why NASM and how to study for the exam.

I’m finally back home yall!  Texas was a time and a half, but I am so glad to be back in my little house on the prairie.  I strategically planned today as a rest day so I can just park my butt and not have to answer to anyone after a whirlwind of meetings, traveling, and craziness this week.  It was so cathartic to go walking around the trails this morning quieting my brain and discover new twists and turns on the preserve I hadn’t seen in awhile.


I’m just glad to get back to a little bit of normalcy before I have to head out again for work on Tuesday.  Then I get a bit of a break before I have to jet set off again.  I don’t mind traveling for work all that much, but I am a homebody through and through and 9 times out of 10 would much prefer to just be at home.

I didn’t let the travel cramp my workout style though and kept consistent throughout the trip hitting up the smallest/sweatiest/saddest gym known to man.  image3

I feel like this photo is generous with the size.  There were three treadmills, an elliptical, and a recumbent bike in what I would deem as a sauna.  Seriously, it must have been 80 degrees in there everyday.  So I sweated like you wouldn’t believe.  I did elliptical and circuits on two of the days I was there and ran 7 easy miles the other day.  They weren’t my best workouts on record, but I am extremely glad I got up and got them done before having to sit for 8 hours continuously everyday.

Highlight of the trip though?  Plowing through a good portion of my NASM text book.  I let you guys know that I’m starting to study for my NASM personal training certification.  NASM is the National Academy of Sports Medicine and offers the ability to get a reputable personal training certification through a variety of studying options.  I personally opted for the self-study model which allowed me to receive the textbook and access to the online portal so I could study for myself.  NASM gives you 180 days to study for your test and I think that is more than enough if you’re willing to commit to it.


I did a fair amount of research into personal training certifications prior to settling on NASM.  When all was said and done, the three certification options I had narrowed it down to were ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and ACE (American Council on Exercise) and NASM.  Upon further review, it looked like ACE wasn’t as comprehensive as the other two and wasn’t as widely recognized as a credible program, so I nixed that one pretty quickly.  It ultimately came down to ACSM and NASM.  ACSM is much more science based meaning more concerned with specific formulas and the inner workings of exact body parts than NASM and doesn’t detail with structuring exercise plans and applying the knowledge quite as well as NASM does.  I also know that I personally am not the best at science when I don’t see the application so ACSM would have been much more of a struggle for me.  That being said, I think either option is fantastic.  If you are more science minded, go for ACSM, but note that there is quite a lot of science in NASM as well and if that doesn’t interest you, perhaps this certification is not a smart path for you.

How am I studying?

This question might as well be how am I not studying.  If you looked at my browser on my personal computer, you would see that there are 10 tabs open that apply to NASM studying.  I am trying to get the most out of this opportunity that I can, so I am taking it as seriously as I would any other test.  I am extremely self-motivated so making the time to study is not a problem for me.  That coupled with the fact that this information truly interests me is making this a really enjoyable process thus far.  So what am I doing to study?

  1. Watching the online videos for a particular chapter, pen in hand, and highlighting all important information
  2. Taking mini-quizzes after each video in the online portal
  3. Going back into the textbook and reading everything while taking quick notes on key concepts
  4. Creating flashcards on all key vocab terms highlighted in the book (I make these flashcards whenever I need a break from studying and I’m just watching TV.  Super mindless, but works in the end!)

I also downloaded a couple of apps to help me study:

  • NASM (red stopwatch looking app)
  • NASM-CPT (this one is great because it allows you to choose chapter by chapter questions, it is a grey man doing a biceps curl sitting)
  • Muscles (blue background with a skeleton face)
  • Anatomy Lite (blue background with a human face that looks kind of like the muscles app)

And because I’m a study fiend, I have been scouring the internet for more NASM information and here are the sites I have found most helpful thus far:

  • NASM 75 day Study Planner.  Learn it, live it, breathe it.
  • Overhead squat solutions chart.  This is extremely important for the exam apparently, so I’m planning on knowing this bad boy backwards and forwards.
  • This is a study guide that goes through every chapter and highlights what the key areas to focus on are, also breaks the vocab into more understandable terms
  • How to be overprepared for the NASM exam.  Found this thread on Bodybuilding.com and there is a lot of stellar information here.  Give it a read.
  • PB Fingers, one of my all time favorite blogs, made an awesome study guide here.  It highlights a lot of areas to pay attention to and lays it out with some great study tips.

If I find anything else I think is crazy helpful, I’ll let you know.  But for now, this is my arsenal for attacking this exam.  I’m over halfway done with the text and feeling pretty good, but I know there is still a lot to learn.  I’m stoked though so have the knowledge and credentials to make more effective workouts not only for others, but for myself as well.

Anyone else out there studying for their exam?  Do you have any study tips for tests in general?  Please share!  This information is always good to have, no matter what you’re working on.




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