Becoming an Online Personal Trainer: The Risks
While the number of fitness professionals in the UK is on the up, so too is the allure of becoming an online personal trainer. But while the traditional method of helping clients reach their goals isn’t risk-free, relying on a web-based delivery of your expertise is not something we advise.
Of course, the benefits and attractions of starting a career as an online fitness coach are obvious. By going online trainers can not only build their programmes at a time that suits them, but it also means they can maximise the number of clients paying for your services at any one time.
However, by posting your training and workout advice on YouTube or other social media channels, personal trainers are leaving themselves open to a potentially very costly legal case.
Insurance and online training
The first thing to note is that many insurance providers will not cover personal trainers for sharing their workout videos on line.
The concern for insurers, and therefore so to personal trainers, is two-fold. Firstly, by simply sending your clients (or other third parties) a workout video and plan over the internet, a fitness instructor has no control over how exercises are performed. If a client is attempting an exercise they have seen on a video online, but are executing it poorly, without face-to-face instruction, there is no chance for the PT to correct the exercise. That then, leads to a higher chance of injury.
Secondly, and more relating to personal trainer insurance, is that simply sharing your workout videos online mean that anyone, anywhere can see them. Should a member of the public attempt an exercise you have demonstrated and go on to injure themselves, they could attempt to sue you for your negligence.
The problem really comes if that person has seen your workout guide whilst in another country. Most standard personal training insurance policies will not cover you for claims coming from outside of the UK. Therefore, if legal action was brought against you, with no cover from an insurance policy, the costs of defending themselves would fall at the feet of the trainer themselves.
The steps to take
At Protectivity, we don’t specifically prohibit fitness professionals from providing online tuition. However, we do state that PTs do the majority of their training face-to-face, with only a smaller proportion of their business carried out online.
We also require individuals to ensure that all videos and content are delivered only to their clients after becoming an online personal trainer. This could be enforced by the use of a paywall or by simply delivering the videos via email.
By restricting the viewing of such training videos to the clients they are intended for, it also means that in theory, personal trainers can ensure that all viewers have completed a PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire). This means that the physical health of those that the video training is taking into account before they are presented with a workout routine.
Regardless of whether it is shown to previously-known clients or not, it is always worth stating that any exercise undertaken without supervision is done so at that person’s own risk.
With those steps taken and other safety precautions followed, the prospect of a client injuring themselves is reduced. So to then, is the potential for a costly claim on your insurance policy.