New Fit Futures Academy student Emily Herbert reveals her first impression of studying to be a personal trainer online as she ticks off her anatomy and physiology module. We will be following Emily’s journey to become a certified personal trainer over the coming months and look forward to sharing her experience with you.


By Emily Herbert

It’s been a long time since I’ve studied. I’m not going to reveal quite how long – a lady never tells. Last time I properly put pen to paper for any officiated learning, I was 20 and at university; a little more concerned with studying the happy hour drinks list at my local, than understanding the biomechanics of the human body.

Signing up for Fit Futures Academy’s Certificate of Personal Training, I’ll admit, I was a tad nervous. I bought a notepad and a selection of sumptuous highlighters (aah the shiny splendour of the stationary aisle, the wildest of biro dreams for nerds like me) wondering what I was getting myself into. Would I cope learning entirely online? How would I maintain motivation so far from the classroom, with no one to shake me should I start drooling on my laptop? Upon signing up, I received a phone call from the immediately cheerful T Ngarimu, the academy’s Graduation Manager, who welcomed me to the team. She assured me she was here for the ride, and to give her a buzz should I need anything. I put the phone down, fears momentarily allayed. What a bubbly legend! So personable! I then had an email from my tutor Nick Parke. I shared my worries about getting into the study groove, and he sent me a timetable to help chunk down my study across my week, as well as a bunch of resources about learning styles – to be frank, stuff I wish I’d known about in Uni.

Nick’s weekly group email to all of his students is jam packed with information, practical resources and tips to help make learning easier, including his availability times for phone calls and Skype meetings. He’s quick to reply when I yelp for help, and is an unwavering cheerleader in the background. My first module of training delved into The Fitness Industry in New Zealand – how it works, who insures whom and unpacking the places I could be employed and the equipment I might find there.

The second module was a little juicier on the learning front; delving into Anatomy and Physiology. Whilst it has been a slow process for me to wrap my mind around the body and its extraordinary, convoluted systems and processes, the course material is set out to be bite sized, bringing the information back to how it relates to an exercise and training perspective. Nick has been incredibly helpful – with prompt marking skills and valuable feedback, he has sent gentle prompting emails when I’ve dropped off the study radar for a week or two, and has been incredibly encouraging when I wavered about the balance between study and work.

I found myself enjoying my assignments (submitted online of course) and felt a small flush of pride at my results. Even videoing myself for an exercise demonstration – something I’d put off as I thought the upload to YouTube would be complex – was more fun than I thought it would be, and far easier.

As I’ve taken my first steps to becoming a Personal Trainer and arming myself with as much knowledge as I can about the human body, I’m immeasurably cheered by the thought that a group of once strangers, sitting in their offices far away from my desk at home, want only the best for me.

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