Hey everyone – I’m back from my Mexico trip (full update to follow soon) and itching to get back into some Angry Trainer business!
First up let’s kick off with a good old debate here on the site. Here’s a widely discussed topic that’s very familiar within the fitness industry. We’ve all heard the jokes, innuendo, comments and accusations about personal trainers who date (or sleep) with their clients – both male and female. In fact just last week I heard a radio morning show host say that trainers were no different from prostitutes!
But is there really anything wrong with trainers dating their clients?
From my own personal point of view, I can honestly say I’ve been on the receiving end of sexual comments and provocative statements from my clients many times. However I’ve always defused the situation by either ignoring what was said or just not feeding into it. But there’s been many instances where the opportunity certainly existed for me to become involved with a client. And I’ll also talk about the elephant in the room! Many times, at least in my case, it’s been female clients who have husbands who travel a lot and generally ignore them. In those situations the trainer is sometimes the only person who that the client has to talk to and connect with.
Think about it, with some clients I’m with them 3 hours per week, one on one, exercising and talking. That’s actually a lot of personal time and it can lead to a false sense of closeness. How many of you have 3 hours of one-on-one time with your spouse or significant other?
So have I dated any of my clients? Yes, I have. But in my 20 years as a trainer, I can honestly say I have only dated ONE client and it actually turned into a nearly 4 year long relationship that in the end just didn’t work. She was going through a divorce as was I, and it just happened naturally. Was it unethical? I say no. Unethical would be sleeping with all my clients, especially those who are married! And I stopped being her trainer. Although we still exercised together on a regular basis, I just couldn’t take money from her – it felt wrong.
Now I’ve had guys tell me that they’d like to get into training to be around hot housewives and I’ve also had female trainers mention that they’re looking for a sugar daddy! At the end of the day, if you’re a dirtbag in real life, you’ll be one in your chosen profession as well. I have an acquaintance who’s also a trainer. Every time I’ve been around him he drops comments about sex, working the glutes, hip thrusts and is basically always on a fishing expedition to see which trainee bites. That’s unethical, unprofessional and actually illegal – can you say sexual harassment? And it’s people like that who give my profession a bad name.
But I personally don’t think it’s a black and white issue either. If two people truly have chemistry and enjoy one another’s company, then who cares if they met by way of a client/trainer relationship? I personally see nothing wrong with two single people dating if they so choose (adultery is another story for me)
But what do you think? Is a trainer dating a client unethical? Have you ever dated your own personal trainer – or hooked up with a client? Do you know someone who has? How did it turn out? Comment away…