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Fitness Industry Associations List (FBA, ISSA, IHRSA, + More)

Fitness Industry Associations List (FBA, ISSA, IHRSA, + More)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on July 14, 2023 ā€” Updated on December 28, 2023

Use this fitness industry associations list to find the best fitness business associations and fitness industry organizations that can help you as a fitness professional. Compare the FBA, ISSA, ACE, IHRSA, NSCA, and more.

Fitness Industry Associations

The fitness industry is supported by a multitude of fitness associations, each playing a unique role in the advancement, accreditation, and advocacy of fitness and wellness professionals. These fitness professional associations offer resources, certifications, research, and fitness networking opportunities, contributing significantly to the growth and professionalism of the industry.

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List of Fitness Industry Associations

Below is a table summarizing key information about some of the prominent fitness industry associations:

AssociationYear FoundedNumber of MembersWebsite
Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) – now the Fitness Business Association (FBA)2013Not Publicly AvailableFBA
American Council on Exercise (ACE)1985Over 90,000ACE
National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)1978Over 45,000NSCA
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)1954Over 50,000ACSM
American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI)1987Not Publicly AvailableASMI
International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)1981Over 8,000 clubsIHRSA
American Trail Running Association 1996Not Publicly AvailableATRA
Club IndustryNot Publicly AvailableNot Publicly AvailableClub Industry
IDEA Health and Fitness Association1982Over 250,000IDEA
International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)1988Over 300,000ISSA
Yoga Alliance1999Over 100,000Yoga Alliance

Fitness Business Association (FBA) – formerly the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS)

Year Founded: 2013
Website: FBA
The Fitness Business Association, formerly the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is a trade association that provides support and resources for the fitness studio community. AFS focuses on providing insights, marketing tools, and networking opportunities to studio owners to help them grow and sustain their businesses. They offer research reports, industry data, and educational events specifically tailored to the needs of fitness studios.

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Year Founded: 1985
Number of Members: Over 90,000
Website: ACE
The American Council on Exercise is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting physical activity and healthy living. ACE is known for its certification programs for personal trainers, group fitness instructors, health coaches, and medical exercise specialists. They also provide continuing education, advocacy, and research to support fitness professionals.

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Year Founded: 1978
Number of Members: Over 45,000
Website: NSCA
NSCA is a nonprofit association dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession. They offer certifications such as Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer. NSCA also provides educational resources, research publications, and hosts conferences and clinics for its members.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Year Founded: 1954
Number of Members: Over 50,000
Website: ACSM
The American College of Sports Medicine is a large sports medicine and exercise science organization. ACSM is renowned for its research contributions and sets industry standards. They offer certifications, educational resources, and publish the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.

American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI)

Year Founded: 1987
Website: ASMI
ASMI focuses on improving the understanding, prevention, and treatment of sports-related injuries. It is a scientific and educational institute that offers research and education in sports medicine and orthopedics. ASMI provides resources for both medical professionals and the general public.

International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)

Year Founded: 1981
Number of Members: Over 8,000 clubs
Website: IHRSA
IHRSA represents health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. It advocates for the industry, provides global events and trade shows, and offers educational resources. IHRSA’s mission is to grow, protect, and promote the health and fitness industry.

American Trail Running Association (ATRA)

Year Founded: 1996
Website: ATRA
Founded in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization in Colorado, the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) was established to support the mountain, ultra, and trail (MUT) running community. ATRA’s mission revolves around representing and promoting the disciplines of mountain, ultra, and trail running. They provide various membership options including individual, club, race, and corporate memberships. A key benefit offered by ATRA is their quarterly newsletter, “Trail Times,” which features a comprehensive national events calendar, insightful articles, and the latest information pertinent to the sport of trail running.

Club Industry

Website: Club Industry
Club Industry is a leading publication for fitness business professionals. It provides the latest news, trends, and insights in the health club industry. The platform offers articles, webinars, and reports on various topics relevant to gym owners and fitness entrepreneurs.

IDEA Health and Fitness Association

Year Founded: 1982
Number of Members: Over 250,000
Website: IDEA
IDEA Health and Fitness Association is one of the worldā€™s leading organizations for fitness and wellness professionals. IDEA offers a wide range of resources, including educational materials, fitness conferences, and a professional fitness journal.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

Year Founded: 1988
Number of Members: Over 300,000
Website: ISSA
ISSA is a globally recognized organization that offers a diverse range of fitness certifications. They provide education and certification for personal trainers, nutritionists, and other fitness professionals. ISSA is committed to equipping fitness enthusiasts with comprehensive knowledge and skills.

Yoga Alliance

Year Founded: 1999
Number of Members: Over 100,000
Website: Yoga Alliance
Yoga Alliance is an international nonprofit association representing the yoga community. They offer a registry of yoga schools and teachers to ensure quality and standardized yoga education. The organization also provides resources, advocacy, and community engagement opportunities for yoga practitioners and instructors.

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The Importance of Joining Fitness Business Associations

Are you a fitness business owner looking to take your business to the next level? Have you considered joining a fitness industry association for gym owners, fitness business owners, and other fitness professionals? If not, you may be missing out on a world of opportunities and benefits that can truly transform your business.

In this article, we will explore the importance of joining fitness business associations, how they can benefit your business, and the top associations you should consider joining. We will also delve into the networking opportunities, access to resources and tools, advocacy and support, staying informed, education and training, collaborative opportunities, building credibility and trust, membership benefits, regional vs. national associations, choosing the right association for your niche, and explore success stories of businesses that have thrived through their association membership.

Running a fitness business can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially in such a competitive industry. That’s where fitness business associations come in. These associations play a crucial role in supporting and empowering fitness business owners like yourself. By becoming a member of a fitness business association, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge, experience, and support from industry professionals who have been there and done that. From small business owners to industry giants, the association membership roster is filled with like-minded individuals who are equally dedicated to the success and growth of their businesses.

Furthermore, being part of a fitness business association gives you a sense of belonging. It creates a community of individuals who understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with running a fitness business. By joining forces, you can navigate these challenges together, sharing ideas, strategies, and experiences. This not only makes the journey more enjoyable but also boosts your chances of success.

Another benefit of joining a fitness business association is the opportunity for networking. These associations often host events, conferences, and workshops where you can connect with other professionals in the industry. Networking allows you to build relationships, exchange ideas, and potentially collaborate on projects or partnerships. It opens doors to new opportunities and expands your professional network, which can be invaluable in a competitive business landscape.

In addition, fitness business associations often provide resources and tools to help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. They may offer educational materials, webinars, or training programs that can enhance your knowledge and skills. By staying informed and continuously learning, you can stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the ever-evolving fitness industry. This can give you a competitive edge and position your business for long-term success.

How Fitness Business Associations Can Benefit Your Business

Now that we understand the importance of joining fitness business associations, let’s explore the various ways they can benefit your business:

1. Networking Opportunities: Connecting with Industry Professionals through Associations

In the fitness industry, connections are everything. By joining a fitness business association, you open doors to valuable networking opportunities. You’ll have the chance to meet and connect with industry professionals, thought leaders, and potential collaborators. These connections can lead to partnerships, mentorships, and new business opportunities.

2. Access to Resources and Tools: How Fitness Business Associations Can Help You Succeed

Running a successful fitness business requires access to the right resources and tools. Fitness business associations often provide their members with a wide array of resources, including business templates, marketing materials, legal documents, and industry guidelines. These resources can save you time, money, and effort, enabling you to focus on growing your business.

3. Advocacy and Support: How Fitness Business Associations Can Promote and Protect Your Interests

When it comes to advocating for the interests of fitness businesses, associations are a powerful force. They act as a united front, representing the collective voice of their members. Associations champion your rights, whether it’s fighting for fair business practices, lobbying for favorable legislation, or protecting your interests from potential threats. They ensure that your voice is heard, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to focus on what you do best – running a successful fitness business.

4. Staying Informed: Keeping Up with Industry Trends and Best Practices through Associations

In the fast-paced world of fitness, staying on top of industry trends and best practices is crucial. Fitness business associations regularly organize workshops, conferences, and seminars where industry experts share their insights and knowledge. By attending these events, you can gain valuable insights, stay up-to-date with the latest trends, and learn from the best in the business. This knowledge can give you a competitive edge and help you stay ahead of the curve.

5. Education and Training: Enhancing Your Knowledge and Skills through Association Programs

Education is a lifelong journey, especially in the ever-evolving fitness industry. Fitness business associations offer a range of training programs, certifications, and workshops to help you enhance your knowledge and skills. Whether you’re looking to upskill your team, learn new marketing strategies, or gain insights into financial management, associations have comprehensive programs tailored to meet your needs. These educational opportunities can boost your credibility, improve your service offerings, and attract more clients to your business.

6. Collaborative Opportunities: Partnering with Other Businesses in the Fitness Industry through Associations

The fitness industry is ripe with collaboration opportunities. By being part of a fitness business association, you can connect with other businesses in the industry, such as fitness studios, equipment suppliers, and wellness professionals. These collaborative partnerships can open doors to joint marketing campaigns, cross-promotions, and referral programs, allowing you to reach a broader audience and tap into new market segments.

7. Building Credibility and Trust: The Value of Being Associated with a Reputable Fitness Business Association

Being associated with a reputable fitness business association instantly boosts your credibility and trustworthiness. It signals to potential clients and partners that you are committed to adhering to high industry standards, ethical practices, and continuous improvement. This association lends a certain level of credibility that can differentiate your business from competitors and attract clients who value trust and professionalism.

8. Membership Benefits: Discounts, Special Offers, and Exclusive Access for Association Members

Membership in fitness business associations often comes with exclusive benefits and discounts. These perks may include discounted access to industry events, specialized business services, software discounts, or promotional opportunities. By taking advantage of these membership benefits, you can save money and access resources that would otherwise be out of reach, making your membership fee even more valuable.

9. Regional vs. National Associations: Which Type Is Right for Your Fitness Business?

When choosing a fitness business association, you’ll have the option to join either a regional or national association. Both types have their advantages, and the choice depends on your specific business needs and goals. Regional associations can provide more localized support and networking opportunities, while national associations have a broader reach and often offer more comprehensive resources and training. Consider the scope of your business and the level of support you need when deciding which type of association to join.

10. Choosing the Right Fitness Business Association for Your Specific Niche or Specialty

The fitness industry is diverse, encompassing various niches and specialties, from personal training to yoga studios to sports performance facilities. When selecting a fitness business association, it’s essential to find one that caters to your specific niche or specialty. Different associations focus on different aspects of the industry, and finding the right fit ensures that you are surrounded by like-minded individuals and industry experts who understand the unique challenges of your business.

11. Success Stories: How Membership in a Fitness Business Association Has Transformed Businesses

The proof is in the pudding. Countless fitness businesses have experienced tremendous growth, success, and transformation through their association memberships. Success stories abound, with business owners crediting their association memberships for providing them with invaluable guidance, support, and connections. These stories serve as inspiration and a testament to the power of fitness business associations in taking businesses to new heights.

So, are you ready to take your fitness business to the next level? Joining a fitness business association can be a game-changer. It opens the doors to a world of opportunities, resources, and connections that can fuel your business growth and success. Take the time to explore the top fitness business associations in your area or niche, and make a conscious decision to invest in yourself and your business. Remember, success rarely happens in isolation – it’s the result of collaboration, support, and continuous learning.

What industry does fitness fall under?

Fitness falls under the broader health and wellness industry. It specifically caters to physical wellbeing through exercise, strength training, cardiovascular workouts, and various other physical activities.

Who are the competitors of the health and fitness industry?

Competitors in the health and fitness industry include:

  1. Commercial Gyms and Health Clubs
  2. Boutique Fitness Studios (e.g., yoga, Pilates, CrossFit)
  3. Online Fitness Platforms and Apps
  4. Personal Trainers and Fitness Coaches
  5. Home Fitness Equipment Manufacturers

What makes up the fitness industry?

The fitness industry is comprised of:

  1. Fitness Facilities: Gyms, health clubs, and boutique studios.
  2. Fitness Professionals: Personal trainers, coaches, instructors.
  3. Equipment Manufacturers: Companies producing gym equipment and home fitness gear.
  4. Wellness and Nutrition: Services and products focusing on diet, supplements, and overall wellness.
  5. Technology: Fitness apps, wearables, and online platforms.

Who are the stakeholders in the fitness industry?

Stakeholders in the fitness industry include:

  1. Gym Owners and Operators
  2. Fitness Professionals: Trainers, coaches, instructors.
  3. Clients and Gym Members
  4. Equipment Suppliers and Manufacturers
  5. Investors and Shareholders
  6. Healthcare Providers
  7. Regulatory Bodies

Is fitness a lucrative industry?

Fitness can be a lucrative industry, especially for businesses that effectively tap into current fitness trends, leverage technology, and meet the evolving needs of health-conscious consumers.

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Is the fitness industry growing?

Yes, the fitness industry is growing, driven by increased health awareness, technological advancements in fitness apps and wearables, and a growing emphasis on maintaining physical fitness as part of overall wellness.

What are some of the best gym owner conferences?

Some of the best gym owner conferences include:

  1. IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) Convention
  2. IDEA World Fitness Convention
  3. Club Industry Show
  4. Fit Expo
  5. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Conferences

Read More: Gym Owner Conferences

What are some gym owner associations?

Gym owner associations include:

  1. IHRSA
  2. IDEA
  3. American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Read More: Gym Owner Associations

What are the biggest fitness trends?

Some of the biggest fitness trends include:

  1. Wearable Technology
  2. Home Workout Solutions
  3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  4. Mindfulness and Yoga
  5. Personalized and Online Training
  6. Functional Fitness Training

Read More: Fitness Industry Trends

Is there a future in the fitness industry?

There is a promising future in the fitness industry, with evolving trends like virtual and online training, personalized fitness experiences, and an increased focus on holistic health and wellness.

Why is the fitness industry booming?

The fitness industry is booming due to increased health consciousness, technological innovations in fitness, and a shift in lifestyle trends emphasizing the importance of regular physical activity and wellness.

How big of an industry is fitness?

The fitness industry is a multi-billion-dollar global industry, continually expanding with new market segments like online fitness, wellness apps, and innovative workout equipment.

How can Exercise.com help me grow a business in the fitness industry?

Exercise.com can help you grow a business in the fitness industry by providing a comprehensive software platform that supports all aspects of fitness business management. This includes tools for workout creation and delivery, client and member management, scheduling, billing, and business reporting. The platform’s versatility allows gym owners and fitness professionals to effectively manage their operations, engage with clients, and adapt to the evolving fitness industry trends.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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