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 Code: VRE004
Fee Code: S4
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 250 hours
Qualification Certificate
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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.

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.

Why study Fitness through ACS

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 INDEMNITY 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 four 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 Fitness Leaders Certificate 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.

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




  • To explain the nature of the health and fitness industries.
  • To explain the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues, and membranes.

Topics covered include:

  • The components of fitness
  • Fitness
  • Physical fitness
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscular strength and muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • 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.

Topics covered include:

  • The cardio-respiratory system
  • The heart
  • The cardiac cycle
  • The vascular system
  • Circulation
  • Energy systems
  • Objectives
  • Energy
  • 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.

Topics covered include:

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



a) To explain different physiological systems of the body.

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

Topics covered include:

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




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

Topics covered include:

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



  • To evaluate body movements during different exercises.
  • To explain the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.

Topics covered include:

  • Nervous system
  • Training and risk
  • Injury prevention tips




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

Topics covered include:

  • Physiology of an aqua fitness session
  • Stretching
  • 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.

Topics covered include:

  • 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.

Topics covered include:

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




  • Explain ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise.

Lesson topic:

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



  • Explain body regulation processes

Topics covered include:

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




  • To manage the well-being of participants in a fitness program, including safety and injury.

Topics covered include:

  • Ethical practice
  • Safety and injury
  • General well-being, 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).

Topics covered include:

  • 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


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.
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Lyn Quirk

M.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.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

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