5 ways to ruin your reputation as a fitness professional and lose your clients

Guest writer Sarah Koszyk is the founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and recipe blog where she also conducts cooking videos with kids and provides families with healthy living tips. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach where she specializes in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management.

Your relationships with your clients and your reputation is everything. When you have a strong relationship with clients, they will most likely continue to be devoted to your services and may even refer their friends and family. In addition, a strong, quality reputation will build trust and confidence within the community and have a compelling effect on your business’ success. When dealing with the highly competitive market of fitness professionals, a good reputation can set you apart from the rest and be a deciding factor for clients who choose to use your services over another. Therefore, maintaining a strong reputation is invaluable.

Here are 5 ways to not ruin your reputation as a fitness professional and lose your clients.

1. Be cautious of “trash talking” fitness equipment, other fitness professionals, or nutritional products and then using them or copying their information, advises Wendy Mader, health, fitness, sports coach, and co-founder/owner of t2 Coaching. Professionals who are extra critical and then do the opposite of what they recommend can provide confusing information and appear hypocritical.

2. Not Being Present. Aaron Dence, owner of Trainer San Francisco and Certified Exercise Physiologist, informs, “Being present at each and every session is important when supporting clients on their fitness journey. Checking your phone, not being attentive, or missing/not acknowledging clients’ major milestones will likely negatively affect the client’s opinion about the fitness professional they are working with. Full attention is needed every time.”

3. Practicing Out Of Your Scope Of Practice. Mader recommends fitness professionals stick to their scope of practice and training to prevent a client from getting hurt due to false or poor information. Fitness professionals can get sued if they provide a client with an incorrect diagnosis or hurt a client during training due to lack of knowledge. Refer out to qualified professionals like registered dietitians or physical therapists if situations arise that are out of one’s scope of practice.

4. Getting Personally Involved With Clients. “Starting a physical relationship with one of your clients can ruin your reputation,” warns Scott Aaron, president and CEO of Scott Aaron: Health, Wellness, Prosperity Coach, and Social Media Trainer. Engaging in dual relationships can be risky and boundaries can get crossed. Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, the fitness professional has the risk of getting sued for exploitation or sexual assault and the possibility of losing more clients from poor word of mouth.

5. Tardiness and Flakiness. Your client’s time is just as valuable as yours. Being late, frequently cancelling appointments, or cancelling appointments with less than 24-hour’s notice is not professional. When you are tardy or flaky, your clients will find someone else who is more reliable and respectful of their time.

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