Why personal training?
I'm extremely passionate about health & fitness. And not the out of touch level, but a practical, day-to-day kind of healthy lifestyle. Something that I won't get burnt out on, but that makes me, me. If that makes sense. I used to be overweight. I would share pictures but unfortunately for you (fortunately for me) my computer crashed a few years ago and I lost all of my old pictures. What motivated me to make a change? My Daddy. I love my Dad to death, but he's a bigger guy. I will never forget him telling me that if I didn't slow down soon, that I would end up looking like him. Talk about wake up call. When I started college is really when I started getting into health and fitness. But I never really thought about making a career out of my new found passion. Once I graduated college and realized that I wasn't really interested in much of anything else, I figured I might as well make my passion into a career!
Aka the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I did a lot of research prior to deciding who I wanted to get certified through. I narrowed it down to ACSM and NASM. A lot of the trainers who I look up to (like Katrina Hodgson of Tone It Up) are certified through NASM so I decided that I would go that route, too. This is kind of funny, but after researching, it seemed to me that NASM was the "Mondo Burger" of the certifications (shout out to those of y'all who knew this Good Burger reference). I took the NASM CPT Version 4 exam.
How I Prepared:
The CPT course was all home based. I ordered the study bundle in June of 2012, but due to some life changes, I didn't begin studying until January 2013. I took my exam on March 28, 2013. You have 6 months (180 days) after your purchase date to take the exam. The study bundle that I bought came with a free retest in case you didn't pass the first time around, so since I missed my time frame, I used the second exam as my first one. Thankfully I passed...woo!
But let me tell you...it was not easy. I spent 5/7 nights a week for 2.5 months glued to my desk chair studying away. Now know this, I had zero previous knowledge of any of this. I knew going into this that it would be a challenge for me since I have never taken an anatomy class or learned the science behind fitness. Anyone who thinks that just because someone is "good" at working out or has lost a lot of weight on their own can easily become a CPT is mistaken. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Let me encourage you to break everything down and don't get discouraged. Take it chapter by chapter. Use the resources provided to you by NASM.
I chose to print out and follow the syllabus that NASM recommended. I read the entire text book and made flash cards for each chapter. I studied those flash cards to death. I then took the practice exam and didn't do so hot. But that showed me the areas where I needed to improve. So I mapped out which chapters I was weak in and zoned in on those. I then retook the practice exam and did much better.
The test itself was HARD. Nothing to take lightly. It is the only test I've ever taken (and I've taken A TON) that I've gone back and double-checked every single question (there was 120 questions). If you're studying I suggest on focusing on:
- Know all of the assessments (especially the overhead squat assessment)
- The OPT model as a whole
- Progressions & regressions of each exercise as well as how to categorize them in the OPT model
- Acute variables of each adaptation
- Isolated functions of the muscles
- Nutrition chapter
- Client relations
- Vocabulary of each chapter
- Stretching categorization
The test is worded in a way that you cannot just memorize the material, but actually have to understand it and know how to apply it. I did more critical thinking during this process than I ever did in college. Just saying. I had 2 hours to complete the exam and used 1 hour and 10 minutes of that.
Now that I am officially a NASM CPT, I've had a lot of people ask me what my next move is going to be. I don't really want to work in a gym, because I haven't set foot in a gym in over 2 months. I do all of my workouts at home. I am going to be brainstorming over the next few weeks about starting my own business. I'm planning on training people in my area in local parks or at their house. I would also be interested in teaching small group classes outdoors. Something else that I'm wanting to get into is...online personal training! Yep that's right. I don't have all the details nailed down yet, but I'm going to be extending an offer of services to y'all :) I'm really excited about that. Yay technology! Eventually, I would love to own my own fitness studio for women. But that will be later on down the road. Sometime in the next 2 years, I'll be getting my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification through NASM, too. Every 2 years I have to get 2.0 CEUs (continuing education units). For now I'm trying to figure out what to do with all of this spare time that I'm not using studying...I forgot how to have a life ;)
Thank y'all for the endless support...you're gems! And seriously, chase your dreams!