Code of Ethics for Personal Trainers & Fitness Instructors

The American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA) Code of Ethics and Practice helps to establish and maintain standards for fitness instructors & personal trainers who are members of AFPA and to inform and protect members of the public seeking instruction and training in health, fitness and nutrition.

The American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA) believes there are fundamental fitness professional competencies that separate truly excellent dedicated professionals from those that are merely covering course content. Articulating those competencies is a helpful step in ensuring mutual clarity of expectations. 

The Fitness Professional Code of Ethics and Conduct below reflects these competencies:

I will treat every student/client with respect and dignity.

I will satisfy my students' need for information not my own need for self-expression.

I will look to expand upon my core education with relevant continuing education and personal experiences I will maintain my certifications and progress to stay current with advances in my areas of expertise.

I will dress professionally and maintain my personal appearance.

I will not degrade any person, company, or group while in the presence of students or clients.

I will not engage in behavior that represents any conflict of interest between myself, AFPA , the students, and the client.

I will take final responsibility for creating an appropriate instructional environment.

There should be consistency between the theoretical orientation of the program and the training methods and, where they are used, methods of assessment and evaluation.


Instructing & training is a non-exploitative activity. Its basic values are integrity, impartiality and respect. Trainers must take the same degree of care to work ethically whether the training is paid or unpaid.


Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must consider and address their own prejudices and stereotyping. They must also address the prejudices and stereotyping of their trainees. They must ensure that an anti-discriminatory approach is integral to all the training they provide.


All reasonable steps shall be taken by trainers to ensure the safety of students and clients during training. 


The terms and conditions on which the instruction & training is offered must be made clear to students/clients before the start of the training program. Subsequent revision of these terms must be agreed in advance of any changes.


Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must maintain and establish appropriate boundaries between themselves and their clientele so that working relationships are not confused with friendship or other relationships. 


Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must recognize the value and dignity of their clientele, with due regard to issues of origin, status, gender, age, beliefs, sexual preference or disability. Trainers have a responsibility to be aware of, and address their own issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and to give particular consideration to ways in which this may impact on the training.

Where personal issues are revealed, instructors & trainers are responsible for suggesting and encouraging further in-depth work with a counselor outside the training context.

Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must at all times conduct themselves in their instructing & training activities in ways which will not undermine public confidence in their role as instructors & trainers, in the work of other trainers or in the role of a Certified Professional.


Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers should commit themselves to continuing professional development as trainers.

Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must monitor their training work and be able and willing to account their clientele and colleagues for what they do and why.

Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers have a responsibility to themselves and to their clients to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and ability to work with clients. They are expected to monitor their own personal functioning and to seek help and/or agree to withdraw from training, whether temporarily or permanently, when their personal resources are so depleted as to require this.


Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers are responsible for establishing a contract for confidential working which makes explicit the responsibilities of both trainer and client.

Fitness Instructors & Personal Trainers must not reveal confidential information concerning clients, or former clients, without the permission of the client, except in order to prevent serious harm to another or to the client or when legally required to break confidentiality.

If instructors or trainers suspect misconduct by another AFPA Certified members which cannot be resolved or remedied after discussion with that individual concerned, they should contact AFPA directly. 

Management of the Training Work

Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers must make basic information available to potential clients, in writing or by other appropriate means of communication, before the start of the program. This should include:

  • the fees to be charged and any other expenses which may be incurred
  • the dates and time commitments
  • basic information about the program, its philosophical and theoretical approach and the training methods to be used
  • the relevant qualifications of the instructors or trainers
  • evaluation and assessment methods to be used during the program and the implications of these