Some places will employ you with a grace period, allowing you to get work experience under the cover of their insurance.
If that’s not possible for you, I suggest getting your certification first, or not accepting money. Working out with someone rather than training someone. You can learn a lot by doing just this, if they allow you to watch how they move and sharpen your observational eye.
First, since you don’t have a certification (though you mention Group X experience, do you have a group exercise cert?), do not accept payment for any interaction between you and your friends/family. That reduces your exposure for liability somewhat. Also, have anyone you exercise with (It is important that you consider the workouts to be “working out together”. That you are both exercising as exercise buddies, not instructor/client.) sign a brief statement that they are working out with the knowledge that you are not a certified instructor. And that they are responsible for their own safety.
Of course, it would be wisest to be patient and get certified first. If you do choose to work out with your family/friends, be very cautious and start out with low intensity. Low weight/resistance, slow movements, etc. Be sure to have a solid understanding of any exercises you are doing. And if you can’t perform the exercises correctly, don’t do them. If I were in your position, I would find a certified instructor to mentor you. You could arrange to work out with your family/friends in the presence of this person. When I do this for aspiring soon to be instructors, I charge a fee determined by how much I need to perticipate in the role playing work out. My charging the fee also creates a professional relationship between myself and the people working out together. And everyone involved fills out my standard paperwork.
This is a basic answer to your question and does not cover possibe legal issues that could arise. I am not a lawyer or in any way a legal expert. I do not know the laws regarding fitness instruction in your area. I would need to work with you directly in order to guide you at all.
I agree with what Natalie and Karin say. It would be almost impossible to get insurance until you are certified. Even if you are training for free you could be held liable if anything occurs. Like Karin said, many trainers use friends or family to practice. You could start the practice by having them fill out a PAR-Q or other medical form and definitely don’t train them if there are any medical issues. And keep things simple to start.
Hello Dana Spitz,
I echo Karin’s response about the liability issue. Another way around could be to group train them until you are personal trainer certified. You could also tell your potential new clients that it is worth the wait for the professional experience.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.