NASM fills the void – Campus Rec Magazine


Imagine waking up each day knowing that you are making the world a healthier, happier place.

While recreation professionals on campus 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 that fitness plays in people’s lives. And it was her father who taught her that with hard work and a positive mindset, she could do anything.

So it makes sense that what drew her to NASM was the incredibly positive energy of the community. In addition, he has educated over 1.3 million people. It makes McCartney feel like she’s helping to make the world not only happier, but healthier as well. “These trainers, instructors and coaches are here to change lives in over 100 countries,” she said.

NASM was founded in 1987 by Dr. Robert Goldman. He has filled a void in the fitness industry with quality, evidence-based education. McCartney also shared that he provided much needed structure and scientific rigor to support methodologies used by fitness professionals.

And a fun fact? “Dr. Robert Goldman actually coined the term ‘CPT’ for this new concept of certified personal trainer,” McCartney said. “The rest is history.”

Laurie McCartney

ANSM’s mission

Since its inception, the mission has been to provide the best knowledge and tools to transform lives. “We help personal trainers, their clients and anyone passionate about fitness be successful,” said McCartney.

NASM is currently working with more than 500 academic institutions. It provides education in fitness, wellness and nutrition. Content integration is done through virtual / distance learning, in person or through a hybrid program.

Recreation professionals at the McCartney Shared Campus often run a crash course for NASM Certified Personal Trainers (NASM CPT), NASM Certified Nutrition Coaches (NASM CNC), and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructors. “The feedback is very positive as this impact supports student and faculty demands while making mental health and wellness a priority,” she said. “Some of our campus recreation partners have been instrumental in increasing the impact and working directly with exercise science, kinesiology, and some athletic training and / or strength and conditioning class programs.”

However, unless NASM listens and evolves, it will not accomplish its mission. McCartney noted that it’s one thing about the organization that she loves: listening and then putting clients’ ideas in motion. “We have really put a lot of time and investment into the needs of our fitness professionals through a third party interviewing our growing professionals on an annual basis,” she said. “In addition, a task analysis is performed to ensure that our equipment meets the needs of what is expected of personal trainers. Real understanding of our customers’ needs has allowed us to continue to question our processes and the way we research, create and deliver better products.

Evolve and develop

With constant development, NASM has kept moving forward. But what does evolution look like with an organization that focuses on education?

“We’re constantly developing new and better ways to deliver the things they need to be successful. That’s what always pushes us forward, ”said McCartney. “It can mean optimizing a learning system to make it more engaging and accessible. Or it could mean developing a whole new program that allows someone to expand their expertise and support a client with specific goals. This is the kind of work that we know makes a difference.

This includes those on the development side, such as the Subject Matter Expert Team. McCartney shared that 23 subject matter experts were involved in the creation of the CNC NASM to ensure better program design, application needs and deeper product knowledge.

In addition, many know NASM best for its application and the design of its programs with its training courses. In fact, all of them are scientifically researched with proven results. A premier suite of programs covers:

  • Personal training
  • Group exercise
  • Injury prevention
  • Nutrition
  • Sports performance and more

One of these offers is the Fitness and Nutrition pack of the NASM CPT coupled with the NASM CNC.

“We have many recreation partners on campus who focus on the needs of their staff, as well as the surrounding community’s fitness facilities like local gyms and YMCAs,” said McCartney. “This is a win-win solution for their student body and college campuses, as nationally accredited certification is required for gainful employment opportunities in the fitness industry. In fact, the NASM CPT is a preferred – and sometimes required – certification to be hired as a personal trainer at many gyms.

Other Ways NASM Serves Industry

NASM can also provide full account management support for each partner. This includes student analytics data and an innovative platform that is completely device independent. Additionally, the NASM EDGE app and ClubConnect solutions provide ongoing support to staff and meet development needs.

Ultimately, McCartney said they are looking to help Campus Rec create the most complete, ready-to-go graduates. So NASM provides the resources and plug-and-play materials while instructors can focus on what they do best.

“In the fast-paced world we operate in, it’s best to devote instructors’ time and energy to leading their students, not to building supportive racks,” said McCartney.

Present since 1987, the NASM has succeeded in filling the void it intended to fill. And it extends beyond that, as McCartney shared.

A transformation of lives is underway under NASM. And it’s safe to say that McCartney is just one voice among many who wake up every day knowing that NASM is helping make the world a healthier, happier place.

For more information on NASM, visit

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