I recently asked a question on what qualifications are required to set up a website giving workout advice and what legal ramifications could result from such a website. Since asking that question I have done some thinking and realized the real advice I want to give is on how to stay motivated at the gym. I am a seven-year fitness enthusiast who struggled with real motivation problems in his first year but eventually overcame them.
I know that giving workout advice specifically can lead to lawsuits if a reader ends up getting injured in some way. Can giving advice on how to stay motivated lead to similar lawsuits? The only scenario I could think of it doing so is if I gave the advice to ‘push yourself’ and then a reader pushed himself or herself and got injured. I would not be charging for the advice, but could imagine eventually looking to earn affiliate income through links to books on Amazon, supplementation websites, etc.
An example of the kind of article I would be writing would be the following: http://beginnergymworkouts.com/willpower-muscle/
The article you point to does not give advice as much as it points out various studies. Advice on behavior change is best left to psychologists, and even they are shying away from advice because facilitating self discovery works better. Keep your blog full of scientific ideas and let people come to their own conclusion. Even scientists posit a question and do not claim it to be the ultimate truth, but perhaps part of a greater truth.
It’s very difficult to suggest that all it takes is willpower. If that was true we wouldn’t have the obesity epidemic nor the drop out rate at gyms/exercise facilities.
The truth of the matter is that you can workout anywhere, it takes desire and motivation more than willpower.
How can you follow a person into a gym and give them willpower via the internet?
Hi Cedric. Something that I ALWAYS caution trainers and others about is that “anyone can sue anyone at just about anytime.” The real issue is whether their lawsuit will be successful. You limit someone’s ability to be successful in a suit against you by taking the necessary precautions BEFORE an issue arises. As someone who writes a lot for publication I can say that I’m continually amazed at how many trainers who write for publication (online or hard copy magazines) do NOT have adequate liability insurance. Generally speaking, our general trainer’s liability insurance does NOT cover us for our writings (and sometimes not even for products sold etc.). So my best advice to you is to please, speak with your current liability insurance company. Tell them what you plan to do, and ask what coverage you need. If you do this over the telephone, I always advise follow-up with them in writing (email) as to what you understand from that conversation. Get full coverage and be able to rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to ‘reduce the risk of a SUCCESSFUL lawsuit against you’ since again remember, ‘anyone can sue anyone at just about anytime.’ Also, I would advise spending some money on the front-end to speak with legal counsel on what you are planning and any suggestions they may have on how to protect yourself, or at least limit your liability. Remember, the real issue is whether it would be a successful suit. The last thing you, or any trainer for that matter wants is to ‘win the lawsuit, but be broke because of the cost of defending yourself.’
My two cents, and I hope that this helps. Good luck!