Monday, February 11, 2013

My AFAA Experience

This weekend, I attended the AFAA Apex in Atlanta for Primary Group Fitness certification. I've got a lot of certifications under my belt, but it was time to be recognized by a world wide organization.

I waited a bit late to register...then, because I didn't check the boxes for all the extra stuff at registration, I didn't realize I would have to go looking to order the textbook (included with the "extra" stuff), so all I got was a blank study guide. I had 2 weeks to study, but nothing to actually study with, and getting the textbook to me in time would have been way more than I could have afforded at this time. So, I turned to my background and the Internet to help me. I found lots and lots of flash card sites that had the answers to the study guide, and I was able to find everything I needed that way. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD.

When I went in on Saturday, I was a complete ball of nerves. I knew for sure I was going to least the written. I was pretty confident with the practical, but my worry about the written was overshadowing it all.

I got there early, got signed in and found a spot to sit. As soon as everything got started, the instructor immediately put me at ease. She was funny and informative and really helped me to believe I could pass this thing.

So, when things finally got going, we quickly went over the cardio warm up, exercise, and cool down portion. She got us up on our feet and gave us some pointer and hints about what they were looking for. Reminding us that during the cool down, you don't just stop, you gradually slow down. I knew all this, but it was nice to have someone in front of us saying "yes, this is what you need to do"

Next we went over the strength portion. She told us what the order was, and gave us several ideas for each one. We had to do exercises plus a stretch. Again, she made sure we knew what we were going to do for each section well before the actual exam.
After lunch, we went over it again, then went through the study guide and she told us everything that would be on the test. Again, you need to study beforehand. Don't go in there without looking at any material and think that you will absorb it from this workshop. All this did, for me, was clarify some things I was fuzzy on.

Then it was time for the practical. For the warm up, I just did my warm up from my Zumba class. It consists of some step-touch, shoulder rolls, grapevines, torso rotations, and knee lifts. From there the 8 (I think) minute cardio portion. I did some ChaCha steps, V-steps, jump knee lifts, grapevines with jumps at the end, and just repeated it until the time was up. Cool down was just whatever I was doing and slowly bringing it down. Ex. jumping knee lifts, to just knee lifts, to march, to heel dip. Easy peasy. Then we brought out the mats and did the strength portion. Again, just remember what you went through during the workshop and do that. This isn't this time to try anything new, lol.
Next we were broken up into two groups, number 1-50 on one side of the room, and 51-88 on the other. Number 1 and 51 went at the same time, then 2 and 52, etc etc. I was number 54. I was glad I was able to go near the front of the group.
I did planks. I kept it super simple. Beginner was hands and knees, intermediate was hands and feet, and advanced was elbows and feet. I recommend keeping it simple like that. Some people tried to go WAY advanced. Most people who chose planks started right off with elbows and feet, then went to arms and legs extended for their advance. I just think beginner should really be beginner. I don't need to show off to a room full of instructors about what I can do. This is supposed to be how I would teach a class full of people who may be just starting their fitness journey. So, there ya go. I would advice knowing what you are going to do before you get to the workshop. Practice it. Ask yourself "could your gramma do this beginner?" If not, scale it back some.

When we finished that, it went to the written. I would highly suggest bringing a clipboard. We sat on the floor and took the test, had an hour to finish, afterwards, my back and neck we killing me from being hunched over.  The test wasn't a cake walk, but if you can use process of elimination you can do well. It's multiple choice, so often you can immediately eliminate two choices, then figure it out from there. I finished the test in 40 minutes and I feel confident that I passed. There were a few things I wasn't sure about, but, for the most part, I knew the answers. Going over the study guide with the instructor helped.

Now, it's a waiting game. It can take 3-6 weeks to get the results

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