In November 2017 I became certified as a NASM personal trainer. WOAHOOOO! For years I wanted to become certified as a personal trainer but never took the plunge to sign up. Last summer I was finally at the point where I was so unhappy at work and needed to make a change. Most of my coworkers were becoming certified in critical care and that was something I just didn’t have any interest in doing. I decided that the only way start making a change in my life was to enroll in the NASM online certified personal trainer program.
Why did you choose NASM?
I did a lot of research online and spoke to several friends who were trainers about the different certifications. I was deciding between NASM, ACE, and ACSM. From my research, NASM seemed to be the most widely accepted and reputable fitness certification.
What package did you choose?
NASM offers 4 different packages to choose from. Each of them increase in price with the addition of different features. The packages range from $489-$1399. I chose the premium self study for $699— which included the exam, online textbook, lecture videos, exercise & cueing library, practice exams & quizzes, study guide, and different learning activities. Looking back I probably should have just chosen the first option (self study) because of my nursing background. NASM also offers payment plans. I didn’t have to pay the $699 up front. They let you pay month to month for a year— which is SO nice!
Also, before sitting for your NASM certification exam, you need to be certified in CPR/AED. I was lucky enough to already have this because of my job at the hospital.
How did you prepare for the exam?
From when you purchase your package, NASM gives you 180 days to take the exam. I procrastinated BIG TIME. When I was in nursing school, studying was always a priority for me. I put school before anything else. Well 7 years later, things definitely changed. I was working full time at the hospital, training for a marathon, and trying to keep up with all my social media obligations. I waited about a month after receiving my textbook to start reading through it. Once I read through it the first time, I went back and read through it again, this time taking notes and making flashcards. I also utilized the online features and printed out both study guides that are available and made my own study guide based off of those. After I ran the Chicago Marathon in October I decided it was time to finally schedule a date for the exam. I only had a month until my 180 days were up so I scheduled it for November 17th. The last final weeks up to the exam I went over and over the online exams and quizzes. If I got a question wrong then I would go back into the book and figure out why it was wrong. I probably took each quiz and test 5 times each. Taking practice tests has always been one of the best ways for me to study, it’s more interactive than just sitting there and taking notes. Even when I was studying for my nursing NCLEX, I went over and over the KAPLAN practice exams multiple times to prepare as well.
I went into the exam feeling really prepared. Although I did procrastinate for the first 5 months after I purchased the exam materials, but I really buckled down the last month before the exam and got to work.
On the exam, there were 120 questions, but only 100 of them actually counted. Most of the questions came from the online exams and quizzes I had taken. I flew through the exam in 30 minutes and walked out with a passing score! I was finally certified as a NASM personal trainer!
What am I doing with my certification now?
When I passed my NASM personal training exam, I wanted to get started training clients right away— but it an online setting. However, I didn’t feel comfortable making plans for clients yet. I didn’t have experience working in a gym and didn’t have a website to offer these services from. I was still working full time as RN so I didn’t know how I was going to balance it all. I decided that I wanted to have a website built offer training services and start blogging. I hired Anelise Salvo to design my website and branding for me. She had a wait list (because she’s SOO amazing and I would highly recommend her) so it gave me some time to figure out how I was going to balance everything before the website was built. I was supposed to go part time at work, but it kept getting dragged on. I wanted to start focusing on personal training but I really couldn’t with my nursing schedule. I decided it was best to leave the hospital for good and work full time in fitness and blogging.
When I left the hospital in March, I still didn’t have experience as a personal trainer. I didn’t feel comfortable putting plans together for clients. I decided the only way to get the experience was to go through a mentorship program with a personal trainer to teach me the personal training side as well as the business side of training. I reached out to Alan (@alanogletree), whose a local personal trainer in the South Bay, to see if I could work with him to help give me the experience I needed to feel comfortable. Alan offers private, semi-private, and small group training. He also works with corporate clients a few times a week as well! I thought this would be a great fit so I signed up to do a 4 month mentorship program with him. I’ve learned so much these past few months that I don’t think I would have learned just trying to go out and train on my own! I still have a month of my mentorship to go, but I am at the point where I am taking clients– So exciting! If you would like to work with me— please reach out and we can chat about your goals!