When fitness facilities reopen again across Europe, both fitness professionals and their customers must feel comfortable and confident that they are safe within the club. Customers must feel that their health and well-being are of paramount importance. This priority necessitates many adaptations in terms of the day-to-day operations of those facilities. Many fitness professionals will be working on an employed or self-employed basis within these facilities or may indeed be operating their own gym, studio, home-based or outdoor training space.
It is a professional responsibility of all fitness professionals and EREPS members to be fully aware of existing operational guidance and the implications of that guidance for their own practice. For this purpose, EREPS members should refer to the EuropeActive Summary of Current Recommended Practices for Operating Under Covid-19 Restrictions.
In supporting the implementation of this club-focused operational guidance and the practice of independent fitness professionals EREPS would restate the importance of adherence to the recently updated EREPS Code of Ethical Practice EREPS_Code_Of_Practice_March21.pdf Now more than ever, fitness professional must be committed to fulfilling their professional responsibilities and to the principle of ethical practice.
In these difficult times, particular emphasis would be placed on the requirements for EREPS members to show:
- Awareness of the requirement to place the customer’s needs as a priority and promote their welfare and best interests first when planning an appropriate training programme.
- A responsible attitude to the care and safety of client participants within the training environment and in planned activities ensuring that both are appropriate to the needs of the clients.
- An absolute duty of care to be aware of their working environment and to be able to deal with all reasonably foreseeable accidents and emergencies – and to protect themselves, their colleagues and clients.
Members should also note several new additions to the Code:
- High standards of personal and environmental hygiene, ensuring secure measures are implemented to protect clients and other users. This will include any specific pandemic requirements such as Covid-19
- Responsible practice when working virtually with clients considering safeguarding guidance and data protection legislation.
- Keeping up to date with and implementing all national safeguarding guidelines when working with minors and vulnerable adults.
The EREPS Code also now further supports the importance of recognising the principles of inclusivity, anti-discrimination and fair treatment for all. In this regard, members should pay particular attention to the following inclusion:
- EREPS commits to, and aligns with, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and to the European Union’s fundamental values of human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.
- EREPS and its members commit to respect diversity, tolerance, and the dignity of each individual, all of which constitute prerequisites for a meritocratic, innovative, and competitive ecosystem.
As a final thought as we move toward reopening, intrinsic to supporting member/client physical, social and mental well-being, is how fitness professionals communicate both in terms of their manner and the words they use. In the ‘new normal’ it will inevitably be the case that many clients/members will be nervous, cautious and concerned for their safety as they return to regular activity. The fitness professionals finds themselves on the ‘front line’ in terms of the management of these clients/members. This means providing clear instruction in terms of operational and safety guidelines in relation to Covid-19 but also reassurance, empathy, and sensitivity to client concerns. EREPS members will be supported in communicating appropriately and effectively with clients by adhering to the principles laid down in the EREPS Code of Ethical Practice.