5 Ethical Guidelines for Fitness Professionals

A personal trainer or fitness professional can gain a lot of respect and trust from their clients. However, as a trainer, you need to remember that some of your recommendations might actually potentially be harmful. You have a lot of influence over your clients, and that’s why you are also responsible for their health and well-being.

Whether you are a gym owner or a personal trainer, you might have already encountered situations where you needed to make ethical decisions. It could be relationships with clients, pricing and membership programs, or honesty in advertising.

In this article, you will learn about five essential ethical guidelines that will help you gain your clients’ trust so they perceive you as a reliable fitness professional. Read on for 5 Ethical Guidelines for Fitness Professionals!

1. Make Sure You are Qualified to Be a Personal Trainer

First of all, make sure that you have the proper credentials. You shouldn’t pretend to be a personal trainer when you aren’t! Having the relevant qualifications is essential for building trust with your clients and improving your credibility.

You can become a personal trainer in two ways: online courses or attending a fitness school. Online courses are cheaper but not as comprehensive as fitness schools. You will learn how to design exercise programs and take care of your clients, but you might miss out on some crucial information, such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition, or psychology.

If you want to become a personal trainer, you should attend a fitness school and get accredited by an internationally recognized certification body. For example, in Australia, you need to get a Certificate IV in Fitness or have a Diploma of Fitness to work as a personal trainer.

After you get your certificate, you will be able to showcase it to your clients. An excellent way to do it is by creating a webpage like Lucas James, where you can list all your accomplishments in one place for all to see.

2. Be Honest With Your Clients About Your Experience and Expertise

If you are a newbie personal trainer, don’t pretend that you have more experience than you actually do! Clients will appreciate your honesty and will be more likely to trust you.

Also, if you give your clients an unrealistic expectation about what they will achieve with your help—for example, “I’m going to teach you how to run a marathon within six weeks!”—you might be caught out and lose their trust.

3. Always Ask for Consent Before Using Photos of Your Clients

It is generally accepted that people have the right to control the use of their images if they appear with their face or other recognizable body parts in pictures or videos.

You can use pictures without asking for permission only if the case is in the public interest where there is a legitimate reason (such as education or health) for publishing a photo. However, if you have any doubts whether it is okay or not, just ask for permission first.

4. Be Consistent With Your Pricing Policy

Having an ethical pricing policy is necessary if you want to build your client’s trust. As a professional personal trainer, you should provide a high-quality service at a reasonable price. For example, if you start charging more than your competitors, it might be hard to explain why you do it.

Instead of focusing on getting money, make sure that your clients receive excellent value for their buck. You can do it by offering high-quality service and good products at reasonable prices.

5. Never Try to Take Advantage of Your Clients

If you provide any training program or nutrition program to your clients, always ensure that these programs are aligned with their goals and needs. It would be unethical to sell programs that are not suitable for them!

For instance, it would be wrong to sell a fat loss program to someone who is just trying to get toned or build muscle mass. It would also be unfair to sell a nutrition program without specifying what foods your clients should be eating and only mentioning all the things they should avoid.

The same rule applies if you recommend any equipment or supplements to your clients. Instead of advertising substandard items or spurious supplements, recommend your customers some brand-name products that you really believe will work the best for them. You should have also tested out several yourself so you can personally vouch for some measure of efficacy.

Being an ethical trainer is not a hard thing to accomplish. All you need to remember is that treating your clients fairly can bring you more benefits in the long term than trying to manipulate them.

Remember to never lie about experience and expertise, as this can cause you more problems than you could possibly ever imagine. Additionally, stay consistent with your pricing and do not take advantage of your customers. At first, their lack of knowledge might be beneficial for you. Nonetheless, sooner or later, your exploits will be discovered and met with a very karmic backlash!

Being a fitness professional can be a fantastic job if you focus on providing the best value and service possible. Always make sure to use your position to help others, and you will start getting more joy from it yourself. Good luck! Got something to say on ethics for fitness professionals? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experienced freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet types, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.

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