Why I’m Getting My NASM Personal Trainer Certification (Again)

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Just 6 years ago, I decided to leave the classroom and become a certified personal trainer. After having two babies, I left the fitness profession but never lost my passion for fitness and education. Now I have decided to jump back in, and I’m sharing why I’m getting my NASM Personal Trainer Certification – for a second time.

What is NASM CPT?

NASM stands for National Academy of Sports Medicine, and they have one of the most respected Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) programs in the world. In 30 years, NASM has helped educate over 1.3 million fitness professionals in 80+ countries.

NASM offers a variety of ways for prospective fitness professionals to learn to be a personal trainer, from self-study courses online to in-person programs in schools across the US.

NASM textbook

After earning a NASM personal trainer certification, fitness professionals can further develop their knowledge with specialist certifications and continuing education courses.

Why I got nasm CPT certified

After teaching special education for 11 years, I was ready for a change. I loved my students and I loved teaching them, but I was beginning to burn out. Like many other teachers, the paperwork and stress from mandates made it feel like it was impossible to actually teach.

I knew it was time to leave.

I had discovered my love for fitness a year prior, in March 2013. After having my second child, I’d struggled to lose weight and was generally unhappy and unhealthy. I began exercising and found a home workout program that worked for me. Along with my physical changes I found myself becoming a new person.

In January 2014, I tagged along with a friend to a new bootcamp class called EyeCandi Fitness. It torched my body and left me wanting more. After attending a few more classes, I asked the owner how I could do what she does.

The desire to teach was still inside of me, but I wanted a new focus. I wanted to teach people how to be healthier and how to enjoy exercise.

I wanted to be a personal trainer.

Candi recommended the NASM CPT program, as she had chosen that route for herself and said it was the BEST. After lots of research and a few moments of self-doubt, I decided to go for it.


Why is the nasm personal trainer certification the best?

That’s a question I asked myself, and one I had to know the answer to. Because if I’m going to make a major life change, I want to go with the BEST, right? Here’s what I found.

  • NASM is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
  • They offer 4 levels of programs to help you complete your certification
  • NASM uses the Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model, an industry-first comprehensive training system based on scientific, evidence-based research
  • You can recertify for life
  • And they offer a job guarantee!

These were the “official” reasons that I initially chose NASM for my personal trainer certification. Let me fill you in on what I’ve learned in 7 years…

NASM OPT Model textbook

Why I’m choosing to recertify with nasm cpt

When Candi told me NASM was the best, she was right. I have worked as a personal trainer and/or group fitness instructor in 5 different gyms. Every time I’ve shown my credentials when applying for a job, fitness managers have said:

“Oh you have a NASM personal trainer certification? Great! That’s the one we prefer because we know you’re well-prepared.”

Not kidding. It stuck with me every time I heard someone say that.


And it hasn’t just been managers and supervisors either. Fellow fitness professionals I have worked with have agreed that NASM’s CPT program is the one you want.

Clearly, NASM is the most respected personal trainer certification out there. Their OPT model is solid and research-based for effective training practices. By completing their program, I was fully prepared to train in any facility – or even train clients on my own.

And not that it’s super important, but worth mentioning – their customer service department is spot-on. Any time I have had a question, I’ve received very friendly and helpful service. It’s just one more reason I have always recommended NASM to prospective fitness professionals.

So of course, there was no question that I would go with NASM for my personal trainer certification a second time.

Which nasm cpt package is the best?

When I first got my NASM personal trainer certification in 2014, I went with the Premium Self-Study Program. I got the textbook, online learning videos and quizzes, and some other tools that helped me to prepare for the exam.

This time, I’m doing things a little differently.

I am partnering with NASM for this certification, but I had planned to go with the Guided Study Program even without the partnership. The Guided Study Program includes everything in the Premium Self-Study, but also offers a coaching team and mentor to help make sure I’m fully prepared and supported.

Why use a higher level study program the second time around?

Because I know how in-depth the program is and I want to learn as much as possible.


You see, I passed my CPT exam the first time I took it. I studied like crazy and worked my booty off to pass.

But I still felt like there were some areas where I didn’t quite get it. I always wanted to go back and re-learn some of the sections. Unfortunately, I just never made the time.

Well now is that time. I will be using my prior knowledge and this opportunity for additional support to make sure I am more prepared and educated than ever!


NASM offers two other levels of support with their programs. The CPT Self-Study program is the basic and most affordable option. It includes a digital textbook, learning videos and practice quizzes, but is more self-guided than I personally want for myself. The All-Inclusive Study Program includes everything I’m getting with the Guided Study Program, plus a Gymternship, NASM EDGE CPT Exam Prep, and Recertify for Life. While these are great options, they just weren’t a must for me right now.

Is the nasm exam hard? how do you pass the test?

Short answer: YES. It’s absolutely hard. But that’s a GOOD THING.

Would you want medical school to be easy for your doctors? I don’t think so. While personal trainers aren’t doctors or medical professionals, we are trusted to help clients correct muscular imbalances and improve their physical health and fitness. For that reason, CPT education must be of the highest quality and the measurement of that education must also be thorough.

I think everyone who completes the NASM personal trainer certification program worries about (and talks about) the difficulty of the exam. And for good reason, because it is definitely difficult. But I think there are a few misconceptions.

Is it unreasonably tricky? No.
Does the test try to confuse you? No.
Does it include questions that you aren’t prepared for in the program? Nope.
Is it almost impossible to pass? Not if you’re prepared!

NASM offers many quizzes, study guides, and practice tests to help you prepare for the exam. I will be sharing my own study tips and methods soon – so watch for that post to come!

Do You want to be a nasm cpt?

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can offer you some other questions that may help you decide:

  • Do you enjoy exercise?
  • Are you a teacher or do you like teaching/leading others?
  • Do you have a passion for fitness and health?
  • Do you like working with people and helping them?
  • Are you willing to put in the work to learn how to train properly and safely?
  • Are you at least 18 years old?
  • Do you have a high school diploma or GED?
  • Do you have CPR and AED certification (or able to get them)?

If you can answer yes to those questions, then the NASM personal trainer certification may be for you!

For me, it’s an absolute yes. I love teaching and I LOVE helping others to see how they can improve their own health and fitness (hello, that’s why I blog too!). I’m also thirsty for knowledge and I love learning as much as I can – so of course NASM is the best route for me!


If you want to take this path and make a difference in your own life as well as others’, you can sign up for the NASM CPT Program too. Send me an email or message if you have other questions!

And if you catch yourself squatting or pretending to do exercises at your CPT exam, I promise you – you’re not the only one.

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  1. Hi, I’m interested in getting NASM certified but I’m not sure if I should take the CPT self-study course or the guided-study. Which do you recommend? Im not too confident. Would taking this course allow me to understand how to become a personal trainer not only in terms of understanding the exercise, but of creating a set training regime and being able to actually work without being confused as to what to do? If possible, I’d rather do the cheaper option if it would allow me to be able to work confidently as a personal trainer.

    1. Hi Erena! I definitely felt ready to train when I took the self-study course the first time. I also had a mentor I was able to reach out to for guidance, which helped increase my confidence. The guided-study is a great option too and will give you more support throughout the course, but I understand the need for keeping costs down. Good luck with it, and let me know how it goes!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this Blog, It’s been very helpful. I will consider starting with the Self-study option to get me started. I related with a lot of things you said. I’m also a Teacher and after my second baby I made a Change in my lifestyle and ready to take things to the next level!!!

  3. Hi Amanda! Love this blog. I work at a gym/lifeguard and have always loved fitness. A gym guest mentioned I should look into NASM. I have been googling for days now trying to figure out if I should take the leap! I’m not sure if I would ever want to have clients or teach (even though I do love taking classes)…. would you still recommend taking the course? Also I see they have a nutrition course as well? Thanks for any guidance !

    1. Hi Jenna! I definitely recommend NASM if you’re considering it at all. I really feel like the information is super valuable for anyone who is interested in fitness or who may be considering a career in the fitness space. Not only will it give you a stronger foundation for any path you plan to take, but it can open up doors for you and maybe even give you an idea of what direction you want to go! As for the nutrition course – I haven’t tried that one (yet) but I’m definitely interested in it myself and I’ve heard good things. 🙂 Good luck!

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