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An insight into becoming a fitness instructor with British Military Fitness

Fancy becoming a top fitness instructor? We put British Military Fitness Park Manager; Tom Frearson through his paces to get the low-down on what it’s like being part of BMF.


How did you become an instructor with British Miliary Fitness?

Whilst away on Maritime Security off the coast of Somalia on one of the many hours of downtime, we would entertain each other by telling stories or sharing experiences. One of my team, also Ex-Marines, told me how they were a member of BMF Clapham and how great it was for exercise and meeting new people. As I was very new to London I decided to look into it and happen to know the Regional Manager, Mark Donaldson, from my time with the Marines. We had a ‘wet’ catch up and he got me started. The rest is history…

What skills should you have to be a top instructor/fitness coach?

You need to be enthusiastic and passionate about fitness for sure, you can’t do the job well otherwise, but most of all you need to be the same about people; this job is about people and their goals. You need to be able to inspire and motivate, give praise and have empathy. Continuous development of your knowledge base and skill set, as well as having an open mind is how you go from being a good instructor to a great one; you can never know enough!

Describe a normal day to us:

0530: Alarm call.
0610 - 0630: Drive the van to the park (Hyde Park, London)
0645: Have everything ready and be fully awake, ready to enthuse and inspire sleepy BMFers on a pitch black frosty morning!
0700 – 0800: First class of the day.
0800: Finish classes and do my own exercise.
0930 – 1030: Second class of the day.
1030 – 1100: Deal with questions and sort out post class admin.
1100 – 1500: Varies with a trip to the office, dealing with enquiries for bespoke classes, class admin and new starters or trialists, putting together programmes to maximise attendance and membership (Running clubs, transformation challenges etc), arranging social events, tasks for marketing, the list goes on…
1500 – 1600: My own exercise
1700: Drive back to Hyde Park
1745 – 2100: Class 3 and 4 plus post-class questions/admin
2100: Sometimes a social event with the members or just catch some ZZZZZZZZ’s

What’s the best thing about your job?

Changing people’s lives and seeing them achieve fantastic things both inside and outside of BMF. An example being our recent transformation challenge where in 12 weeks a new member lost nearly 9kg and improved their fitness assessment time by nearly 50%, or when we took a coach load of BMFers to the Major Series. One of our members of Hyde Park won it, 15 members came in the top 40 but most of all we had one of our members run the 10km, cross country with obstacles when six months earlier, running was seen as a pipe dream for them… That’s what I’m talking about!

Are there any downsides?

0530 alarm clocks…
When someone gets injured (usually non BMF related) and they need to put their goals and training on hold.

What are the main qualifications you need to become an instructor/fitness coach.

For BMF you can either have a military fitness qualification or civilian level 1 and above. It’s then down to training and experience. If you want to advance, you can look at Level 3 PT, Level 3 Master, Level 4 specialist and a variety of CPD’s (Continued Professional Development) in kettlebells, HIIT, boxing, running, suspension training and the list goes on…

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become an instructor/fitness coach?

Have a good think and ask yourself this; Do you want to help people achieve their goals? Do you want to inspire people to do things they never thought possible? Are you good with people, not just on their good and bad days but also your good and bad days? Can you cope with early mornings and late nights? If the answer is yes then give it a go; best thing you will ever do!