Unit of competency details

SISFFIT043 - Develop and instruct personalised exercise programs for body composition goals (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes SISFFIT020 - Instruct exercise programs for body composition goalsNon-equivalent. Title changed. Significant changes to structure and content of Elements and Performance Criteria. Performance Evidence amended: hours and client contact sessions removed, replaced with number and type of clients, and number and duration of sessions. Knowledge Evidence updated with significant additions and deletions. 09/Nov/2021

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 10/Nov/2021


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092103 Sports Coaching, Officiating And Instruction  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092103 Sports Coaching, Officiating And Instruction  15/Dec/2021 
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Unit of competency

Modification History

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT020 Instruct exercise programs for body composition goals.


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to develop and instruct exercise programs and sessions specifically tailored to meet body composition goals for individual clients. Goals may relate to body composition maintenance or change. It covers skills for evaluating and modifying programs in response to client monitoring and feedback.

It requires the ability to integrate information from pre-exercise screenings, fitness assessments, and medical guidance that may have been received for particular clients, to design suitable programs.

Program design involves effective application of exercise science principles. This unit has a direct relationship with, and is supported by, SISFFIT049 Use exercise science principles in fitness instruction.

This unit applies to personal trainers who work independently with clients using discretion and judgement to develop and instruct individually tailored client programs. They practise in settings such as fitness facilities, gyms, leisure and community centres, client workplaces and homes and outdoor locations.

The skills in this unit must be applied in accordance with Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation, Australian standards and industry codes of practice.

No occupational licensing, certification or specific legislative requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Competency Field


Unit Sector


Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Identify client body composition needs.

1.1. Review outcomes of pre-exercise screening and fitness assessment and identify relevant information for design of exercise program targeting body composition goals.

1.2. Take body measurements and use results for program development.

1.3. Identify implications of medical guidance for exercise programming and duty of care to follow.

1.4. Consult with client and confirm their body composition goals, exercise preferences and identified barriers.

1.5. Build client trust and rapport using client-centred communication showing sensitivity and empathy during interactions.

1.6. Develop and document client profile to assist with programming and ongoing evaluation.

2. Develop personalised exercise programs for body composition.

2.1. Review client characteristics, exercise preferences, goals, current abilities and medical advice to determine types of exercises and equipment.

2.2. Determine appropriate training volume and frequency of sessions required to achieve client body composition goals.

2.3. Design a systematically structured program that incorporates the effective use of exercise science principles.

2.4. Design overall program aligned to client’s short- and long-term body composition goals.

2.5. Document exercise program according to organisational format.

3. Plan individual sessions.

3.1. Determine objectives of individual sessions within overall exercise program.

3.2. Select exercises and equipment that target body composition goals and take account of individual client characteristics.

3.3. Plan sessions that incorporate volume and intensity and load of exercises appropriate to client’s existing fitness capabilities.

3.4. Plan for exercise phases and volume within client’s preferred session duration.

3.5. Develop sequenced and varied sessions to enhance client motivation and program adherence.

3.6. Document session plans according to organisational format.

4. Instruct exercise sessions targeting body composition goals.

4.1. Use and combine verbal, visual and tactile instructional methods according to nature of information and client needs.

4.2. Observe client technique for safety and effectiveness and provide corrective instruction based on observations.

4.3. Provide succinct explanations about the relationship between exercises, their impact on body composition and implications for achieving goals.

4.4. Monitor client performance against objectives using measures suited to the type of exercise.

4.5. Identify signs of fatigue and exercise intolerance and make session modifications.

5. Encourage and support clients during sessions.

5.1. Encourage and respond to client questions about individual exercises and overall program.

5.2. Use communication techniques that provide positive reinforcement and motivation to client.

5.3. Highlight client’s key strengths during instruction and provide information about progression towards body composition goals.

6. Evaluate program effectiveness.

6.1. Monitor client progression towards body composition goals through ongoing observation and measurements and compare with expectations in program plan.

6.2. Request ongoing feedback from client to identify program likes and dislikes and their views on goal achievement.

6.3. Modify and update program and future sessions according to feedback and evaluation.

6.4. Update client records with details of evaluation and modifications made.

Foundation Skills

Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

  • interpret sometimes unfamiliar information of varying complexity in client pre-exercise screening and medical guidance records, including health and fitness terminology and abbreviations.

Writing skills to:

  • produce detailed program and session plans that use fitness terminology and abbreviations for instructional use
  • use fundamental sentence structure to complete forms, basic evaluation records and client records that require factual and subjective information.

Oral communication skills to:

  • ask open and closed probe questions and actively listen to elicit information from clients and to determine client understanding of information provided
  • provide information about body composition management to clients using plain language and terms easily understood.

Numeracy skills to:

  • take and record accurate basic body measurements
  • interpret and use potentially complex body composition data
  • complete and record calculations and estimations of varying complexity for program and session plans involving times, frequency, intervals, volume, speeds and loads.

Initiative and enterprise skills to:

  • critically evaluate:
  • all client requirements for appropriate program design
  • successes and failures of program to initiate improvements.

Unit Mapping Information

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT020 Instruct exercise programs for body composition goals.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1ca50016-24d2-4161-a044-d3faa200268b


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISFFIT020 Instruct exercise programs for body composition goals.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

  • develop and document one personalised exercise program that targets specific body composition goals for a total of three clients to collectively include:
  • a female adult
  • a male adult
  • a client seeking to lose weight or fat
  • a client seeking to build muscle or increase weight
  • for each of the above three clients:
  • take, record and interpret key body measurements
  • develop and document two personalised session plans, each with a minimum duration of 30 minutes
  • instruct two sessions for two of the above clients (four sessions in total), according to session plans, each with a minimum duration of 30 minutes
  • consistently use client-centred communication and instructional techniques
  • according to actual client interactions or case studies, evaluate the effectiveness of one client program, modify program and session content and document details of the evaluation and changes.

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • boundaries and responsibilities of fitness instructors in providing personalised body composition exercise prescription and relationship to duty of care
  • information and recommendations contained in fitness industry eating disorder publications, and how fitness instructors can effectively respond to behavioural warnings signs for:
  • eating disorders
  • excessive exercise disorders
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • muscle dysmorphia
  • specific information related to body composition that is provided by pre-exercise screening and fitness assessment processes
  • key body measurements, how to take these, and their role as baseline and progress markers in body composition exercise programs:
  • height
  • weight
  • body mass index
  • body circumference including waist, hip and limbs
  • waist to hip ratio
  • strengths and limitations of commonly used methods for measuring body composition, information provided in reports and how fitness instructors use for programming purposes:
  • skinfold measurement and analysis
  • bioelectrical impedance analysis
  • air displacement plethysmography
  • DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans
  • aspects of exercise science principles relevant to the design of programs and sessions targeting body composition goals
  • exercises that target body composition goals and types of equipment that can be used:
  • muscle maintenance and hypertrophy
  • fat loss
  • factors for consideration when selecting exercises for programs targeting body composition goals:
  • current physical activity status of client: sedentary and active as defined in established national guidelines for physical activity
  • building on existing strengths and positives
  • functional and equipment limitations due to existing body composition
  • definition and role of the following in developing and instructing exercise programs targeting body composition goals:
  • metabolism and resting metabolic rate
  • energy expenditure, energy intake and the balance between them for body composition maintenance and changes
  • basic concept of thermogenesis, including adaptive thermogenesis, and thermic effects of:
  • food
  • physical activity
  • instructional techniques relevant to the delivery of sessions targeting body composition goals including spotting for weight training
  • communication techniques used for clients with body composition goals:
  • establishing and maintaining individual rapport
  • motivating individuals to achieve goals, including techniques for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • providing constructive feedback and positive reinforcement
  • methods used to evaluate effectiveness of personalised exercise programs:
  • ongoing informal discussions with client and targeted questions to elicit opinion about achievement of body composition goals
  • ongoing observation and measurement of client performance and improvements
  • staged formal assessments and comparison measurement.

Assessment Conditions

Skills can be demonstrated in:

  • the workplace, or
  • a simulated workplace set up for the purpose of skills assessment.

The following resources must be available to replicate industry conditions of operation:

  • first aid equipment
  • communication equipment for emergency response.

Assessment must ensure the use of:

  • interaction with clients; these can be:
  • clients in an industry workplace, or
  • individuals who participate in role plays or simulated activities, used for the purpose of skills assessment
  • weight scales
  • tape measures which can include stadiometers for measuring height
  • equipment required for sessions
  • client records which include documentation of:
  • completed industry standard pre-exercise screenings
  • completed fitness assessments
  • template exercise program and session plans
  • client records and progress charts.

Assessors must:

  • satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations requirements for assessors, and
  • hold a Certificate IV in Fitness, and have a collective period of at least two years’ experience working in fitness instruction, where they have applied the skills and knowledge covered in this unit of competency; the two years’ experience can incorporate full and part time experience, or
  • be a registered or accredited practising health or exercise professional with a degree and experience relevant to this unit of competency.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=1ca50016-24d2-4161-a044-d3faa200268b