YMCA Awards Level 2Fitness Instructor Course

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Get qualified in your free time with our REPs-endorsed online fitness courses.

The YMCA Awards Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym-Based Exercise) is the essential qualification you need to join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) and practice as a fitness instructor. It's ideal if you don't have any prior qualifications or experience in the industry.

Our YMCA Awards Level 2 course is online, so you can get qualified without giving up your job, family time or social life. You'll sit your exams at home and practice the physical side at your local gym.

You'll learn about the principles of exercise, fitness and health; anatomy and physiology for exercise; supporting clients; and health, safety and welfare in a gym environment. You’ll also learn how to communicate with your clients effectively and how motivate them to stick to an exercise programme. 

The Level 2 course provides the perfect foundation for moving on to the Level 3 Personal Trainer course.

To study our fitness courses you must live in the UK and have access to a suitable gym. All filming of practical sessions must take place in a UK gym.

Through the YMCA Awards Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing course, you'll develop the knowledge and skills you need to plan and instruct gym-based exercise sessions for adults of all ages, both individually and in groups.

This may include young people in the 14-16 age range, provided they're part of a larger adult group.

You'll also learn to teach older adults, ante and postnatal adults, and disabled adults, and how to safeguard their health and welfare.

The course totals 24 credits and 158 guided learning hours.

You'll study 6 units:  

  1. Anatomy and physiology for exercise
  2. Health, safety and welfare in a fitness environment
  3. Principles of exercise, fitness and health
  4. How to support clients who take part in exercise and physical activity
  5. Planning gym-based exercise
  6. Instructing gym-based exercise

The key topics you'll cover are:

  1. The heart and circulatory system
  2. The respiratory system
  3. Structure and function of the skeleton
  4. Musculoskeletal system
  5. Postural and core stability
  6. The nervous system
  7. Energy systems and their relation to exercise
  8. How to maintain health, safety and welfare in a variety of fitness environments
  9. The safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults
  10. The health benefits of physical activity and the importance of healthy eating
  11. How to communicate with clients effectively
  12. How to motivate clients to adhere to an exercise programme

This course is for you if you want the knowledge, understanding and practical skills you need to become a gym or fitness instructor. The YMCA Awards Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing is widely recognised as the fundamental qualification required for this role, and will allow you to join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

To enrol on this Level 2 course, you should be over 16, live in the UK, and have a reasonable level of fitness and gym experience. Good written and verbal communication skills are recommended. 

If English is your second language, you’ll need an IELTS 6.5 or ESOL Level 2 (or equivalent). If you don’t have this, we’ll review your case on an individual basis.

If your aim is to become a personal trainer, you'll need this qualification to enrol on the Level 3 Personal Training course. If you intend to complete both qualifications, you could take our Level 2 & 3 Combined Course, which costs less than taking both courses individually.

If you have any disabilities which you believe may impact your studies or assessments, please inform your Course Advisor before enrolment so that we can advise you on whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs.

How You'll Learn

This course is online and fully flexible, so you don't need to attend any workshops, classrooms, or exam centres.

You'll access all your course materials through the Student Community, our online learning environment that you can access at any time, from anywhere that has an internet connection. 

Your course materials have been specially designed for distance learning by fitness experts, and you can work through them at your own pace.


You'll be assessed through multiple choice exams, worksheets, and practical assessments.

All the written assessments are online, giving you the freedom to sit your exams at a time that suits you, from the comfort of your own home.

For practical assessments, you'll film yourself delivering gym sessions at your local gym, where you’ll demonstrate what you've learnt by instructing your gym buddy. You’ll then upload these videos to our Student Community to be assessed by your tutor. 

To make life easy, you’ll be able to use our dedicated app to upload the video straight from your phone or tablet. Our Student Community will also provide you with an easy-to-use e-portfolio of all your videos, giving you a useful overview of your progress throughout the course.

Unlimited Support

You’ll be assigned an expert academic tutor who'll be with you from enrolment to graduation. Their support is unlimited and you can contact them by phone or via the Student Community. They’ll answer any questions you have about coursework, study materials, and assessments, and help you work through any part of the course you’re stuck with.

They’ll also give you test papers and mock exams to ensure you’re ready to pass your exams. All your papers will be given constructive feedback so you know exactly what your strengths are and what you can improve.

Our dedicated student support team will be on hand to assist you with administrative tasks, using the Student Community, and any other non-academic queries you may have.

This qualification will allow you to join REPs and develop a career as a fitness instructor. 

You could work in a range of locations, including:

  1. Gyms
  2. Health clubs
  3. Leisure centres
  4. Community centres
  5. Schools

You could also continue your education and become a personal trainer or other fitness professional. For more information, see the 'Further Education' section.

Once you've completed this course, you could move on to the YMCA Awards Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training (Gym-Based Exercise).

If you intend to complete both qualifications, you could take our affordable, fast-track Level 2 & 3 Combined Course.

You could also continue learning with:

  1. Apprenticeship in Exercise and Fitness
  2. Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
  3. Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral
  4. YMCA Awards Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Pilates

To complete this course, you'll need access to the resources below. You'll need to provide evidence of this before you enrol. 


  1. A computer or laptop with internet to access, complete and submit coursework 
  2. A webcam and microphone in order to sit online exams 
  3. A tablet, smartphone or camera to video and submit practical assessment
  4. A printer and scanner to print relevant documents and be able to scan into the system 

Practical Element  

  1. Access to a gym to practice the physical element of course and complete final practical assessment 
  2. Authorisation to film within the gym so you can complete this assessment 
  3. A 'gym buddy' (who can access your gym) to participate in the physical element

You'll also need a Level 2 qualified person to be within the area while you're filming your practical assessments. This can be your ‘gym buddy’, a member of gym staff, or a personal trainer.

This qualification is regulated by Ofqual and supported by REPs (the Register of Exercise Professionals), an independent public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in the UK. One of their key functions is to provide a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the Health and Fitness Industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards.

To gain recognition by the Register of Exercise Professionals, you must provide evidence that you meet the National Occupational Standards that underpin the YMCA Awards Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing. These standards are produced by Skills Active, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure & Wellbeing, who represent the needs of the industry as agreed by employers and other stakeholders.

You can find out more about REPs here.

Please note that a £70 YMCA Awards registration and certification fee applies. You'll also have to pay a £15 exam fee per sitting.

Please contact us for the latest fee information. 

The benefit of completing this course with us is that all of our assessments are completed at a time that suits you, giving you full flexibility. It also means that you don’t have to attempt them until you feel ready, as opposed to us dictating when and where you should undergo assessment.

Multiple Choice Theory Paper

We use an E-proctor site that allows you to sit the theory papers under ‘exam conditions’ from the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you.

You will be directed to a designated website to use to sit your multiple choice examination. The whole examination process will be recorded using your webcam. At the beginning of the examination you will go through some security checks, select the appropriate examination paper, and record your exam session (using your webcam) within the designated time. Upon completion, you will be given a provisional grade, which will be confirmed once your recorded session has been assessed to ensure that you adhered to the exam guidelines.

Please note: the fee for sitting these proctored multiple choice examinations is £15 for each examination sitting.

Submission of Worksheets

You will be required to complete a number of worksheets. The questions are designed to check your competency and understanding of the course content. In order to achieve an overall pass in each worksheet, you will need to provide satisfactory answers to all questions. If your tutor feels you have not demonstrated sufficient knowledge in any section of the worksheet, you will be required to re-submit the work.

These worksheets will be completed in your own time. You can review your material to find out the answers to the questions, although the answers do need to be written in your own words.

Please note: The worksheets will be completed, saved and submitted for assessment online through our e- Portfolio systems called Pebblepad.

Practical Sessions

You will be required to record yourself delivering practical instruction sessions. For each practical element, the gym session must take place in one session, but should be split into smaller video clips (to allow for easy upload & assessment). By allowing you to complete the session in this way, it means you can carry out the session at a time that suits you. You can use a mobile phone or tablet to record and upload your recordings (via wifi to avoid data charges).

Please be reminded that for Level 2, the gym environment will need to be supervised by a qualified gym instructor.