PiYo Instructor Certification Workshop – 3/10/13

I had intended on posting about my experience at the PiYo Instructor Certification workshop the day after the event, but due to some writing assignments that I received, I’m finally getting to writing about it:

I showed up at the workshop at Dancer Strong in Mckinney at 8:45 AM, so I had 15 minutes to sign in, set up my mat, and meet some of the other participants.  It seemed like a lot of them knew each other from the dance studio because they were already engaged in private conversations.  Anyway, the workshop started exactly at 9 AM, and the Trainer, Melissa, went over the agenda for the day.

We went over anatomy rather quickly (about 15 minutes), but in all fairness, Melissa did recommend that the participants get certified in group fitness through ACE or AFAA which covers the musculoskeletal system more in depth.  We spent the morning discussing the PiYo format and its background and what to expect during the practical exam (including demonstration and practice).  We took a 15-minute break before starting the PiYo Masterclass.  Did I mention that I have NEVER taken a PiYo class before?

The PiYo Masterclass was… O M G!  I would like to think that I’m in pretty good shape, but man, I’m surprised that I survived it!  Once the Masterclass was over, we had a 30-minute lunch break.  We went through the legal stuff (when it is acceptable to use the PiYo name, how to stay in compliance, etc.) and then dove right into PiYo form & technique and teaching skills (verbal cues, music, teaching styles, etc.).  We got into small groups and was assigned a combination to work on cueing (half of us were already fitness instructors, so we were placed in groups with at least one person who was not currently teaching).  The combinations are written on the choreography notes that comes with the DVD (part of the goodie bag that everyone gets at sign-in), but our group got confused with the symbols (no legend included).  Once we got it figured out, it went smoothly.  We chose the non-instructor team member to demonstrate it in front of the class because the rest (3) of us in the group were already instructors (We spent the whole time coaching her through cueing), and she did fantastic!

We took another 15-minute break before the Practical Exam began (FYI – THEY DID AWAY WITH THE WRITTEN EXAM!)… Oh, and prior to the break, Melissa went over the different rankings that we can get on our Certificate of Completion:
GOLD: The Gold ranking is assigned to people who demonstrate “exemplary” form/technique and musicality for 90-100% of the time in the non-modified/advanced poses.  GOLD ranking is coveted and is assigned to 10% or less.

PASS: Most of the participants will receive this ranking.  Their form and technique are satisfactory and/or the poses were not demonstrated in the advanced level.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for the Gold ranking.

IN TRAINING:  This ranking is assigned to people that need more work on their form and technique.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for a higher ranking.

So here’s how the exam went:

We were placed in the studio in alphabetical order, and we went over all of the combinations that we were going to be tested on.  Melissa then went from one person to the next, testing everyone individually.  After testing me on the first combination (there were four), she asked me if I was already an instructor or practice yoga… When I replied that I’m currently going through a 200-Hr Yoga Teacher Training and that I’m an AFAA and Zumba-certified instructor, she said, “I can tell.”

After the last combination testing, she said to me (in front of others), “I never do this, but I want to show you your test scores.  You got Gold in all but two categories, but that’s because of your injured shoulder.”  (I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder during the group practice, so I had been icing it the whole time until testing).

I wasn’t sure if that meant that I would be assigned the “Gold” ranking or if I would get the “Pass” ranking so I approached Melissa afterwards to ask her… She confirmed that I got the “Gold” Ranking!  Woohoo!!!

11 thoughts on “PiYo Instructor Certification Workshop – 3/10/13

  1. Thanks for writing about your experience! I am going to a PiYo certification in early June and I am nervous but so excited!! Congrats on your Gold ranking!!!

      1. Hello there! Congrats on your Gold!!
        I am Turbo Kick Instructor and so far I will be at least a Pass Piyo instrutor too. Im just afraid on the writing test. Any suggestions?
        Thanks for the info… Inspiring.

      2. Hi Mimi, rest assured… They did away with the written exam! The only exam you’ll be taking is the practical exam which is “sort of” done as a group.
        Please keep me posted on your experience (or if you have any questions) either on this blog site or via e-mail at jheni@sarvangafitness.com.
        I wish you the best of luck!

  2. I am SO glad you posted this. I am signing up for a training next month, and knowing what to expect makes me feel much more comfortable. I have been to a couple of PiYo classes and absolutely love the format! I have also been to a few yoga classes. I already teach Zumba, so I feel good about cueing. I would LOVE to be assigned gold ranking like you did – what combinations/positions were you tested on? Do I need to be ACE certified to teach PiYo? Thanks so much!

    1. Heather, you are going to love teaching PiYo! I am also a licensed Zumba Instructor, and of all the classes that I teach, PiYo is one of my favorites to teach!
      No, you don’t need ACE certification; I have my Group Exercise Instructor Cert. through AFAA, but you don’t need it to get your PiYo Cert… Although, most fitness facilities will require you to have your Group Exercise Instructor Cert.
      In order to be assigned Gold Ranking, you have to make sure you do the poses in proper alignment and have the strength to execute the moves correctly. I would recommend that you work on building your upper body strength (lots of Chaturangas) and core strength.

      Best of luck to you! Please let me know how it goes!

  3. Congratulations on your Gold ranking! I’m very interested in PiYo and in becoming a certified instructor, and came across your post while “investigating.” This would be my first experience of certification and teaching. Can you tell me how the “non-teaching” member did?
    There’s a class offered this Sunday and next month, and not sure if I have enough experience to pass.

    1. MichelleF, it is a tough format to teach if you don’t have group fitness instructor experience; With that said, it is NOT impossible. You’ll just have to practice a lot on your cue-ing because PiYo is rather fast-paced. When I teach PiYo, I find that I’m usually talking throughout the whole hour of class giving directional and safety cues.

      There were several girls that did not have teaching experience… I took time during our break to help them with that. All the participants were very supportive, so it was a non-intimidating environment.

      It would benefit you to take several PiYo classes so that you can be prepared for the format.

      I mentor/train a handful of newly-certified instructors on their teaching abilities (verbal cue-ing, teaching presence, using your personality to find your teaching style, etc.) and it seems like it has helped them… I would highly recommend that you find a good instructor who’d be willing to mentor you.

      Please let me know how you do! Good luck!

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