How To Set And Keep Boundaries As A Personal Trainer

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Setting professional boundaries is a major key to managing a successful professional personal training business. Being a professional fitness coach is a challenging job. It’s not straightforward nor is there much “downtime” on any given day.

It takes a great amount of energy, time, and effort to thoughtfully engage with different personalities every day, as well as manage a professional fitness coach business and your clients’ expectations and progress. In short, it’s a lot.

As a result, personal trainers can find themselves overwhelmed and burnt out early on in their careers. The good news: there’s a reasonable solution to help all fitness professionals — new and seasoned — avoid early career burnout and fatigue. The key is setting clear and specific boundaries for your clients and yourself.

Should A Personal Trainer Touch Clients?

A personal trainer should ask before touching a client. They should explain what part of the client’s body they’re going to touch and what it is that they are demonstrating. It’s very important that boundaries with personal trainers are drawn.

Here’s how a professional fitness coach should set boundaries with their clients.


Consent (which is also referred to as permission) is essential before touching a client. Perceived inappropriate or unwelcome touching of clients is particularly worrying in legal terms. Remember that this isn’t how you judge the situation, but rather how your client does.

Don’t Assume

Ask your clients questions both during your informational and screening interviews, in addition to during your training sessions:

  • “Would you like me to spot you by touching or pulling the bar”?
  • “Is it OK if I show you on your calf where you need to be feeling the stretch?”
  • “Would you object if I put your shoulders in the right position for this exercise?”

Don’t assume that consent which is given once is for always. Ask your clients every time that you think it is needed to touch them during your training sessions. Some personal training clients will agree to allowing you to touch them, while others could ask you not to. Respect your client’s wishes and know that they do not have to agree to you touching them. It is your job as a professional personal trainer to find an alternative if they don’t agree.

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape With A Personal Trainer?

If your client is out of shape or, alternatively, hasn’t not worked out for 10 years — or ever — it will usually take about two months of working out most days of the week to get to a moderate level of fitness.

And if the client exercises often, over time they will reap even more fitness benefits.

At the six-to-eight-week mark, you can certainly notice some changes in your personal training client and in three to four months one can do a pretty good overhaul of the client’s health and fitness.

Strength-specific results take approximately the same amount of time. For a personal training client who is already in good cardio shape but just would like to learn how to lift weights in a safe manner, three months is often a reasonable time frame.

So, how long will it be until your client is sporting a “ripped body”?

If your personal training client is consistent about working out with you and dieting properly for a full year – and they weren’t considerably overweight to begin with – then after one year you can expect to see them sporting a lean, muscular physique, with that coveted visible six pack.

Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy

If you would like to be outfitted with the skills needed for success as a trainer, why not consider enrolling in a fully accredited course through Trifocus Fitness Academy. Contact us today or visit our website for additional information on our courses.

Trifocus Fitness Academy - Personal Training