Sports Medicine Training Certification Competitive Analysis
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) mentioned that its certifications are the most coveted in the personal training field. For the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), its competitive edge is being recognized as the "#1 rated trainer certification program."
Meanwhile, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) stated that it is the only personal training certification organization that provides an adaptive quiz platform for candidates who are preparing for their personal trainer certification. As for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the organization mentioned that its certifications can help trainers gain a competitive edge over their peers as they ascend to the level of some of the highly-skilled trainers in the field. When it comes to trends in the personal training field, an ACSM survey of fitness professionals mentioned that the use of wearables, the proliferation of high-intensity interval training, and the holding of group training sessions are the top current trends in this space.
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) provides technology-powered learning and certification services.
- The academy was founded 30 years ago and is currently headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona.
- The academy is under the Ascend Learning group. Ascend is considered as a major provider of fitness education and certification solutions that are backed by technology.
- The company is also one of the partners of the "Athletics and Fitness Association of America and Premier Global in the United Kingdom."
NASM Personal Training Certification Offering
- NASM's certified personal training (CPT) course has four programs that include the self-study program, the premium self-study program, the guided-study program, and the all-inclusive program.
- The self-study program includes "NCAA accredited exams, an NASM-CPT digital textbook, content learning videos, an exercise video library, and practice exams and quizzes."
- This program is the most flexible as it lets trainers educate themselves with their preferred pace and with no definite schedule.
- As for the premium self-study program, it includes the components of the basic self-study program on top of inclusions such as "exercise coaching demonstrations, a job guarantee, and a one-year NASM EDGE Trainer Plus."
- This plan combines flexibility and content.
- In the case of the guided-study plan, this program includes the elements of both the self-study and the premium self-study programs. On top of these inclusions, this program also provides a 10-week, instructor-led course (optional/flexible), a certification exam retest, and NASM-CPT hardcopy textbook, access to fitness experts, and a business accelerator.
- This program also comes with more support from a team of coaches who can provide guidance, respond to queries, and offer help. Those who will avail of this program will also be assigned a designated mentor who will assist in applying the lessons learned through online discussion forums and by imparting their professional knowledge in mentored study groups.
- Meanwhile, NASM's all-inclusive course combines all the components of the previous three programs with the following benefits added: "NASM EDGE CPT exam preparation, Gymternship™, and Recertify for Life."
- The all-inclusive program was developed to ensure that the trainer is fully prepared for the exam.
- Those under this plan will also be part of a Gymternship™ Program where they will have an on-site and live interaction with actual clients.
- The program also features online and practical tasks each week that combine fitness training services, the usual facility work, and mentoring.
- Those who wish to be certified can take the exam remotely or in-person. The exam is administered by a proctor in both options.
- Candidates who are eligible to take the exam should be a high school graduate or equivalent, must possess an updated emergency cardiac care (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification, and should be passionate to pursue health and fitness interests.
- They should also demonstrate their passion for enabling people to reach their fitness goals.
- Candidates are required to study the Certification Candidate Handbook prior to the exam.
- Candidates who pass the exam will receive their certification around 4-6 weeks after the exam.
NASM Pricing Scheme
- The price of the self-study plan is $50 per month or $599 for a year.
- The price of the premium self-study plan is $70 per month or $824 per year.
- For the guided-study scheme, the price is $98 per month or $1,124 per year.
- For the all-inclusive plan, the price is $145 per month or $1,649 per year.
- The academy also offers its fitness and nutrition bundle worth $1,680. The bundle already includes its certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT) guided study course and its nutrition certification (NASM-CNC) program.
- NASM also has a career kickstarter bundle worth $2,145. This includes its certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT) guided study course, its nutrition certification (NASM-CNC) program, and its corrective exercise specialization (NASM-CES) program.
NASM Target Market
- NASM targets fitness professionals who are aspiring to be fitness coaches or trainers.
NASM Competitive Advantage
NASM also mentioned that it has more than 30 years of training experience.
NASM states that it is the "foremost resource for health and fitness information" globally.
It also continues to improve its fitness best practices by offering superior programs and premium certification courses.
NASM also mentioned that its certifications are the most coveted in the personal training sector. Its systems and methods are considered as the "gold standard" in fitness.
The academy's certification programs demand the highest understanding of "human movement science, functional anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, as well as functional assessment and program design."
International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
- ISSA is a for-profit organization that offers remote education for fitness professionals that are backed by industry studies.
- The association was founded in 1988 by Dr. Sal Arria and Dr. Frederick Hatfield.
- The association is based in Phoenix, Arizona.
- It offers 12 fitness certification programs.
- It is affiliated with the IHRSA - International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, the National Board of Fitness Examiners, the CAPPS group, and the New York Chiropractic College.
ISSA Personal Training Certification Offering
- Trainers can study at home as all the lessons are available online. They can also take the final test at their own homes without needing to go to a testing site.
- Trainers will also be given a free website and support to acquire their own clients online.
- They can also get unlimited support from ISSA's network who can help them pass their certification exams as well as assist in finding the right jobs based on their career objectives.
- ISSA is also offering its trainers with its continuing education unit (CEU) courses.
- Those who will be undergoing the certification program will be given course materials that contain the most recent content from exercise science and health and fitness studies.
ISSA Pricing Scheme
- The company is currently offering a discounted price of $66.58 per month or $799 for one year for its personal trainer certification program and a free sports nutritionist course. Aspiring trainers can also start the course bundle for $1.
ISSA Target Market
- ISSA targets fitness professionals.
ISSA Competitive Advantage
- ISSA stated that it is established by recognized fitness experts.
- It also partnered with MedFit Network and MedFit Education Foundation, the leaders in "online fitness and allied healthcare professionals organization."
- It also got an accreditation from the NCCPT (National Counsel of Certified Personal Trainers), enabling the association to offer NCCA-certified courses.
- It also received an A+ certification from the BBB Accredited Business group.
- ISSA is also a member of the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE).
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is an organization that consists of over 50,000 members and certified professionals from 90 countries around the world.
- The company represents 70 job categories under the sports medicine field.
- The organization was established in 1954 and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- It has 12 chapters, 9,123 members, 8,403 chapter meeting attendees, and $52,600 worth of awards or research grants from various chapters.
- So far, the company was able to certify 15,297 personal trainers.
ACSM Personal Training Certification Offering
- ACSM offers its ACSM Certified Personal Trainer® (ACSM-CPT) program that can help aspiring trainers to get certified.
- The program can help trainers to formulate and execute "safe and effective" physical fitness plans that can be customized for each individual client.
ACSM Pricing Scheme
- The cost of taking the certification exam is $279 for ACSM member candidates.
- For non-members, the cost is $349.
- Re-testing will cost $175.
ACSM Target Market
- ACSM targets fitness professionals who aspire to become certified.
ACSM Competitive Advantage
- ACSM stated that it is the only group that can provide a 360-degree view of the sports medicine field.
- According to the group, their breakthrough research and collaboration helped in delivering innovative solutions across the aspects of "science, practice, education and policy."
National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is a non-profit organization that is involved in activities that can help improve "the strength and conditioning and related sport science" field globally.
- The company was founded in 1978 and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
NSCA Personal Training Certification Offering
- NSCA provides a checklist to prepare for the NSCA-CPT® test.
- The checklist involves planning for the test to ensure that the certification being aspired for is the right fit for the candidate.
NSCA Pricing Scheme
- The NSCA-CPT registration fee for the certification exam is $435 for non-members and $300 for members.
- Candidates can also opt to buy the NSCA-CPT Essential Plus Package. The package includes the components of the Essential Package above and some additional "online study course and additional resource for exercise technique."
- Members can purchase this package for $454.50. For non-members, the price is $508.50.
NSCA Target Market
- The association targets fitness professionals who wish to be certified.
NSCA Competitive Advantage
- NSCA stated that its certifications can help trainers take their credibility to the next level.
- An NSCA credential also helps trainers to be considered as the "standard" that companies look for when recruiting for fitness jobs that require strength and conditioning expertise.
- NCSA also mentioned that its certifications can help trainers gain a competitive edge over their peers as they ascend to the level of some of the highly-skilled trainers in the field.
Personal Training Trends
Based on the survey findings of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) from the response of thousands of fitness professionals, the use of wearable technology, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), and group training are the top three fitness trends in the personal training space.
Around 40% of the survey respondents have over ten years of experience in the fitness industry.
- The use of wearable technology in the fitness training field has been one of the leading trends since 2016.
- The broad use of technologies such as "fitness trackers, smartwatches, HR monitors, and GPS tracking devices" among the fitness practitioners propelled this trend to the top of the list.
- Some brands that are being used in the space include "Fitbit®, Samsung Gear Fit2®, Misfit®, Garmin®, and Apple®."
- These wearable devices are being used to track various fitness metrics such as HR, calories, sitting time, and others.
- There were some initial concerns on the accuracy of these wearable technologies but solutions were already put in place.
- According to the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA), using these wearables can enable clients to enjoy more their fitness journey. The devices can also enable personal trainers to monitor their performance.
- The client's fitness routine can also be inputted into these wearable devices for better tracking.
- The wearable technology market is currently worth around $95 billion.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- HIIT exercise sessions involve high-intensity periods of physical activity followed by a short resting time.
- HIIT was also the number one trend during the 2014 and the 2018 ACSM survey.
- From 2014 to 2020, this trend always appeared in the top five of the respondents' selections.
- These workouts focus on "higher intensities (over 90%) of maximum" while on the heightened intensity span followed by phases of rest and recovery.
- Even if some fitness professionals are voicing out their concerns that HIIT might cause more injuries, this type of exercise remained the most performed exercise in fitness centers around the world.
- Many personal trainers are already integrating HIIT routines into their client's exercise plan. For them, this type of routine saves time and provides various health benefits that were supported by studies in this field.
- Based on a study, an individual's metabolic rate can rise for several hours after doing a HIIT routine.
- Research findings also show that this type of exercise can result in fat loss, muscle gains, and blood sugar reduction.
- Given these benefits, the AFPA is predicting that this trend will be popular for a long time.
- Group training sessions involve more than five people.
- A group exercise instructor will then provide instructions, lead, and drive these participants to perform exercise routines that are designed for bigger groups.
- These sessions are developed to be suitable for large groups of participants with varying fitness levels. Their trainers typically handle several types of sessions and equipment.
- Some of the class types include cardio-focused, dance-focused, indoor cycling sessions, step class routines, and others.
- Other popular group classes are those involving Zumba, cycling, or HIIT routine such as the "OrangeTheory Fitness" style.
- According to the AFPA, many people have expressed their preference for group training as the format drives their motivation to stretch their bodies to the limit without taking into account their fitness condition.
- Personal trainers are also advised to take in a bigger client base to build their credibility as an expert trainer.
- For trainers, the AFPA mentioned that these bigger sessions will make them more productive. They can also earn more from training bigger groups as compared to 1:1 sessions.s
- These large exercise sessions have been in existence for many years now.
All the details above were also inputted in this shared spreadsheet under the Personal Training tab and the Personal Training Trends tab.