NASM Study Tools Overview

NASM Study Tools & Tips

Happy Monday Morning!

We enjoyed a nice, wintery weekend out here in Los Angeles. Andrew and I finished our Christmas shopping for the nephews, celebrated a festive birthday with friends, and concocted a breakfast creation that can only be referred to as a French Toast Fruit Rollup.

French Toast Fruit Rollup

A lovely weekend.

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As many of you know, I’m currently in the process (six weeks in) of studying to become a certified personal trainer. I chose to get certified through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) because they have a good reputation throughout the industry and are internationally recognized. I purchased their self-study program, which means I’m basically teaching myself all of the contents of the NASM textbook and I have six months to do it.

Learning all of the NASM material on my own has already proven to be quite an ambitious undertaking; there is a LOT of information. I’m confident that I can make it happen, but I’ve had to dig out some of my old college study techniques in the process. In case any readers are considering a personal training certification in the future, or perhaps are in the process now, I thought I’d share some of my study tools and tricks.

Just a note… these are my personal recommendations that, seeing as I have yet to actually take (and pass) the exam, should be taken with a grain of salt.

NASM Study Tools and Tips

Study Tools

Highlighter, pens/pencils, colored pencils (for the coloring book!)

121514 colored pencils

NASM Syllabus – I found an official syllabus online here that I’ve been following along with. It has had me read some of the chapters out of order, but from what I can tell, it’s a more intuitive sequence of learning. At the very least, it’s served as a good bookmark for my textbook so far.

NASM Syllabus Learning Tool

Flashcards – These are a must. There are tons of vocabulary words to learn, and for me, flashcards are the only way I’m able to memorize big chunks of information. Even when I put my textbook away each evening, I keep my flashcards out and in plain sight. I review them at the gym, in line at the bank, during commercials, all the time.

NASM Flashcards Study Tools

Coloring Book – Unsurprisingly, part of the NASM certification process is learning all of the muscles in the body. There are a lot of muscles! And they all lay on top of each other. And you can’t just look at your own leg and see them all. AND they all have crazy names. A big thank you to Heather for the suggestion to use an anatomy coloring book to help learn all of this.

NASM Study Tool Human Body Coloring Book

Online Videos – Even with the most basic package (self-study), NASM provides supplemental online learning tools like videos and practice activities and tests. Use them!

Coffee – No explanation necessary.


Other Tips

Break it up – Rather than power through the entire textbook, I’ve gotten into a rhythm of reading and reviewing that has worked really well for me. I’ll read four chapters, making flashcards as I go, and then take a day off from the textbook to review my flashcards for the chapters I just read. I’ll usually seclude myself at Starbucks or the library to run through my flashcards until I know them all.

Teach what you learn – They say that if you can teach someone what you’ve learned, then you really know it. Andrew has graciously been letting me teach him all about energy production, planes of motion, and the names and functions of all of the muscles. Teaching Andrew has been helpful in cementing the information I have a firm grasp on, and highlighting the concepts I don’t know quite as well as I thought I did. 🙂

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After all that talk of studying, I guess I better get to it! Enjoy the rest of your Monday!


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