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NASM-CPT in 1 week!!!

by Alex

Ok, firstly I have to say that I DO NOT recommend doing it this in the slightest but, I had an opportunity to become a personal trainer at a private gym here in Denver, CO and they wanted me to take over a morning class at the end of this January and I approached them about the job in the beginning/middle of the month. (becoming a trainer is something I've wanted for the last 5 years of my life and I've been training myself for 7 or 8). So effectively from my first interview to when they wanted me to start was about 3 weeks...

I had to wait until the following week to purchase the self-taught version of the study material due to financial restrictions so I had 2 weeks to learn what it seems most have taken 2-4 months to absorb.


I didn't really start thoroughly studying the material until 6 days ago and told myself I had to pass to get this job and start the next chapter of my life (getting out of the restaurant/bartending job I'm currently at that has little to no growth potential but was my first choice after leaving business development/sales as I do like bartending). I have to say there are several things that were to my advantage in pulling this off....

1. Due to 2.5 years riding a desk for 8-10 hours/day as an inside-sales rep I already had muscle imbalances that I had researched to the point of my (then girlfriend, now) wife thinking I was crazy/over reacting to something that didn't exist (she just didn't know what to look for then...)

2. Going from running regularly 1-3 miles a day, 8 years ago to then starting weight training the following year and diving head first into learning everything I could about muscle building for the follow 7 years.

3. Developing anterior pelvic tilt from previously mentioned desk job and losing core muscle control, developing diastasis recti (not a part of the study material or any part of the book that I saw but good to know, especially if training postpartum women or men who have developed it) really gave me insight into how muscle imbalances affect the body and training which is a huge part of NASM's approach to their balance/strength/power training model.

I made a plan and stuck to it as best I could to the point where I was trying to tackle acute variables last night and I took the test today.

Again, I attribute my passing to really taking time to understand why I trained the way I did all these years especially as I've trained in almost each way (balance/corrective, strength/atrophy, functional/power) through different programs.

All this to say, the worst thing I possibly did was, as the test got closer, read the negative comments on this forum.

I'm not saying some people don't learn the way NASM presents the material or that there isn't some decently deep scientific knowledge that needs to be learned in the first few chapters that are undoubtably hard for many who may not already have a base knowledge of fitness or anatomy related science.

All I'm saying is the actual test itself was not as different from the practice sections as people made it out to be and I definitely psyched myself out numerous times studying, all the way up to driving to and starting the test, itself.

The other thing I noticed in my own mind was (from reading many on this forum) knowing that I had to understand why NASM presented their model the way the do and how everything interconnects, not just regurgitating answers. I found myself, not only selecting the right answer in the chapter/section/full practice test (**make sure to go to the study guide and take the section exams, not just the chapter exams) but going through the other options and telling myself why they weren't the right answer - something I also did on the actual test today.

Despite what others have said I was not given a scratch piece of paper (something that I expected after reading several posts on this forum) but the other great advice was to go through, not linger on questions that I wasn't 100% sure of (first time going through all the questions I flagged about 18 of the 120) then went back through my flagged ones, choose the best answer possible. Then, went back through all 120 questions again and actually caught 1 or 2 that I hadn't read slowly or carefully enough (I'm almost positive if I hadn't done this I wouldn't have passed).

Afterward i went back through again to my revised flagged questions one last time and had narrowed them down to 14. I had selected the best possible options on them and then knew at that point whatever I wasn't sure of I wouldn't know fully, also at that point the clock was down to 9 minutes.

**This is a big point, I've never been a great test taker but with this who cares how fast you complete it. You have 120 minutes so use it the best you can. Breathe, take your time, flag, go back, re-read, be sure of yourself!!!**

Last thing I'll say is to all who've posted complaining about the cost and/or having to pay to retake the test as a scam... If you look at the earning potential of a personal trainer, especially one who acquires more specialized certs down the road, $5-600 is chump change in the grand scheme of things. And, this coming from a guy who makes $8.5/hour and relies on tips! If you want it bad enough you'll make it happen and not blame it on how questions were worded differently when, in reality, you didn't study to learn to process, you only studied a bare minimum to try pass a test that you obviously didn't care about.

Again, I'll emphasize... DON'T TRY AND DO THIS IN 1 WEEK! Just know that if you want it bad enough it can be done. Thank you to all that posted helpful tips and tricks.

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