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Personal Trainer Etiquette

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Personal Trainer Etiquette
You should be treated with honesty and respect. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Whether you've hired a personal trainer for the first time or you've worked with a personal trainer for a while, you should know that trainers are required to follow certain codes of ethics or risk being discredited by their certification associations. Personal trainers have a responsibility to attend to their clients in a professional, respectful and honest way. By knowing the standards of etiquette to which trainers should adhere, you'll know how to properly approach problem areas.

Relationships and Contact

Personal trainers are expected to maintain boundaries when it comes to creating relationships with clients. Relationships should be straightforward, respectful and professional. While it is necessary for your trainer to touch your body in order to correct your form or demonstrate exercises from time to time, it's important that you feel comfortable throughout the process. Touching should never be sexual in nature and the client-trainer relationship should remain in the gym to maintain those professional boundaries.

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A trainer has the obligation to adhere to safety rules so that a client feels completely safe while training. A trainer should be up-to-date on safety certifications, including CPR. Safety is of the utmost importance, especially when performing difficult exercise that could result in injury if done improperly. As a client, you have the right to feel safe. Don't be afraid to question your trainer about his safety credentials and ask why a certain exercise is performed a certain way.


Trainers have the ability to make business relationships with various exercise facilities and product manufacturers. A trainer should always disclose to you her relationship with a certain company before suggesting you take supplements, work out in a certain gym or purchase an exercise product. Since the trainer could be getting a commission from such deals, she needs to let you know in order to be honest. It is your job, as a client, to ask why your trainer has recommended a product.


Your personal trainer should have gone over fees and payment schedules before beginning your sessions. Some trainers may ask you to purchase a contract, while other trainers will have you pay per session. In any case, pay the agreed-upon amount on time. Always sign a contract that states what you'll pay and what your trainer promises in return, whether that's personal sessions, evaluations or support. If a holiday approaches, it's fine to tip your trainer the amount of a regular session.

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