AFAA Joins NASM to Elevate Today’s Fitness Professionals

New Partnership Offers a Broader Range of Resources for Personal Trainers and Group Exercise Instructors

by Andrew Wyant, President of NASM


About 30 years ago, the fitness industry was a sort of Wild West without real standards and certifications. Since then, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America® (AFAA®) has certified over 350,000 fitness professionals worldwide and become a leading name in group fitness and personal training. At the same time the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM®) was building its reputation as the leading evidence-based personal training certification provider.

Because of on our respective leading positions in personal training and group fitness, NASM and AFAA have partnered to become one driving force to take you, your career and your clients to the next level of health, fitness and wellness. Whether you train youth, seniors or professional athletes in a group setting or individually, NASM and AFAA are committed to developing the most progressive solutions to support your business needs and clients’ success.

We believe that this combination will serve to take the fitness professional to an even higher level. Better products. Better service. Better support. More respect. 

Together, NASM and AFAA will provide more opportunities for professional development, and access to industry leading tools and resources. We are focused on furthering what are already the highest standards in the industry through evidence-based programs, workshops and training.

There has truly never been a better time to expand your knowledge base and hone your skills to maintain your competitive edge in this high-performing industry.

Benefits to AFAA Members
NASM and AFAA are working to bridge the gap between health, fitness and wellness in personal training and group fitness instruction. No matter what your career path, we have solutions and resources to support your goals. 

Some of these benefits include:
• Access to a dedicated NASM education advisor to help you map out your career path.

• A more expansive variety of fitness and specialty workshops in cities across the country and online.

• Cutting-edge research and studies to help you further develop your training programs.

• Programs designed using NASM’s proprietary Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model. 

• A network of Master Instructors serving as industry advisors and educators.

There are also new continuing education courses to explore, expanding your CEU options, ranging from hands-on workshops and online digital learning courses to new content and studies to reference. NASM and AFAA are providing the most advanced opportunities for fitness professionals that the industry has ever seen.

Leaders in Evidence-Based Fitness Solutions 

For those of you who may not be as familiar with NASM, similar to AFAA’s 32 years of experience, we also have a well-respected history. For more than 25 years, NASM has been one of the leading providers of Personal Trainer certifications and specializations in the country.

Deeply rooted in science, NASM specializations are highly regarded and the Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) certification is one of the most in demand to date. The NASM-CPT is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and incorporates an understanding of human movement science, functional anatomy, kinesiology, exercise physiology, health and fitness assessments, program design, training techniques, nutrition, client interaction and behavioral coaching, as well as how to safely train a variety of clients with differing needs.

At the core of the NASM-CPT and its other specializations is the proprietary Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model. NASM founder, Dr. Micheal Clark developed this exclusive step-by-step training model by performing extensive scientific research and executing practical applications.

OPT features three progressive levels of training to help clients achieve optimal physiological, physical and performance benefits. Within these levels are five phases that can take your clients to any fitness goals they want to reach.


OPT is designed to improve all areas of functional abilities including flexibility, core stabilization, balance, strength, power, cardiorespiratory endurance and speed. It truly takes the guesswork out of designing training programs for clients and helps you achieve the results your clients desire in a very thoughtful, personalized and strategic process.

By now, you may be thinking about what’s next. With a new library of resources to consider, the options are endless, especially with NASM’s specializations. They are designed to develop every aspect of your evolving career, and NASM and AFAA both take pride in staying ahead of the curve to support new techniques and approaches, as well as improve upon existing methodologies and practices. NASM specializations include Corrective Exercise, Performance Enhancement, Group Personal Training, Fitness Nutrition, Senior Fitness, Behavior Change, Youth Exercise and Women’s Fitness, to name just a few.

Complementary Specializations

Out of all the NASM specializations, two stand out as ways to elevate your fitness career—Corrective Exercise Specialization (CES) and Performance Enhancement Specialization (PES).

NASM’s CES is one of the most relevant specializations for society today. Overall, CES addresses faulty movements and muscle imbalances caused primarily by a lack of movement throughout the day. For example, sitting for long periods of time or working at a computer for hours on end can greatly impact muscle balance. This in turn translates to poor posture, improper movement, and can lead to discomfort and injuries.

With CES, you learn to perform specific assessments to help identify areas in need of improvement, techniques for stretching, plus how to address and prevent discomfort and pain. Whether you’re working primarily with sedentary clients or avid gym goers, this specialization empowers you to work through specific muscular issues and improve a client’s posture and strength at the same time.

Using this specialization in both personal training and group exercise settings, you will learn to quickly spot areas of weakness that can potentially cause injuries, and correct those behaviors before they become chronic issues for your clients.

On the athletic side of the spectrum is the PES. This specialization is designed for training current and former athletes or the more athletically inclined client. PES elevates fitness training and teaches specific skills to move athletes to the peak of their physical abilities. Based on the OPT model, this program incorporates flexibility, strength and performance training for professional athletes and weekend warriors alike.

Fitness professionals learn techniques for increasing cardio performance, as well as in-depth specifics to improve speed, agility and quickness. This specialization is ideal for working with high school, college-bound and professional athletes, as well as clients training for elite sporting events, like marathons, triathlons or obstacle races. PES can also support achieving a higher level of performance while preventing fatigue and injury, making you invaluable to your clients on the field and off.


A New Era of Fitness

Clearly, NASM and AFAA are stronger together, as one. We, as fitness professionals, are more valuable to our clients with our combined knowledge base and broader inventory of continuing education.

Count on us to be your lifelong fitness partner. You can rely on us to stay at the forefront of science, research and consumer demands. This partnership gives us an unprecedented opportunity to deliver innovative and custom solutions to you, building greater client relationships, stronger businesses and healthier lives.

You can look forward to hearing much more about how NASM and AFAA will be working together in the future. Please know that we exist solely to serve you and your career and lifelong commitment to health and fitness.

Thank you for embarking on this journey with us.
The information provided is without warranty or guarantee and NASM disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information. Learn more