Recently I received several notifications from staff that there seemed to be an influx of “unknown Personal Trainers and Coaches” entering our facility to work with members and their kids. Mostly this was being done, or at least reported as happening, outside of our normal work hours (8-5). The incidents seem to be happening later in the evening and on weekends when most of our full time staff where not working. Off the top this may not seem like a significant violation to some but there are several potential negative consequences that could result in trainers or coaches (that are not employed by the University) working with staff and students. When hiring fitness and wellness staff I require proper certification and experience for all of our trainers and coaches before they can work in our department. If members are bringing in their own coach/trainer there is no way to effectively control the quality and safety of the instruction to our membership when it is provided by an external (unknown) source. There could also be the misconception that this person actually represents our department/university when in fact they do not. We also do not want to establish competition against our own services since we do charge fees for training (although minimal). Members were paying the daily pass rate and bringing these trainers and coaches in and this rate is much cheaper than our rate for training.
The problem with this situation was simply that we didn’t have any type of policy or language in place that prohibited independent personal training at the time. Rather it was an “unwritten rule”. Upon reflecting on this issue and talking with the trainers and coaches on staff I decided that this needed to become a policy. The policy needed to a regulatory policy. As mentioned in our policy studies book a regulatory policy is one that develops formalized rules expressed in general terms and are applied to large groups of people.
Using the knowledge I have gained in our class thus far allowed me to developed a policy that read accordingly:
Only individuals employed by the Department of Recreation and Wellness as Personal Trainers and representing The University of Richmond Recreational Services may conduct personal training in any campus facility. Personal Training is defined by any of the following:
• Leading an individual through a designed workout.
• Providing one-on-one exercise instruction and education.
• Prescribing a fitness program for another individual.
• Verbally or visually promoting a personal training company.
• Receiving payment for exercise guidance, including payment of guest fee.
Anyone suspected of acting as a Personal Trainer by exhibiting any of the above behaviors will be questioned and informed of the departmental policies. Any individual acting as a Personal Trainer, as defined above, who is not employed by the department of Recreation and Wellness at the University of Richmond will be asked to discontinue the session immediately. If the individual fails to comply with this request, all membership and guest privileges may be suspended or revoked for the individual(s) in question and client(s) involved.
Once we got this policy established we needed to ensure that it was visible and easy for staff to locate/find so that they could refer the individuals to the policy if and when they had questions. We also put it on our website. I wanted the policy to be easy to understand and easy to implement. I have always felt that you shouldn’t develop a policy if you can’t enforce it. By making this policy visible to our members it seems to be enforcing itself. Since implementing this policy we have not had any reports or issues specific to this scenario.