Tag Archives: personal trainer


If you had told me in high school that as an adult I would love fitness and pursue a fitness career, I would have laughed at you. I was the girl who always tried to get out of gym class and wouldn’t even bother changing into my gym uniform half the time.

Fast forward ten years, and I can’t even imagine fitness not being a part of my life. It’s funny how much we change.

As some of you know, I got my group exercise instructor certification about a year and a half ago but never really pursued it. I love love love group fitness classes which I didn’t even start taking until about two years ago when I switched gyms to the gym I am currently at.

At my gym, the fitness classes are fun and challenging and it’s group of people who all know each other. Everyone is so nice and supportive and the instructors are great. I knew that I wanted to do something fitness related, so I started with my group exercise certification.

I started to realize that while I loved taking group fitness classes, I wasn’t sure if I was 100% comfortable being the one in front of the room teaching the group fitness class. I feel more comfortable in one-on-one situations, so I decided to pursue becoming a personal trainer.

At first, I planned on getting my personal trainer certification though NETA which is where I had gotten my group exercise certification. I met with the health and fitness manager at my gym to discuss my options. I am friendly with her as well as the head group fitness instructor/personal trainer at my gym from taking the classes and participating in the Biggest Loser weight loss challenge last summer.

The health and fitness manager said that they be happy to bring me on board at the new gym once I received my personal trainer certification. Tons of new people were hired because the new gym is so much larger and offers so much more equipment and classes.

The fitness manager recommended that I get my certification through NASM – The National Academy of Sports Medicine. NASM is one of the most widely known and respected names in the fitness industry- they are one of the best and getting certification through them could open up many doors for me. There is a reason they’re the best – they’re tough but you learn your stuff.

I actually bought the NASM textbook through Amazon about 2 years ago and started studying it. There is so much information in the book that I would often get overwhelmed or life would get in the way and I would put it on the back burner.

Finally, after talking with the fitness manager and basically being offered a job that over 300 people applied for, I decided to get certified for real. After looking at the NASM website, I came across their eTeach course.

I 110% recommend the eTeach course and know that they only reason I passed the exam was because of it.

The CPT Assist: eTeach features:

  • Exclusive video presentations
  • Interactive discussions
  • Weekly quizzes to test your knowledge
  • Webinar focused on test critical information
  • Mid-term exam
  • Final exam
  • A comprehensive study guide outlining what you need to know to pass the exam
  • Test Pass Guarantee or your money back

Instead of randomly studying the test book like I had been doing, the eTeach course is like taking an actual class. It lasted 9 weeks and included a syllabus and study guide.

Every week there would be a reading assignment, a video to watch, three discussion questions to answer in an online forum, and a quiz. There was a midterm halfway and a final exam. The videos really helped me because I liked having something explain the material rather than just reading it in the book.

The class also helped kept me on track and helped me focus on what I really needed to know for the exam. It was hard work and I spent every free second studying. I woke up early to study. I studied while the kids were at swim lessons and while my niece was napping. I studied when the kids went to bed and had Danny quiz me at night. I studied on long car ride. Basically if I had a free minute, I was studying.

I studied so much and never mentioned getting my personal training certification on the blog because I was terrified of not passing the exam. I heard it was very hard and the questions were worded difficultly, but that wasn’t by biggest worry. My biggest worry was that my gym had basically already hired me as a personal trainer and I felt like if I didn’t pass the test then I was letting myself down and the people that had already put so much faith into me.

I made it my #1 priority to pass that exam on the first try. Thanks to the eTeach course, I made that happen. If you are thinking about getting your certification through NASM, I can’t tell you enough how much the eTeach course helped me to prepare for the exam. The exam success (passing) rate for people that take the eTeach course is 95%.

The eTeach course is not necessary to take the certification exam and is a little pricey but it is worth it. After taking the final exam for the eTeach course, I knew which areas I needed to focus on.

I took my real certification exam about three days after I finish my final test for the eTeach course. I studied really hard and was pretty confident going into the certification exam. Don’t get me wrong, I had never been so nervous in my entire life and felt like I was going to throw up.

I  felt a lot of pressure to pass the exam – pressure from myself, everyone else that knew about it in my life was very supportive.

I went to a local testing center to take the test at 9:15 am. There is a two hour time limit to take the test and you can mark questions that you’re unsure of to go back to later. I was so nervous during the test and made sure to read each question slowly and carefully.

It’s not enough just to memorize information because the questions are worded in a way that applies them to real life situations. At first, I was like this test is easy, peasy. I got this. Then I would get to a few questions that I was unsure of and I would think, what did I get myself into. There’s so way I can pass this test, what was I thinking. I quit.

Overall, I felt really confident taking the test. I feel like the eTeach course really helped prepare me and I know I did well on the test even if I was second guessing myself. You don’t find out  your actual score on the test – you only receive a pass or a fail. After the test, the proctor prints out a paper with a pass or fail and hands it to you.

When I got my paper and saw the words congratulations and pass, I was so incredibly happy. I think I might have squealed a bit when the lady handed me my paper. And I might have yelled out, oh thank God!

Nine weeks of studying paid off.

The exam is 120 questions and 20 of those are research questions which don’t count toward your final score. It took me just about an hour to finish.

So, while I am a certified personal trainer, I still lack hands-on real life experience. My gym is going to have me shadow a trainer with their clients for awhile until I get the hang of things.

To me, being a personal trainer is about helping others. It’s something that I really enjoy doing, learning about, and sharing with others. If I can teach others about health and fitness and make them happy with themselves then that makes me happy. I think it’s a long road but everyone needs to start at the beginning and focus on their own journey.


Getting my personal trainer certification wasn’t cheap but it was worth it.

  • eTeach 9-week course – $349 (I got my during a $50 off special and paid $299)
  • Textbook – Approx. $65 if ordered through Amazon. (On the NASM website it’s $73)
  • Exam – $599 ( I got mine during a $100 off special and paid $499)

The NASM website offers more study packages, flash cards, and practice tests that you can buy, but the things above are what I personally purchased and used.


The head fitness instructor at my gym actually approached me about getting certified to teach BodyPump. With the new gym, there’s a lot of new classes offered on different days but not enough BodyPump teachers to cover all of them.

Even though I am nervous about teaching in front of a group, I am way more comfortable teaching strength training classes than I am cardio classes. BodyPump is it’s own certification through Les Mills that requires two days of intense training followed by submitting a video of myself teaching a class.

The hardest part for me while be doing a move and calling it out at the same time. But practice makes perfect! The certification weekend is coming up at the beginning of September and I should be fine to participate but I am a bit worried because I haven’t taken a BodyPump class in so long because of my hip.

I am very excited for all the new things coming my way :)

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?



Filed under Fitness, Working Out

Trying Out the Equipment

Good Morning!

I was up early this morning for an orientation at my new gym this morning.

The gym technically doesn’t open until next month, but all the equipment is up and running. The new gym is going to have fitness floor specialists which walk around the gym floor showing people how to use equipment and answer questions. The orientation today was mainly geared towards them, but the personal trainers were also asked to come to get familiar with the equipment.

It was a pretty informal meeting this morning, and we were all able to roam around the fitness center and try out all the machines, weights, equipment, and cardio machines. I tried not to do too much because of my hip, but I tried out most of the weight machines and cardio equipment.

One of the new pieces of cardio equipment is a low-impact treadmill.

It’s great for people with knee, joint, and low-back and for people recovering from surgery or that are in rehab. It has a trampoline-type deck that cushions your foot as you run. I think it might take a little getting used to if you’re used to a normal treadmill, but I tried it out and I could tell the difference right away.

We spent about an hour and a half working out and trying all the equipment.

As for the personal training, I’ll probably shadow a personal trainer for a while in the beginning and they expect business to pick up towards October. Even though I know all the information from the book, I don’t have any hands-on experience, which I am the most worried about.

It’s different reading and learning information from a book versus actually doing it in real life. I think that shadowing a more experienced trainer will be extremely helpful.

I have a doctor appointment this afternoon to get my hip rechecked. I just wish it wasn’t so far away – it’s about an hour away and I always dread the drive. Driving is something that I really dislike doing. If I never had to drive in life again, I would be perfectly happy. :)

Hopefully the doctor will say that my hip is progressing and I’ll be able to do the BodyPump certification at the beginning of next month.

Another ALT Larabar:

On Suzanne’s recommendation, I tried the lemon Alt bar, and it was awesome. I usually stick to the peanut butter and chocolate flavors, but I really liked the lemon flavor. I need to stock up on these!

Have a great day!

  • Have you ever been to a personal trainer?
  • Did you workout today?
  • Do you like driving? What do you not like doing? Driving, cooking, cleaning, etc?






Filed under Fitness, Working Out

Lots of BIG News!

This morning I took my National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer exam, and I PASSED!

Not only did I pass, but I already have a job!

And I will be getting my Les Mills BodyPump teaching certificate next month.

I know that I haven’t mentioned anything about any of this, but I am going to do a whole post on it soon.

This was another reason that I was so bummed about my hip being hurt. I need to be in good shape to take the two-day class for the BodyPump certification. I have heard it’s intense, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that my hip will be better by then.

I still have a lot to learn and there’s a lot going on right now and it’s a little overwhelming, but I am so excited for these new opportunities.

A big thank you to my husband, Danny, for supporting me, keeping the kids quiet while I studied, and for quizzing me every night.

:) :) :) :)




Filed under Fitness, Working Out

Date Night!

Last night, Danny and I had our date night at California Pizza Kitchen.

First, we dropped the kids off by my mom’s house. She had freshly baked cookies when we got there. It’s pretty hard to turn down freshly baked cookies. So, I ate one…or three. Damn.

From there we headed to California Pizza Kitchen. We got there early enough that it wasn’t very busy. I hate crowds and waiting, so I get everywhere early. I am only 30, and I am already getting those early bird specials.

We started out with Mediterranean focaccia bread, and then ordered pizzas. Danny had the BBQ chicken minus the onions, and I had the Hawaiian BBQ pizza – red onions, gouda cheese, BBQ sauce, and pineapple.

The pizzas were delicious. They are a pretty big size, and we probably could have gotten by just sharing one… since I ate so many cookies and was full after half the pizza. I just wish that CPK had a pizza and salad combo. There were a few salads that I wanted to try but still wanted pizza.

We were way too full for dessert. That always happens. I look so forward to dessert, then I’m too full to order it…but don’t worry we got dessert later.

We walked around the stores nearby for a bit, and then we headed back towards my mom’s house. I wanted a dessert but wasn’t in the mood for anything cold (those darn Crest white strips make my teeth ache sooooo bad). So, we stopped at Mariano’s grocery store to check out their bakery. Good decision.

Danny got a red velvet cupcake, and I got a piece of peanut butter cheesecake. They were both delicious, but we didn’t finish those either. What’s happening to us!?

After that we went back to my mom’s house to pick up the kids. We had a nice date night and ate delicious food. Did I maybe eat a little bit more than I planned on? Yes. Is today a new day? Yes.

Today’s Workout

  • BootCamp – 60 minutes
  • 1.32 miles treadmill, walked

We stopped by my dad’s house last night after we picked up the kids, and we didn’t get home until after 11pm. When we got home, we stayed up until midnight watching CSI and eating our leftover pizza. So, when I woke up at 7am this morning, I wasn’t really feeling all that awesome – just tired.

I decided that I would go to the gym and just walk on the treadmill. But when I got to the gym at 8am, every single person coming into the gym was going to BootCamp (today’s cardio potluck choice), so I decided that BootCamp must be the cool place to go, and I changed my nice slow walking on the treadmill to BootCamp.

I’m glad that I did – after a five-minute warm-up, I was ready to go! I haven’t been to Boot Camp in a long time, so it was nice to do something different, and the class just flew by because it’s so much different stuff than I’m used to doing.

I talked to the instructor for a while after class. She was one of the Biggest Loser instructors, and I don’t see her often because she teaches the night classes, and I usually go to the day classes.

She asked if I was doing anything with my group exercise instructor certification yet. No, no I’m not.

I’ve haven’t talked about it in a while, but I did get certified to teach group exercise last year. To be honest, I am a little bit uncomfortable leading in a group setting. I’m used to taking the classes, not being the one teaching the class. And when I got my certification, I was 30 pounds heavier, so I didn’t feel comfortable with myself. But I knew I wanted to do something fitness related.

When my new gym opens later this year and will be hiring, I hope to be a certified personal trainer. I think I would be more comfortable with one on one training, and maybe ease into group instruction. I also felt for a long time that I had to “look the part.” If I wasn’t comfortable with my own body, how could I show people to be comfortable with theirs.

I plan on getting my certification through NETA where I have my group exercise certification from. I also have the NASM textbook because I studied that for a while. I do plan on ordering the study material, I just keep putting it off because basically I’m scared. Scared of what? Of not looking the part? Or failing? Of being overwhelmed? Once I bite the bullet and do it, I know I’ll feel a lot better. I was scared to get my group exercise certification, but when I passed the test with flying colors, I was so proud of myself.

We shall see what life brings!

  • What was the best thing that you ate this weekend?
  • Would you rather teach group exercise or train someone one on one?
  • What would you look for in a personal trainer? Ever been to one?


Filed under Dinner, Fitness, Working Out

Running, Rolling, and…Water

Yesterday’s Workout

  • Biggest Loser Workout – 60 minutes
  • 5k Prep – 28 minutes straight running

I am really going to miss all the people from the Biggest Loser when we finish the program in two weeks. Everyone is so nice and supportive and running with a group has really pushed me to run better and faster. We’ve talked about meeting up a few times to continue to work out together and hopefully everyone’s schedules will allow it. But we all know that life gets busy.

The 5k prep went really good last night. There’s a group of about 4-5 of us that stick together and encourage each other when things get tough.

While we were running last night, my toes on my right foot kept hurting. I thought it was just my shoes and tried to ignore it. But sure enough when I got home and took my shoe off, my sock was full of blood <— Gross, I know. Sorry.

Somehow, my toenail was digging into my other toe and ripped part of itself off as well as slicing my other toe open. Once again, gross, I know. Luckily, Danny helped me clean it up and put a band-aid on it. I don’t really like blood – I can handle it if I have too, but I’d rather not. I don’t pass out or anything but let’s just say I could never be a nurse.

Today’s Breakfast

I made sure to eat a decent breakfast within an hour of waking up again this morning. I had an egg white omelet with a little bit of spinach, a piece of toast with peanut butter, and a clementine. And coffee, of course. There always needs to be coffee involved. I would honestly be happy just drinking coffee all morning long, but I know that I need food to jump-start my metabolism in the mornings.

Today’s Workout

  • Foam Rolling
  • 4.4 miles outside (ran 3.3 miles, walked 1.1 miles)

This morning, I dragged out the foam roller to roll my forever tight calves.

Jaden must always be involved when the foam roller is out..or the exercise ball…or the free weights.

After Jaden went to school, I drove to a local trail to run outside (trying to stick to my goal of running outside!) Is it dumb that I drive five miles to a local trail to run?! I like this particular trail because it’s circular, is free of stop lights and cars, has a water fountain, and has each .25 of a mile marked.

I ran about 3.3 miles, stopped at my car to grab my water and camera, and walked the last mile. Then I stopped at Meijer and stocked up on Propel water.

It was on sale for .50 cents a bottle, which is awesome because they’re normally about $1.29 a bottle! When they go on sale for only .50 cents, I make sure to stock up. My favorite flavor is peach, with black cherry and grape tied for second place.

I try to limit myself to one Propel water a day. I love that it’s slightly flavored because sometimes plain water can get boring, but it also has a long list of ingredients in it:

Probably not the best for water, which is why I only drink one a day.

I have my interview at the park district later this afternoon. That means I have to dig out actual grown-up non-yoga pants. Great.

I was thinking, now that the kids are in school, I might use to free time to get my personal training certification. I already have my group exercise instructor certification through NETA, and figured I could get my personal training certification through them as well.

I have mentioned before that my gym is building a whole new giant location that will open next fall, and they will be hiring new instructors and personal trainers. So, I figured this would be the perfect time to get it because then I would be certified before the new gym opens. And I know that NETA isn’t the top #1 choice of certification but it’s accredited by the NCCA and I know that my gym accepts it.

Questions of the day:

  • What’s the worst injury you’ve had? Luckily, I haven’t had too many. The only bone I’ve ever broke was my pinky when I was a kid.
  • Do you have to wear grown-up pants, like dress pants?
  • Do you have something “healthy” that you have to try hard not to over eat? I could probably eat my body weight in fruit, but I don’t think that would be a good idea…


Filed under Biggest Loser, Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out

My New Training Program

I went to the gym this morning to meet with the personal trainer, Gina, for a thirty minute session. The session actually ended up being about 40 minutes and even though we just kind of ran through the program that she set up for me, I got a good workout and my legs were exhausted.

Before the gym with crazy hair and Jaden in the background, trying to jump on his brother:

The program that she set up for me is a cardio and weight training circuit workout. There are three circuits, each one starting out with one and a half minutes of cardio and then a thirty-second sprint. High intensity to get my heart rate up, followed by weights. Each circuit is repeated three times.

My plan is to do this workout three days a week OR BodyPump two days a week and this workout one day a week, which is what I plan on doing. Also, if I want to increase my workouts to hopefully lose weight, I will add in two additional days of doing hour-long cardio on three different machines – treadmill, elliptical, and bike.

The two hardest parts for me were the walking lunges with a twist and the stationary bike at the end. I have no balance whatsoever, so I keep almost falling over with the walking twist lunges. And I don’t know if it was because the bike was at the end of the workout and I was getting tired, but my quads were screaming on that bike, and the 30 second sprint seemed like forever.

I was glad that I got a workout plan set up and that’s it something that I can easily stick too. The only downside is that since it’s a smaller gym, some of the machines that I need aren’t always available.

When I finished my workout and was leaving the gym, an older gentleman stopped me and asked if I was doing physical training for the police force. Why, no sir, I’m doing training to be less fat. That’s weird, right? Maybe I should become a police officer.

Has anyone ever mistaken you for a police officier? This was my first time. <— That’s a joke, I’m not crazy.



Filed under Fitness, Working Out

Commit to be Fit

This morning I came downstairs at 8 am and Danny was still here. He’s usually gone by 7 am for work. Turns out his car was having problems, so I told him just to take my car to work, because I didn’t have anywhere that I needed to be today. Except that there was a new fitness class that I wanted to try. Danny said not to drive his car because he didn’t want the kids and I to get stranded if it died.

I drove it anyway.

Sorry, Danny. I wanted to go to my new fitness class. And we made it there and back fine – it’s only about 2 miles away.

The new class that I tried was Cardio Fit & Tone. It’s described as a class to burn fat,calories, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Based on that description, I really had no idea what to expect.

When I got to class, everyone was setting up a step like we used in Step & Sculpt. Great. I’m not too coordinated, so the step and I aren’t really good friends.

The class ended up being a mix of a lot of stuff – using the step, stability ball, and resistance bands. It was hard and got my heart rate up. I think I need to step it up on my cardio a bit so I’m not so out of breath. And we did stuff on that stability ball that would be inappropriate anywhere except fitness class.

After class, I came home and made breakfast. I had a Van’s blueberry waffle with peanut butter. I also had a clementine on the side.

The waffle was so good that I made another one after I finished that one.

Commit to be Fit

I decided to get a jump-start on my new year’s health resolutions. At the park district, I signed up for a Commit to be Fit program. Basically, if you work out at least three times a week, you get entered into a raffle to win a $400 hotel package. It cost me $7 and I got a t-shirt.

The catch: fitness class don’t count. I think that’s dumb. I work harder in those fitness classes than I do working out in the gym by myself. But it is what it is.

And that’s not all. I also signed up for a 30 minute personal training session and a one time nutrition assessment. And if I want to add a program instead of just doing a one time session, they will subtract the money that I have already paid.

I just wanted to do a half hour personal training session so that I could get a fitness plan set. I know how to workout and about cardio and strength training and heart rate zones, but I thought it would be nice to set up a plan with a professional.

And I’ll probably end up doing a follow-up nutrition session. Working out is not a problem for me. It’s the eating part that I struggle with. I know how to eat healthy, and I do, but I also eat way too much sugar and sweets. And I tend to overeat later in the day.

I will let you know how it goes. I am still waiting on a phone call to schedule a day and time for the two sessions.

Have you ever had a personal trainer or been to a nutritionist?


Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out