Certifying Organizations

The fitness industry is littered with four letter certification acronyms where most mean nothing, and only a few — NCSF, NSCA, ACSM, and ISSN — carry any weight. It was observed people not familiar with the training industry typically did not have a reference point as to gauge the skill level of a personal trainer; if your personal trainer holds any of the following fitness certifications, you can be confident you are working with someone who is well qualified to help you reach your fitness goals.


The National Strength and Conditioning Association is considered the gold standard in the personal training industry. Trainers who possess the CSCS certification focus on increasing athletic performance — strength, power, speed.


The National Council on Strength & Fitness is strong in teaching the physiological aspects of exercise science — muscle physiology, bio-energetics, nervous system, and endocrine system. Their continuing education program is second to none.


The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. ACSM promotes and integrates scientific research, education and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health and quality of life.


The International Society of Sports Nutrition and its CISSN sports nutrition certification was developed by leading professors, health educators, and researchers in the area of applied sports nutrition. Fitness professionals who hold this certification have comprehensive knowledge of the human body’s adaptive response to exercise, and the role nutrition plays.