What is The Duty of Care for a Fitness Instructor? Limitations and Responsibilities

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If you are into the fitness industry, it is your responsibility to ensure safety of clients while prescribing exercises. The fitness instructors should remember that they are in a profession where clients rely on them completely. So, along with directing them with the exercises, they should also stay concerned to prevent any unwanted harm. This is termed as “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 going beyond your expertise, that would be legally unacceptable.
Go through the blog thoroughly and learn what is duty of care, its limitations, and other relevant topics that you need to know as a fitness instructor.
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Fitness Instructor
A fitness instructor is someone who aids in improving the fitness of their clients. They usually work within a specific gym and remain responsible for providing support to 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-
Fitness Instructor

Personal Trainer / Fitness Instructor

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What is the Duty of Care in the Fitness Industry?

The Duty of Care in fitness industry means to promote and practice 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 utmost safety and maintaining professionalism.
The basic points of the ethical codes are-

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 injury, disease or illness of a client; rather 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 to do so.
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 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, if you are currently on prescription medication, you should not take fitness supplements without consulting your physician.

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, you should seek appropriate help if you are battling depression. Your personal trainer is not supposed to advise you on psychological issues.

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A fitness instructor’s job is to show their clients how to carry out exercises using gym equipment. They should neither be requested or forced to perform any task that is beyond the code of ethics or falls under the duty of care limitations.
If you are thinking of developing your skill as a fitness professional, you can enrol in courses like Personal Trainer / Fitness Instructor and Fitness / Gym Instructor Training Course Online and advance in your career.
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