It started about six years ago, I had just started my fitness journey, and after a few months, I knew what I wanted to do. I had been working out for some time and wanted to go to the next step. I remember asking a few of the trainers in the gym what certifications they had? I wanted to go with the best, so I did my research. It wasn't too long after that I realized that NASM was the best option for me.
NASM, or known as the national academy of sports medicine, is a top-notch personal training organization. I heard nothing but positive words about them and knew that when I passed my exam, I wanted to be proud of my certification. If you are a personal trainer and you're reading this, it's crucial to get certified with an organization that you respect and admire. You should never go with any personal training certifications only to say you are a certified personal trainer. I must say that clients won't really care who you're certified with, but gyms will when you're trying to get a job. I have been with NASM for six years, and I'm proud to say that I belong to that family. In this article, I'm going to discuss my experience with NASM. Everything from ordering my book and exam to the process of studying.
When I first ordered my NASM book and exam, I paid about $800 with some additional charges that went a bit higher but still under $900. The exam is around $600, and the book is around $100. There is some extra cost for shipping and taxes included, so be prepared to spend a pretty penny. If you need to do payment plans, I believe NASM still allows that. I must say if you are hesitating to pay that much money, look at it like this, you are investing in your career, and you need to learn this information. I'm not saying you need to get certified to learn this information but ask yourself what your other options are? You can find a seasoned trainer who can teach you everything, but you won't be able to work for a gym or even start a personal training business. A certificate will be required when getting paperwork together and or getting insurance.
At the beginning of the book, you will learn a little history about how personal training came to be? Next, the book goes into the nervous system as well as the Basic and Applied Sciences and Nutritional Concepts. The muscular system comes not too long after, and the book has 20 chapters in total. You also get about 130 flashcards. My experience studying was unpleasant, honesty speaking. I knew nothing about the human body and the functions. We'' ll the part that was required of me to pass the exam. When I purchased my NASM package, I went for the self-study option. I struggled, and it took me about six months of non-stop studying. As a heads up, you will need to know the names of the muscles and how they accelerate and contract. You will need to know which muscles pairs together and what indicates if a muscle is overactive or underactive. When I was studying, that part came in chapter 6, which talks about the overhead squat assessment. You will need to know about the overhead squat evaluation for sure.
As you study, it's best to create study cards so you can carry them with you. I found myself studying every second I could. One thing you should know is that there's always time to review. You'll be surprised at how much time you have when traveling to and from home. The Cardiorespiratory System is essential to know. The exam will ask you about the Right and left atrium along with the Right and left ventricle. These terms, you learn will probably never be what you discuss with clients. Most of the time, clients aren't interested in learning this kind of information. People are mainly concerned with getting in shape and looking good. Eventually, over time you might find someone who will want to know this kind of information. As personal trainers, the side of the back muscles is latissimus dorsi, but to everyone else, it's just back muscles. So keep that in mind when training.
The next chapter you'll need to know is the Fundamentals of Biomechanics. In that chapter, you'll find Biomechanics, Torque, and force. I didn't find this portion of the book difficult to understand. Another pretty easy section of the book is Planes of Motion. The planes of motion discuss Frontal, Sagittal, and Transverse. You'll appreciate these easy to understand chapters because there are a few that will be a bit changeling. The Principles of Human Movement Science was a fun part of the book because it goes into the muscle action spectrum. You will come across the three, which are Concentric, Eccentric, and Isometric.
When I took time out to study, I made sure not to be distracted or interrupted. I read the book about three times, and sometimes I still felt like I didn't understand it. I eventually got some extra help from NASM, where they get a little more hands-on with you. I recommend getting a breakdown of the exam and studying it. The breakdown shows you what areas of the book will be on the exam. So far, everything I mentioned will be on the exam. You will need to know about carbs, fats, and protein and how many calories each gram carries. I'll save you the trouble of looking that up. Carbs and protein yield four calories per gram, and fats give nine calories per gram. I remember seeing this question on the exam, so don't be surprised if you come across it.
The part of the book that gave me the most trouble is the squat assessment. It's probably one of the biggest chapters, if not the biggest. It goes into everything from what to look out for when someone squats, blood pressure, heart rate zones, and body composition. After or while reading the NASM book, you might feel overwhelmed with information. That's how I felt, and it got to me badly. You probably won't know when you're ready to take the exam. You just have to go and give it a try. It helps a ton to see the test first, understanding the type of questions and experience sitting for 30 to 60 mins answering question after question. So the first attempt, if you don't get it, you should be fine on the second one. Here's a big warning you get three tries before having to wait a year, so keep that in mind. I was lucky enough to pass on my first. At the time of studying, I was told that you get a breakdown of what you need to work on if you fail. I don't know how NASM operates now, but you should call. I called Nasm probably 60-80 times while I was studying.
Earlier I mentioned taking six months. It took me so long because, yes, I didn't understand everything, but I underestimated the exam. I was studying the practice exams that you get with the book at the end of every chapter. I believed that those types of questions would be on the test, and I was wrong. I scrambled to postpone my test last minute, and lucky enough, the representatives let me reschedule for a later date. I ended up needing more time and got another extension, so if you feel like you are not ready than wait. NASM gives you a year to take the exam before losing your purchase of the test. If you do so, you'll have to pay again.
I hope that I was able to give you some insight into what to expect from the exam. The critical factor is staying focus and not getting overwhelmed. It's best to focus on the parts of the book that will be on the exam. Once you passed the exam, you'll feel great from all that hard work paying off. I wish you the best of luck.
NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.