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Personal Trainer Scope of Practice

Scope of practice is defined as “legal range of services that professionals in a given field can provide, settings in which those services can be provided and guidelines and parameters that must be followed”. These laws, rules and regulations govern a profession for the protection of the public. Personal trainers and fitness professionals as a collective group have a general scope of practice.

The American College of Sports Medicine, defines a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) as someone who “works with apparently healthy individuals and those with health challenges who are able to exercise independently to enhance quality of life, improve health-related physical fitness, performance, manage health risk, and promote lasting health behavior change. The CPT conducts basic pre-participation health screening assessments, submaximal aerobic exercise tests, and muscular strength/endurance, flexibility, and body composition tests. The CPT facilitates motivation and adherence as well as develops and administers training programs”.


According to the National Strength and Conditioning Associationg (NSCA), Personal Trainers “use individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate, and train clients regarding their health and fitness needs. They design safe and effective exercise programs, provide the guidance to help clients achieve their personal health/fitness goals, and respond appropriately in emergency situations”.

Pillar Prep takes the training profession seriously, and will not practice outside the scope of their professional role. The list below outlines what a trainer can and can't do, and explains why we do not provide some services that seem to be offered by other trainers.   

  • As a personal trainer/fitness professional, I can use individualized approach to assess, motivate, educate, and train my clients regarding their health and fitness needs. I cannot diagnose or prescribe care for their clients nor accept or train clients who have medical conditions that may exceed my level of knowledge and experience. I currently do not accept clients who classify as HIGH RISK according to ACSM Risk stratification model.

  • Any attempts to "diagnose" medical conditions from the data obtained from the health history, or "treat" a medical condition through an exercise program for a client is violation of unauthorized practice of medicine statute.

  • If you have a disease state (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, eating disorder, osteoporosis, elevated cholesterol) that is affected by nutrition, I would like you to refer to a licensed nutritionist or a registered dietician who can better address your specific needs. This type of nutrition information is called medical nutrition therapy and falls under the scope of practice of a licensed nutritionist, dietitian, or registered dietitian (RD) (depending on the country and in the United States, on the state's licensure laws)

  • It is outside the scope of practice for a personal trainer to recommend supplements. Rather, it is the duty of the personal trainer to aid clients as consumers, ensuring they are informed of the safety and scientific legitimacy of products and know how to assess whether a supplement company follows best practices. So I provide you with resources on safety and benefits of sports supplements and allow you to make better decisions yourself.

  • I have the responsibility to interview potential clients to gather and assess pertinent information about their personal health, medical conditions, and lifestyle to meet their individual health and fitness objectives safely and effectively.

  • If you mention any pre-existing health conditions (related to signs and symptoms associated with CVD, orthopedic concerns, and diagnosis by a physician), it is recommended that you have to contact his or her physician and tell the physician which questions elicited yes answers before increasing physical activity and taking part in a fitness appraisal or assessment.

  • I cannot engage in any modalities I am not trained in (such as physiotherapy, skeletal manipulations, interpreting blood work, or prescribing a therapeutic diet).

  • I cannot create a rehabilitation plan for a client or tell a client how or when to take medications based on their blood work.

  • It is outside the scope of practice to offer meal plan, specific dietary prescription, and counseling to my clients. I can offer nutrition education or orientation to support the physical training program I offer. This education includes general nutrition overview does not include individualized nutrition assessment, counseling, and meal planning, especially when a nutrition-related disease or condition is involved.

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