Ethics Within The Singapore Fitness Profession

February 6, 2012

image of fitness trainingIn Singapore and in other parts of the world – which have an active, vibrant fitness scene – trainers, coaches and instructors who provide professional fitness services of one kind or another are expected to abide to a code of ethics governing their interactions and transactions with members of the public.

These code of ethics are usually set forth by the respective fitness organizations that issue certifications to trainers, and most, if not all, have codes of conduct such as: providing quality instruction to clients, not discriminating against persons irrespective of race, gender or age, respecting other fellow fitness professionals and carrying oneself with utmost integrity and professionalism.

And to our knowledge, the majority of Singapore Fitness Pros do abide to these ethical codes and have little, if any, problem living up to them.

Unfortunately, like in every other industry, there are always some black sheep among the community who blatantly disregard these ethics for their own agendas.

Below mentioned are some of the common ethical shortcomings observed among a small segment of fitness professionals within our community:

1. Trainers Who Are More Interested In Selling “Fitness Products” Than Coaching Itself

These trainers are the ones who believe in pushing sales of supplements, pills, powders, and other fitness products onto their unsuspecting clients. In fact, for some of these trainers – the profits from the sales of these products far outweigh their earnings from coaching itself! However, from an ethical point of view, this business of selling should be frowned upon as it demeans the fitness profession, and distracts from the real purpose why clients sign up for fitness lessons in the first place – basically for instruction and NOT for the purchase of fitness products.

2. Trainers Who Discriminate Against Segments Of The Population

There are also some trainers who are extremely selective and discriminatory in whom they choose to be their clients. In fact, some of them have been known to set certain arbitrary criteria when it comes to selecting clients: for example, they are only willing to take-on clients who come from certain well-to-do districts (usually the landed private property areas), belong to a certain social/economic status, or who are from a certain ‘teachable’ age group. Prospects/clients who do not satisfy these conditions are summarily dismissed by these trainers and told to “look elsewhere”. Again, such arrogant and discriminatory behaviour have no place in our fitness industry.

3. Trainers Who Do Not Abide By Their Fitness Contracts 

When a business transaction takes place between a fitness professional and a willing client, a paper contract or agreement is usually signed by both parties to acknowledge the terms and conditions under which the service will be provided and payment to be made. Unfortunately, there are known cases of trainers or instructors failing to abide by the agreed terms listed in the contract, or those who short-change their clients even after signing a contract, resulting in much inconvenience, disillusionment or even monetary losses on the part of the clients. Again, this is something extremely unbecoming and unsavoury for anyone who professes to be a professional in the fitness industry.

4. Trainers Who Get Into Inappropriate Relationships With Their Clients

As professionals providing an honourable health/fitness service to mankind, a high level of moral integrity is to expected among those who call themselves fitness professionals. Unfortunately, a small minority are always willing to forgo their morals and indulge in inappropriate or ‘hanky-panky’ relationships with their clients – either for individual gain or as a consequence of their own flawed characters. In Singapore, there have been cases of trainers having sexual relationships with married clients, being involved in straight/gay/group sex with casual prospects and openly offering special services” as part of their ‘fitness packages’. Not only does such behavior go against every grain of conduct for fitness professionals, it also casts a misleading and negative light on the profession as a whole, unfairly tainting all other trainers along with it.

6. Trainers Who Discredit Other Fellow Fitness Professionals

Whether it is out of pure jealousy, professional envy or industry rivalry, there are always some trainers or coaches who simply have no qualms discrediting their fellow fitness pros for their own individual gain. Perhaps thinking that it would help them gain an upper hand when it comes to attracting clients, these trainers would resort to spreading unfounded rumours, speaking ill-will, gossiping, or simply distorting facts regarding other trainers in order to cast a bad light on them. Again, such behaviours are not to be condoned as they merely serve to put the industry down and sow seeds of discord and suspicion among fellow trainers.

As bad as they may seem, the above ethical shortcomings are fortunately NOT the norm in the Singapore Fitness Industry.

However, the fact that they exist – shows that much can still be done to improve the state of ethics within the fitness community here.

Ultimately, the onus falls on each individual trainer, coach or instructor to uphold for himself/herself – a high standard of ethical behaviour as becoming that of a Fitness Professional – and to recognize that the benefits of adopting such sound ethical practices will eventually far outweigh any short-term gain or temporary advantage that any ethical short-cut may bring about in the long run.