Your questions is a very interesting one.
While I would never expect a tip, I wonder why many in the fitness industry feel obligated to give something away for free when a client or member refers a new client to them.
Just as doctors, lawyers, nurses, etc. don’t receive tips nor give away free visits, I would not expect a tip or give a free session.
I don’t expect tips because it is my own business, and I don’t tip my massage therapist because it is her own business. But it is an interesting question as I would tip a massage therapist in a health club, but not expect one if I trained in one. But I think Karin answered it best by mentioning that we see clients 2-3 times a week versus once a month or more for a massage therapist or hair stylist.
I have known some trainers that have received tips while working at some of the large chain gyms. I have never expected a tip from a client though.
The response from Joanne is a very thought provoking provoking one. I have also offered a free session for a referred client. When I refer someone to a doctor, lawyer or dentist I get a sincere thank you. Perhaps this will be my response in the future.