Register of Exercise Professionals
A professional register for fitness professionals working in the exercise, fitness and physical activity sector
The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) was the original professional register for the health, fitness and physical activity sector. Launched by Skills Active in 2002 in response to a rapidly growing fitness industry, REPs developed a robust framework around qualifications, insurance, conduct and ongoing training and development in an attempt to professionalise the sector.
Being a REPs member allowed fitness professionals to demonstrate that they had the necessary technical knowledge, skills, qualifications and insurance to practice. Throughout its existence, REPs membership was a hallmark of professional practice for fitness instructors and personal trainers.
**In 2020, REPs was disbanded, with its membership base being migrated into CIMSPA’s Exercise and Fitness Directory**.
The Register of Exercise Professionals was an independent public register that was operated via a membership scheme. On entry, members were required to demonstrate that they held qualifications that aligned to the National Occupational Standards (NOS). These standards were created by Skills Active through a collaboration with industry experts and employers to determine the specific knowledge and skill elements required by exercise professionals to perform their specific role (e.g. personal trainer, Pilates teacher, exercise referral specialist).
REPs membership was entirely voluntary and there was no legal requirement to become a member. However, those fitness professionals joining REPs were able to demonstrate to their clients and employers that they were committed to operating in-line with the highest standards of professional practice.
Many employers also mandated that their staff must be REPs members, although feedback from our graduates suggests that this was rarely enforced and towards the latter part of REPs existence, employers appeared to be less invested in the Register.
The following were conditions of REPs membership:
When joining the Register, members were required to demonstrate that they held appropriate qualifications by providing copies of their professional awarding body certificates with their application.
To join and remain on the Exercise Register, members were required to pay an annual membership fee to cover the administration of their membership and to support the work that REPs undertook in the sector.
On application, members of REPs were obliged to agree to practice in-line with the Reps Code of Ethical Conduct. This Code, represents the most comprehensive and all-inclusive list of what professional practice looks like.
Members joining the Exercise Register are required to commit to ongoing professional development, training and learning to keep their knowledge and skills fresh and up to date. More on this process is explained below.
REPs members were required to demonstrate on an annual basis that they were keeping their knowledge and skills up to date by undertaking further training, education and workshops on a regular basis. The process of keeping knowledge and skills sharp in any profession is referred to as ‘Continuing Professional Development’, or CPD, and REPs members were required to demonstrate their commitment to CPD by submitting regular evidence.
Each type of CPD is allocated a number of points based on the number of learning hours, its complexity, and which of the National Occupational Standards it relates to. The latter is what would determine the level of CPD.
Unaccredited or unregulated training was also allocated CPD points, although these programmes tended to accrue fewer CPD points than ‘awarding body qualifications’ that are regulated by Ofqual. The maximum number of CPD points any form of CPD could accrue was 20, which could only be achieved with a fully regulated qualification.
To remain on the Exercise Register, REPs members were required to complete a minimum of 24 points within a ‘rolling’ 2 year period. They were also required to achieve a minimum of 4 points in any one year. To ensure that development was continual, members could only carry a maximum of 8 points forward or backwards into adjacent years to accrue a total of 12 points in any 1 year.
REPs didn’t impose any maximum levels of CPD points that could be attained in any given period because this would have potentially discouraged members from undertaking further training and qualifications. The only stipulation imposed was that members must complete a minimum of 4 points every year and at least 24 points within any 2-year period.
Being a member of any professional register helps to demonstrate to customers, employers and others a keen commitment to best practice and a willingness to ensure that your knowledge, skills and processes up to date and in-line with the highest standards of professional practice.
Once members had joined the Register, details of their membership and qualification status were publicly available on the Exercise Register website for all to see. This register was a publicly available document whereby members of the public could perform specific searches to help them find credible and appropriately skilled/qualified fitness professionals with a license to practice.
If fitness instructors or personal trainers were not listed on the Exercise Register, the general consensus was that they were less serious about their commitment to matters of professionalism and as such, their services ‘could possibly’ be inferior to those featured on the Register. In reality, given that membership was entirely voluntary, there were and remain no shortage of excellent fitness professionals that choose not to affiliate with a professional body.
The International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals, or ICREPs, is an organisation created via partnerships between a variety of global registers of exercise professionals.
REPs UK was a member of ICREPs and as such, REPs membership automatically provide global portability and allow any REPs member to practice in any of the other partnership countries (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, UAE and USA).
The network of partnering countries is growing all the time as the health and fitness industry continues to grow globally.
REPs was originally founded by Skills Active in 2002 in a further effort to professionalise the health and fitness industry. At this time, there was little to no regulation of the qualification status of fitness professionals and the formation of REPs was a turning point in the sector.
REPs was sold to UK Coaching in January 2017 following a steady decline in membership numbers and financial difficulties. At one point, REPs was the largest professional register in the world.
In February 2020, UK Coaching announced that they had reached an agreement with The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) to combine REPS with the CIMSPA Exercise and Fitness Directory to create a single directory for all exercise and fitness professionals.
REPs no longer operate in the UK and the current professional body in the active leisure sector is now CIMSPA.