What It Means To Be A GFI

First off, please forgive me for the excessive groans and whining you might hear from me. Not that you can technically “hear” me- but believe me, I am a puddle of jello over here right now. Short story long, a friend of mine has recently become a Beach Body coach, and enlisted some friends to join the Beach Body Challenge, which is 90 days of Beach Body work outs and routines. And that meant dragging my husband along for the fun! I’m sure he appreciated it this morning while we did our hour long P90X Β chest/back routine. I hopped in the shower for a bit, and then went ahead to my gym and hopped on the elliptical for half an hour, finishing up with an intense hour of a routine my gym instructor has appropriately deemed “SWEAT”. While my arms are puddles of goo, the rest of me feels surprisingly alert and invigorated.

The Beach Body Challenge can incorporate much more than the routines they advertise on the website. It can also include what you do at the gym, running, cycling, etc. If you are interested, check out the website:


If you are interested in enlisting my friend as your coach, let me know.

Becoming a Group Fitness Instructor (GFI) was never a lifelong plan for me. I had never submerged myself into fitness until roughly ten years ago. Before that, I thought that people who worked out were CRAZY. I always assumed it was some sort of self-inflicted masochistic torture. When I took those first steps onto a treadmill, those tiny baby steps that later led me to run marathons and races, I never imagined my want and need to help others would surface. I always felt like such a loner out there, hitting the pavement, or doing work out routines in the basement of my house. It was such a personal commitment. As friends started to ask for advice on various issues related to fitness, I was surprised at how good it felt to help them. I genuinely wanted to assist and be there. When two friends dragged me kicking and screaming to their gym, trying to get me to sign up, I was amazed at how much I loved the atmosphere, and the classes. I knew then that teaching classes, and helping others while doing it was exactly what I wanted to do.

Just recently, I started to feel more of the puzzle pieces falling slowly into place. I have a very good friend of mine who has fibromyalgia. I’ve done a lot of studying on the various movements and routines my friend can do to help. When another good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, I started to research into what good exercise can do for people with cancer-related illnesses. The findings were remarkable. Bottom line: Exercise is good. Period. It doesn’t matter if you are out there participating in triathalons, or if you are in your living room following an exercise routine approved by your doctor. Exercise helps you live longer, feel better, and can help you to battle the health issues you may be living with. I realized that I want to work with EVERYONE, of all fitness levels. Someday, I’d like to have my own studio, where I can offer classes to people of vast skills, chronic illness, old, young, etc. Where no one feels left out, or left behind.

In order to get there (more than just passing this difficult exam) I have to know and understand what my job is as a GFI. The program I am going through to achieve my certification is ACE (American Council on Exercise), and ACE has a list of guidelines known as the Scope of Practice. For a GFI, my scope of practice is:

1. Creating exercise programs that are safe, effective, and appropriate for individuals who are apparently healthy and have medical clearance to exercise.

2. Conducting pre-exercise health screenings.

3. Administering appropriate fitness assessments based on the health screening, current fitness, lifestyle factors and goals.

4. Assisting participants in setting and achieving realistic goals.

5. Teaching correct methods during demonstration, explanation and proper cueing.

6. Teaching participants how to monitor their own exertion.

7. Empowering individuals to stick with thyeir programs using guidance, support and motivation.

8. Keeping individuals safe by evaluating the room and the equipment before and during each class.

9. Educating participants about fitness and health related topics to help them in keeping to healthy behaviors.

10. Abiding by HIPAA laws.

11. Always acting with professionalism, respect and integrity.

12. Knowing what is in a GFI’s scope of practice and referring individuals to other healthcare professionals when needed.

13. Being prepared for emergency situations.

Now, there will come a time when someone will ask for help that falls outside my scope of practice. For example: If someone asks me for nutritional information, like wanting to know what sort of diet they should go on or how to lose weight, I’d have to refer that person to a nutritionist or someone better able to help. I can help out by leading effective work out routines that gets them charged up, energized and wanting to return and continue to work out. That falls within my scope.

In order to eventually achieve my goals, it all starts here, and I am working on it. One baby step at a time.


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