If you’re becoming a personal trainer, you likely understand that you are signing up to become more than just a fitness instructor: you will also be a motivational guide, a confident and maybe even a friend to many! But there’s a fine line that clients and personal trainers should never cross: romance. It is not ethical for PTs to mix their romantic lives with their professional work. In the worst cases, personal trainers can lose their licenses and irreparably mar their reputations through inappropriate conduct with clients.
Avoiding unethical conduct with your clients doesn’t mean you have to be quiet and boring in your interactions with them. But always remember to keep a healthy, balanced relationship with your clients to avoid trespassing in territory that’s strictly off limits.
Before You Offer Your Services, Set the Rules!
If you’re an upstanding professional and want to maintain positive relationships with your clients, you should start by laying out your policies and expectations very clearly from the get-go. That doesn’t mean you should tell your clients “I’m not going to date you” the first time you meet them. That would be pretty weird! You should be friendly, and you’re free to make jokes, but just like any professional, you should be clear about how you conduct your business before entering into an agreement.
When becoming a personal trainer, always explain your rules to all your clients, with an eye toward helping them achieve their goals. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t extend your sessions beyond the agreed-upon timeframe, and always have an organized agenda, keeping in mind that all your clients are equally valued and appreciated.
- Train your clients in adequate places for training and fitness, not personal spaces like bedrooms or kitchens.
- If you share your personal phone number with your clients, try to limit communications to normal business hours. Don’t be afraid to put a stop to unwelcome conversations that are not related to your work
- Don’t share your romantic history with your clients! They don’t need to know if you’re single, who you’re dating, or who you had a crush on in sixth grade!
- Every time you need to physically assist your client, ask for permission before making physical contact.
- If a client is persistent in making inappropriate advances, offer to match them up with another trainer.
- In extreme cases, a restraining order may be necessary. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do in order to protect yourself.
Always treat your clients well, but if they decide to cross any boundaries, let them know that it’s only a professional relationship! Sometimes it’s out of your hands when somebody has an attraction, but it’s your obligation to set the limits.
Stay tuned to PTAcademy.com for more tips on becoming a personal trainer!
2 thoughts on “How to Keep the PT-Client Relationship Professional”
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Great article! Dating clients has always been a no-no for my personal trainers. As a fitness professional I think it’s important to act professional.