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Personal Development

What is the Duty of Care for a Fitness Instructor – Duty of Care Limitations


Lead Academy

6 Mins Read

If you are in the fitness industry, it is your responsibility to ensure clients’ safety while prescribing exercises. Fitness instructors should remember that they are in a profession where clients rely on them entirely. So, along with directing them with the exercises, they should also stay concerned to prevent any unwanted harm. This complete process is a “Duty of Care.” However, there are “fitness instructor duty of care limitations” as well, which you need to be aware of. If you advise your clients to go beyond your expertise, that would be legally unacceptable.

Go through the blog thoroughly and learn what is the duty of care, its limitations, and other relevant topics that you need to know as a fitness instructor.

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Who is a Fitness Instructor?

Young woman doing leg exercises in gym with the help of personal trainer.

A fitness instructor aids in improving the fitness of their clients. They usually work within a specific gym and remain responsible for supporting gym members.

Instructors spend time walking around the gym, talking to members and offering them advice and assistance. The qualified instructors also cover certain group fitness classes.

What are the Duties of a Fitness Instructor?

The duties of a Fitness Instructor include-

  • Showing clients how to use equipment
  • Leading group classes
  • Ensuring the safety of clients during training sessions
  • Reporting any safety hazards to management
  • Carrying out basic equipment maintenance
  • Monitoring gym cleanliness
  • Motivating the clients to continue exercise and help make healthy choices.

What is the Duty of Care in the Fitness Industry?

The Duty of Care in the fitness industry means promoting and practising safety, support, and exercise methodology by the fitness professionals to enhance the life of their clients.

The fitness instructors and trainers must prevent any harm that might occur while providing instruction to clients. The instructors should have testimonials and be an expert in their area of focus before venturing to offer services.

Fitness Industry Code of Ethics:

The code of ethics is the practice of reflecting on the core values of rights, relationships, responsibilities, standards and safety by the fitness professionals. The code of ethics in the fitness industry varies according to fitness centres, but the focus remains the same; to serve the clients with integrity, ensuring the utmost safety and maintaining professionalism.

The basic points of the ethical codes are-

  • Keeping the health and welfare of clients as the priority
  • Providing a safe exercise environment
  • Avoiding any sort of discrimination
  • Maintaining appropriate professional boundaries
  • Having integrity while making professional decisions and maintaining relationships

Fitness Instructor Duty of Care Limitations:

While fitness instructors can help you with your workouts and warn you of the potential risks associated with a particular type of exercise, there are certain limitations about what a fitness instructor can do.

Diagnose Diseases

Fitness instructors do not diagnose a client’s injury, disease or illness; instead, they receive guidelines from doctors, physical therapists, or dieticians. Fitness professionals find exercise limitations and design exercise programmes accordingly.

Prescribe Treatment

The physicians often recommend exercise as a means of treating certain diseases like diabetes and hypertension. However, fitness instructors are not supposed to provide any medical advice or treatment to their clients unless they are legally permitted or qualified.

If fitness instructors go outside their areas of training and expertise, they might be risking their own business. The situation can be catastrophic if the insurance providers exempt themselves from liability. If you act beyond your knowledge and authority, they consider this to be your carelessness.

Perform Diagnostic Tests

Fitness instructors cannot run diagnostic tests for high cholesterol or other types of diseases. Although they can perform physical assessments and should be certified in first aid CPR, they are still limited to what they can do.

Run Physical Therapy Sessions

Your fitness instructor’s job is to help you lose weight and build muscle; he shouldn’t be an alternative to an experienced physical therapist. You should keep in mind that your instructor needs to be certified to provide you with therapy services.

Offer Nutritional Guidance

Clients always ask their fitness instructors about what they should eat and which supplements they need to take. But, fitness instructors cannot provide nutritional guidance and prescribe dietary supplements.

It is not permissible for fitness instructors to tell you which supplements to take unless they are registered dietitians or have nutritional certification. While they can suggest you to decrease your overall fat intake, they might not tell you to increase your protein or other nutrients.

Also, remember that you should not take fitness supplements without consulting your physician if you are currently on prescription medication.

Provide Psychological Counselling

Regular exercise boosts your mind and makes you energetic due to the release of endorphins. But, that does not mean you can use exercise or your personal trainer as a substitute for a qualified counsellor.

Instead, as a fitness instructor duty of care limitations, you should seek appropriate help if you are battling depression. Your personal trainer is not supposed to advise you on psychological issues.


What is breach of duty of care?

When a duty of care is owed but is not upheld, there has been a breach of duty. Duty breach is a crucial element in negligence lawsuits.

Who can a fitness instructor work with?

They might conduct private client sessions or conduct group lessons. Personal trainers frequently charge gym patrons for their training sessions in larger facilities. They assess their clients’ fitness level, individual objectives, and abilities.

What does the term duty of care mean?

A fiduciary obligation that corporate directors have to uphold a specified standard of care is referred to as a “duty of care.”

How do I find a personal trainer?

Finding a personal trainer, you’re likely to get along with can be easy by asking friends or relatives. Find out if anyone you know has worked with a coach in your area and had a positive experience. You can also seek suggestions or references for the personal trainers at your club from members.


A fitness instructor’s job is to show their clients how to exercise using gym equipment. They should neither be requested nor forced to perform any task beyond the code of ethics or fall under the fitness instructor duty of care limitations.

If you are thinking of developing your skill as a fitness professional, you can enrol in courses like Health And Fitness Training Course and advance your career.

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