06.How fit is the industry?
Fitness Australia is the representative body for the fitness industry in Australia. A gym displaying a Fitness Australia Recognised Provider sign indicates it’s a member of its state industry association and should meet minimum national standards for service quality and consumer protection. Each state and territory has its own body (except the NT, where it’s coming), which reports to Fitness Australia.
If you have a complaint that can’t be resolved with your gym’s management, take it to the state’s Fitness Association. If you get no joy there, go to your state’s department of consumer affairs or fair trading.
Gym and fitness staff can be qualified as fitness instructors or fitness trainers.
- Fitness instructors require a Certificate III in fitness from the National Fitness Training package, and specialise in leading aerobics or aqua classes, or being a gym instructor.
- Fitness trainers require Certificate IV in fitness, and specialise in personal training or training specific populations (such as older adults or people with a disability).
An industry-approved first-aid certificate is also required for both levels.
Unfortunately many people who claim to be ‘personal trainers’ haven’t in fact completed Certificate IV — up to 30%, according to Fitness Australia. You can check that gym staff members are qualified as Fitness Australia professionals — they have an ID card. However, not all qualified gym staff choose to register with Fitness Australia — it estimates only about 60% do. While non-registered personal trainers are unlikely to carry a diploma around with them, you can at least ask about qualifications and use your discretion.
You can access codes of practice for the ACT, NSW, Queensland, SA and Victoria through their state fitness body’s website; contact details and (where available) web addresses for all the state bodies are provided on the Fitness Australia website, www.fitnessaustralia.com.au. Most state organisations are called Fitness Victoria, Fitness Tasmania, etc, though in SA the relevant organisation is Recreation South Australia.