Excessive exercisers and people with eating disorders are going to work out regularly, so one may argue that they might as well exercise in a club setting, where they can receive proper instruction and supervision.
However, they may have a higher risk of injury than the average member, so you should take steps to limit your risk of liability for such injury.
One way to limit that risk is with the standard waiver that every member should sign after joining—if liability waivers are legal and enforceable in your state.
Liability waivers aren’t enforceable in all states (including Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Louisiana, and Montana), and the courts in many states—even those in which waivers are permitted—are reluctant to enforce them.
A good alternative is to add a section to your membership contract in which, by signing the agreement, the member warrants that they:
- are in good physical condition;
- have consulted with a physician;
- are unaware of any medical condition that may place that member at an increased risk of injury or death from engaging in exercise.
By doing this, the club has created a legal document in which the member has expressly certified that they’ve consulted their physician and have been “cleared” to exercise.
In general, asking a member to obtain explicit permission from their physician prior to exercising because of a specific health condition, such as an eating disorder, can be problematic.
Most physicians will refuse to issue explicit permission (doing so could put them at risk of liability), and, if the member can’t obtain permission, the club has to decide what to do.