How I passed my ACSM Certified Personal Training Certification Exam!

Hey guys,

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is enjoying the beautiful weather in preparation for the official start of summer! I don’t know about ya’ll, but it already feels like it here.

So, I know that I have been MIA the past couple weeks, but I have been busy studying for my ACSM personal training certification. I took my exam Friday and PASSED! Woohoo! I am so relieved that is over. I am not going to sugar coat it- it was tough, so if you are thinking about getting certified through ACSM you should definitely get the study materials and take out some serious time to study.

acsm cpt

I actually decided on ACSM awhile back, like while I was pregnant, and ordered the study materials.

What made me choose ACSM? I did a lot of research on different certification programs. I had no idea there were so many to choose from. I quickly found out that although there plenty to choose from, there are only a couple that really stand out from the rest and take their certification seriously. I narrowed me search down to ACSM that many people say is the gold standard among the certifications, and NASM. Both are very well respected and provide plenty of opportunities to continue your education to allow you to stay up to date within the field. I made my final decision on ACSM being cheaper!


I think that main thing to be sure of is whether or not the certification program is  accredited by the NCAA and which certifications the gym that you want to work at accepts.

How long did you study? Like I said earlier, I ordered the study materials while pregnant and studied casually at the beginning my pregnancy. I read through “Recourses for the Personal Trainer” and highly recommend doing that and be sure to understand what you are reading.  After I started to get super pregnant I quit studying for awhile. I had Joseph and life got crazy! I started studying again around March, but it was still off and on. I buckled down a couple weeks before I took the test and started studying a few hours a day. I took a one day workshop ACSM offers and took my exam a week and a half later.

Is the workshop worth it? Yes! I could only take the one day (they offer a three day) workshop, but it was extremely beneficial. I think one of the reasons is because they give you a workbook study guide and it really summarizes what you need to study.

READ THE “RECOURSES FOR THE PERSONAL TRAINER” COVER TO COVER– This is the most important thing while studying. Almost everything that is on the exam you will find in this book.

GO THROUGH THE KSA’S– (knowledge, skills and abilities)

GO THROUGH THE CERIFICATION REVIEW BOOK– There is a lot of info in this book you do not need, but I feel like you will be able to decipher that after you’ve read Recourses for the Personal Trainer. Chapters 11 and 12 IN THE REVIEW you can skip completely.

KNOW SPOTTING TECHNIQUES– This is actually not in any of the three books, but it is in the workbook you will get at the workshop if you decide to go.

KNOW CONCENTRIC AND ECCENTRIC MUSCLES ACTIONS– know for comprehension, not just memorization

KNOW RISK STRATIFICAION!! This is a BIG one. Know risk factors and what stratification to put them in. This was another BIG reason I found the workshop so helpful.

KNOW YOUR SPECIAL POPULATIONS- Know the exercise prescription for them and risk factors.


KNOW THE MAJOR STRUCTURES OF THE HEART– know how the blood flows through it.

Okay, these are all the tips I can think of off the top of my head. Below are a couple links to websites that helped me BIG time.

Healthy Like Lauren

Fitness think tank- Brian’s tips (this one is GOLDEN)

Now I will be busy figuring out what I am actually going to do with this certification thing. Have a great day!


5 thoughts on “How I passed my ACSM Certified Personal Training Certification Exam!

  1. Congrats, that’s awesome!! This is one of my goals as well. Currently pregnant with baby #1, due in 6 weeks. 🙂 I’ve looked in NASM and ACSM and not sure which one I want to go with yet. I have a health professional background so I think I was leaning more towards the ACSM, but we’ll see down the road.

    • Congrats on your first baby! It’s amazing an exhausting at the same time 🙂 I think both are great programs, but I have heard if you have a health professional background ACSM is the way to go. I definitely thought I was studying to be a Dr. Ha when is your due date? Joseph was born July 30th. It’s fun being pregnant in the summer, huh? 😉 good luck!

      • I’m very excited for this baby! Although I think I will only get more and more uncomfortable as it heats up here in Buffalo. I’m due August 1st, not getting my hopes up, but wishing hard that he would arrive a little earlier, maybe at least a week.
        Getting certified is definitely one of my goals in the next year, lets hope I can pull it off with work and a new baby. 🙂

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