NASM Personal Training Journey

It has been a week since I have passed my NASM CPT test and I am just so happy to see where this journey takes me. Let’s rewind a bit to share how I got started, study tips and next steps.

Way back in December/January I had been reading two of my favorite blogs: Peanut Butter Runner and Peanut Butter Fingers. Both Jen and Julie wrote great posts on how they became Certified Personal Trainers through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Julie even mentioned a name and phone number to call in her post to receive a discount.

I also checked out NASM’s website and saw the various packages that they offered. After thinking about it, talking with my family, and reading about it online, finally in February I decided to give Michael (who was mentioned in Julie’s post) a call and get the ball rolling.

I decided to pick the $699 package which came with the textbook, E-Learning Center, and printable flashcards. Michael gave me a $100 discount off that price because I mentioned Julie’s post! I was so excited!

A few days later I received my package in the mail:




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I was so excited that they gave an awesome backpack too which got filled up very quickly with outlines and flashcards (I am all about the swag 🙂 )!

The next day I got started studying! NASM sent emails each week sharing what chapters I should be reading to stay on target. As I read the chapters I typed up an outline for each chapter. My outlines included important points, key vocab, and important charts. I also made flash cards of the key vocab words for each of the chapters. After that I watched the online videos and completed the online quizzes.

It was tough to get some of the chapters in as NASM would sometimes assign multiple chapters each week. I often worked late at night after the gym and work and on the weekends.

I finished the whole book and outlining at the end of April/beginning of May. After that I began to work on reading over my outlines and practicing the flash cards provided by NASM a few times a week.

At the beginning of June I was able to schedule my test for July 31st, which made it all feel very real.

Once school ended in June, my studying became total crunch time. Each day I would read 5 of my outlines, practice the flash cards from those chapters and practice the NASM flash cards. I also read through a book that generally outlined the whole NASM text book that a trainer at the gym lent me!

During mid-July I decided to take the practice exam that I had on my E-Learning Center to gauge where I was at with my studying. I got a 75 and I knew that you needed a 70 to pass, however to me 75 was too close for comfort. I buckled down and began to study even more after reading some tips from this post that I saw online. 


Although I studied for all of July I made sure to sit on my balcony, go to the pool or go to the Pier in Hoboken to study. I love the outdoors and it was not distracting to me at all!

Some areas that I knew I needed to really get down and understand where the Overactive and Under-active muscles seen during the Squatting, Pushing and Pulling Assessment. I made multiple copied of a blank chart of page 196 as well as flash cards of the information from the chart to help me understand the information. I have to be honest it was really tough to get this information down. I constantly would make the movements and point to the muscles and say them out loud to help me. It is a lot of information and it was tough to get it all down!

I also worked hard on understanding the different movements in the Sagittal, Transverse and Frontal Plane along with the specific functions of each muscle. I made flash cards of this information and did the movements as I practiced.

The last two weeks I just kept reading 5 outlines, those flashcards, my Overactive/Under-active flash cards, muscle function flash cards, and NASM flashcards. I also watched these NASM DVDs that the trainer had also lent me. I probably studied a good 3-4 hours each day. It was a lot but I wanted to feel totally prepared.

Three days before the exam I saw something on Instagram about this website Poke-A-Muscle so I played around with that to help reinforce all my flash card work! (Wish I knew about it sooner).


Two days before the exam I took the practice test again and I got a 92! I felt SO awesome and ready! The day before I just went over any areas in the book that I wasn’t 100% sure on or wanted to re-read (especially the Cardiorespiratory system and Bioenergetics information). The night before I just took it easy and relaxed.

The morning of I made sure to eat a filling and healthy breakfast, I looked over my notes and flash cards one last time and then headed to my testing center (Oh, by the way, I drove by it the day before just so I knew exactly where it was). You need to bring your ID and CPR/AED card (leave your cell phone in the car, the man made me go back to put it in my car).

The exam is on a computer and you have two hours. You can also flag questions as you go so you can review them at the end. I ended up flagging about 30 questions (I gave my best answer but flagged them if I was between two answers). Upon reviewing I maybe only changed 1 or 2 answers and decided to stay with my first answer, my gut answer. 🙂 I only had about 20 minutes left and decided that I was finished. I said a little prayer and hit submit.

Then I went outside and sat in the proctor’s chair. He knocked the router off and and had to re-do it, so I sat there for probably about 5 minutes (felt like hours) with my heart beating out of my chest. Then he finally got everything working and told me I passed!! He gave me my print out before I left too!!


I am still so overjoyed and proud of myself for going after my dream and catching it!


I saw this quote on Instagram the morning of my exam and it made me feel so proud of myself and ready to conquer the NASM exam. 

So would I say the exam was easy? No way! You HAVE to study and take the time to prepare. It was challenging but I felt prepared for it since I studied for almost 6 months!

What are my next steps? Coming up this month I will be getting certified in Spinning through Mad Dogg Athletics and Group Exercise from AFAA. After that we will see what happens! I love that I can teach classes and personal train alongside my current job as I follow my new journey! I cannot believe, the girl who HATED gym class, HATED running, is now a Certified Personal Trainer and I am running a marathon! My life has really changed in a way that makes me so happy and excited and grateful over the past few years.

I hope this post is helpful! If you are taking your NASM test, good luck and let me know if you have any questions!


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