I didn’t put it on blast that I planned on taking the NASM CPT exam this month, although I didn’t really hide it either.  And honest, I didn’t know how many people failed the first time (the statistics are 1 - 3 people fail, only 65% pass).

Getting a personal trainer certification in general is something that I’ve kinda wanted to do for a long time.  The things that stopped me were usually time, money and a greater interest in a different certification. It was never something I was opposed to doing, but I was quite happy with group fitness teaching and I enjoyed continuing education in yoga.  I taught at so many different gyms in Chicago that between all of the required training and discounts on Expos, I was able to get my CEUs without really thinking about it. Then I decided to move to Nashville.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I was offered a job in Nashville two weeks before I originally intended to move.  It was a godsend to have some stable income waiting for me. The one caveat besides the early move was that I was required to get my personal training certification.  I chose NASM.

Playing Poke-a-Muscle is one of the more fun ways to study.

Playing Poke-a-Muscle is one of the more fun ways to study.

I started out with pretty good study habits, then the building caught on fire and I was consumed with that for a while. I picked it back up thereafter. I read through each chapter in the text book, watched through all the videos (some of that was excruciating because the internet at our place is HORRIBLE) and I did the quizzes at the end of each chapter. Reading through was difficult. The material is pretty dense. About a month out from the exam, I started panicking about the possibility of failing. I watched a lot of videos from people who had passed and what they did to prepare. I took a few things from each of them.

  1. Poke-a-Muscle was helpful. I played this video game that lets you poke individual muscles on a muscle guy. I wish it went more into detail on the smaller muscles on the shoulders and in the neck, but it really did help with some of the leg muscles. Check it out here.

  2. I took one day out of the week about ten days out from the exam and focused on each of the six domains in the study guide. I took the quizzes at the end until I had passed them all five times with 100% scores. The quizzes are helpful because the questions change around.

  3. I bought the Pocket Prep NASM app. You can get a free one that I think gives you 100 questions a day. I went ahead and paid the $19.99 to get the next one up. I really liked this because you can take a quick ten question quiz whenever you want (i.e. standing in line at Starbucks) or you can take a longer test up to 100 questions. Afterward, it shows you what you got wrong AND (best part) you can view an explanation of the concept right there in the app. That was the MOST helpful for me.

  4. I got good sleep the week of the test except for two nights before (the Stallion decided to play the drums again at 4am) and the night before (I had nightmares about the test all night and Jake was being a jerk.)

  5. Memorizing the charts for each phase of the OPT Model and the number of reps, sets, rest, tempo, etc. was the most challenging for me. My wonderful friend Patti spent THREE HOURS on the phone with me one afternoon and we made pictures in my mind out of all of them. I put each phase in a different location. For example, Phase 1, Stabilization was in my parents’ house, where I feel very stable. Each table I put in a different room (sets were in the dining room because you set the table there). And then each number was a person, animal, thing that would remind me of it’s quantify in some way. Snowmen appeared often for number 8.

If I can get it open, celebration shall commence.

If I can get it open, celebration shall commence.

I passed my exam! I was incredibly nervous and the exam did make you think. Some of the questions were familiar, similar to either ones on the Pocket Prep or the practice quizzes, but very very few were exactly like ones I had seen before. You do actually need to understand the concepts of what you have learned and the test is very good at measuring that.

I’m thrilled to be certified and I do really feel that preparing for this test has given me an excellent starting point to guide people toward their fitness goals.

Now I’m going to go have some champagne.

Meredith LyonsComment