Imagine waking up every day, knowing you are helping make the world a healthier and happier place.
While campus recreation professionals most likely resonate with this, so does Laurie McCartney. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” she said.
McCartney is the president of Ascend Learning’s Global Fitness and Wellness group and oversees the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She has always had a strong appreciation for the important role fitness plays in the lives of people. And it was her father who taught her that with hard work and a positive mindset she could do anything.
So, it makes sense what drew her to NASM was the incredibly positive energy of the community. Plus, it’s educated over 1.3 million people. This gives McCartney the feeling she is helping make the world not only a happier place but also a healthier one. “Those trainers, instructors and coaches are out there changing lives in over 100 countries,” she said.
NASM was founded in 1987 by Dr. Robert Goldman. It filled a void in the fitness industry with quality and evidence-based education. McCartney also shared it provided much-needed structure and scientific rigor to support the methodologies fitness professionals were using.
And a fun fact? “Dr. Robert Goldman actually coined the term ‘CPT’ for this new concept of a Certified Personal Trainer,” said McCartney. “The rest is history.”
The Mission of NASM
Since its beginning, the mission is to provide the best knowledge and tools to transform lives. “We help personal trainers, their clients and anyone with a passion for fitness achieve success,” said McCartney.
NASM currently works with over 500 academic institutions. It delivers fitness, wellness and nutrition education. Incorporation of content happens via virtually/distance learning, in-person or through a hybrid program.
McCartney shared campus rec professionals often run an accelerated study course for NASM Certified Personal Trainer (NASM CPT), NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM CNC) and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor. “The feedback is very positive as this impact supports the student body and faculty demands while keeping health and mental wellness a priority,” she said. “Some of our campus rec partners have aided in growing the impact and working directly with exercise science, kinesiology, and some athletic training and/or strength and conditioning course programs.”
However, unless NASM listens and evolves it won’t achieve its mission. McCartney noted that’s one thing about the organization she loves: listening to and then putting customers’ ideas in motion. “We really put a lot of time and investment into our fitness professionals’ needs through a third party by surveying our growing professionals on an annual basis,” she said. “In addition, a job task analysis is conducted to ensure our materials meet the needs of what is expected of personal trainers. Truly understanding our customers’ needs has allowed us to continue to challenge our processes and how we research, create and deliver better products.”
Evolving and Developing
With constant development, NASM has continued to move forward. But what does evolution look like with an organization that’s focus is on education?
“We are constantly developing new and better ways to provide the things they need to be successful. That’s what keeps pushing us forward,” said McCartney. “It might mean optimizing a learning system to make it more engaging and accessible. Or it might mean developing a whole new program that enables someone to expand their expertise and support a client with specific goals. That’s the kind of work we know is making a difference.”
This includes those on the development side, like the subject matter expert team. McCartney shared 23 subject matter experts had a hand in the creation of the NASM CNC to ensure better program design, application needs and a deeper product knowledge.
Plus, many know NASM best for its application and program design focus with its education courses. In fact, all are scientifically researched with proven results. A suite of premier programs covers:
- Personal training
- Group exercise
- Injury prevention
- Sports performance and more
One such offering is the Fitness and Nutrition bundle of the NASM CPT coupled with the NASM CNC.
“We have numerous campus recreation partners that focus on their staff needs, as well as the surrounding community’s fitness facilities like local gyms and YMCAs,” said McCartney. “This is a win-win for their student body and campus rec, since a nationally accredited certification is necessary for gainful employment opportunities within the fitness industry. In fact, the NASM CPT is a preferred — and sometimes required — certification to be hired as a personal trainer in many gyms.”
Other Ways NASM Serves the Industry
NASM can also provide full account management support for each partner. This includes student analytical data and an innovative platform that is completely device-agnostic. Plus, the NASM EDGE App and ClubConnect Solutions give ongoing staff support and meet upskilling needs.
Ultimately, McCartney said they are looking to help Campus Rec create the most well-rounded and employment-ready graduates. So, NASM provides the plug-and-play resources and materials while instructors can focus on what they do best.
“In the fast-paced world in which we operate, instructor time and energy are best spent on leading their students, not building support materials,” said McCartney.
Having been around since 1987, NASM has successfully met the void it set out to fill. And it’s expanding beyond this, as McCartney has shared.
A transformation of lives is taking place under NASM. And it’s safe to say McCartney is one voice of many who are waking up each day, knowing NASM is helping make the world a healthier and happier place.
For more information on NASM, visit nasm.org.