For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for health, fitness, and sports. After turning my blog into a full blown business, I figured it was time to put those 3 letters behind my name. No, not LPN-I am already a nurse, but nursing wasn't for me. Instead, I wanted to become a CPT or Certified Personal Trainer.
While running a business and watching my son from home, sneaking in studying to get my certification was very tricky. I won't sugar coat it-it took a LOT of time. Some days, I literally had to put my business projects aside and push hard on my books. But it all paid off because I passed today! I AM OFFICIALLY A PERSONAL TRAINER :)
First things first: why did you choose NASM?A lot of my buddies are certified through NASM and I chose them over other competition such as ACE because NASM was highly respected and widely known in the fitness industry. No offense to ACE or anything!
Which package did you purchase? I chose the CPT All Access Package which included the textbook you'll need, the exam itself, an actual online class, exam prep bundle with tons of flashcards, live workshop, and a retest voucher. It costs $1,299.
How long did you study?From the time I received my books until the day I took my test, I studied for about 6 weeks. NASM gives you 6 months or 180 days in order to study; however, due to my hectic schedule, my goal was to finish as quickly as possible so I could keep the ball rolling in my business, home, personal and family life.
Was the exam hard?This is such an opinionated answer, but to me, it was easy. That is because I studied every living, waking moment of my life for 6 weeks straight. If you read every page and really understand it all, it will be easy for you.
How did you study? I read a chapter a day, sometimes a 2-3 chapters a day. There are 20 chapters in the book and almost 600 pages of things to know. I highlighted important terms and used the flashcards that came with my NASM bundle (though you can always make your own). I also took the 3 practice tests that were included within my package. They were SUPER helpful and gave me a clear idea of what to expect on the real exam. I also watched the slideshows that came with my bundle which were basically a summary of each chapter. I had my husband read my flashcards to me which helped me memorize. But remember that there is more to studying than memorization-you have to understand the muscles and the exercises and how/why they do what they do.
What is the final exam like? The exam covers the whole entire book and is taken at a local PSI centre. It will be proctored, meaning it will be on a computer and you will be watched carefully. There are 120 multiple choice style questions total.
Here are the units broken down into the amount of test questions that are guaranteed to be on the exam:
Basic & Applied Sciences – 15
Assessment – 15
Exercise Technique and Training Instruction – 20
Program Design – 20
Nutrition – 12
Client Relations and Behavioural Coaching – 10
Professional Development, Practice, and Responsibility – 8
Research Questions – 20
Total – 120
Here are the topics you should really hit on to make sure you are well-rounded for the big day:
- All vocabulary
- OPT Model
- OPT model exercises
- Flexibility Continuum
- Posture/Movement Compensations AKA ALL of Chapter 6.
- Muscles, functions, and locations
- Acute variables
- Common distortion patterns
- Movement compensations during assessments
- Local Stabilization System
- Daily Requirements of Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates
- Levels of Plyometric Training
- Kinetic Chain Checkpoints During Running
- SAQ Program Design
- Exercise Progressions and Regressions
- Force Couples
- Pulse (Radial and Carotid)
- Target Heart Rate Training Zones
- Straight Percentage Method
- Blood Pressure (Systolic, Diastolic)
- Body Composition Assessments
- BMI, Risk of Disease
My husband and I went out to a nice lunch to celebrate my passing. It feels SO good to be able to add the certification under my belt!
For those of you who are interested in getting your certification, I can give you 15% off of your package with code FIT MOMMY. All you have to do is email or call my mentor Steve Machado and mention my blog!
Contact email: Steve.Machado@nasm.org
Have you taken the NASM exam before? What did you think?
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