T Nation

Uncertified Personal Training


I had no clue where to post this, so I just decided to throw it in to the beginners forums. My question is is it illegal and/or punishable to be a personal trainer with no formal training?

Like let's say I post flyers around campus (I'm in college) and advertise a personal training service to make some extra money and I do it right like talk to the client and get their goals and make a plan and help them workout and show them the ropes. Could I get in trouble or be liable for anything?


Why not just sit for a certification? They're relatively easy. As far as liability, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a bit.


How would I go about getting a certification?


use google you lazy sonofabitch


What the man with the big arms said...


haha alright


It depends on the state. In Texas, you don't have to be certified because we have no laws of any sort regarding personal trainers. Most gyms require a specific certificate, but working by yourself won't. You might be getting in to trouble if you lie about being certified though.


You would probably need to get them to sign a contract stating that they are aware you aren't certified and are following your advice at their own risk. Even if that's not required it's probably a good idea anyways if you aren't certified.


what do you really know about personal training? are you as good as you think you are? because if you are coaching someone to a big deadlift PR and they hurt their back because you didnt coach them on form, you're fucked.

id say call yourself a strength coach, or a diet and training advisor or some shit, and just let them know you dont have a certification. what are your big 3?


If you say you are not a personal trainer, they still sign saying they are cool with it, assuming risks, etc then you are good to go (still would advise caution, noting that most university gyms will not allow non certified "trainers" and non university employed trainers to train clients at their gyms).

If you say you ARE a personal trainer, thereby lie, you will be butt fucked in court if one of them is injured following your advice.

EDIT - read what ^chad said carefully. If you are not actually qualified to teach, then dont. Are your numbers good? Do you know how to coach a deadlift? A Squat? a proper bench press? Do you know the muscles of the body, where they insert, their purpose etc? If "NO" to any of these, stop.


While always good practice to CYA. I bet that wouldn't hold up in court.


Training without a certification is ok as long as you have Personal Trainer Liability Insurance.

Personal trainer professional liability insurance protects you and any other parties named on the policy in the event that a client suffers an injury while training (or even partially as a result of training). The scary part is that you don't even have to be present when the injury occurs.

Let's say you design a program where the client does 20 push ups each morning. If the client suffers a heart attack while doing the pushups you can get sued. That's where personal trainer professional liability insurance steps in.

If you didn't have personal trainer professional liability insurance you would have to defend yourself in court. Defending personal injury lawsuits is very tricky and your legal bills would run tens of thousands of dollars. And if you lose the case, you will have to pay thousands more in damages. This would be enough to ruin most personal trainers.

But if you do have personal trainer professional liability insurance, the business insurance company is obligated to defend you in court. They pay all the legal fees and any damages up to your policy limit. So it is always a good idea to have a business liability insurance policy with at least a $250,000 limit.


Id be more concerned with teh policy of the college gym than whether it's illegal in the state.

If you know theres a policy at school and want to be sneaky about it just make your friend (client) say hes not paying you. Theres no way the school can stop 2 people from exhanging ideas about lifting in the gym.

Dont put anything about money on the flier. Negotiate it on the low.


Now your legal system is pretty fucked up, but what the fuck makes a certification so special? What qualification process do you have to go through to issue certifications? It's not like a licence to practice medicine.

The way I see it, if you offer personal training, you're a personal trainer. It doesn't matter if Crossfit agrees with you.

And listen to what bonez said. That's probably your biggest problem.


This^^^ You don't have to have a cert to be a trainer on your own however most gyms will require some form of education, the rare instance is sometimes an advanced member might be asked by the owner/manager if they'd like to train clients, not often but I know a few guys who've been asked.

Best advice is to CYMFNA!!! You don't want some fool dropping dead because they have a heart condition you're not qualified to work with. That's a life changer if you've got to come out of pocket for something like that.


Well let's see here...

First of all, don't do that. It's retarded. Second of all just get the certification. Even if you get some shitty internet certification (Google ISSA, should be simple enough) it's better than having no certification. Lastly, once you get certified get yourself some insurance. (Just google personal trainer insurance or something) It's about 100-150 bucks a year and covers you for something like 1,000,000.00. If you hurt someone without any formal training, and without any insurance, you are so fucked beyond belief.

Once you do step 2 and 3, then you can put up flyers. Though, you need to make sure your campus gym is ok with that. They may already have some trainers there, and would not allow you to come in and train without having a real job with them.

Hope that helps.


Liability waiver.


I was training 20-30 clients before I ever got any kind of certification. Even now, I don't have any insurance. Yeah, I probably could be sued, but my counter-strategy is just to own nothing of value.

But I wouldn't necessarily recommend this approach to others.


As far as insurance goes, anyone know if any of the major insurance companies offer personal trainer liability insurance? I looked at allstate, geico, and state farm and couldn't find anything.


All KINDS of win!!!