NASM Personal Trainer Certification Review – Real Life Experience

nasm personal trainer certification review

Before I decided to become a certified personal trainer, I was someone that always liked to workout.  In high school, I was a pretty skinny kid who always struggled with gaining weight. I didn’t start lifting weights until my freshman year of college, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  

Before I graduated, I always said to myself that having an office job was not something I could see myself doing, but unfortunately that’s how it ended up for a few years.  A couple of years after graduating, I was someone that loved going to the gym so I thought about becoming a personal trainer.  

But for some reason, my passion to workout didn’t translate into helping others get into shape.  I just saw it as an alternative to working in a cubicle all day.  So it was safe to say that my passion wasn’t strong enough.  

It wasn’t until seeing how so many people who struggled with their health both physically and mentally, where I started to develop a passion to help others get in shape.  More and more people would ask me questions about how to get into shape, and it felt good answering them.  

This lead me to looking for a way to help others as a profession with the knowledge to back me up.  So like many others, I heard about NASM on the radio and said to myself, this is the answer I had been waiting for.  So the next step was to figure out how to go about becoming a personal trainer and help those who needed it.

Why I Chose NASM CPT Program

Just like you, I did a lot of research to find the best program to help me gain the knowledge I needed to eventually work for a fitness facility.  It was hard because there were so many out there to choose from.  

It wasn’t until I contacted a few friends of mine that were also in the fitness industry, and I asked them which program would be best to join.  They all mentioned NASM.  

Now you would think that would be enough to make the move, but for some reason I was still skeptical of signing up.  It wasn’t until I heard the promotions on the radio where I decided that this was clearly a sign to finally make the move.  

Deciding Which NASM CPT Package to Choose

Let me start off by saying this, getting certified isn’t cheap, but you do what you gotta do, to be where you want to be.  Plus being certified could pay dividends if you find yourself in the right situation.  

NASM offers 4 different packages that start off at $699, which gets you the basic tools like a book and some online training tools, and $1999 for the full package.  Like, job guarantee, free re-test and an associate personal trainer experience.  

They do offer discounts and reduced packages from time to time, so it’s good to check there website for official prices.  I was never a good test taker in college, so I decided to go with the $1300 package but got a discount which allowed me to pay $1100.  

This came with practice exams and live workshops that really helped me prepare for the exam.  They also provide payment plans for anyone that needs it.

Who Could Benefit From This Program?

One thing you need to know about the personal training world is that it isn’t as heavily regulated as other professions.  There are many individuals that claim they are personal trainers without having the certification to back them up.  

But more and more gyms require that you be certified with an accredited program in order to get hired.If you are someone that is looking to train people on the side to make some extra cash, then yes you don’t really need to be certified.  

But if you are looking to join a gym or start your own business, more than likely you will be required to be certified for insurance purposes.

More Reading: Getting Certified With NASM vs ACE

Overview of My Experience With NASM Program

Before I decided to get certified, I would go to the gym 5 times a week.  I would even workout with friends and help them get active when it comes to lifting weights.  It wasn’t until I started training to get certified where I learned that everything I was doing was wrong.

Things I liked about NASM CPT Program

NASM does a great job at teaching you the basics and helping you build a foundation of knowledge when learning how to train different muscles.  You get to learn the how the body works and how you should progress each individual when it comes to building strength.

I really found it helpful being able to have access to online training where I could take practice quizzes as I gained knowledge through reading the textbook.  Also being able to attend live workshops and get the hands on experience was a huge benefit to my visual way of learning.

Now when I go to the them, I am able to see all the incorrect ways that many people go about their workouts.  Whether it be form or just speaking to people about what goals they are looking to accomplish.  I am able to educate them with the knowledge I have from the NASM CPT program.

Things I didn’t like about NASM CPT Program

Although I did learn a lot more than I thought I knew before joining the program, I was hoping to learn a bit more.  Don’t get me wrong, I now feel like I have the confidence to be able to take most individuals and create a program to help them reach their fitness goals.  

But I feel the program is geared more toward helping someone get hired at a gym.  Which is great if that’s all you’re looking to do, but for me I was looking more towards going independent and I didn’t feel NASM prepared me for going that route.  

But If you’re looking to get that foot in the door to the fitness industry, then it definitely helps to get certified and NASM will help get you ready for that.

Pros and Cons


  • Highly Accredited
  • Teach you basics of training
  • Wealth of knowledge
  • Will Prepare you to train clients
  • High Exam success rate through program


  • Doesn’t teach you new exercises
  • Not a lot of creativity when it comes to program design
  • Don’t expect to be an expert in any specific fitness category

My Final Thoughts and Advice

When it comes to preparing for the exam, I would recommend you have a good grasp of the vocabulary and muscle groups.  A good idea would be to take the practice exams so you have an idea of how the questions are asked.  

NASM gives you 6 months to take the exam from when you first signup.  I decided I was ready to take the exam by month 4 or 5.  The exam is 2 hours long and there are 120 questions in which only 100 count. Unfortunately you have no idea which ones actually count and they don’t tell you either after you take it.  

You don’t receive a score, but a pass fail.  You also have to get your CPR/AED certification, so you might want to get that before taking your cpt exam.  Once you’re done passing the exam, you just have to make sure you renew every two years.

Please let me know if you have any questions about getting ready for your program.

Related Topics:

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
jeffrey16201 - April 17, 2017

Interesting article on sports medicine, I have taken many health online courses over the years and I have received some benefits in taking better care of myself from these courses.

These courses like the one you are talking about only covered the very basics, many of them I already knew 90 % of the information they taught you which made earning the certificates pretty easy for me.

I suppose you have to take specific courses to get all you want in an education in any specific area, what do you think about that?

    Ralph - April 18, 2017

    Hi Jeffrey! Yea NASM pretty much teaches you the basics and not any specific fitness category. So if you’re looking to specialize in a specific area, then NASM may not be able to help you with that. Although it’s still good to have NASM as a cert since they are so highly accredited.

Caleb - April 17, 2017

Unfortunately, I could never get myself to do all the exercising that I should have done. It wasn’t until I moved in with my cousin that he started showing me different ways to become fit. He’s an excellent trainer. He’s not actually certified. It’s his dream to become certified and help other people become fit. I’ll definitely refer him to your awesome site here.

    Ralph - April 18, 2017

    Hey Caleb! If you’re cousin is looking for a good program to join, I would definitely recommend NASM. They are accepted at pretty much all fitness facilities that require training clients.

Steve & Kris - April 17, 2017

Hi, I had no idea so many personal trainers aren’t actually appropriately certified. That’s a bit unnerving, so thank you for clearing that up. My husband and I have been working out for years and I can think of some “personal trainers” that really didn’t seem like they had any formal training or certification. For starting a new career, it seems pretty affordable. Especially if you got picked up by a nice gym, clientele would pay off. Thank you for the great info about NASM personal training, I will remember this the next time I am looking for a new trainer.

    Ralph - April 18, 2017

    Hey Kris! Yes you definitely have to be careful, but most trainers at the gym are usually certified or at the very least are going through the process. You just have to watch out for those in private studios. But for sure if you are looking to start a career in the fitness industry and you plan on having clients, it definitely helps to have the certification to back you up.

Vertical Veloxity - April 17, 2017

Thanks for the review. This is going to really help me out and finding out whether this program is for me. I am looking to become a personal trainer myself .

Thanks for going into details and giving me the pros and cons of the program. And actually I do not think the price is bad for a career option.

    Ralph - April 17, 2017

    You’re welcome! I’m glad you don’t think the prices is that bad considering we pay much more for a 4 year degree. If this is something your passionate about, then it is definitely worth the price. Good luck with everything!

StephenG - April 16, 2017

Thanks for telling us about your experiences, I found this article really helpful. I’m not looking to get hired at a gym right now, but I do want to improve my workouts and those of the friends I train with. Then I might look at getting into the fitness industry. Do you think this program could help me with my short-term goals?

    Ralph - April 16, 2017

    Hey Stephen! It really depends on what you are looking to do in the fitness industry. If this is training is something you’re looking to do to make a regular income, it helps to have the certification to back you up. But if you don’t think you would be seriously invested in this, then you shouldn’t really waste your money on it.


Leave a Reply: