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As Fitness Evolves, ISSA Embraces ‘Nutrition on the Go’

As Fitness Evolves, ISSA Embraces ‘Nutrition on the Go’

ISSA has invested in making nutrition education more accessible, including with world-class content on its digital platforms

In today’s accelerated society, achieving balance, especially regarding health and wellness, often seems like a distant dream. However, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), known for its rich history in fitness education, has emerged as a forerunner in making this dream a reality for countless individuals.

With the dawn of the digital age, the traditional paradigms of education have been reshaped. ISSA, attuned to these shifts, has invested in making nutrition education more accessible. 

As people traverse the globe, tethered to their smartphones and laptops, the concept of “nutrition on the go” has gained profound significance. Recognizing this, ISSA has harnessed technology to deliver world-class educational content on digital platforms, ensuring everyone, from personal trainers to business travelers and stay-at-home parents, can access valuable nutritional insights.

Nutrition on the Go

Historically recognized as a fitness-centric organization, ISSA has been instrumental in bridging the gap between physical activity and nutrition. Their innovative approach toward imparting knowledge is now making the nuts and bolts of nutrition more accessible than ever.

“On-the-go describes all of us right now in this busy world that we live in,” said Kurt Mangum II, ISSA’s Director of Strategic and Business Partnerships. “ISSA is making wellness more accessible by connecting people to fitness worldwide, through fitness education. We’re making education and wellness available via phone, tablet or computer. You can get that nutrition truly on the go — you can learn anywhere.”

Kurt Mangum II (credit: ISSA)

The pandemic ushered in an era where people, confined to their homes, began to explore ways to improve their health and wellness. ISSA identified this trend and played a pivotal role. They observed a surge in individuals enrolling in their courses, including those related to nutrition. The question “How do I manage nutrition on the go?” became ubiquitous, underscoring the importance of understanding what we consume.

“We saw a massive growth during the pandemic because people had more time, whether they were home or they had their phone in their hand or they wanted to learn something new,” Mangum said. “A lot of people came to ISSA wanting to improve their health and wellness, and nutrition was one of those very popular topics. People asked us how to eat properly on the go and how to apply that knowledge to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Mangum stresses one important key is providing customized programs, not a one-size-fits-all approach. ISSA prepares coaches to help clients not only meet and surpass their goals, but also feel empowered by the process. The nutritionist certification, ISSA’s second most popular certifying option, perfectly aligns with continuing education requirements, providing a major value-add for busy fitness professionals looking to easily maintain their credentials.

Long-Lasting Transformations

Mangum, a former collegiate athlete, emphasized the adage, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” Reflecting on his athletic days and how he himself can’t justify eating the large portions he used to, Mangum underscores the importance of diet, stating that he uses an 80/20 rule: 80% of positive health outcomes come down to diet and 20% to activity. This ratio varies based on a client’s unique needs, lifestyle and health history — all of which can be finetuned with knowledge gleaned from an ISSA certification.

ISSA launched in 1988 and has been offering nutrition-related certifications since 1995. Today, they have a formidable presence in over 176 countries. But it’s not just about nutrition facts and figures, macro and micronutrients, and knowing how to read labels; it’s also about behavioral change and modification. 

“It takes 21 days to form a habit,” Mangum said. “We want to prepare our coaches so that they’re able to help with positive change to make real, long-lasting transformations.”

For some, the notion of customized nutrition might seem a far-fetched idea while “on the go.” However, with ISSA’s nutritionist certification, every fitness professional is equipped to cater to individual needs while staying within scope of practice. 

“When you have the right knowledge, you can apply it to different clients effectively,” Mangum said.

A unique aspect of ISSA’s nutritionist certification is the live bootcamp and practical application, which gives coaches the real-world experience they need to embody the knowledge. The hands-on experience, coupled with a gamut of case studies and live Q&A sessions with master trainers, ensures an interactive and enriching learning journey.

credit: ISSA

Nutrition as a ‘Hidden Superpower’

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While nutrition is an obvious, needed tool in any fitness professional’s toolbox, ISSA strives to widen the entry for anyone interested in taking a deep dive into nutrition.

“One of the most frequently asked questions our fitness professionals get is, ‘What should I be eating?” Mangum says. “Every person is looking for something customized. ISSA prepares people to create unique programs that also help with behavioral change. When we talk about our nutritionist certification, we like to say that you can turn food into a hidden superpower.”

There are no barriers to entry at ISSA, which is committed to making sure that everyone has an opportunity to gain more knowledge and wisdom about healthy eating habits.

“I think we saw the importance of this time in history when more people wanted the knowledge for themselves,” Mangum said, adding that he has seen an uptick in interest from people who are not strictly defined as fitness professionals. “Now, with nutrition on the go and the ability to study from anywhere, people who simply want to get serious about improving their health and wellness — whether it’s a mom who wants more information and guidance on what to feed the kids or someone who wants to help their family or community — are seeking advanced education. It opens it up to anyone and everyone who wants to know more so that they can make informed changes.”

As the fitness landscape evolves, it’s evident that the lines between fitness professionals and enthusiasts are blurring. With the rise of influencers and bloggers, there’s a pressing need for credible information. ISSA has made strides in this realm, partnering with influencers and providing them with certified knowledge. This initiative not only empowers the influencers but also ensures their followers receive accurate and beneficial information.

Brand Partnerships & Pushing Boundaries

ISSA’s vision transcends traditional boundaries. As they collaborate with brands, one such notable partnership is with Trifecta Nutrition, a meal delivery service. This collaboration epitomizes ISSA’s commitment to providing value to its vast network of fitness professionals and members. They have many partnerships in the works, Mangum said, including one with a “major nutritional supplement company.”

For 35 years, ISSA has empowered fitness professionals with the knowledge and expertise to help others achieve their health and fitness goals. Through their many certified programs and array of educational resources, ISSA equips aspiring fitness and wellness professionals with the skills to motivate, educate and transform lives. They also instill an ethos of lifelong learning so that certified fitness professionals can continue to expand their knowledge and better serve their communities.

ISSA’s approach to nutrition education is disrupting the industry in the best way possible. With over 500,000 fitness professionals under their wing, their mission to create a healthier and stronger global community is well underway. For industry leaders, the message is clear: ISSA is not just shaping the future of fitness and nutrition, they’re leading it, and they’re looking for partners who also want to expand the reach of wellness. 

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