NASM CPT: My Experience + Tips

I am officially a NASM Certified Personal Trainer!

Image 10While I don’t know what my official score was (yet), I do know that I passed, and right now that’s all that matters! Coming right out of college, I was pretty used to the whole study/exam process, but it had been ages since I’d had to teach myself an entire course (hello, grade 9 math!).

My biology background helped me out with a lot of Chapter 2 (Science), and my experience as an athlete made it much easier to understand the Human Movement Science portions. (For example, I know from personal experience that my knee has caved inwards during a single leg squat because of my underdeveloped gluteal muscles).

Reading blogger’s study guides online was also extremely helpful, so along with this NASM review, I will also link to all of the worthwhile tools I used throughout the studying process.

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Why NASM? (National Academy of Sports Medicine)

  • It is widely accepted and recognized. I’d seen the name pop up everywhere- on blogs, workout forums, and gym/fitness studio websites. Out of all of the personal training certifications out there, I’d say that NASM was the one which appeared the most, followed by ACE.

How much did it cost?

  • I chose the second cheapest option (exam + online self-study materials), which costs $699. (Note: I received a discount for agreeing to write this review post, which ended up bringing my cost down a bit). The cheapest option is $599, and only includes the exam- no practice materials, no textbook, nothing.

How long did I study for?

  • About 2 months. I purchased the NASM package at the beginning of June, and took the exam August 11th. I studied nearly every day during June, backed off a bit for the first two weeks of July, and then ramped it up towards the end of July/beginning of August.
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Studying on my “couch” (aka a pillow on the floor) before I had a bed or anything to sit on in the apartment!

 

How did I study?

  • Textbook (provided by NASM). I read through the entire textbook and made notes, which took me the better part of a month. After attempting some questions, and realizing I was nowhere near prepared, I then went through the textbook again, this time highlighting important areas and bookmarking certain tables with post-it notes.
  • Online flashcards (provided by NASM). There are roughly 400 flashcards in total, and they are very comprehensive. If you don’t know a topic very well, reviewing these will most definitely point out those weaknesses.
  • Online practice tests. I ended up finding lots of practice questions online, but beware- some of the information may be outdated and/or incorrect. Nevertheless, it’s a good way to test yourself, but when in doubt, always refer to the official NASM resources for the correct answers. Below are a few links to some of the online quizzes/tests/flashcards I used:
  • iPhone apps. I downloaded two free apps, and one paid app, which cost me $5.99, and provided me with about 450 questions. The paid app was great for when I was killing time on the train/subway, or trying to fall asleep. It allowed me to practice without having to lug around the ginormous textbook everywhere.
  • This Bodybuilding.com forum. Skip to the last page for the most recent material and tips. It is really helpful- I highly recommend checking it out! Some of the same exact questions popped up on my exam.
  • Blogger’s study guides. To get a better sense of NASM, and what was important, I read a lot of online study guides- the best being one by the Healthy Gamer (link below).
  • Extra practice exam ($20) from NASM. I purchased this the night before, and am really glad that I did. I ended up completing the exam at 11:30 pm in about 40 minutes (rushing through it), and passed- barely. The lesson I learned from this is that I needed to really concentrate during the exam, read the questions thoroughly, and avoid “stupid” errors. I also learned some things I somehow skipped over while reviewing the textbook. Taking this practice exam was also great practice for understanding how NASM phrases their questions, which can be tricky sometimes.

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NASM Special Offer

Good news! The NASM people have agreed to set up Squash on Squash readers with a discount for your CPT package! For more info and to take advantage of this, email Michael Miller (michael.miller@NASM.org), and let him know that you were referred from Nicole at Squash on Squash. Michael was incredibly helpful, and I really enjoyed partnering with him/NASM!

If you have any questions regarding my NASM experience, feel free to reach out and shoot me an email at squashonsquashblog@gmail.com.

Questions:

Are you considering getting your CPT? If so, have you heard of NASM?

If you are certified by NASM, what was your experience like? Anything to add?

 

Open Faced Egg and Avocado Toast

Hello people! I cannot believe it is almost August. The long summer days go by fast!

I’ve been a little MIA over here the past week or so, but only because I’ve been busy studying NASM, visiting with my mom (ok ok that was last weekend), and working.

Breakfast

In other news, I’ve also been very into open-faced sandwiches. Specifically, sourdough + avocado + egg. If I’m feeling a little adventurous, I’ll add some cheese in there too.

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I’d seen so many pictures of avocado toast blowing up blogger’s posts and Instagram feeds, I knew I had to try it for myself. However, I wanted to kick the flavour (and protein) up just a notch, so I made a couple eggs and tossed them on top.

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You know when you make a recipe and it’s so good that you think to yourself, “man, they would charge like $20 for this at a restaurant”! No? Yes? I admit, this may be the first time that’s ever happened to me.

I’m not even a fan of egg sandwiches, but thanks to the hefty amount of avocado, sourdough, and minuscule amount of cheese (eggs + lots of cheese = yuck), I was loving it.

Open Faced Egg and Avocado Toast

Serves 2, or 1 very hungry person (aka me)

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 eggs; fried with slightly runny yolks (sunny side up, I believe that’s called)
  • 1 avocado
  • a little bit of cheese (I used cheddar the first time, and goat cheese the next, and they were both great)
  • seasoning/ salt and pepper to taste

Toast the bread, cook the eggs, mash the avocado, top em up, and voila!

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Workout

I inhaled two open faced sandwiches this morning when I came back from Flywheel. It was my first time back at Flywheel in a couple of years, and I’d completely forgotten how hard you work when you’re competing against the others in the class! To make matters even more intense, I was seated beside an instructor, so I was constantly trying to keep up with him the whole time. Let’s just say I earned my breakfast this morning, and I will need to keep re-hydrating for the rest of the day.

Now I’m off to a meeting, followed by some NASM studying, and then squash later on this evening! Shaping up to be a good day so far!

Questions:

Are you a breakfast sandwich kind of person? If so, what’s your favourite combination?

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Obsession

I thought a ~$1 serving of Greek yogurt + $0.50 banana + large dollop of peanut butter was just about as inexpensive as you could get for a healthy breakfast.

Turns out that there are many more creative, healthy things you can make (besides eggs and oatmeal) for a satisfying yet cheap breakfast!

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Chia seed pudding!

I am one of those wacky people who loves chocolate in the AM (in a healthy way), so chocolate protein powder or cocoa powder often find their way into my breakfast bowls. (You can read my post on how I eat chocolate the “healthy way” here).

Not only is chia good for you, the pudding is super easy to make, and requires no assembly in the morning!

Let’s also appreciate for a second how disgusting my food looks when I put 0 effort into the aesthetics. This is what I eat, people. Funny looking mush.

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The other morning I was rushing off to work training, and had absolutely no time to make breakfast. I quite literally grabbed my chia pudding from the fridge and threw it in my bag before running out the door. Okay, well, I stopped to slice a banana before throwing it in there, but close enough!

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Besides the convenience and the health benefits, I love how cost-effective chia seeds are. I think I bought my 14 serving (2 Tbsp/serving) bag of chia for about $4 or so, which works out to a little less than 30 cents per serving! I usually use about 3 Tbsp of chia seeds in my breakfast, but even so, that still works out to less than 50 cents per serving, which is a huge steal.

My chia recipe usually consists of the following:

  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats (sometimes)
  • ~1 cup of milk or water
  • flavouring (vanilla, maple syrup, hot chocolate mix)
  • sliced banana
  • scoop of peanut butter

Another benefit to the pudding? Unlike overnight oats, which I can nibble on throughout the night, chia seeds actually need at least an hour or more to set, which reduces the chances of me eating them prematurely by a lot! (Raise your hand if you’ve ever pre-made your breakfast the night before, eaten it, and then had to remake it. Guilty).

Questions:

Do you like chia seeds? If so, how do you eat them?

My next chia endeavour is to try them in baking, such as muffins! I’ve also seen some recipes for chia jam, which looks delicious but perhaps a bit too ambitious for now.

Socks, Shoes, and Taylor

Let me start by saying that the title of this post does not by any means list the events of the weekend in ranking order. As much as I love my socks and shoes, the Taylor Swift concert I went to on Saturday definitely took the cake as the prime event of the weekend!

Taylor Swift concert

IMG_7167Saturday evening, Hadley, her sister Emma, Katie and I headed out to MetLife stadium to see Taylor Swift’s concert! She is currently on tour promoting her album “1989”, and was able to sell out not one, but two full MetLife stadiums! Yep, both Friday and Saturday nights MetLife was jam-packed with people, all eagerly awaiting T-Swift.

IMG_7171Taylor opened with “Welcome to New York”, which made the crowd go absolutely nuts. One thing I appreciated a lot was that the country singer didn’t take mounds of time in between song sets to change. Within a minute or two, she was back on stage rocking out with some sort of accessory. By accessory, I mean a guitar, a piano, or a handful of men who would fawn over her as she sang. Ah, the things you can do when you’re a pop star.

taylorswiftconcertusAll in all, I had a great time at the concert, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to go. It seems as though my teen pop music summer concerts are forming a trend… One Direction last summer, Taylor Swift this summer, what will be next year’s teen sensation?!

Shoes

On a slightly less exciting note, I bought some shoes this weekend. I’ve been needing some wedges, flat/casual shoes to wear with dresses, and a pair of Birkenstocks (I LIVE in my Birkenstocks) for about a month now. Saturday afternoon, I finally got around to a few minutes of shopping and picked up all of the above at DSW!

The wedges are extremely comfortable, not super high (because I don’t need to be 6+ feet tall), and involve no buckles or anything to be secured. Slip on, slip off!

IMG_7161Great shopping attire, eh?

IMG_7163I also found these Birkenstocks in the sale section at 30% off in DSW. They’re different than the Birks I usually get, but for that price I couldn’t turn them down. Plus, after 4 years, it’s gotta be time for a change- right?

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Kushyfoot

A few weeks ago, Kushyfoot reached out to me asking if I would be interested in trying/reviewing a few of their products. I’ve had the chance to try them out, but totally forgot to snap pics until this weekend when I finally remembered!

I was sent two pairs of white athletic socks, normal pink socks, grippy yoga socks, and roll-up flats.

IMG_7187White athletic socks: These socks were super comfortable, but a little small on my feet (I’m a size 10). IMG_7189Pink socks: Again, a little small, but that’s definitely my fault and not that of the socks! They work great for just casual sneakers, or if you like wearing pretty thin socks when you work out, these could work as well!

Toe socks: These grippy yoga toe socks are hilarious! They remind me an awful lot of the Barre socks, because of their grippy bottom. I haven’t been to yoga in a while, but next time I do I’ll bring these socks! When I sweat (particularly in Vinyasa), my feet have a hard time staying put, so hopefully these socks will help with that.

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IMG_7192Roll up flats: I saw these at first, and I was so confused. Why would someone want to wear shoes with little to no support? Just as I was standing at the kitchen counter looking confused, Hadley’s sister, Emma walked in and started raving about the roll-up shoes. Having recently graduated from high school, Emma had been at prom a few days earlier and had seen quite a few girls whip out these portable, light-weight slippers later on in the evening. A lot of her friends weren’t used to wearing heels for several hours at a time, let alone dancing in them, and had clearly thought of this in advance!

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IMG_7195And even though I have relatively big hands, I’m pretty certain that anyone could hold at least one of these shoes in the palm of their hand, which means they could easily fit in a purse!

Clearly, I had a pretty good foot-apparel weekend.

Questions:

Are you a Taylor Swift fan? Yes? No?

Have you ever heard of Kushyfoot? Would you use a roll-up shoe?

 

Hello, NYC!

I didn’t get around to blogging last week/this past weekend, because I was in the process of moving to… you guessed it, New York City!

IMG_7111We were also wifi-less until yesterday, which made tasks such as blogging a little more difficult. It’s nice to have my computer back with access to all those little things you miss so much (YouTube, Spotify, reading long emails on a computer, not an iPhone).

IMG_7112I’ve managed to get my room mostly in order, but am still missing some basic necessities, such as a dresser, mirror, and a lamp/standing lamp. Yes, as soon as it gets dark out, my bedroom gets dark. Thankfully NYC is always full of light at all hours of the day and night, so it never gets pitch black (unless I close my blinds all the way).

4th of July

My 4th of July celebrations were spent partly at a beach club in Westchester, and partly back in NYC. Some friends and I watched the fireworks from our rooftop before heading out to check out the nightlife around town. I had a pretty fun time, but by the time 2 am rolled around I was beat. 4th of July will do that to you, I guess!

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Work

More to come on my work happenings, but I’ve begun my training at a coach/trainer at a fitness studio here in NYC (woo!), and have also been doing some squash coaching back in the NY suburbs. That, along with my NASM studying (and of course moving) have been taking up the bulk of my time!

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Meals

Now that I’m officially shopping for myself and preparing all of my own foods, I’ll try to post some recipes, as well as shopping tips for healthy, 1-person grocery lists! So far I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has the best deals, although they do have the longest line. Still, that extra 15 minute wait is worth the saved $$$!

Chocolate Quinoa Chia balls

Last night I was messing around in the kitchen and made some quinoa/chia/PB/chocolate balls which turned out pretty well!

FullSizeRender(They don’t actually have any banana in them… the fruit is just there for aesthetic purposes).

At some point I’m going to recreate them with exact measurements, and post not only the recipe, but also the price breakdown. It has most definitely come to my attention that making homemade bars (which I’ve loved doing for quite some time) is so much more cost effective than buying $2+ bars from the store!

That’s all from me now. I just got back from work training (which involved taking a workout class-not complaining!), and now I’m off to squash coaching. Later days!