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AAAI Certification

I'm looking to see what others think about AAAI certification? I've researched information about it on the internet with no luck? Is this a respectable certification?

Comments for AAAI Certification

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Not the best
by: Anonymous

I have a AAAI/ISMA certification. The class lasted about 5 hours and it was pretty much an open book test. The instructor claimed to know what he was talking about, but the instruction was contradictory to things I had learned elsewhere. I don't feel that it added in any way to my training business. But if you need a certification, it's fast and cheap...but you get what you pay for.

I give it a 8 out of 10, if you already have a solid background.
by: Anonymous

This is a very nice Association. My class was a full day and it is not a one and done. This Association makes you get receritified every two years. Each time you go back, the curriculum changes, with new twists and practices. Awesome refresher keeps you with the times and on your toes. So many people go to class an forget what you learn, I would say this is the real strength of this certification.

Re-certification with AAAI/ ISMA is a joke.
by: Anonymous

Re-certification with AAAI/ ISMA is a joke. I recently took a AAAI/ ISMA P.T. certification class (in NJ) and the instructor allowed the people there for re-certification to leave at the lunch break. He actually said, "those of you here for re-certification: you're done for the day! Take care!" We had just covered basic, basic stuff such as glucose, fructose, etc. (you know, the important things you need to know when helping someone weight train!). You really do get what you pay for.

25 years with AAAI
by: Naples Redhead

I have been certified with AAAI for the past 25 years. I lived in Maryland and attended the yearly conferences in Baltimore. I now live in Naples, FL and fly up to Baltimore for the conferences. I am always learning new tricks and keep up on the ever changing fitness trends. The staff is fantastic and the conferences are well organized. I would highly recommend AAAI. I just wish they would come to Naples, Florida!!

aaai is horrible!
by: Anonymous

The only people that say that its a good cert are the ones who have it. AAAi does not prepare you for pt. Nasm is by far the best and no cert even comes close to comparing. I am the fitness manager at a gym and i wont hire aaai certified trainers... to give you an idea about what intellegent people think

by: Anonymous

It's recognized by insurances as an a credible certification. I have all the knowledge and know-how, but I hate paying out all the money and wasting time on going through a more expensive association. I've been training for 3+ years now and it's never been an issue except with pretentious private studios. Clients have preferred me and my training over others who've had more expensive certs. Other trainers have come to me for advice who have had more expensive certifications. But I agree, it does have a bad reputation and is often discredited. If your own personal reputation is not good and you don't have enough word of mouth clients, you might have a hard time getting started. I was able to get started with a franchise gym with AAAI cert

AAAI may not cut the mustard...
by: Anonymous

Our local JCC is now making all the PTs who have AAAI get a more respected cert if they want to continue training there. They are hosting a NETA cert which is one of the top 7 cert programs, they said. AAAI does NOT make the list.

AAAI personal fitness training
by: Mark

I too am about to take the test. The info for AAAI was given to me by my cousin. Of which today has 32 clients that he trains. Making over $1,100 a week. Before that he was the vice president of an extremely huge Company nationwide in the fitness industry. He started w/ an AAAI/ISMA personal trainer cert. Now you tell me it doesn't help!!!!! Like aforementioned its all about your drive and what your willing to do with yourself. So don't listen to unmotivated people looking for fancy labels and a handout.

jooooke cert!
by: Anonymous

I just recently completed a one day seminar for AAAI and took the "exam" at the end. May I begin by saying that if you played any sport or know anything about lifting weights or have some type of background in fitness, you'll pass easily. The instructor goes over 95% of the exam and some of the questions and answers are BEYOND obvious. So with that being said. I DIDN'T learn a thing during that seminar. I have a BS in health and fitness and I am an ACSM cpt and just saw that this seminar was in my area so it couldn't hurt to add another cert to my list. Well, the instructor gave a lot of BASIC information regarding A&P and even more basic info on the nervous system.... then during our practical role playing part of the class... it was laughable... the majority of people that were there for the seminar were either overweight (in cpt standards)or just bums and looking for an "easy way" to make some money and become a cpt. Meaning, if I were to walk into a gym as a potential client and see some of these people as my possible trainer..... my exercise would come from me running as fast as I could back to my car! They honestly had no business being there. Seminars like this one gives the fitness industry a bad reputation! Not to mention that every personal trainer director that I've spoken with said there is NO WAY they would hire someone with a cert from AAAI! Yes, a lot of people have them.... but they are probably working for themselves or not working at all. At least the vast majority.

Your All Idiots
by: Anonymous

Experience is key I have over 30 years doing this and it is just like any other profession apprentice programs are hard to come by but are the only way to truly know what your doing. AAAI, NFPT, ISSA, and any other cert makes no difference if you do not have practical experience. Some of you guys overpay for certification and think you know more than others with less expensive certs, trust me if you think the certification means much than you do not have a clue. Get experience my friends. And do not be fooled by any high price tags or idiots who think they know what is up. Personally I prefer the NFPT they are very practical but hey what do I know I have only been in this business for 32 years and still learn something new just about every day.

Terrible Management
by: Anonymous

I had recently taken the AAAI/ISMA cycle certification. A week went by and I was not contacted about a pass/fail status. I tried to inquire regarding why I had not received any notification and my first attempt did not get a response. My second attempt yielded a response but it had grammar errors and did not make complete sense. AAAI/ISMA did not issue my cert because payment was under one name while the person registered was me. I continued to go back and forth with Alice from AAAI/ISMA regarding the issue, which at no time did I receive an email that actually had a complete sentence and made sense. The last email I received was in all capital letters as well. I am not impressed with AAAI/ISMA.

HEY!! Yeah you researching certifications, READ THIS, I'll sum it up for you
by: Anonymous

There are plenty of people who have the "TOP" certifications like NASM and NSCA and can't train, as well as some people with "BAD" certifications like AAAI ISMA. You can have all the knowledge in the world!! but the true question is CAN YOU TRANSFER THAT KNOWLEDGE INTO A WORKOUT PLAN THAT WILL BENEFIT YOUR CLIENTS? For example, I have a friend who has his CSCS and NASM cert, very knowledgeable guy and great person, but his workout plans for his clients does not benefit them, even when they told him he continued to keep it the same.I know this because I now train his clients and this is what they told me! They noticed the different styles of training I had for each of my clients and wanted in, and I'm a AAAI ISMA trainer by the way. So to sum all of this up, everyone with a AAAI ISMA cert aren't bad trainers, it all depends on how much work you put in to become better at what you do. A certification is just a sheet of paper people, the true question is can you train? my reputation speaks for itself, once you build up your reputation in your area, people will call you train them at their homes, that's how you know your good

25 years CPT
by: Anonymous

I fist certified with AffA in 1992 and recertified 2 years ago.

Tried to get a group fitness certification on line.
my advise , they are only interested in taking your money. Made a 75 on the test, and then was told I needed to make an 80 to pass, and that would cost me an additional $149.

My daughter signed up for a AAFA workshop and it was canceled because not enough people signed up , and AFFA refused to refund her money.

Just completed a group certification workshop in New Orleans with International Alliance and it was awesome.

by: Anonymous

I chose to prepare for the AAAI ISMA Personal Fitness Trainer Certification by taking a 12 week, 72-hour class rather than a one-day program. The course was offered by a county vocational technical school. This class was so much more than just prepping for the test! Lessons included in-depth studies of anatomy and physiology, training styles, and special populations, and almost every class included a hands-on demo of various training tools and methods. I was confident when I took the test and I walked away with a great deal of knowledge that I am excited to share.

Terrible experience
by: Anonymous

Went for kickboxing certification and sat in a hot room for 6+ hours for a crash course in anatomy. Saw a total of 45 minutes of actual kickboxing moves. Prior to the certification day, I could not access the link to purchase study guide. I emailed them multiple times 1 month out, and called and left voicemails, no return call or email. One day AFTER the certification they call me and the woman I spoke to was incredibly rude and told me they have no record of my voicemails or emails (I offer to forward them at least the emails, they declined) Had to know every muscle for the test, but never received the book, so how could I have studied? Have gotten 4 certifications with other organizations that were much more knowledgeable, helpful, and polite. I will never come back to aaai.

Tai chi zoom class certification
by: Anonymous

I took the zoom class in August to get certified to teach tai chi. At the end of the class I was told that he (the instructor) did not have any question’s to give to us so just do a one page essay on how we would teach a class. I completed the essay and sent the instructor the essay that night and emailed him the next day to see if he received it and he said he did. I kept waiting for notification and called and e-mailed numerous times to find out the time frame as to when I would be notified as to if I had passed.I e-mailed the instructor and he said he sent the essay to aaai and no control after that. After several more e-mails and a month later I received a e-mail stating that they were looking into the problem but the e-mail was a little rude. It’s now past a month and still no information. I have since contacted my credit card co. and disputed the charges. I have been doing tai chi for over ten years, took second place in the Asian Kung fu/tai chi competition and have actually already taught tai/chi to many Asian/Americans.I would not recommend using aaai/isma for any certification.

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AAAI ISMA Certification

Can you tell me anything about this certification? I didn't see it on your list.

Comments for AAAI ISMA Certification

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by: Leslie

I am curious how reputable this certification is in the real world. I graduated from nursing school in 1990 and I have taken classes to teach group fitness and personal training at the community college level. I have managed a health club, studied the ACE manual and have had direct success applying my knowledge to myself. I am 43 and lost over 40lbs. and about 15% body fat.
So I had a good basis of knowledge going into their certification seminar. I have to tell you it was very comprehensive. In addition to the multiple choice and A&P, they required demonstration of practical application, proper techniques and exercise variations. Someone walking into it with no prior education and experience in the field could never have passed it. In fact I was on pins and needles myself wondering how I did. I passed by the way.
What I really want to know is how the health and fitness field views this certification.

by: lISA

I am 42, with a degree in Physical education and health. I have taught ages K-12 and coached 3 different varsity sports.
I want to update my knowledge and get a certification, but it's like buying a car. Everyone is trying to sell me on their program. I just want to do the one that has a strong reputation.
Any insights?

Don't Buy the books
by: Rob

Paying for the books to read for the test was the biggest waste of money. The test is given based on a Power Point presentation. If you take notes and have a GREAT memory you might pass the first time. I did not pass the first or second time. I was not a good student in school, but missed passing by 4 points. I know plenty about personal training, much more than the 18-20 year old kids at my gym. I'm in my forties and I've been traing since 7th grade. The test really does not test your ability to plan a training session with an individual. It's more about saftey and big scientific words you'll never need agian. I want my $100.00 back.

clarification on certifications
by: Leslie

I have not received anything on my question about AAAI-ISMA however, I can assure you that ACE, AFAA and ACSM are 3 certifications that are highly reputable and respected widely. You are doubtful to be turned away due to the quality of your certification if you hold any one of these.
I do know ACE offers very comprehensive study programs for their test. Lisa, with your education I would only suggest you purchse thier manual and sign up for the online review (the one offered to your email address for free) and no doubt you will be fine.

disappointing program
by: Anonymous

I was referred to this personal training certification program by an owner of a gym I work at teaching martial arts. I have no prior experience in the field, have no experience or knowledge as I spoke to others who took the 2 day course with me who were students of psychiology, pharmacists, personal trainers previously etc.

I came into this program quite blind and very disappointed. I purchased the books, read all the material required, studied intensively and even went online for furthur knowledge only to find after the 2 day program there was NOTHING at all in the 2 day program on NUTRITION, nor was there anything in the book to study on NUTRITION, no scenario to work on nor did the teacher have us practice or talk about it. The teacher kept saying don't worry about this part.

Some people did not buy the book and were worried about remembering 24 muscles to be identified, he said it won't be on the test. But lo and behold it was on it and my memory wasn't as good as I had hoped! Obviously I did not pass and I knew it once I looked at the 5 page test and ALL that was not covered, all that I did not know from experience. Just wish there were more heads up what to study and also the 2 day program wish it was all that was included. I'm so disappointed. Now I have to wait to find another place where i can take the test again. That is if i want too.

Who Is Really Gainng or Losing Here?
by: Anonymous

I took the so called course in December of 2008. Yes, I got my letter back stating that I failed, but if I pay $30.00, I could retake the test and therefore, receive my certification. I really believe that this was a rip-off! Even if I passed. I learned absolutely nothing. I am a physical education teacher grades k-12. I have taught many classes aside from those in the classroom seeting and even worked as a personal trainer at well-known fitness center and my clients have gotten great results. Knowing what the particular muscle is to most lay clients means absolutely nothing...they just want results and I am inclined to believe that although you may receive some type of certificate to satisfy a gyms needs as far as " covering their Butt" so to speak, but I can't help believing that you all are taking advantage of us who really have a passion to help others. Especially those of us who are already in the field of health and have been doing well for years.

It's up to you
by: Danny

If you know your shit and want to get hired, get this certification to gain some job experience. One could make an argument that you should be working towards an accredited certifiction (ACSM,NSCA,etc) to prove your knowldge in the training field. Not a bad idea.
Many people attend this thinking they will come out a bonafide fitness intstructor. This is not the case. Get educated,learn as much as you can,be a great trainer. If you can do all that with a AAAI-ISMA cert, go for it.

by: anthony

hello i just took my exam yesterday and passed with a 96. i went in there knowing absolutely nothing about personal training and left finishing my exam first. if u have failed this exam your a complete moron. that exam was realy easy i just turned 18 and knew nothing about training and left with a head full of knowledge. so the people saying this aaai is bad your an idiot. k bye :) best 100 bucks i ever spent

Sour Grapes
by: Mike

Sounds like the people who failed are the ones saying it was worthless. The books and instruction provided a LOT of useful information. Maybe you don't need to know the particular names of a muscle to know how to work it, but it's part of having the complete knowledge that clients are looking for.

If you think you should only learn the parts that will be on the test, then you're not the trainer I'd want helping me. Learn ALL of it and you won't have a problem passing the test. You'll also be much better at the job as opposed to someone who just knew what parts to study in order to pass the test.

its all in what you make of it
by: Careem

i will say this . i hold a AAAi cert as a fitness trainer. that is all that i have and i am regarded as one of the top trainer in the philly area. make sure you catch me in philly fitness the may edition Careem Vaughan and if you need a trainer hit me at 267 408 3552. i know many who have the more reputable certs and can not train for anything. the number one thing is passion commitment and the desire to teach and gain more information to apply to various clients

AAAI/ISMA 03/2009 Class
by: Anonymous

I went to their conference and actually learned alot. If you listen instead of thinking you know everything then it is a great learning experience. I took notes and studied instead of talking to people around me when we were given the time. Dr. Phil was a great instructor and a great man to learn from. I plan to continue going to these classes if they come to my area each year. There just wasnt enough time in a weekend to get in all the classes I wanted to go to. I look forward to furthering my education with AAAI/ISMA in years to come.

Pretty Good
by: Joe

I read the comments on this site before attending a Fitness Certification class. I thought the class was fairly comprehensive. The instructor was very knowledgable and experienced. The way I look at it is that IMSA/AAAI is set up in modules, more or less. I plan on taking a nutrition course through them next. I'd suggest giving the course a shot. If you don't like it, there's no big loss.

Personal Training
by: Mat

I have done a few certifications for personal training and have an athletic training degree. I also have been in the wellness industry for over 15 years. The AAAI ISMA certification is a good certification. If you do have a certification from ACSM, ACE, and/or CSCS these organizations are viewed as the elite. With that said, it's up to the individual or should I say professional. I recently attended an AAAI/ISMA personal training certification and was impressed by the instructor and his hold on the material. The information was not difficult but it was a great foundation for beginning personal trainers. The bottom line is make sure you can communicate, be safe, and listen to your client. We are the front line of defense to help America become fit.

Wasn't impressed
by: T

I just took my test today and felt as though I didn't do too well. Don't waste your money on the "Studies in exercise science" book or the "Supplement" book. These books are very confusing and jump all over the place, just like the class did. I had hoped that the books would have been well put together and easy to follow but sadly they werent. The class was the same way. First of all we had to tape a sheet(linen) on the wall so that power point could be projected and seen. Secondly we had to pay $3.00 to recieve a study supplement (in my opinion should have been included in the cert. price).3rd, the study supplement had several mistakes in it. And finally, the whole teaching of the personal training was really confusing. I will be surprised if anyone actually passed today. (unless of course this is their 2nd time trying). There needs to be more of trying to teach and educate training other than just throwing out a bunch of words never heard of for people to remember just long enough to put on an answer sheet. I will retake the test if needed...but they REALLY need to work out the kinks for this whole process.
By the way I have been in sports all my life, I am age 44 and I have been going to my latest gym for the last 19 years straight. I really wanted to learn more a bout training so that I could relay that to future clients. In my opinion The AAAI/ISMA failed in doing that.

Soooooo wrong!
by: Anonymous

When I called to order my books, (turns out we never cracked them)
I asked the girl on the phone what the test was like. These were her exact words:
"The test is 100 questions all multiple choice. The test is also open book, so there's no need to kill yourself studying. It's a piece of cake."
The test was 100 questions ALL Fill-IN-THE-BLANK and it was NOT open book. KNOW YOUR MUSCLES. Anyone who passes the test without studying and brags about it here you are just a liar, you're getting people's hopes up and I wouldn't want your sorry a** training me.
It was informative, but buying the books was a waste of money and AAAI won't refund the money, either (BAD business). But hey, the fitness world is all about bad business.
Whether I passed or not is not important. Just be prepared and read your books even though you don't need them, per say. They are very informative and you might just learn something.

by: Anonymous

You know, handling the responsibility of someone's physical safety is no small thing. I think it is irresponsible for someone to think they can walk into a room without having taken some initiative and done some serious and sincere research and studying of some solid basic areas of knowledge required in order to hold up expectations of those people coming to you paying their hard earned money for a service they expect you to be prepared to provide.
If you weren't even familiar with the terminology used, you need to look at yourself not blame someone else. Do you wan't to be asked a qauestion about basic information when you are out there in the real world and not even be able to answer it?
Your own personal experience can not be replaced. It can however, be built upon.
If you are disappointed in AAAI ISMA then I suggest you purchase or borrow the study materials from ACE, or AFAA, or if you have at least an Associates degree look into ACSM's program requirements. That will give you a taste of what the real world expectations will be. Then you will see you have nothing to complain about. ACE even has a study program that you can receive for FREE through the email. I now work in a hospital health facility and let me tell you, the information covered in what you attended isn't a dot on the page compared to what you REALLY need to know.

Reputable Program
by: Anonymous

I received my AAAI certification as a personal trainer in 2008. I am a former Phys. Ed major, former competitive bodybuilder and current part-time trainer. I found the program to be quite good for those with some foundational knowledge. I do, however, see how someone with limited exposure would have issues with the format. If the applicant knows nothing about training, physiology, anatomy and the like, this is not the program for you. You would need some formal training in an effort to prepare you for advanced programs. I passed the test my first time out armed only with information gleaned from my prior training. There were those who failed due to not being "prepared" for various aspects of the test. All areas of the test were covered prior to same.

just get serious
by: Anonymous

I started this comment page when I had no clue about which certs held what status. I now know and am glad for it. I just studied for and passed my AFAA cert. I am also now Red Cross certified to teach their swimming and water safety courses. Aquatics Exercise Association (AEA) was another tough one but each and every one makes me more and more employable and that really matters these days. Currently, I am hitting the bricks to get my 200 hour Yoga Cert and I am loving it! This is such a great field of work I can' t tel you. And Best of Luck to you in anything you decide to put your mind to as well.

Study to show thyself approved
by: Anonymous

The aaai/isma is a great cert to have. Having said that, nothing beats your willingness to do your homework and hone your skills.

by: Lee

I have to say as far as how the fitness industry views the AAAI/ISMA. It been mentioned to me from physical therapist/personal trainers/health club managers that it's a very good cert, great stepping stone for the ACE or NSCA. So basically seems as though the ACE and NSCA are still the gold standard but the AAAI is respectable. I asked around as I was scheduled to take the AAAI as I'm getting back into personal training. (worked as PT years ago w/o cert) I passed it but have to say it was no walk in the park. I did a decent amount of studying...about a week 1/2 to 2 weeks. I'm 44 and have been a gym rat for years but this exam definitely required some studying. I plan on getting an ACE cert which I understand is much more difficult so I think the AAAI was a good start.

personal trainer course
by: Anonymous

To anthony, who obviously has nothing good to say. It is not a matter of people being an idiot, if i was to come to a gym, I wouldnt have an 18 year old, who just got finished with puberty telling me how to train. As far as the two day course,I did learn alot, but realized there is much more I can and do want to know. I thought the presentation was good and so was the knowledge of the instructor. Good course. But also, I didnt find much info on nutrition, but everything else was in the lectures. And, you are not going to find another certification for that little amount of money.


I started this thread 'way back when',at least it seems that way now. And since my first post I can give clarification to the question of how credible AAAI/ISMA is. Let me say first that the test is no 'walk in the park' and that it does take either past experience or recent and dilligent study to pass the test. The ONE DAY EVENT that ended with the certification test was never advertised to give me the entire education I needed to pass the test. Anyone thinking they can go in there cold, get the REVIEW WHICH IS ALL IT IS DESIGNED TO BE, and pass the test is looking for the easy way out.
I can now clarify that ACSM, ACE, and AFFA are well recognized and respected in the industry. ACSM requires and Associates Degree. ACE and AFAA cover almost the same material but ACE is more technical and the questions are written in such a way that they are a little trickier to understand. I know this because I got my AFAA cert. and the instructor who did the 3 DAY TEST REVIEW also did the same job for ACE and held all 3 of the certificationss herself.
AAAI was no cakewalk but I have problems with the fact that once I had received their cert I had no support from them at all. Have you ever tried their webpage? You get nothing. Just feels fishy. I now hold certs from AFFA (Personal Trainer), AEA, Red Cross WSI, the Arthritis Foundation and am working on my 500 hour RYT to teach yoga right now. All of these agencies offer at minimum some web based support and you can call a live person when you have questions.
The better certifications are however, more expensive than the AAAI/ISMA. At my local YMCA, an online cert from FitTour was all you needed. Talk about low budget and high potential for injury risk!
My point is that I now have an understanding I didn't have when I wrote the first entry to this thread. Do what is within your means. And always strive to be better. It can be expensive but get creative. For example, ACE will e-mail you a test prep program on a regular basis FOR FREE! You will need to invest in their manual to go along with the required reading and vocabulary they use. Only get the manual (about $60.00 and well worth it for resourse material) if money is an issue and the review will get you through the test prep.
Don't expect it to be easy, we are working with people's life and responsible for their safety. It is a professional responsibility to know what you are doing and a personal responsibility to make and keep a good reputation. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD HEALTH TO YOU, LESLIE

base knowledge
by: Anonymous

I took the course with Dr. Don Johnson and found it to be very informative, applicable and useful in real time/gym situations. I do agree that one should have some knowledge of training if one chooses to take the course. You are absorbing a lot of information and one needs to be able to process and understand the material in a short period of time as you will have to demonstrate your ability and knowledge to the instructor.
I will continue and pursue other courses through this and other accredited programs, but this was a solid start point for me.
Marc-Antony Williams

I think Lisa is right!!!
by: Anonymous

I just recently took the AAAI exam (Oct 2009) and passed the first time. I agree that the website is not really all that helpful, HOWEVER, I really don't need them as a resource. I knew going in that I just needed the simplest certification so that I could get working in the industry. I went into the course having been an athlete since age 11, an at home exerciser who lost baby weight after 2 children myself-no gym, no trainer. So I had knowledge from self-study and application. Having said that, I believe that having background knowledge is imperative before taking this class. I did get information that I didn't know beforehand, but like Lisa said, this is meant to be a REVIEW, not a ground zero guide to Personal Training for someone with no knowledge or experience. In fact, because I knew very little about the certification, during the workshop I asked the instructor, Mike Ricketts (VERY GOOD AT HIS CRAFT) what the differences are in the certs and he basically said what Lisa did. It depends on WHERE you are in the country and what is more accepted there. So if more people are being certified with ACE AND AFAA, well, then naturally they become the more respected ones.I am not being turned away with this certification. If you just need to get working and already have a knowledge base, this will work just fine for you but I too, am going to obtain more certs as I earn more to make myself more marketable. Good luck to all and Happy Training!!

Is it hard?
by: Angel

So I've been studding the books since begining of january 30th is getting closer Im starting to obess on the test. Anyone that has taken....if you could fill me in on the most improtant tips on the test that would be a great help.
Ive been reading other reviews and I hope this isnt a bad cert. Ive chossen but it kinda sounds like everyone that is saying bad things r the ones that haven't passed. Anyway if anyone could fill me in on that, that would be great. Good luck 2 everyone.

Response to Is it hard?
by: Anonymous

First apologies to the original poster..LESLIE...not Lisa. Typing to fast and not paying attn to detail in my former post, my bad.

To Angel, if you've been studying that long I think you'll be fine!! As far as what's most important, know the Body chart....that is extremely important. You will have to know most of all the parts...not the heart. Just the muscles seen on the test. And as far as the other questions, if you take notes during the class I think you'll do well.

It is NOT a pointless cert, but like most of us have said, if you're serious about your career you will continue to add to your knowledge base. What I did was go to the gym websites I was interested in and inquired as to the certs they accept. Most do take AAAI. It' completely up to the individual but remember, they're all in it to make money too!! If a gym takes this cert and it's affordable to you, I see no reason not to pursue it. Getting working is really how you'll get improve on your training anyway, right? Good luck. I'm sure you'll be great.

by: Traci...

Can anyone hear tell me a few good books to start studying on before I take my AAAI coarse. I have 6 months to take the coarse and I would like to study up and learn what I can before I take the class and the test. I don't do well in cram session classes so I would like to give myself as much of a headstart as possible. Thanks in advance, I would really appreciate the help.

Don't Waste Your Time and Money
by: Stephen A.

AAAI/ ISMA is not well-regarded. Here's what I found out about the Personal Fitness Trainer certification being offered by AAAI/ ISMA on the east coast: You pay $129 for the course and $44 for two manuals. The manuals turn out to be simply xeroxed, one-sided pages, stolen from other fitness books. They are not indexed or divided into chapters; no organization whatsoever. The class is nine hours and taught by someone whose only training certificate guessed it, AAAI/ ISMA.

Save your money and time and do research on the reputable certifications: ACE, AFAA and ACSM. These certifications are actually worth the time you spend studying to achieve them and the money you will invest in them. The fact that there are people on here who claim to have taken the class and passed the exam all in one day, should tell you all you need to know about AAAI/ ISMA. As a manager of a well-known national fitness chain, I have to tell you, I will not accept the application of a Personal Trainer who only has a AAAI/ ISMA certification.

AAAI/ISMA - Personal Training & Sports Nutrition Consulting
by: Melissa

I liked the training. I took the classes through my local community college, so I knew that they were already on the up and up. I felt that the training was good and reasonably priced. I just wish there were more workshops/seminars/trainings in San Francisco like these.

The Forgotten Fact
by: Joe Cannon

I agree with Careem who said previously that knowledge is what is important no matter what certification you have.

What to know?
by: Anonymous

If you know all the information in the books that you can buy for the course as a study guide, do you think that should be enough to do well and pass the certification test?

AAAI ISMA Certification
by: Melissa

I got my AAAI ISMA personal training and sports nutrition certifications from them. It was a one day Power Point presentation with a test to follow. I passed both.

It was definitely a great way to squeeze in certification so that I could start working at my local gym. However, they only offer CECs in CO and PA. Living in California means I need to find an online course for further learning.

I say that the AAAI ISMA certification is just ok. It gets the job done so you can get to work and be certified and insured. However, 1 day is not enough to learn from the other trainers and to practice new techniques. I guess that's what CECs and getting actual clients is for.

I'd love to get a community of trainers together here in the Bay Area, if possible.

by: Norman

does any one know were i can get the book or do i have to order the book through AAAI ?

This is the book!!!
by: Anonymous

Read the book by Joe Cannon. He has a great book about personal training that was easy to read and full of facts. its called personal fitness training beyond the basics
his website is

the test
by: mary

I really don't know what to expect. I have no experience in this field and would like to get started. I signed up for the personal trainer certification in baltimore and time is running out. the gal on the phone said true and falso and multiple choice. is this true? these comments are scaring me!!

Great Program
by: K.L

I bought the books, studied for two days sat through the class took extensive notes and passed with no problems what-so-ever. When it comes to the weight of this certification, it is very light. People just trying to crack into the personal training field should take this course because it will get you a job at any commercial gym. Just remember the more high profile the clients the heavier the certification you will be required to have through your employer. You honestly have to have half a brain to fail the test, but I would insist on brushing up on your anatomy before the course if you don't plan on buying books... that's literally 1/4 of the test and if you fail that then you WILL NOT PASS

by: Melissa

I've found that some gyms require only the certifications from the major 3. However, some gyms just want to see certification from anywhere. You don't even need a certification to be a trainer, but it helps. Of course, you can't get personal trainer insurance without the certification (to my knowledge, at least).

I think that if you just want to get your foot in the door, to get the certification that is simplest for you. Then you can do other certifications when you get more established. We have to do continued education anyway, so that's our opportunity to get new certifications or at least more training.

I just did some Cross Fit Level 1 training, which is good, but I don't see myself working at a Cross Fit gym, so that may have been a waste of money, though new skills are never a waste.

Great place to start
by: Penny

I have held the AAAI/ISMA Personal Training Fitness certification for about two years now and will continue to hold it as long as I am in the fitness industry! I have checked out the other major three (ACE, AFAA, and ACSM, and more) and actually have tested and received certifications from them as well, and trust me when I say they are just brand names. I went to get AAAI/ISMA right after finishing my BS in Exercise Science and they were right on with the information they delivered in the 8 hour workshop. I mean the material is the real deal, no gimmicks or joking around but very infomative and solid science. I also took someone with me to the workshop who had been working with me in my fitness classes. She was interested in personal training and wanted to check it out and we both passed the exam. I felt very confident going thru the workshop, she on the other hand was a bit nervous but we both could appreciate the workshop for what it was.............. great for both beginners and experienced fitness professionals. My recommendation is to do the workshop and not to get hung up on brand names.........what you do with your certification really matters so much more than where you get it from. ACSM is the leader in the industry.......I do believe they have the hardest certification to pass but AAAI/ISMA's certification is not something to pass on and will help you get your foot in the door in most gyms if you can show them by example that you will use what you learned in AAAI/ISMA's certification workshop. Don't believe the negative comments others have written.........its worth trying it out for yourself and the price could not be better. Best of luck to you.

Step Aerobic Certification Exam
by: Colette

Can anyone tell me what to focus on for the AAAI Step Aerobic Certification Exam?? Should I be focusing on total body anatomy and physiology, or on in-depth study of the muscles/actions of the lower body, injuries & injury prevention? Should I study as if I were to be a Personal Trainer? In addition, what is the practical test like? Should I have a routine prepared, bring music, demonstrate steps and correct form? I have studied most everything that came in the supplements and exercise science book. However, I live in a rural area, and can find no one who has gone through the Step Aerobic Certification. Therefore, I am going in with blinders on....test is in 2 weeks in Colorado Springs. Is there anyone out there who can help me??


If you study your Anatomy & Physiology, know what was covered in class and your music, you should be fine. I wouldn't study in depth anyting more than was covered. Stick to the basics and don't make it any harder than it needs to be. They shouldn't cover anything they didn't talk about in class.

Accredited or Not??
by: Anonymous

I was told by someone that this certification is accredited, however, I can not find any confirmation to that on any of their websites. Most sites such as ACE, ACSM, NASM etc., have NCCA accredidation visibly on their sites but not AAAI/ISMA. How can I confirm this one way or the other?

by: Anonymous

I am a AAAI Certified Instructor since 2006. I started with the Step Aerobic Cert and then received my Personal Trainer Cert - and have taken certs up to the Master Level. I am in my forties - and fitness was a "change of life" career move - I didn't study this in college. Since that time I have grown into fitness management, so I've hired people as well. That's the deal;

If you have NO experience in the fitness, I suggest that you go to a school or get the higher/more in-depth certifications. I like AAAI to college - read the books to learn the info, then go to a "lecture" by a professor for additional info. This is NOT grade-school where a teacher is going to step you thru the book. While some here have said you don't need to read the books to pass the test, or what they read "wasn't on the test", if you are serious about fitness you SHOULD read the info. Also, learning about safey IS so important; you have to know what NOT to do, as well as the next best move. AAAI worked for me to get quickly certified - but I understood what it was and had a foundation to build from. To round out - I read other books (i.e., ACSM) - even if I don't sit for their certs.

As a manager, I'd hire AAAI people who were serious about the profession - who demonstrate further interest in learning (not just reading "Men's Fitness" or "Shape"). I'm a little harder on AAAI people because I know the "cattle call", but there are some good Trainers with a AAAI cert - just as there some bad Trainers with the other certs.

CECs not the same for ISMA and ACE
by: Anonymous

Some say ISMA is a stepping stone to the others. Just keep in mind that when you go to get your recertification after 2 years, the CEC's are not the same for both ISMA and ACE. So you would have to take double the amount of courses to get your CEC's. Although it's always great to learn more, just be aware it could get costly and time consuming.

aqua certs
by: Anonymous

i took this certification program 11 years ago because it was in a convenient location & didn't take to long to get. i got all the aqua certifications. i have been going back every 2 years to keep up my continuing ed. i have been teaching aqua classes for the past 11 years now. at one point i was teaching 11 classes a week. i am also a cpr/first aid instructor & combining the two have been able make a living at it all. i agree with the one person's comment that the certification is what you make of it. having the certification opens doors, it's where you go after that is up to you. i also agree that all those rote memory muscle memorizations are not the true measure of what makes a good instructor - if i used those names in my classes, folks would have no idea what i was telling them to do.

respond asap
by: Anonymous

Hi im taking my test this week and im studying the books I paid for. my two questions are how long is the test, and was it very hard??? Plz honest answers

Terrible Home Office Staff
by: Jane

I own a fitness center and a gal contacted me about "proctoring" her aaai exam for her. I contacted the aaai office for her twice and left messages with no return call. Apparently, they don't man the office very much according to their voice mail. And, even when I did leave a voice mail twice....I got no return call. I contacted them again and finally got a hold of someone and they just seemed to want to justify why they aren't responsive. Quite the chore working with them.

2 months later....I still have not received the materials I was promised to do this gal a favor. So much for helping folks get the aaai certification. Would love to have helped if the home office wanted to.

I've read a lot of the posts here and it sounds as if some of you have had wonderful luck with the instructors and such. I have a trainer at my gym who has many certifications...aaai among them and is happy with it. However, the home office staff needs a lot of improvement.

I have AAAI ISMA and am happy with it so far
by: Anonymous

I went into this blind; however, I bought the books and I studied page by page. I went to the required class prior to the exam [same day] and I passed with flying colors. Joe Cannon was the instructor. Everybody in the class had experience except me
Basically, if you study and pay attention in the workshop, one cannot fail. All the information is presented to you; however, it is not spoon-fed to you. I heard some complain that they thought they only had to know the bare minimum. {Then why bother becoming a trainer if you don’t know the human body}. Read the whole book because everything is in the exam, either directly or indirectly.

1. It is a fairly straightforward exam if you buy the books and study.
2. It is a relatively inexpensive certification to get
3. Depending upon where you are planning to work, most gyms recognize this certification
4. The staff at AAAI ISMA is flexible and very nice.

1. The classes are geographically inconvenient. I am in NYC and had to go to Philadelphia. The workshops are held in very few locations outside of the mid Atlantic states
2. The book is a bit convoluted, but take notes while you are studying and it then makes sense.
3. Annual recertification / renewal is a bit annoying because it is not online yet

The organization seems to be growing and if you need certification and can’t afford the ACE, then take this for now, keep studying and then take the ACE later in time.

by: Steve

I just recently completed a one day seminar for AAAI and took the "exam" at the end. May I begin by saying that if you played any sport or know anything about lifting weights or have some type of background in fitness, you'll pass easily. The instructor goes over 95% of the exam and some of the questions and answers are BEYOND obvious. So with that being said. I DIDN'T learn a thing during that seminar. I have a BS in health and fitness and I am an ACSM cpt and just saw that this seminar was in my area so it couldn't hurt to add another cert to my list. Well, the instructor gave a lot of BASIC information regarding A&P and even more basic info on the nervous system.... then during our practical role playing part of the class... it was laughable... the majority of people that were there for the seminar were either overweight (in cpt standards)or just bums and looking for an "easy way" to make some money and become a cpt. Meaning, if I were to walk into a gym as a potential client and see some of these people as my possible trainer..... my exercise would come from me running as fast as I could back to my car! They honestly had no business being there. Seminars like this one gives the fitness industry a bad reputation! Not to mention that every personal trainer director that I've spoken with said there is NO WAY they would hire someone with a cert from AAAI! Yes, a lot of people have them.... but they are probably working for themselves or not working at all. At least the vast majority.

this is dumb
by: Anonymous

Any course for personal training that can be completed in 8hrs isn't worth the money being spent on it. Practice in the gym makes permanent reflections on the body. If you only spend 8 hours learning the names of the muscles, and the "fundamentals" of proper training, what have you learned? How much can you truly retain. AAAI and ISMA is the quick and easy way to ruin a client and permanently injure them. You want a real certification, spend the time, spend the money, and go learn from the top rated accredited courses on the market. I have both a certification from NASM and NESTA, and the training I received not only prepared me for work, but instilled in me the proper techniques, the progression, and the nutritional insights to make me an elite trainer. By doing it right, I hit Master Trainer status in just under 2 years. Do it right people, don't cut corners.

Don't do it......
by: Anonymous

I am a Master Trainer and it took me 6 certifications and 1 year of education to get the title. Any place that gives a workshop and test afterwards, then says you are now a certified and don't look back. This study guide from Joe Cannon......he isn't even certified with them. So that tells you something. If he has the book to help you, why isn't he part of that AAAI/ISMA group of trainers. Anyways, if you want to be a certified trainer, go with the big boys that educate you and don't do it from a place that gives you months of education all in one to two days. Do your research.......

respnse to anonymous and info for new trainers
by: Brigerre B.

To: "this is dumb" and "don't do it" comments. Why do supposed trainers like u downplay certs like AAAI/ISMA (IFA, ASFA, etc.)? Firstly, professionals are not to even speak negatively about a personal training business (follow scope of practice and code of ethics). So far it seems as though cert does not matter if you're not going to follow guidelines.
Hypothetically speaking, what value does your cert hold with your mode of perception? (just keeping it real) Secondly, certs like AAAI/ISMA are for those who already have experience in exercise science and/or for those who study AAAI/ISMA's manuals--as proclaimed and highly recommended, 30 days in advance, before attending workshop.
Thirdly, workshops are not designed to teach you CPT, but to prep you for the exam--it's a review/overview as well as tips and tricks for test taking. Fourthly, certs like AAAI/ISMA can be used along with other certs to boost ones CECs and salary earning potential as well as possibly change job titles to a specialist in a specific training area. For example, one can have a CPT cert from ACE and have a Master Trainer cert from AAAI/ISMA.
The outcome? Obtaining a great position working as a SST, CSN, CPI, CAI, CYI all because you proved competent enough to pass ACE, therefore, making your MT-cert by AAAI look good on resume'and allowing employers to consider you for the above positions. In other words, certs like AAAI/ISMA can be used to a trainers advantage; and speaking the way you guys have is so negative (trainers should always advocate positivity).
On top of that, the comments you all made were not even accurate! Lastly, it does not matter what cert one has if he/she does not know CPT protocol and procedure during their fitness practicum as a new hiree. The only way cert becomes an issue is if the fitness facility does not accept that specific cert or if the trainer does not know what they're doing. You guys should know these things already, especially as a MPT.

you have to put the work in! study!
by: LB2

I just recently took the AAAI/ISMA certification test. I agree with Leslie. It was very comprehensive and I learned a lot. A lot of you are talking about just remembering things for the test and not passing, or saying that they dint cover some things in the class. If you read and study the materials prior to the class which is the way it is supposed to be you would be fine. The way this course is set up is for you to read and gain the knowledge prior to attending the one day course and LEARN the info not just REMEMBER FOR THE TEST. Once you learn the information the instructor's job is to give u an overview of information, a review so to speak. So do your homework, and stop complaining if you didn't do it. And for those who want thier money back after not putting in the work, just remember nothing in this world is free. Just because you didn't pass doesn't mean you were ripped off. Oh and by the way I studied my butt off for months and got a 99 on the test.

My experience with ACSM vs . AAAI
by: Anonymous

I have been working in the fitness industry for 10 years and a certified PT for 7 years. I have a B.S. in Exercise Science and as soon as I graduated I took the ACSM exam failed it once by a couple of points and passed it the second time around with no problem. That exam was tough. Having the ACSM certification was great and all but I had the paper with no real hands on practical experience. I valued the foundation of the education I received in college to help me prepare for field. The cert is just a paper to say you are "qualified". After years of experience I need to get recertified. I did not want to pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of paper so I explored my options. AAAI/ISMA was perfect for me because is was inexpensive compared to other certs. The job am at does not require a specific certification, their screening process makes sure that you know your stuff. The AAAI PT test was super easy. I did not study and I would have passed the exam without going to the 8 hour class. If I was a hiring manager I would definitely be concerned if this was the first and only certification my potential employee every held and had no experience. I don't think any of my clients every asked what organization I am certified with, they wouldn't know the difference. I have been to the AAAI conference in Baltimore. I do like the format. It offered variety, was practical, and was fun. The test were easy, they were an overview of what was taught in the class that day. I didn't buy any course material. I think that it is a great cert if you are going to work for yourself or if the company you want to work for is not strict on having certain "more reputable/recognized" certifications like ACSM, ACE, NASM , etc. Having multiple certs does help boost your resume and earning power, but you have to also consider how much time and money you are going to have to spend with CEC and getting recertified. Hope my feedback helps someone.

by: Anonymous

I received AAAI certificate in 2013, but it's unfortunate that no companies accept this Certificate and therefore I have to take ACE Certificate which is so medical and I feel like I become a physician. I'm not happy with the study materials but I have to take the exam in order to get a job in Los Angeles. Although I have got different certificates from another country and job experience for over 10 years, but these companies (LA, Crunch, 24, Equinox and so on) have no respect for the job experience and other certificates. They are just looking for someone who is buffed, and carry one of the certificates (ACE,NASM and etc.,) and work for only commission. No benefits for 90 days, no base pay, only commission! Who is going to pay the bills! Wasting time on the floor, helping, cleaning and standing for long hours only for commission! chasing people convincing them to get a complimentary session!

Not reputable certification
by: Anonymous

Currently CSCS, TSAF-F, and USAW Level 1 certified. Took an AAAI workshop class and decided not to take the test because the information was very basic, did not get into any sort of technical depth, and the instructor did not seem to know the answers to any questions the class had about the material.

It depends on your situation.
by: RM

I have multiple fitness certifications including AAAI/ISMA.

Obviously, the price is great. Whether this certification will have value completely depends on your circumstances.

If you are coming into the world of fitness with no prior education or experience, a AAAI/ISMA course is a great, cheap start to learn a lot of the basics of Personal Training (or whichever AAAI/ISMA certification you aim to get) and earn a very basic certification in that field.

If you are looking to make a career out of fitness (or even a part time gig), AAAI/ISMA is probably not going to be the certification that gets your foot in the least, not with a fitness club. If your resume lacks experience, it makes your certification that much more important, and most gym owners and fitness directors view AAAI/ISMA as a lower level certification.

There are times when AAAI/ISMA would be great for you, though. For example, if you already have a wealth of knowledge such as a degree in Exercise Science and just want an official PT cert to call yourself a certified trainer with at-home clients, AAAI/ISMA would be just fine.

If you already have certifications, AAAI/ISMA can be a great, inexpensive way to earn CECs (as long as they can be petitioned).

If you are looking to train at a specific gym (or just any gym in general), you'll want to see if they accept AAAI/ISMA trainers. Some (including some chain gyms like LA FITNESS and MAXX Fitness have AAAI/ISMA on their approved certifications list. Many gyms do not, though.

Also, AAAI/ISMA is based out of New Hope, PA. You will likely find that the closer you are to that area (PA, NJ, MD, DE, VA), the more gyms (especially independently owned gyms) recognize and are familiar with the company. If you are in say, Georgia or Nevada, you're much less likely to find a lot of gyms accepting that certification.

Bottom line: If it's the right fit for your situation, go for it. However, don't go for it expecting any gym owner or fitness director to view it like they would NASM, ACE, ISSA, ACSM, or NCFS.

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