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A personal training contract is a legal agreement between a fitness training provider and an individual who seeks personal fitness training sessions in the U.S. Usually, a physical fitness trainer is responsible for asking the client or trainee to enter into the contract. This is usually done before commencing the specific training sessions. Both parties will enter this agreement after having read the complete disclosure of informed consent, release of liability, and assumption of risks.

Best Practices in Creating a Personal Training Contract

The clauses included in a personal training contract should give everyone a solid foundation to draft a foolproof and legal contract. However, there are a few best practices if anyone wants to go the extra mile to protect themselves:

  • Generating awareness: Building brand recognition is the best way to attract new clients. Interested personal trainers can communicate their services on social media. They can also use emailing lists or stick promotional posters around the gym. People usually like to know what they are in for, so it is better to give them a taste of the personal training services first.
  • Seeking Legal Advice: Anyone can challenge to uphold the personal training contract's validity in court if a client breaches a legal contract's terms. However, the legalities involved in the same can be complex. So, it is necessary to have a lawyer review the personal training contract's clauses. Legal professionals can also guide to ensure the contract is future-proof and legitimate.
  • Making Adjustments if Needed: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to drafting any of the personal training contracts. Different clients may demand varied training packages. So, trainers must tweak the clauses accordingly for each client to generate positive results.
  • Reading and Accepting the Terms Before Signing: It is a common error by clients to sign documents without going through the fine print; hence leading to misunderstandings. This primarily happens when one party claims ignorance of any given clause while signing it. As such, trainers should educate their clients on why they must read, comprehend, and then acknowledge conditions and terms before appending their signatures on the contract.
  • Laying Out the Training Package Clearly: All trainers must be super specific about the kind of training they will be providing to their clients. This may involve individual coaching meetings, exercise programs, meal plans, and more. The trainers must also spell out important stuff like the duration of a training session, the place for such sessions, and other bonus materials.
  • Setting Policies for Payment Amounts and Schedules: The personal trainers must be straightforward in outlining specifics. This may include the training packages, payment plans, and other security deposits attached to a particular session.
  • Completing Liability Release Forms and Medical Questionnaires: The clients must sign a clear release of the required liability form. It means they are accepting all risks voluntarily. The trainer must also include the details of all safety measures taken to promote training sessions that are injury-free.

Elements to Include in a Personal Training Contract

The personal training contract between a trainer and a client should always set out all obligations and limitations. This particular process establishes proper expectations from the outset. Meanwhile, here are the things to be included in the contract:

  • Checking Rates and Packages: Personal trainers may often offer several fitness options for clients. A few of them may charge an hourly rate for their individual sessions. Whereas a few other trainers may have packages with a few sessions at a discount. Then comes the option to offer a good monthly contract for a specified number of sessions per month. It is necessary to spell out the details of whatever plan is chosen by the client. The trainer must also explain how long the package is valid if the client purchases a block of sessions.
  • Fulfilling Payment Requirements: The personal training contract should state the specific payment requirements for the designated client package. For example, a trainer might bill for individual sessions at the beginning of each appointment. A few of them may also require payment in full for a few sessions at the time of purchase. This involves explaining which payment methods are accepted. Examples include electronic funds transfer (EFT), cash, or other major credit cards.
  • Scheduling: This involves explaining how appointments are usually scheduled between a trainer and their respective clients. Questions like whether the client must call whenever they are ready for an appointment should be included, too. The trainers may even prefer using automatic scheduling software to schedule appointments regularly. Another sample question to ask here is how often the appointments are scheduled- thrice a week or twice a month.
  • Adding Cancellations: The trainers must always put their cancellation policy in writing and state whether the customer needs a 24-hour notice. The contract must also state what happens if any client cancels at the last minute or is late for a session. A firm personal training contract for scheduling makes sure that there is no miscommunication between the parties.
  • Terminating the Contract: This involves asking or mentioning what may happen if the client wants to cancel the personal training contract. All these instances must be included in the same agreement. It must also state whether the respective client will get a refund for unused sessions. The trainer needs to lay out these factors in the personal training contract, along with what the client can expect if the document is terminated.
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Sample Personal Training Contracts for Clients

Every personal trainer can be different. That is why interested parties must work with a lawyer to draft a personal training contract. This is how it will be customized according to the respective businesses.

These samples can help you get started if you still want to do it yourself:

Key Terms for Personal Training Contracts

  • Termination: The act of stopping a personal training agreement, which has different causes, including completion of training programs.
  • Cancellation Policy: A written agreement between a personal trainer and his client that stipulates what will happen if someone cancels the appointment, typically a fee.
  • Liability: The state of being responsible for something very important, either from the trainer’s side or the client’s side.
  • Confidentiality: A practice that involves several rules executed through personal training contracts that limit access to certain types of information.
  • Liability Waiver: A legal clause that educates either party of a personal training contract about the risks associated with an activity.

Final Thoughts on Personal Training Contracts

A strong and clear personal training contract is always non-negotiable. Verbal agreements are not reliable because they can be misunderstood or misremembered. This may lead to a lot of back and forth in the negotiations. At best, a personal trainer may lose clients and even suffer from a loss of reputation. At worst, the same trainer could face non-payment, potential lawsuits, and frequent client cancellations. A personal training contract protects all clients as well. Without it, the latter may be unsure about the expectations regarding payments, sessions, and missed appointments. However, this contract should always be drafted and reviewed by a professional lawyer.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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