Become a Strong Hearts
In order to be eligible for the StrongPeople Strong Hearts Training Program, you must:
Have CPR certification. Intense exercise has the potential to cause sudden health events, such as stroke or heart attack. Therefore, we ask that all Program Leaders have an active CPR certification before leading a program.
Be an employee/staff with a nonprofit organization; If you are not an employee/staff of a nonprofit but are working in partnership with a nonprofit organization to implement the program, you must submit a letter from the nonprofit organization as your sponsor. In addition, all leaders are required to sign a scope of use agreement regarding nonprofit use of the program only.
Have a firm commitment to starting a program in your community.
Experience and Credentials
Experience in providing physical activity instruction and/or health or nutrition education. This experience may be in a fitness center, community setting, or outpatient hospital setting or as a personal trainer.
Educational background in physical activity, nutrition, or some aspect of public health. The appropriate educational background might include medicine, nursing, nutrition, exercise physiology, occupational/physical therapy, or community/public health.
We recommend, but do not require, certification by a reputable health and fitness organization. Organizations include the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American Senior Fitness Association (ASFA), and the International Association of Fitness Professionals (IDEA). We realize that this is not a complete list of organizations that certify individuals; the Program Leader may have a certification from another organization, and along with previous education and experience, would be qualified to become a Program Leader.
The Role of a StrongPeople Strong Hearts Program Leader
- To generate interest in the program and recruit participants
- To conduct participant screening and complete enrollment forms
- To conduct an informational session for potential participants
- To thoroughly understand the principles of the program
- To instruct classes using safe and proper exercise techniques
- To instruct classes based on the sound nutrition principles outlined in the Leader Guide
- To be timely and organized for scheduled classes
- To provide ongoing feedback, assistance, and support to participants
- To provide leadership and inspiration to enhance compliance
- To complete periodic assessments
Space & Equipment
To implement the StrongPeople Strong Hearts Program safely and effectively, we recommend a minimum of 400 square feet for a class of 12 to 15 participants. Preferably, a room the size of a large classroom will be available, so that participants have plenty of room to move around. The location will preferably have a safe space for participant belongings, have access to water and bathrooms, and be safe and accessible. The location should also have a safe place to walk in the surrounding neighborhood. It will go most smoothly if you have access to a kitchen onsite. However, StrongPeople Strong Hearts is designed to work in a variety of settings, with only some very basic equipment (toaster oven and blender) and basic kitchen tools (bowls, measuring cups, and knives, for example). You will also need equipment to play the exercise videos during class, and dumbbells of various weights, chairs and exercise mats. For program assessments you will need a measuring tape, body weight scale, and stopwatch.
Sites Appropriate to Run a StrongPeople Strong Hearts Program
The program is appropriate for urban, suburban, and rural community organizations, such as community centers, county NIFA (extension) offices, senior centers, older adult housing complexes, health and fitness centers, hospital outpatient centers, employee wellness programs, places of worship, or any other community site where people come together.
The Program Leader Training
Potential Program Leaders must complete an official StrongPeopleTM Strong Hearts Program Leader Training and receive a Training Certificate before teaching a program. This training is offered in a self-paced online version or occasionally as a live virtual training. The training covers important background and research, screening, safety, and effective leadership, in addition to how to teach the nutrition and physical activity components, guidance on how to schedule programs, space and equipment needs, and overview of all program resources.