I do not do it and would not recommend it. Clients should receive their trainer’s undivided attention. I would not find that possible when working out together. Exercises need to be chosen with the client’s best interest in mind; those exercises may not be a good choice for me.
I also think that it could undermine the professional relationship.
Do you mean DURING their session or on a separate occasion? In the case of the former, definitely not. Some clients and trainers develop relationships that allow them to meet outside of formal, paid sessions and work out together; if that works for you, go for it. But, I think trainers have to be careful that the professional boundaries and working parameters are clear from the outset, or else after a while you’ll have lots of workout buddies, but no clients.
That really depends on the client and trainer agreement. I have run, hiked, walked, biked, golfed, and strength trained with clients. Considerations may depend on my performance level, my available time, the client’s performance level, the needed and desired expertise level, the client’s needs and desires in terms of motivation, the environment, the trainer’s willingness, the remuneration, and the trainer’s ability to stay client focused. Nothing unethical about it, as long as the trainer and client are in mutual agreement, and the trainer does everything in her ability to keep the client harm free. Some clients want more than indoor, one location motivation.
This depends on the client. As far as working out with a client outside of billing hours, it would depend on my relationship with the client prior to the introduction of our training agreement. If the client is a friend that I’ve known for a while, or if I’ve worked out with the client before, I would consider it, but would not make it a regular thing. I think it can be beneficial to business and to the relationship with the client to do so, but not often or regularly. It gets a little “iffy” for me when it’s an opposite sex trainer-client relationship. The exercise, timing, and relationship have to be appropriate while making the client a priority.
As far as working out with a client in the session, I think some clients are motivated by having someone to workout with. If you can’t do a small group session (2 or 3), then working out with your client may be the way to go if that is the type of motivation the client needs. Clients like to know that the trainer is experiencing the same difficulty that they are. Even if the trainer is not fatigued, the client can feel comfortable with the fact that the trainer isn’t just throwing exercises out there. It shows that you believe in the exercises when you do them with the client or you demonstrate the exercises. It goes without saying that there are some exercises that you just can’t do together. There is a way, I think, to workout with a client AND keep the attention on the client.
Safety is the number one priority, and safety should never be compromised for sake of working out with a client. In Danielle’s case, it was prudent that she ran, hiked, walked, and biked, etc, with her clients because she could be right there if something were to go wrong, and she wouldn’t be stuck catching up to the client if on a track. Seconds matter in life-threatening situations which can pop up when you least expect them.
I’m not writing this one off as inappropriate, but I will say that trainers should more than likely expect to get paid for their time. It’s not a matter of selfishness, it’s more a matter of professionalism and having your client take the relationship seriously. Payment is the best way to make that happen in most instances.
Hi Sandy. I agree with Danielle and Marlan. This is very client and exercise specific! I don’t think that it’s a given that anytime a trainer works out with their client that it’s “unsafe.” I work out with SELECTIVE clients of mine all the time. For instance, there are certain “partner exercises” that I will perform with an elderly client who is training with me in an individual session. Also, with my athletes, I will often workout with them in some friendly and competitive exercise games – they LOVE IT, and so do I!
Of course, as the other posters have said, SAFETY FIRST, but I would submit that that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can NEVER work out with your client. You need to know the client, understand their skills and limitations, choose exercises that you are comfortable that they can competently do with you, and still ALWAYS observe the client even as you two exercise (observation is always a key).
I hope this helps.