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Future of Fitness

Dec 23, 2020

Mike Fantigrassi is the Senior Director of Product Development at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. (NASM) Mike is a results-driven leader with diverse expertise and an extensive network of contacts within the fitness industry. He has a proven ability to thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. He has an extensive background in education and training program development/presentation. Mike is passionate about fitness, education, and helping others develop new skills that result in growth and success. He is fascinated by emerging health and wellness technology and fitness startups that are driving positive change.

What is Mike’s history? (0:47)

  • Mike went to college at Florida State University. Like many people at that age, Mike was unsure what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He was particularly drawn to fitness and, more specifically, nutrition. 
  • Mike fumbled a bit with his choice of career. He wanted to go to medical school and then physical therapy school before settling for chiropractic school. Still, to fulfill the prerequisites for that, he had to get his undergraduate degree in food and nutrition. 
  • That was the earliest version of the personal training undergraduate degree that someone would get to prepare to do personal training with a strong emphasis on nutrition. Mike had not wanted to go in the direction of dietetics and Clinical nutrition, but he did get to do was be a fitness trainer on Florida State University’s campus for a year and a half. 
  • At the time, they had just opened up a large-scale recreational weight training facility that was state of the art. One of the best things that Mike went through was two weeks of training with the gym manager and everyone else who was involved. 
  • It was Mike’s first exposure to learning how to be a good trainer. You can read about that stuff in textbooks but having the experience of being mentored and knowing you are receiving quality information is irreplaceable. 
  • Once Mike graduated, he did a bit of coursework that he had needed to complete. After that, he moved to South Florida, where he had grown up and started working as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym. He did that for a bit before transitioning into making sales for a gym that was going to open but never ended up opening, and from there, his journey just continued. 

What steps have fitness professionals taken to educate themselves amidst everything that has happened this year? (7:11)

  • The beauty of COVID and Mike believes that anybody in the fitness industry selling education content saw a bump in their sales because of the third recession mike has had the experience. 
  • He started working for NASM in 2010 on the heels of the 2008 recession, which laster until 2010. During these times, you see people jumping careers; people went from personal training to real estate and vice versa. 
  • However, during times of uncertainty, people tend to invest in themselves. Mike read an article that MBA programs are filling up; it is becoming difficult to get into different education types. Mike went through an MBA to help him with the business side of things they do at NASM. 
  • 2020 has been a record year for NASM. It has been the best year they have ever had, and Mike believes a lot of it came from COVID and then executed many things they had wanted to do for a long time. In particular, they wanted to utilize instructor teams that they have built up and maintained for a long time and push out a lot of content for their audience. 
  • This year alone, they have done 125 different types of webinars and broadcast. They have multiple things they do on their Facebook page that gets plenty of engagement, which Mike believes audience members are hungry for. 

What are the most significant differences Mike thinks fitness professionals need to understand doing virtual vs. in person?

  • The difference is something that Mike and NASM are trying to address through their product. One of the things they were going to do before COVID was to get their instructor team together once a year. 
  • This year in April, they were going to do media training with them. Everything from audio to on camera and how to read off of a teleprompter, unscripted stuff; because they had noticed the trend approaching. COVID accelerated that trend.  
  • They looked at two platforms on which you can do virtual training. Mike did a lot of the research himself, and there was someone else coaching him too. They found that when virtual training is done right, it is surprisingly effective. 
  • Mike was surprised at how much he enjoyed remote coaching. He has also seen people struggle to adopt online coaching because they treat it like a regular session, leaving the coach and trainees disjointed and detached from the session. 
  • Mike says online coaching is a skill set that you need to develop. You cannot do the same things you can do in person, and you have to understand that. You have to know how to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. 


NASM is the world leader in fitness certification, education, and performance. For more than 30 years, the National Academy of Sports Medicine ™ (NASM) has set the standard in certification, continuing education, solutions, and tools for health and fitness, sports performance, and sports medicine professionals.


Connect with Mike: LinkedIn

NASM: Website

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