Functional Training Zones

New Year, New Business Strategy

By CPH & Associates

Happy New Year! Can you believe that 2016 is already upon us? Neither can we! With the holiday festivities come and gone, your clients are kicking their New Year's Resolutions into full gear, a personal trainer's busiest time of year. As a fitness professional, you're well aware that as some people's schedules slow down around the holidays, your schedule at the gym is just ramping up. You've experienced the mad rush to the gym after the New Year to work off the pounds that accumulated during the countless festivities and holiday cheer.

While this time of the year can be overwhelming at the gym, it doesn't have to be! If you plan your fitness business accordingly, you can start the New Year feeling prepared and ready to take on 2016. You've put hard work into building your career as a fitness professional, so make sure you protect the investment in your career.

To ensure success in the New Year, make sure your mind, body, and business are sound as 2016 kicks off. There are a few simple ways to protect your business before you even step into a session with one of your clients, starting with your certification and liability insurance. Many employers, studios, and clients may want to see proof of your trainer certification, so it's important to have this available and ready to show. In the same vein, know when your certification expires, the last thing you want is to be without a valid certification while training clients. You may not be able to provide services to clients without this.

The second best way to protect your career in 2016 is to apply for personal trainer insurance. For approximately $100 per year, you can have peace of mind knowing that your fitness career is protected. You can even apply for a policy online within minutes. This might be a seemingly small or unimportant step to someone who's never been involved in a lawsuit, but liability insurance could save your business. Personal trainer insurance covers defense costs, medical costs related to a client injury, and compensation for damages. We don't want to be the bearer of bad news, and we trust you're a cautious professional, but we live in a litigious society, and no one is immune from a claim or lawsuit.

If you're a student completing a certification program, coverage is approximately $29 for the year, and rates for certified personal trainers start at approximately $100 for the year. It's a small price to pay, to ensure you're covered in the event a "what if" scenario occurs during a training session with a client.

Professional Liability Insurance provides coverage for claims or lawsuits that arise from professional services rendered and protects you in the event of errors or omissions in your practice. Attorney fees add up quickly during a lawsuit, and liability insurance covers the costs of an attorney, should you need defense against a claim. It is important to understand whether your defense costs are inside or outside of your policy limits. Inside meaning they are covered within the limits of your policy and the amount for defense costs are deducted from the limit amount, and outside meaning they are covered in addition to the policy limits.

Continuing education is also an important component of your business. Not only do you fulfill necessary requirements by taking continuing education classes, but you also grow your professional knowledge. If you don't stay up to date with continuing education courses, you could lose your certification. Why risk it when you've worked this hard as a trainer? Some continuing education courses can even be completed online, so you don't have to venture out into the winter wonderland to attend a course. Your certification program can also provide more information about options for continuing education.

As a fitness professional, you're interacting with people every day, so it's important to always be mindful of the wellbeing and safety of your clients while you're in session. There are many steps you can take while during sessions, to avoid injury and accidents (to the best of your ability).

One easy rule of thumb is to put away equipment as soon as you're done with the workout. If your client was using weights for one exercise and you've moved onto planks, for example, put the weights back on the shelf. Don't leave equipment on the ground, as it opens the possibility of someone tripping and falling in the studio. It may even be another patron at the gym who slips and falls on the weights you left out, in this case you could still be held liable for an injury that occurs.

Speaking of equipment, it's important to stay up to date on all of the equipment you are training clients on. If Santa brought new equipment or machines for Christmas this year, take the time to learn how to operate them and learn the exercises you can do with the new machinery. Making sure your clients maintain proper form during their workouts is key, in order to prevent injury. If your clients see a new machine in the gym, they'll likely want to try it out and switch up their 2016 routine. Having knowledge on how the machine works, and proper form when using the machine prior to client workouts is another layer of caution, and another step to protecting your career against an improper form claim.

You may roll your eyes at this one, but also take time to ensure your clients have secured weight pins and treadmill clips when they're working out. This might sound like an unnecessary nag, but injuries happen more than you'd like to think when this simple step is forgotten. In one story of a trainer who forgot to secure the weight pin with her client during an early morning workout, this trainer's client went to squat heavier weights during the session and because the weight pin wasn't secured properly, he fell and tore his Achilles tendon leading to a surgery and several missed weeks of work. All it takes is one small oversight that could lead to a battle between client and trainer.

A YouTube video of an oblivious runner flying off the back of a treadmill may seem funny when it circulates social media sites, but we doubt you'd be laughing if that happened to one of your clients during a training session. Take heed and double check these small details before jumping into a workout.

Sexual misconduct claims are another scenario to be avoided. Sometimes we get close with our clients and even become friends with them, however the closer you get to a client doesn't mean you are guarded against the possibility of a claim. Keep sexually charged comments to yourself even when you feel comfortable with your clients to avoid a situation arising from a comment being taken out of context or your client feeling uncomfortable resulting in a lawsuit.

Personal trainer insurance covers the following instances.

Additional coverage is available when needed.

• Amounts you are legally obligated to pay to compensate others for damages resulting from your wrongful act in the rendering or failing to render professional services that result in injury.
• Amount you are legally obligated to pay to patients for damages resulting from bodily injury arising out of an event on premises while performing professional services.
• Amount you are legally obligated to pay to compensate others for damages resulting from your personal injury offense, to someone other than your client – this only applies to an offense arising out of the performance of your professional services.

Additional coverages available for:

• Assault upon you which covers expenses you incur for bodily injury and property damage to you resulting from an assault upon you while performing professional services.
• First Aid coverage which covers expenses you incur for first aid rendered to others as a result of a covered claim of bodily injury.
• Medical payments which covers medical expenses incurred from an accident resulting from an event causing bodily injury to a patient on premises you principally use while providing professional services.
• Deposition fees coverage that pays fees, costs and expenses necessary to represent you at a deposition involving a wrongful act, which you are required to attend but are not named as a party in the claim or suit.

All of us at CPH & Associates wish you a prosperous and happy New Year! We are committed to your success in 2016 and are here to help you during the year. Visit our blog for more tips and information regarding personal trainer insurance or our avoiding liability bulletin for more technical information regarding specific scenarios. Have a question? Feel free to connect and contact us through social media or our website.

If you are interested in obtaining personal trainer insurance, you can get a free, instant quote online today! Happy Holidays and best of luck to you in the New Year!