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10 Fitness Organizations You Need to Know About

One key thing most gym owners find out is that every day is a school day. Rarely a person will be a fully formed gym owner on day one. It takes time, effort, and learning lessons from mistakes along the way. 

A wealth of information exists on how to run a gym successfully. From seminars to dedicated blogs to best-selling books, there is so much out there to support your day to day learning on the job. 

Fitness organizations are another valuable resource when it comes to furthering your skills. Gaining insights into what is going on in the industry is so important. It allows you to plan ahead for any future trends and not waste time fumbling around in the darkness. 

In this article, we will go through what exactly a fitness organization is, why they are important and then list 10 to take note of in the fitness industry. 

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What is a Fitness Organization?

A fitness organization is a body that provides research, education, training, and certification to the fitness industry. Usually, the organization will charge a membership fee to join. And, because there is a monetary cost involved with joining a fitness organization, you should think carefully about the value you will receive from investing in a membership. 

On the other hand, if you feel that joining an organization isn’t worth the investment right now, it’s definitely a good idea to follow their online activity. Many organizations will publish insight and educational content in the form of blogs, ebooks, and newsletters. Make sure you are tracking their social channels and are on their subscriber list. 

Why Are They Important? 

One of your key responsibilities is making sure your staff is up to date with the latest trends in the industry. The content that fitness organizations produce is key to this. 

Apart from this, there are several other reasons why fitness organizations can play an important role in your fitness business. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons here:


Once upon a time, fitness organizations were just regional or local bodies that were irrelevant on national or global stages. Imagine getting certified by a local fitness association and then changing your location — your certification wouldn’t carry much weight in your new area. Standardization brings uniformity on a national or international stage, and also brings the benefit of guidelines. This results in more credibility to your niche and the fitness industry as a whole. Such guidelines are also great for safety and accountability.


Say you’d like to concentrate on a specific niche, like group exercise for older adults, for example. Some professional organizations may offer training and advancements through certification exams to increase your experience in a specific niche and help you become specialized.


Your employees will perform a lot better with the right credentials and certificates, and your members will be more confident in them. Having a certified personal trainer on your staff looks a lot better than having a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic. Make sure the certification programs are accredited, and by a reputable accreditation agency.


Fitness organizations provide excellent networking opportunities. They enable you to interact with other fitness professionals in your area, your country, and around the world through conferences, events, and even social media. Conferences are also great ways to earn CECs (Continuing Education Credits).

Latest Technology 

Fitness organizations are reliable information hubs for new trends. This includes new trends in technology. Tech is driving a lot of change in the industry, especially through things like fitness trackers and management software so you need to be aware of what’s coming in the future.

10 Fitness Organizations You Should Know

Not all fitness associations and organizations are created equal. Some of them don’t carry as much weight as others, while some just aren’t relevant to what your gym offers. There’s also a chance that some are simply a waste of your two most important resources; time and money.

So you should be sure of what you want from a fitness and health organization before choosing which ones to delve into. You should also make sure the organization is a credible one. Only you can decide on the former, but we can certainly help you out with the latter. Here’s a list of 10 fitness organizations you should know.


ncca logo


This organization is not what you’d typically classify as a “fitness organization”, but it is probably the most important. The NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) is the highest national accreditation organization, and they have been around since 1987. Their accreditation process ensures that the fitness organization’s program in question follows the public health, welfare, and safety standards that ensure quality.

If you’re interested in a certification organization’s training program, one of the first things you should do is check if it is accredited. Being certified by a fitness program that is NCCA accredited adds a valuable layer of credibility to your qualifications. 


IHRSA logo


The International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is by far the most significant global fitness organization that you should be aware of. They boast of a presence in over 70 countries with over 8,000 member clubs. This organization’s mission is “to grow, protect, and promote the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with the benefits that will help them be more successful.”

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The IHRSA is an excellent resource for fitness professionals and businesses alike. Whether you’re a certified personal trainer, a health coach, or a gym owner, you can benefit from their great statistics and research about the current trends in the fitness industry. They also host several trade shows and conventions every year, which keep you up to date on everything fitness-related, from technology to products and beyond.


ACSM logo


As a gym operator and fitness professional, you want the most up to date, science-based information about health and fitness. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the most reputable for just that. This organization’s membership boasts a long list of PhD holders, scientists, clinicians, and other health and fitness professionals.

Becoming an ACSM member means getting access to a reputable organization with a vast knowledge base. They host an annual, International Health & Fitness Summit that lasts a couple of days. The summit provides many great opportunities to gain CECs through participation in lectures on exercise science, personal training, fitness management, and other physical education courses. The ACSM also publishes the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, which is widely known in the fitness industry for its top 20 fitness trends for the coming year.

4. ACE

ACE logo


The American Council on Exercise is a nonprofit fitness organization that has been around since 1985. They offer five NCCA accredited certification programs, as well as other continuing education courses for CEC opportunities to keep your staff up to date on the knowledge they need. They also offer some valuable resources for the gym operator, such as business growth insights and free webinars.

5. AFS



The Association of Fitness Studios is all about the business side of your gym. They promise to provide “every resource necessary to start, grow, or extend the life of your business.” The AFS gives you access to influencers and trends, all to guide you through the business part of your gym to boost profitability. This organization can make starting and running a fitness business much easier, and is especially useful to smaller facilities.


nasm logo


As a gym operator, you’re likely to have some personal training staff in your facility. The National Academy of Sports Medicine is known for their in-depth Certified Personal Training programs with four learning packages. The NASM has certified and re-certified over 190,000 personal trainers in the past 10 years.


nsca logo


The National Strength and Conditioning Association is a nonprofit fitness organization with over 45,000 members and certified professionals. They are “dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession around the world.” They provide strength and conditioning professionals with research-based knowledge through research journals, continuing education courses, certifications, and career development services.

8. National Fitness Trade Journal

national fitness trade journal


The National Fitness Trade Journal is a trade publication that is geared towards fitness managers. The publication has been around since 1982, and its main focus is to keep fitness managers “informed of the latest technology, equipment, products, and services in the fitness industry.”

9. Club Industry



Club Industry is a media source for fitness professionals. Their content provides news, education, business solutions and strategies, trends and insights geared towards connecting buyers and sellers in the fitness business.

10. IDEA Health and Fitness



IDEA Health and Fitness organize several conferences throughout the year that are great for fitness professionals looking to network. They boast of over 275,000 health and fitness professionals. They pride themselves as being “on a mission to inspire the world to fitness.”

One of their most popular conferences is the IDEA World Convention, an annual, multi-day conference for everything health-related. You even get a chance to rack up as much as 24 Continuing Education Credits by attending one of these.

In Summary

Fitness organizations serve as great resources for gym owners. Whether you’re looking for certifications for your staff or searching for knowledge and ideas to help improve your fitness business, these organizations come in handy. Your membership in these organizations allows you to network with other fitness professionals and stay up to date with the latest technologies, trends, and insights in the fitness industry.

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