Practicing within your Scope

Across the vast landscape that is the fitness industry is a plethora of personal trainers operating inside, around and outside their qualified scope of practice.

While the regulations around this industry are still very grey and not necessarily policed as hard as they should be, the risk falls back onto the trainer to ensure they are qualified and covered by the appropriate level insurance for the work they are currently practicing.

Whether the service is online based or face-to-face based, the trainer must ensure they are appropriately covering the service they administer within the industry they practice.

Powerlifting & Bodybuilding Style Training

As a qualified personal trainer, the scope of works is actually quite limited, whereby they can be restricted from practicing any weightlifting or bodybuilding type training. This specific type of training is not taught within the basic personal trainer qualification, and therefore, is often not covered by insurance; however, this can be overcome with further qualifications or professional development studies that provide satisfactory levels of learning.

Further qualifications to advance the trainers knowledge and level of practice includes, but not limited to, strength and conditioning, powerlifting and bodybuilding.


A further area that isn’t covered is nutrition.

While it is expected that all practicing Trainers provide nutritional ‘advice’ for their clients, they are very much limited in what they can and cannot deliver, as the personal trainer’s qualification provides limited nutrition training.

However, it is widely seen that trainers and more so online coaches provide meals plans without the appropriate qualifications and level of insurance to cover them.

Again, further professional development and studies, specifically a program that has been reviewed and approved by registered dieticians, will unhinge this issue by providing the appropriate level of knowledge to further practice nutrition and allow the trainer to provide extensive advice and meal planning options for their clients, which is mostly expected in the industry as it stands.

Alternatively, you can seek the advice and endorsement from a qualified Registered Dietitian who would be prepared to review and sign off on your plans. However, this can become costly and time consuming.


Another service that may be requested of a trainer is rehabilitation training.

This could come in the form of an injury, surgery, or even recovery from an accident.

While the experience and qualifications of a trainer in this field is limited, further assistance should be sought in the form of an Allied Health Professional, such as a Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, etc. who can provide the next level of service to ensure the training and rehab work you, as the trainer, are doing is correct. This, then, will fall into your field of work and allows coverage by your insurance.

Further studies in this area include degrees in Sports & Exercise Science and the above-mentioned professions.

Pre & Post Natal Training

Another big component of the fitness industry is pre and post-natal training.

Many mothers, weeks before giving birth, wish to train to keep up strength and maintain a certain level of weight. Others, after birth, are keen to get back to their pre-baby body sooner rather than later. Both scenarios may engage the services of a trainer to help with this.

Given a pre or post-natal body may be more fragile then a standard physique, it is important that the trainer has extensive knowledge of this to ensure training is specific to the client.

Typically, general pre/post-natal training guidelines are taught in the initial personal trainer qualifications; however, either further studies should be sought, or further assistance provided from a third party professional experienced and qualified in this field.

Aged Care

The elderly, depending on their situation, is another space that may not be deemed to be within the scope of normal training.

The aged can be frail, sick, have poor mobility and have further organ complications, all of which may not be diagnosed at an initial screening and may not tolerate standard methods of training.

Therefore, appropriate professional development training should be sought for this market to enable the trainer to have an extensive level of knowledge when managing the health and fitness of an elderly client.


As can be seen from the above, many areas of training can fall outside the scope of works of an everyday personal trainer; however, as a trainer seeking new business, it is hard to turn work away, even when the potentially new client may not fit within the field of practice you are currently working in.

My recommendation is to continue your professional development, always ensure your insurance covers what you practice and stick to a specific niche market to avoid too many cross overs.

If your field of expertise is specific, you will not only attract that type of clientele through appropriate marketing and referrals, but your scope of practice is covered, and you would be correctly insured.