NASM and AFAA: A New Era

It’s a new era for AFAA and American Fitness. After 32 years, AFAA founder and CEO Linda D. Pfeffer retired and announced that AFAA has been acquired by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM®).

It’s a new era for AFAA and American Fitness. After 32 years, AFAA founder and CEO Linda D. Pfeffer retired and announced that AFAA has been acquired by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM®). It was stunning news for the AFAA community since Ms. Pfeffer is a “force of nature” leader who we always envisioned at the helm. But it makes perfect sense for NASM to take the rudder and steer AFAA toward its next evolution. 

NASM is at the forefront of the personal training industry, renowned for its quality certification, specializations, workshops, an exciting annual Optima conference, and a world-class online learning platform. NASM, with its strength in personal training, and AFAA with its unparalleled work in group exercise, together represent a powerhouse organization, very likely the largest in the world, with an outreach topping a half million. So it’s with much fanfare and celebration that we invite you to continue to advance your fitness career with NASM and AFAA. Expect a strengthened infrastructure of support and offerings, and an expanded view of what’s possible. In January 2016, American Fitness will incorporate NASM’s Training Edge articles for more of the exercise science you’ve always asked for. Look for new design features and highlights.

It’s also time to acknowledge those individuals who made this transition possible. We have an in-depth article on page 16 from NASM CEO Andrew Wyant. Also, the American Fitness editorial team (Kevin McGuire, Cristina Barrera, Esther Gwynne, Josh Burns and myself) welcome Stacey Penney, NASM Content Strategist, who will lead the editorial direction. The BBM&D Strategic Branding design team of Barbara Brown, Arrate Zavala, Jon Leslie, Paul Sullivan and staff are working on a redesign. The founding leaders on the AFAA Advisory Board (Nancy Gillette, Kathy Stevens, Laura Gladwin and myself) will be working with Sally Yagan, NASM Vice President of Product Strategy, to discover how to take the best of AFAA and move it forward with more punch and effectiveness. 

For this issue, you may recognize our cover choice, fitness personality and author Maria Kang, a woman who both inspires and incites. Last year Maria incited a social media backlash after posting a photo of her very fit self surrounded by her three young sons on Facebook, which got more than 16 million views. The caption read: What’s Your Excuse? While Maria meant it as a motivational kick, others, such as the “Curvy Girl” advocate, wrote back with a firestorm, stating that she was being judgmental. At the same time, Maria inspired one of the biggest fitness followings that Facebook has ever experienced. She has hundreds of thousands of fans, most of which are new moms, who send her adoring messages for her book, workouts and daily motivation. They relate to her desire to get and stay in shape while balancing busy lives. We decided to find out just what this fitness trainer was thinking with her no excuses message, so check out Elise Oberliesen’s lead story. Whether you’re inspired or provoked, just remember you are a fitness professional, and that Steven Blair’s research still stands: Fatter individuals who are moderately fit have a mortality rate that is half that of thinner people who are not fit. As an AFAA and/or NASM professional, you’ll also be asked to rely on the evidence, inspire with compassion, and understand that it takes a wide range of messages to reach everybody.
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