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NASM: 30 Years of Fitness Industry Leadership

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine

Who is NASM and what have we been able to accomplish for personal trainers and the fitness industry? Take a trip with us down memory lane as we celebrate 30 strong years as a leader in personal training certification, education and the worldwide fitness industry.


30 Years

of Fitness Industry and Personal Training Certification Leadership


The National Academy of Sports Medicine is founded.
Dr. Robert Goldman, MD, PhD, discovered the need for quality education as he experienced the lack of fitness industry structure during the 1970s running craze and the surge of bodybuilding in the 1980s. Dr. Goldman coins the term "CPT" for his new Certified Personal Trainers.


NASM's move from Chicago to California.
Bodybuilding icon and then-owner Neal Spruce orchestrates NASM’s move from Chicago to California.


NASM-CPT becomes the first holistic (exercise + nutrition) certification.
With the addition of the nutrition component, NASM-CPT becomes the first holistic (exercise + nutrition) certification.


Dr. Micheal Clark joins NASM as CEO and creates the Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model.
Dr. Micheal Clark joins NASM as CEO and creates the Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model.


The first-ever Performance Enhancement Specialization (NASM-PES) is created.

The NASM-PES was created to take the foundation of the OPT™ model and apply it to sports performance clients. The NASM-PES has gained recognition with professional athletes, and every NBA team has had at least one trainer with an NASM specialization¹.

¹Source nbata.com data collected on April 26, 2016.


The Corrective Exercise Specialization (NASM-CES) is released, revolutionizing the industry.
Founded on the proven principles of the Corrective Exercise Continuum, the NASM-CES revolutionized the fitness industry with its evidence-based methodology to improve human movement and aid injury prevention.


NASM Research Institute established at the University of North Carolina.
The Research Institute, established at UNC Chapel Hill and led by thought leaders in sports medicine and athletic training, completed studies on topics including fitness, performance, rehabilitation, corrective exercise, nutrition, and behavior modification.


NASM pioneers online-based learning.
NASM led the industry by partnering with the California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) to create a 100% online interactive education platform.


NASM gains NCCA accreditation.
NASM’s CPT exam becomes accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), recognized by the fitness industry as a certification and credentialing standard.


Life Time and 24 Hour Fitness become the first powerhouse clubs to partner with NASM.
Hundreds of clubs around the world have partnered since then.


Pursuit of Excellence (POE) Award Established.
NASM and California University of Pennsylvania partner to create the Pursuit of Excellence Award, which provides full tuition to the Cal U Master of Science program.


NASM joins the Ascend Learning family.
Ascend Learning is a leading provider of educational content, software and analytics that enable institutions, students and employers to succeed in healthcare and other high-growth, licensure-driven professions.


NASM expands presence with higher education solutions.
Working with academic partners, NASM continues to lead the industry by introducing new program solutions and curriculums to support higher-level students, including those seeking master's degrees.


NASM provides worldwide guidance.
A recognized leader in the United States, NASM expands abroad to participate in establishing European occupational standards for fitness trainers creating the foundation for EuropeActive.


The Fitness Nutrition Specialization (NASM-FNS) is launched.
NASM expands its fitness professional development opportunities beyond fitness training with the addition of the NASM-FNS, quickly becoming one of the most popular NASM specializations.


NASM acquires the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
NASM parent company Ascend Learning acquired group exercise leader Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), building an extensive suite of professional development opportunities in fitness.


NASM launches its first Optima Conference,
which becomes an annual event attracting fitness industry leaders. Dr. Micheal Clark provides the conference's inaugural keynote address. CEOs of 24 Hour Fitness and Life Time will succeed him as future keynote speakers in 2016 and 2017, respectively.


NASM and United Kingdom-based Premier Training International join forces forming Premier Global NASM.
The newly formed UK-based organization integrates NASM Certified Personal Trainer, the NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist and the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist programs.


NASM Optima Conference 2017 hosts the organization's 30th Anniversary Celebration
The NASM Optima Conference 2017 hosts the organization's 30th Anniversary Celebration along with educational programming, networking and other career elevating experiences.
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The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.