Reviewing and Signing the Legal Contracts
Before beginning any program, you must cover yourself legally. There are risks involved with exercise, even with the healthiest individuals. It is your responsibility to make your clients aware of these risks, and require that they sign both informed consent and liability waivers. This can be an uncomfortable moment for you as a trainer. Just be sure to explain yourself thoroughly and answer any questions before asking your clients to sign the paperwork. You will diligently work to provide a safe and effective program, but accidents do happen.
Informed Consent Form
The purpose of informed consent is to confirm that the client understands what they will be doing, and the benefits and risks involved in participating in an exercise program. No matter how healthy a person may be, there are always risks associated with exercise. This form will also explain the client's responsibility to report any unusual symptoms they may experience during their sessions such as dizziness, chest pain, or unusual pain in joints or muscles.
When they have read the document, ask if they have any questions or concerns about what they have read. Emphasize that you are willing to clarify anything they may feel unclear or unsure of. When you feel certain your client has a complete understanding of the form, request their signature and give them a copy to take home.
Some trainers will use the informed consent form as a liability waiver as well. This is a mistake. While the two may appear to be the same, there are differences, and you should require your clients to sign both to ensure you are fully covered. The informed consent simply states that the client is healthy and fit to exercise, understands the risks involved in what he is doing, and is willing to participate. By signing the liability waiver, the client releases you and your business of responsibility for any injuries or damages that may incur while participating in a session or exercising at your facility. They know and accept the risks, and are assuming responsibility for their actions.