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Textbook Description

Law for Fitness Managers and Exercise Professionals


This new textbook was peer reviewed by 10 highly-experienced lawyers, academicians, fitness managers, and exercise professionals. It is the only resource that covers numerous legal and risk management issues including “current” topics such as:

  • Virtual fitness programs: What are the legal liability risks and how can you minimize those risks? Are there legal liability differences between “live” and “on-demand” classes/workouts? What should you know when providing services across state lines?
  • Bacterial/viral infections (e.g., MRSA/COVID-19): What does the plaintiff (the injured party who claims he/she contracted the infection at your facility) have to prove to win his her/case? How can you minimize these liability risks?
  • High intensity exercise programs: What are the claims made by plaintiffs in negligence cases involving these programs? What are the injury risks in HIT versus HIIT? What precautions need to be taken before leading free weight/resistance and cardiovascular HIIT training programs?
  • Fitness technology: How do federal and state privacy laws apply to wearable technology, mobile apps? What are the privacy/security/breach notification laws related to protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII)? What about state laws involving biometric data?
  • Integration of the exercise profession and the healthcare industry: Why is it essential that exercise professionals demonstrate their credentials/competence before establishing relationships with healthcare professionals? How can healthcare professionals minimize their liability when referring patients to exercise professionals?
  • Scope of practice/clinical exercise prescription: Why do exercise professionals, who design/deliver programs for clinical populations, need advanced knowledge and skills? What are the strategies to help avoid claims of practicing in licensed professions such as medicine, dietetics, physical therapy, and counseling?
  • Standards of care: How do courts determine the standard of care of fitness managers and exercise professionals? What do expert witnesses provide in their testimony?
  • Heavy Resistance Training (RT): What are the injury risks? What precautions will help provide legal protection?
  • Waivers (releases of liability): Do they provide effective protection for negligence? What works better than a waiver to provide protection from negligence claims/lawsuits? Why does a knowledgeable lawyer need to prepare your waiver?
  • Medical clearance and medical release: What is the difference between these? How is each applied in the design/delivery of exercise programs? What is the legal significance of each?
  • Employer liability: How does vicarious and direct liability apply to fitness manager/owners? What are the legal implications for employers who fail to properly hire, train, and supervise their employees? What are the legal issues involving independent contractors, student interns, and volunteers?
  • Documentation: Why is documentation essential in helping you win a negligence lawsuit? What needs to be documented?
  • AED state laws: Why do you need to know your state AED law(s) regarding fitness facilities? What are the claims made by plaintiffs in negligence and wrongful death cases, even if your state does not have a specific AED law for fitness facilities?
  • Accreditation, certification, and licensure: As the exercise profession continues to evolve, what are some future directions in these three areas that can be considered to enhance its reputation? Should employers assume that "certified" professionals are competent?
  • Federal laws: Are you familiar with the many federal laws applicable to fitness facilities and programs, e.g., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, ADA, FTCA, FLSA, OSHA? How can fitness managers and exercise professionals comply with these laws?
  • Safety Culture: How can you develop/implement a safety culture in your facility/program? What are the fours steps involved in developing/implementing a comprehensive risk management plan? Can you measure safety culture? 

Answers to all of above questions and more are provided in the new textbook!



Part I: The Need for Legal and Risk Management Education

Part II: Textbook Organization, Special Features, Definitions, and Website


Chapter 1 U.S. Law and Legal System

Chapter 2 Creating a Safety Culture: Building a Comprehensive Risk Management Plan

Chapter 3 Complying with Federal Laws: Honoring Legal Rights

Chapter 4 Negligence and Common Defenses to Negligence


Chapter 5 Hiring Credentialed and Competent Personnel

Chapter 6 Pre-Activity Health Screening and Fitness Testing

Chapter 7 Exercise Prescription and Scope of Practice

Chapter 8 Instruction and Supervision

Chapter 9 Exercise Equipment Safety

Chapter 10 Managing Facility Risks

Chapter 11 Emergency Planning and Response

List of Abbreviations


Case Index



Special features designed to enrich learning experiences and outcomes include:

  • Descriptions of 30 “spotlight” legal cases including “lessons learned” from each case and over 80 additional cases.
  • Descriptions of effective risk management strategies to help protect fitness managers/exercise professionals and their organizations from legal liability.
  • In addition to negligence, legal liability issues are discussed such as technological applications (e.g., virtual exercise programs, data privacy and biometric data/wearable technology), working with and/or partnering with the healthcare industry, and discrimination (e.g., disability, sexual harassment)
  • Key Points in every chapter that highlight and emphasize important legal and risk management principles and concepts.
  • Over 100 tables, figures, exhibits, and photos to provide additional, relevant information and illustrate textual content.
  • Numerous sample forms and documents
  • Risk management audits to assess the development and implementation of recommended risk management strategies
  • Legal and risk management resources


(A) Fitness managers and directors

Managers/directors, assistant managers/directors, and program coordinators employed in settings such as:

  • Corporate: Employer-sponsored Fitness/Wellness
  • College/University: Campus Recreation, Athletic Strength/Conditioning
  • Commercial, for-profit: Health Clubs, Resorts, Fitness Studios, Sport Performance Centers
  • Community, non-profit: YMCA, JCC
  • Government: Military, Firefighters/Police, City/County Recreation
  • Hospitals/Medical Clinics: Cardiac Rehab, Hospital-based Fitness/Wellness
  • Retirement Centers: 55+ Communities, Independent Living

(B) Exercise professionals

  • Exercise physiologists and clinical exercise physiologists
  • Personal fitness trainers
  • Group exercise leaders
  • Strength and conditioning coaches
  • Fitness/wellness and health coaches
  • Youth fitness instructors
  • Leaders of first responder/military fitness programs

(C) Healthcare providers who work with exercise professionals and fitness facilities/programs

  • Physicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Athletic trainers

(D) Lawyers and insurance experts involved in the fitness industry

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