I recently had a "bad massage". Has this happened to you? I asked for deep tissue full body massage, but what I got was someone who clearly was new to the job or "winging it". I am still sore and achy a week later! Yikes! This really isn't a reflection of massage therapy as a profession, because I could have spoken up. I could have said 'no, stop. no, too hard, no, that's too tender, no.."
Why didn't I? Silly, right? Well - there I am- bare and face down under a sheet, on a table, in a dark room, in a long hallway, with a stranger, Somehow, I was intimated, embarrassed for her not knowing how to do her job... silly right?
Silly. But then I remembered the fundamental power a person in charge has, like with teaching a class. I had to ask myself, do moms in my Stroller Strides class feel this inability to speak their concerns to me? Am I making myself open and concerned for their safety. Do I regularly ask, "Any questions? How are you feeling?".
After college, when I became a geographic information systems analyst, I joined the American Association of Geographers, and took the code of ethics seriously during my career. Now that I have moved into fitness instruction, I take that responsibility just as seriously.
Here is a good description of the job of fitness trainer, that I try to adhere to (source: truity.com)
- Demonstrate how to carry out various exercises and routines
- Watch clients do exercises and show or tell them correct techniques to minimize injury and improve fitness
- Give alternative exercises during workouts or classes for different levels of fitness and skill
- Monitor clients’ progress and adapt programs as needed
- Explain and enforce safety rules and regulations on sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment
- Give clients information or resources about nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues
- Give emergency first aid if needed (maintain my Adult and Pediatric First Aid / CPR / AED from Red Cross)
Here is the code of ethics provided by IDEA fitness. As an IDEA member, I adhere to these as well. (IDEA Health & Fitness. Sept 2008)
- Always be guided by the best interests of the client
- Maintain appropriate professional boundaries
- Maintain the education and experience necessary to appropriately train clients. (CEC requirement every year)
- Use truth, fairness and integrity to guide all professional decisions and relationships.
- Show respect for clients and fellow professionals
- Uphold a professional image through conduct and appearance (this doesn't mean I wear makeup to class)
The education factor is a big deal for me. I maintain the standards of prenatal fitness as declared by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). They release recommendations on prenatal exercise. (SEE HERE) Regardless of the latest trends or studies, I keep to this standard as required by FIT4MOM certification. Fitness is but one aspect of health and wellness, so integration between your physician and your fitness coach, and other wellness service providers is the ideal scenario.
Are you a fitness instructor? What are you views on your professional responsibilities? What is your profession? Code of ethics? Please SHARE below.