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NASM vs. ISSA: Which Personal Training Certification Is for You?

When it comes to choosing a personal training certification program, it can be hard to decide between NASM vs ISSA. Both programs have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it is important to understand the differences between them in order to make an informed decision. Read on for a comparison of the two programs so you can decide which one is best for you.

National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certification

The National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), founded in 1987, is a globally recognized organization that has become the leader in personal training certification. NASM provides its certified professionals with the tools to help their clients reach their health and fitness goals.

NASM offers an accredited certification that is accepted by employers worldwide. The program offers specializations in Performance Enhancement, Weight Loss, and Women’s Fitness, allowing certified professionals to specialize in a particular area of expertise. NASM has a comprehensive online study platform that includes practice exams, video lectures, and interactive flashcards to prepare candidates for the exam. Following completion, professionals are given access to resources such as ongoing education, job assistance, and discounts on products. 

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Certification

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), established in 1988, is an internationally-recognized fitness education and certification organization. ISSA offers courses and certifications in personal training, nutrition, health and fitness, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, and more. The association’s goal is to give individuals the education they need to become successful professionals in the fitness industry.

ISSA offers multiple pathways to earning a certification in the field of personal training. One of the biggest benefits of becoming certified through ISSA is its comprehensive course offerings. From their comprehensive personal trainer certification to specialty certifications such as corrective exercise, performance nutrition, and pre/post-natal fitness, ISSA has something for everyone. 

ISSA makes it easy to stay current with industry trends and best practices by offering continuing education courses. They also offer job placement assistance for those looking to break into the industry. ISSA also offers a number of online courses covering topics such as wellness coaching and business management.

Deciding Between NASM and ISSA

NASM and ISSA are two of the most popular personal training certification programs. To make the best decision for your career goals, it’s important to understand the difference between the two programs. 

NASM’s program is designed for those who wish to become certified personal trainers. The curriculum includes training in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, exercise science, and injury prevention. The program also offers specialized certifications in various aspects of personal training such as group fitness, nutrition, and corrective exercise.

On the other hand, ISSA’s program is designed to provide comprehensive training in sports science and exercise prescription. It covers a variety of topics such as anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and fitness programming. The program also offers several specialty certifications such as performance enhancement, sports nutrition, and fitness therapy.

When deciding which certification program to choose, there are several factors to consider based on your personal needs. The most important is to decide what your goal is in becoming a personal trainer. Do you want to become a certified personal trainer or are you looking for more advanced training in sports science? Would you benefit from further instruction on building a business? Once you’ve identified your goals, you should look at the cost of the program. How much does it cost and do you have the resources to cover the cost? You also want to consider how long it will take to complete the program.

Ultimately, choosing between NASM and ISSA will come down to personal preference and goals. Both programs offer quality instruction and will help prepare you for a career in fitness and health. With some research and careful consideration, you can decide which program best fits your needs and lifestyle.


Choosing the right personal certification program is an important decision that should be taken with careful consideration. Both the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) offer excellent programs for those looking to become certified in personal training.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which program best fits their needs, as those vary greatly with each person. Factors such as cost, format, and curriculum are all important when making this decision. With proper research and due diligence, you can choose a program that will give you the best chance at success in your career as a personal trainer.

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