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Monday, October 7, 2013

Personal Trainer Liability: Is Your Trainer Right for You?

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

You finally get motivated and join a gym.  In order to make sure that you are on the right track and do not injure yourself you decide to hire a personal trainer. The last thing you want is to be injured as a result of the negligence of the trainer or the gym.  So what should you look for in a trainer?
Personal Training certifications are relatively easy to come by. Anyone can pay $200-$500 and become a certified personal trainer over the Internet.   There are a number of reputable organizations that properly certified personal trainers. If your trainer is not certified but one of these reputable organizations, it is recommended that you reconsider training with that person.
A good personal trainer will not only answer your questions and concerns, they will ask you are number of questions in order to properly assess your abilities and  limitations.  If your personal trainer has not evaluated your current level of fitness through written documents such as the PAR-Q (Pre-Activity Readiness Questionnaire)  you should seriously question that trainer's  level of expertise.   In addition to fitness evaluation forms, personal trainers should request a medical history from you to ensure that they are not placing you at risk when designing your personalized fitness routine.
Our firm recently handled  a lawsuit arising out of a personal trainer's negligence. While the trainer was certified, he was not certified by a reputable organization. In fact, the trainer had no training whatsoever other than a 45 minute online course.  
 The trainer also failed to assess the fitness level of the individual who hired him. While he asked her questions about her goals he failed to take any assessment of her medical conditions or her level of fitness.
As part of our client's individual training routine he included a number of plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises involve jumping on and off boxes, steps and related objects. The idea behind a plyometric exercise is to increase the intensity on a particular muscle and develop fast twitch muscle fiber responsiveness. What the trainer failed to learn about his client is that she had  a history of knee injuries. While working through one of the exercises the client blew out her knee and required surgery and rehabilitative treatment.
This accident occurred as a direct result of the trainer's negligence and the negligence of the gym (through failing to look into the background of the trainer).
You go to a gym to get healthy not to get injured. It's important to make sure that your trainer  is properly certified and asks you the right questions.
If you would like more information about this topic or the names of the organizations that properly certified trainers, please do not hesitate to contact us at (973) 949-3770 or via email at info@peterlamontesq.com.  We are a business and personal law attorneys with offices in New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Puerto Rico.
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