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A Healthy Approach to Sick Clients

A Healthy Approach to Sick Clients

Personal Trainers only earn money when they’re working, so training clients when they’re sick can be tempting. However, training clients when they’re sick puts them at risk of prolonging the illness and also of them infecting both yourself and other around you. Asking clients to perform high skill activities when they’re sick may also predispose them to injury.

But This Will Cost Me Money...

From a business point of view, if they’ve rung you up to cancel an appointment then, sick or not, they don’t want to train. Have a firm cancellation policy, and people will think twice before calling in sick when they want to sleep in. You’re not work or school, you’re a professional who could have filled that spot with a paying client. Once you make your cancellation policy clear, you tend to weed out the sick from the reluctant exerciser.

If you do have someone call in sick, get them to reschedule straight away. Or alternatively, when a client comes on board you could lock them into a package of sessions so that you are not out of pocket if they cancel.

“I’m Not Feeling Well, Do You Think I Should Still Train?”

Some clients will try and get you to make the decision. This still comes down to a business decision. You’re in a profession where if you get sick you don’t get paid. Do you really want to risk spending an hour with a sick person, possibly being infectious for the rest of the day and risk infecting your other clients, all based on your unqualified diagnosis over the phone?

If someone rings up sick and says they have the flu, then it’s recommended that you wish them a speedy recovery and cancel the session. However, if they only have a cold and they haven’t said that they don’t want to train, then it’s ok to continue with a less-intense training session.

I Seem to be Getting More Cancellations than Turn-ups.

If you have a client who is frequently getting sick, especially with upper respiratory infections, you should perhaps begin to look for underlying causes. Upper respiratory infections are a common sign of overtraining, so it might be worth lowering the intensity of your workouts.

Ask clients who are susceptible to overtraining to keep a log of heart rate on waking each morning. If it starts to climb (around 6bpm), cut things back a little.

Alternatively, your client could just be saying they’re sick to get out of their session. If you suspect that this is the case, the next time you see them you should make them decide if they’re committed to their fitness goal.

What If They Turn Up Sick?

If someone turns up to a session unwell, remember that your first obligation to your client is to keep them safe. Even if they aren’t infectious, training while sick is likely to prolong their illness so it could do more harm than good. As recommended before, if they have a cold then simply proceed with a lighter workout, and stop if they start feeling worse. But if they have the flu, reschedule their training session and send them home to bed.

Make the best decision you can with the information you have available to you, but remember to always take the safer option to protect your clients and yourself. 

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