Are you a fitness junkie who's always dreamed of turning their passion into a profession? Do you love helping others achieve their fitness goals and now eager to become qualified to do this? Or maybe you’re a fitness professional who wants to branch out into new skills such as nutrition, strength training or even pilates?
Well, ISSA could be the answer to your prayers. It offers in-depth, accredited courses that you can study at your own pace.
But just how good are these courses, and what kind of teaching do they entail? Is learning online really possible when it comes to hands-on professions such as personal training?
This detailed ISSA review will answer all of these questions. It takes a deep dive into the very best courses on the platform, how they’re taught, and just how satisfied ISSA users are. Read on to find out more!
- Dozens of fitness professional courses covering topics such as personal training, nutrition, yoga and more
- Downloadable workbooks, textbooks, quizzes and practice exams
- Ongoing career support even after course completion
- 3D exercise simulators to help you get to grips with crucial anatomy and physiology
- Professional certifications and business advice
- Access to a free customizable professional website so you can launch your business
- Ability to pay in full, or spread course costs out over 6-12 months
- Flexible Payment and Bundles. A fantastic range of courses that can be combined to create the perfect fit for your experience level and career aspirations
- Accredited – ISSA is accredited by several well known organizations, so you can be sure that you’re receiving top-notch training
- In depth boot camps and some courses with live teaching
- The opportunity to sign up with over 10,000 gym partners once certified
- Amazing array of resources to support your learning
- Whilst ISSA offers a range of specializations, it would be great to see even more, such as women’s nutrition or sports psychology
Best for: Anyone interested in becoming a personal trainer. Or fitness professionals who want to add to their qualifications and broaden their range of services.
Cost: Check ISSA for the latest prices.
Overall: With top-notch qualifications, a great range of courses and a variety of ways to learn, ISSA is a one-stop shop for fitness professionals who want to boost their skillset, take on new clients or learn new specializations. There’s plenty of ways to revise content such as quizzes, workbooks, audio and video content as well as continuing career support. So you’ll be confident in your new qualifications and ready to branch out your business.
This detailed review will cover:
- What is ISSA and how does it work?
- How much does ISSA cost?
- ISSA free trial and refund
- What a lesson is like
- Best ISSA classes
- ISSA Online for business
- How I reviewed ISSA, what I liked and thought could be improved
- Who ISSA is for
- Can I buy ISSA as a gift?
- Tips for finding great courses on ISSA
- Alternatives to ISSA
- ISSA reviews: What others are saying
- Is ISSA worth it?
Let’s dive in!
What is ISSA?
The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is on a mission to bring healthy living to everybody in the world. And to connect a whopping 100 million people to the power of healthy living by 2024.
The platform offers online courses in health-related skills such as yoga, personal training, nutrition and more. And ISSA is highly accredited, with endorsements from the Yoga Alliance and the National Board of Fitness Examiners, among many others.
With a wealth of courses aimed at healthcare professionals, ISSA combines great practical courses with professional development to boost your career.
How does ISSA work?
Depending on the course, ISSA students will have access to an online textbook and/or a series of video lectures developed by accredited health specialists. In some cases, live teaching is available. You’ll be able to test your knowledge with quizzes, as well as take an exam to earn a certification.
Users pay for individual courses, and there are some impressive discounts when buying bundles.
You also gain access to online forums, where you can ask questions and receive guidance from ISSA Master Trainers, as well as other students or healthcare professionals.
All ISSA members get a free website in order to support their new career path. It includes five pages of professionally designed content. You’ll also receive unlimited educational support from ISSA professionals should you have any questions about course materials.
- Personal training
These courses are not only incredibly well-researched and put together, but designed to be part of a career pivot or development. And they come with heaps of support and advice to get you to the next professional level.
How much does ISSA cost?
Course costs vary depending on the length and content of each course, but generally they range $600 to around $1000. You can either pay in full, or spread the course costs out over 6 or 12 monthly interest free payments.
ISSA offers a range of bundle discounts, such as their:
- Fitness Coach Bundle – 3 courses ($83 per month)
- Elite Trainer Bundle – 4 courses ($99 per month)
- Master Trainer Bundle – 7 courses ($149 per month)
Each includes the Certified Personal Trainer course (with live teaching), an accredited exam, and a range of add on specializations and/or bootcamps.
The bundles might seem expensive at first. But, according to ISSA, personal trainers can earn up to $4,000 more per year with each specialization. So the more you invest, the more quickly you will recoup your investment.
Plus there are sometimes even greater discounts and offers available on bundle prices.
ISSA free trial
ISSA Online doesn’t currently offer a free trial. However you can browse the platform free of charge, download curriculums and course tasters. Plus you can access detailed information about what’s included in every course, how you’ll learn and how you can apply the qualification.
What a lesson is like
ISSA Online lessons consist of a mixture of different teaching styles, including textbooks, audio and video content, frequent quizzes and more. There is even some live teaching. Whatever your learning style, chances are ISSA courses will cater to it!
Best ISSA classes
ISSA offers a huge range of courses, and the best one for you will depend on your current training, budget and career goals. I’ve gathered together some of the best courses from across the site so you can get a taste for what ISSA has to offer.
Certified Personal Trainer
This course covers three major steps in pivoting to a personal training career:
- Getting certified as a PT
- Landing your first CPT job (which is 100% guaranteed for U.S. based students who meet basic requirements)
- Implementing your knowledge to build effective personalized training plans.
You’ll cover how to motivate your clients, build an in-depth knowledge of the body's muscle and skeletal structure, how to assess and build custom training programs, how to help clients get stronger with less pain or injury, as well as how diet and exercise work together. Students also get access to a comprehensive online textbook, practice quizzes, an online workbook, student forum and continuing support even after you’re certified.
Strength and Conditioning
Encompassing anatomy, body composition and the way clients exercise to help achieve peak energy and performance, this certification will enable you tailor your clients’ regimes to build endurance, strength, power and speed.
You’ll learn how to apply the principles of metabolism, body mechanics and anatomy, and understand how they influence energy and performance levels. Plus how to communicate exercise instruction, develop personalized fitness programs, apply the principles of nutrition and supplementation and even the fundamentals of sports psychology. There's also access to an online exercise lab with over 250 animated exercises to consolidate knowledge of proper form and technique.
Exercise can only get you so far. To get your clients to the next level, you’ll need to master the art of nutrition.
This course covers the science of food intake as well as the mental aspects involved in client behavior change. Exploring topics such as macronutrients and micronutrients, lifestyle changes and strategies, client assessments and goal setting, and more, you’ll be equipped to make real changes to your clients outcomes by creating personalized nutrition programs. In addition to the ISSA nutritionist textbook, practice exams, quizzes and a live bootcamp guide to passing your course, you’ll get a library of ISSA Professional Nutritionist client forms used for evaluating clients and planning their journey to better health.
This certification is built on evidence-based health coaching and behavior change education, based on over 30 years of ISSA expertise. It covers a huge range of topics including
- Health behavior change theory
- Social and environmental wellness determinants
- Psychology techniques
- The science of stress, heart disease, and injuries
- How to conduct and score health and lifestyle assessments to create the most appropriate plan for your clients
This is a super in-depth course. Crucially, you’ll also learn how to identify sales, business development, marketing and brand-building opportunities for your health coaching practice.
This course will equip you with everything you need to know about what it means to be a Weight Management Specialist and build long term success for your clients and business. You’ll become an expert in the basic principles of the body relating to nutrition, conducting nutrition consultations and estimating the caloric needs of your client, as well as differentiating between myths and facts when it comes to popular weight loss fads and supplements.
Exercise Therapy Certification
This in-depth course will teach you the techniques to successfully rehabilitate your clients from training injuries or accidents. It encompasses both chronic conditions and isolated issues to make a meaningful difference to your clients’ lives. You’ll learn how to explain the fundamental principles of therapeutic exercise, how your role fits into a client’s continuum of care, as well as confidently discuss the aspects and applications of functional fitness. Covering the musculoskeletal system, body mechanics and body muscularity, you’ll also gain an understanding of the challenges facing clients with chronic medical conditions and identify the correct exercise for them.
Yoga 200 – Yoga Alliance Accredited
Over the course of 200 hours, this course equips you with everything you need to know to become a certified yoga instructor and launch your professional yoga career. With a range of optional add-ons in great value bundles, you can opt for additional training in Guided Group Meditation, Back Pain Relief and Pranayama Health Benefits. You’ll cover:
- Foundational training for yourself, your clients and your yoga practice
- The history of yoga
- Anatomy and physiology
- Key elements of teaching meditation and breathing techniques
- The art of pose sequencing and transitions, purpose, cueing, props, variations, and cautions for over 80 yoga postures
- Professional and ethical components of teaching yoga and building a successful yoga business
This course will cover everything you need to know in order to become a confident and successful pilates instructor. From the basics of human anatomy and physiology to the foundational principles of exercise, fitness and health to how to support clients as they engage in exercise at all levels, you’ll build a great knowledge base to become a certified pilates instructor. Covering the core pilates exercises as well as more advanced moves, you’ll work towards creating a program and delivering safe, effective and individually targeted pilates teaching sessions. With an online textbook, quizzes and plenty of support, it's a great way to develop your skills and start building a career.
ISSA for business
ISSA Online does not currently have a subscription for businesses, however they do have special military programs and pricing available.
How I reviewed ISSA
I spent a few weeks getting to know the site, watching ISSA’s sample videos, checking out their curriculums, additional resources and student forums. Plus, I made sure to read plenty of student reviews, both on the ISSA website and across the internet, to get a feel for recent user experiences of the site. Lastly, I also checked out ISSA’s competitors to compare the value of ISSA’s offerings.
What I liked about ISSA
Flexible Payment and Bundles
ISSA has a fantastic range of courses that can be combined or studied in isolation to create the perfect fit for you depending on your experience levels and career aspirations. Often the bundle options work out to be great value. And with monthly payments the cost is super manageable.
If you’re going to be helping clients reach their fitness goals in a safe and sustainable way, then it's really important that you receive proper training – ISSA is accredited by and affiliated with several well known organizations such as Yoga Alliance and the Nation Board of Fitness Examiners, so you can be sure that you’re receiving top-notch training.
Amazing range of resources
In addition to video lessons, you’ll have access to a fantastic variety of resources to equip you with a range of learning methods, such as an online textbook, a workbook, frequent quizzes and practice exams, as well as 3D recreations of physical activities so you can gain a deeper understanding of the body’s movement and safe exercise practices.
What could be improved
More specialized courses needed
Whilst ISSA has a great range of courses in a wide variety of topics, it would be great to see even more specialized courses such as nutrition for women, sports psychology or children’s sports coaching.
Who ISSA is for
- Sports or personal training professionals who want to boost their accreditation in order to widen their services and gain more clients
- Anyone considering a career in personal training or wellness coaching who wants to get accredited and make the first moves in setting themselves up as a professional
- Fitness professionals who are eager to learn more about the business side of the practice, with professional development opportunities, a free website domain and in depth practical advice
Can I buy ISSA as a gift?
There is not currently an option to buy ISSA Online courses as a gift.
Tips to finding great courses on ISSA
ISSA splits their courses up into broad topics such as Personal Training, Nutrition, Wellness and Yoga. By selecting any one of these topics, you’ll be able to explore the course options available:
When you select a course, you can learn all about what you’ll learn, what resources are included, where the course can take you, and other users' experiences using the course. This will help you decide if the course is appropriate for you or not:
You can find great deals by selecting the Courses and Bundles section, and exploring their amazing value bundles:
Is ISSA legit?
All of these amazing resources and rigorous training might seem too good to be true, but I can assure you that ISSA is 100% legit.
Not only do they have many satisfied customers, the site is also affiliated with some well-known organizations such as the IHRSA, Yoga Alliance and the National Board of Fitness Examiners.
Plus, ISSA has been ranked on the 2023 Inc. 5000 annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The prestigious ranking provides a data-driven look at the most successful companies within the independent, entrepreneurial businesses segment.
There is currently a 7-day refund policy.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers a great, all-inclusive course that includes a 90-day job guarantee, and 80 hours of hands-on experience with clients, which really sets it apart. However, the courses doesn’t come cheap at nearly $2000, so if you’re looking for a cheaper option then ISSA might be a better option for you.
The American Professionals and Associated certification is also a great alternative, as it comes with great name recognition, and allows you to undertake a fully online examination.
The Skills is a brand new online learning platform that provides online courses taught by sporting greats and qualified exercise coaches. Though it doesn’t offer coaching courses, it does offer instructional courses in sports like soccer, football, swimming, etc. as well as more general wellness courses covering topics like mobility, confidence and motivation. Currently, The Skills boasts names like Michael Phelps, Megan Rapinoe, Larry Fitzgerald and Shaun White, with more being added all the time.
And if you’re interested in how athletes you particularly admire have achieved their success you could take a look at MasterClass which offers classes by Simone Biles, Steph Curry, Serena Williams and yoga greats like Donna Fahri. As well as numerous others.
ISSA reviews: What others have said
I wanted to write the best ISSA review possible, so I had a look around the web to see what others thought of their experience with the platform.
One Reddit user had a great experience:
‘I liked the way ISSA’s learning program was structured, having the downloadable pdf study guide/work books to supplement the textbook and videos and also audio so you even listen while you walk the dog. Being internationally recognized is also helpful and a lot of good CLEs and supplemental programs.’ ISSA Reddit review
Another user respected the rigor of the ISSA exam and the fact that you could sign up with one of their partner gyms once certified:
‘Despite the test being open book, that doesn't mean the test will be easy. It’s a lot of information and depending how often you study, you need to know if you wanna pass the exam. You have to study and learn just like anything else. And one perk is that after you get certified, you have the option to partner at any local gym they have listed’ ISSA Reddit review’
ISSA has many satisfied customers, with a really high rating on Trustpilot. One user wrote that their experience with ISSA:
‘Exceeded my expectations! The online course allowed me to study at my own pace. The Bootcamp and Live Learning courses were also incredibly helpful as I was able to ask questions, and the instructors were cheerful, personable, and very helpful.’ ISSA Trustpilot Review
Overall, it seems that most ISSA users are very satisfied with their service.
Features: Depending on what course you purchase, you will also gain access to a textbook, workbook, frequent quizzes, 3D exercise demonstrations, ongoing career support and more.
Content quality: ISSA’s content quality is extremely high, with a wide range of learning options including visual, text-based, and audio.
Content breadth: ISSA’s courses cover key areas of fitness professions such Personal Training, Nutrition, Yoga and Wellbeing, with specialist courses in topics such as Pilates, Weight Management, Strength Training and more.
Teachers: All course materials are put together by qualified professionals and accredited by well known organizations.
Supporting materials: Lessons have plenty of brilliant resources, including career support, quizzes, audio listening options and more.
Payments & refunds: Course costs vary with the length and content of each course, and ISSA currently offers a 7-day refund policy.
Support: ISSA had a great FAQ section, live chat functions and phone numbers should you wish to get in touch.
How to open a ISSA account
It’s super easy to open an ISSA account.
- Head to their home page
- Select the ‘sign in’ option at the top right hand corner
- Enter your personal details and you’re good to go!
Is ISSA worth it?
If you are just starting out as a personal trainer, or want to add specialist knowledge certifications to your qualifications, then yes, ISSA is absolutely worth it.
Not only will you learn all about the practical side of Personal Training and Health Coaching, you’ll also cover the business essentials. You will receive ongoing career support, a ready made web page for you customize to boost your business and the opportunity to sign up with a choice of over 10,000 partner gyms once certified.
However, if you’re just interested in increasing your own personal fitness levels, then ISSA probably isn’t worth it for you, as a lot of the content is focused on becoming certified to train others.
ISSA – Frequently asked questions
ISSA costs vary depending on the course, but generally range from $600 to around $1000. Discounted bundles are also available
Yes, ISSA has a seven day refund policy.
ISSA has over twenty courses, covering topics such as personal training, weight management, yoga and more.
ISSA does not have a free trial, but you can preview some of their course content for free.
Yes, ISSA does offer certificates.
ISSA Online predominantly offers courses in English, although there are a small number of courses available in Spanish.