality type, your perceptions of exercises and the motivational tools you use (self-talk, imagery etc) can all affect adherence. Some people are inherently more determined, and likely to feel a drive to complete what they start, others are not and will require extra incentive and motivation to keep to a program. Some trainers may like to employ simple personality tests to get an understanding of their clients. Goal setting is also crucial for adherence. Having specific goals, broken down into achievable steps or mini-goals are much more likely to adhere to a program as they get the motivation of success as each small goal is attained. It is important to set realistic time frames in which to achieve each goal.
Changing Behaviour
When someone starts an exercise program, or seeks out a professional or service to enable them to start exercising, they are attempting to change a behaviour or pattern of behaviour. Changing engrained behaviours (habits) is not easy. There has been a lot of research on how to improve the chances of a person making a permanent positive behavioural change. There are also a number of different theories on behavioural change. These theories, and much more are explained in this course.
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Miriam ter Borg

Youth Worker, Tutor, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.M
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