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?