Your personal trainer has an obligation to be ethical in his relationship with you.

Gym Ethics

by William McCoy

Visiting a gym involves more than just working out to sculpt the body of your dreams. When you're in the presence of others, you have a responsibility to closely follow the gym's etiquette rules. Likewise, those who work at the gym must respect a code of ethics when dealing with gym members. Depending on the gym you visit and the governing body of the gym's staff members, the gym's ethical code can vary. In most cases, it typically centers around respect, safety and professionalism.

Exercise Equipment

A gym has an ethical obligation to provide a safe workout area for its members. The gym's staff members should regularly inspect the facility's exercise equipment to ensure each piece of equipment works correctly and safely. When a gym member alerts staff to a piece of equipment that is broken or otherwise dangerous, the staff should ensure the equipment is removed or clearly marked to ensure other gym members don't use it until it's fixed.

Professional Conduct

Gym staff members must conduct themselves in a professional, ethical manner when interacting with fellow staff members and fitness clients alike. Personal trainers, for example, should avoid inappropriate touching and conversation with clients. Guiding a client is an integral part of a personal trainer's job, but the trainer should always request permission to touch the client in a helpful nature and avoid further contact if the client feels uncomfortable. Staff members must not discriminate against other staff or gym members due to age, race, gender or sexual orientation.


Staff members should hold the safety of the gym members in high regard. A member's safety should never be compromised because the class leader or personal trainer isn't tuned into the individual's fitness level. For example, an aerobics instructor should closely monitor the fitness level of those in her class and tailor the class to ensure the students remain safe. Personal trainers must have a high level of familiarity with specific exercises and only suggest exercises that a client can safely execute. Staff members should keep current on new fitness safety information.


When you join a gym, you must typically fill out a form on which you disclose personal information, including what injuries or illnesses you might have. A personal trainer can use this information to better assess your workout regimen but must keep the information confidential. If the trainer or a staff member wishes to discuss your personal information with you, the conversation must take place in a quiet location of the gym in hushed tones to avoid spreading the confidential nature of the conversation.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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