National Academy of Sports Medicine(NASM) Review: Is easiest personal trainer certification ?

Table of Contents


National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) is one of the most popular organizations to obtain personal training certification. NASM-CPT program is NCCA-accredited, is widely recognized and Optimum Performance Training model based organization.

Is this really the “best” personal training certification though? Are there any disadvantages compared with other certification organizations review? And whether it’s worth the money? Let’s find out in our review NASM.

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) ( is a well-known personal trainer certification store that competes with other personal trainer certification stores like ACE Fitness, NSCA, AFPAfitness, ISSA and ACSM.

Based on our in-depth National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) review, when compared with its competitors, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) ranked as the # 1 top-performing brands in the category. Read the full review review below for more details.

Below is a NASM certification review of actual certified NASM CPT (i), and an overview of the company NASM, which NASM CPT and other certifications, a few notes on the model NASM OPT ever popular, and many other important information on costs, review, salary , and the next steps that should you choose to pursue a career with the NASM.

The Basics & National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) ‘s strengths are:

NASM is a respected organization that offers a variety of fitness credentials. In the world of unregulated and confusing personal fitness training, they are an established name that trains professionals to achieve the science credentials are supported.

NASM is not shy about its history and a good program. Official site claims it is “the ultimate personal training program certified evidence-based” – which is a bold claim!

It is not just marketing talk though. This organization has been certified and recertified more than 190,000 coaches in the last 10 years.

This is an astonishing number – and it continues to grow. NASM also one of the most renowned certifications in the industry, so it is widely accepted in the fitness center.

  • Good low no show fee
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Before you take your NASM exam, there are some requirements that you need to meet. You will need a valid CPR and AED certificate of courses with hands-on assessment.

This includes organizations that provide the American Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, the American Heart Association and several others. You also need a high school diploma or equivalent.


Founded in 1987, NASM has over 20 years of providing education for fitness professionals. They are certainly not a “fly by night” operations, like many that have emerged due to the growth in the fitness market.

NASM abbreviation of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 30-year-old company best known for Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) of their program.

In the last 10 years, NASM has certified and recertified coach more personal than other personal training company, helping nearly 200,000 gain, or maintain, CPTs them worldwide.

NASM also NCCA-accredited, which means they have the credentials of the National Commission for the Certification Agency, the first standard ever developed to ensure fitness certification body has the essential elements of a high-quality program.

As a personal trainer, global recognition and NCCA-certification is an important factor in choosing a NASM as a potential candidate for your fitness training, along with utilizing the best NASM Study Tools.

Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)

The NASM CPT is based on evidence-based training model prepares students for real-life situations.

In addition to learning and understanding the scientific principles of complex, students will use NASM’s proprietary Optimum Performance Training ™ (OPT ™) model.

A system that systematically help you train in a variety of fields including: flexibility, cardiorespiratory, Core, Balance, Power and Strength .

Cost: $ 699 (for the lowest courses)

  • Corrective Exercise Specialization (CES)
  • Performance Enhancement Specialization (PES)
  • Specialization Behavior Change (BCS)
  • Fitness Nutrition Specialties (FNS)
  • Group Personal Training Specialization (GPT)
  • Weight Specialization (WLS)
  • Women’s Fitness Specialties (WFS)
  • Exercise Youth Specialties (YES)
  • Specialization Senior Center (SFS)
  • Golf Fitness Specialties (GFS)
  • MMA Conditioning Specialties (MMA

This range of specialties provide plenty of space to serve the different subsets of the client after passing your CPT exam.

If you want to improve your career, pursuing specialization and expand your career opportunities, advanced credentials are a great way to do it (specialization allows to train people from ages 9-99). Specialization is also counted as CEUs.

In addition, there are options for training as a Master Trainer NASM after you pass your CPT exam.

There are strict requirements for this program, and it involves a live event with limited dates. If you want to take your credentials to the next level, however, it is worth considering.

One thing you will notice when reading this NASM site or other promotional material is to focus on evidence-based practice.

This is the basis of Optimum Performance Training system organizations, designed to improve strength, power and endurance of your clients depending on their purpose (see the section below for more details).

Optimum Performance Training (OPT ™) Model

NASM has pioneered what is called Optimum Performance Training (OPT ™) model, comprehensive training system that is highly experienced in research, based on scientific evidence.

By NASM, an emphasis on the science of making OPT ideal for program design and deliver consistent results.

Through increased functional abilities including strength, balance, strength, flexibility, core stabilization and endurance cardio .

This program helps clients from a variety of body types and age increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and improve overall health.

OPT into account the individual and their needs, but also the environment in which they perform.

This program is not only for athletes, but also for seniors, who are clinically obese, or those populations with special needs.

Starting with the assessment objectives, needs and abilities, and take a look at the client from the front, back, and side to evaluate the kinetic chain to ensure they move how they should move.

With this information, coaches can then determine what exercises they should be doing to help clients achieve their goals.

This program is made of five phases divided into three levels – stabilization, strength, and power:

1.Phase 1: Stabilization of the Resistance

2.Stage 2: The Power Durability

3.Stage 3: Hypertrophy

4.Stage 4: Maximum Strength

5.Stage 5: Power

The coach should know that they do not need a background in kinesiology or exercise science; they will learn all of this in their CPT and touch the additional certification.


The NASM-CPT exam is NCCA accredited. It is the most widely recognized accreditation for personal training certification.

The organization is also partnering with the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the global Premier in England.

Choosing a NASM Package

What is the Optimum Performance Training (OPT) System?

Citing NASM, OPT Model “offers a comprehensive training system first industry-based, research-based scientific evidence.”

What this really means though?

The fitness industry is plagued by anecdotal evidence, poor techniques and models that are not supported by science.

This is detrimental to the credibility of the entire industry. It also prevents people from reaching their destination as quickly as it should.

NASM, however, always based on their training materials on scientific studies – and this expansion is a model of the pest. This model has five phases:

Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance – This is the basic phase. It is mainly used for client de-conditioned. The goal is to build a solid foundation, with an emphasis on correcting muscle imbalances, before tackling the next phase.

Stage 2: The Power of Endurance – Once a client has developed a basic level of stabilization, the second phase began to build strength. Again, the focus is on correcting problems than maximize power.

Stage 3, 4 and 5: Hypertrophy, Maximum Strength and Power – Only when the client has established a foundation in the stability and strength of the model of the pest began adding moving focusing on hypertrophy and power.

Integrated system combines plyometric, core, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular training standards and reactive with resistance training to create a balanced and comprehensive program.

In practice, the pest is a recurrent system to help trainers to design an effective program for their clients.

It is adaptable, so it can be used with a variety of clients will, and removes the guesswork out of the design program.

It also aims to improve all areas of functional capabilities, including core stability, balance, flexibility, strength, endurance and strength.

I’m a big fan of the model OPT – Especially for a new coach. When you first get certified, have a system to get results with almost all clients can greatly increase your confidence.

Does the client want to increase their muscle mass, reduce body fat, gain strength or just improve their overall health, pest models can do the job.

OPT also just as suitable for individuals with special needs as it is for athletes or people who regularly play sports.

This brings me to an important point about NASM: it is a well-rounded certification that teaches you how to train most of the fitness population.

This is fine for most coaches, but if you want a certification that focuses on athletic populations may not be the best choice.

It is necessary to remember that the average American is not feasible, sedentary and overweight though, so it’s important to know how to design a program for these people.

Many people also spend their day sitting at a computer, leading to tight hip flexors, poor posture and muscle weakness, which is why NASM spend a lot of time teaching you how to fix this problem.

OPT model is not all that you will learn though NASM also teaches the basic principles behind personal training, such as biomechanics, kinesiology and exercise science.

This makes the program harder than some alternatives, but you will develop an understanding of the material and not just regurgitate facts.

It’s important to note that NASM does not assume previous experience with sports science or kinesiology. While the exam can be tough, you will be taught everything you need to pass.

Package Reviews

Currently there are four packages available. All inclusive token exam and core training materials, but the selection of higher prices have more materials, support and alimony.

Self-Study by Exam ($ 699)- This is the basic package and does not provide access to a mentor.

Self-study program includes testing exams, textbooks (hard copy and PDF), video lectures, a gesture library, library practice, practice exams, quizzes and study guides.

So there is a lot of material to learn from. While the self-study program is not cheap, it was worth the value for high-quality certification. If you are happy to learn independently, this is probably the best package.

Premium Self-Study by Exam ($ 999)-Premium self-study options include everything in the basic program, plus a bundle flashcard, learning and memorizing anatomy activities.

While this is a useful learning materials, I’m not sure they are worth $ 300 extra.

Guided study with Exam ($ 1,299)- In addition to self-study materials, this option comes with test preparation and webinar content.

Most importantly, you get access to mentors and coaches, live workshops and discussion questions.

If you think you are going to need extra support when studying the exam content, this option gives a lot more interaction and opportunity for feedback.

All-Inclusive ($ 1999)- All-inclusive program is the premium choice NASM CPT – and it was very expensive.

In addition to everything else in the program, you also get a voucher retest and access to CPT development program.

This entitles you to 80 hours of experience in a place with real clients, along with mentoring and various other facilities.

CPT Development Program provides an opportunity to gain real experience and guidance from the experts, that is not the case with most certifications.

All-inclusive package also includes a job guarantee: if you are eligible and complete the development program CPT and could not find a job within 90 days, the cost will be refunded Development Program.

How Long Does it Take to Pass NASM?

It is difficult to answer, because it depends on your experience and how much time you can dedicate to studying.

Some people may pass in two months with a lot of hard work, while others will need six months or more before they are ready.

Purchase a package of courses with NASM also includes entrance examination.

It ended after six months, even if you are not prepared you can pay a fee to gain more time. If you fail, reclaim costs $ 199 unless your package includes a free retake.

Upon passing the exam, you should receive your official certificate within 4-6 weeks. NASM also provides a digital certificate that can be accessed within three working days.

Training Materials

Core training materials are textbooks and online research library (sometimes called eTeach or application NASM).

This provides a strong base of knowledge when the average train clients, including how to design a program that is suitable for people with common health problems. It is important when providing personal training services.

With that said, it is important to understand that the NASM-CPT certification focuses on the basics of program creation.

You will not learn innovative techniques or sophisticated methods (kettlebell training, spinning, etc.) – which is saved for specialization.

Rather, you teach the basic knowledge necessary to make routine effective and safe for the average person.

I think NASM did an excellent job of teaching the basics of personal training – and this knowledge will be useful throughout your career.

Exam Format and Locations

Examination contains 120 multiple choice questions, but only 100 of these are marked. The other 20 are for research NASM and does not count your score. Each test lasted two hours and you have to get at least 70% to pass.

Trials run by PSIExams, so you need to contact them to schedule your date. You can register online or by phone.

PSI runs a number of test centers both nationally and internationally, although they tend to be found in big cities.

What should you expect from the exam though? And how hard is it?

While NASM test unfairly difficult, and it’s not the most difficult, more difficult than many certifications.

It is a good thing, because it makes more valuable cert, but make sure you’re ready and give yourself plenty of time to learn.

I can not give specific tips about the exam, as would be cheating. You have to learn everything in the syllabus though – and make sure you understand it, not just memorize facts.

Expect questions on all aspects of the syllabus, including assessment, technical training, program design, client relationships and nutrition.

In particular, make sure you know the location and function of muscles, postural imbalance understand and have a solid knowledge of muscle activation during exercise.

I highly recommend taking a practice test, because this is a great way to check if you are ready (though you can never guarantee trouble from practice test vs the real test is exactly the same).

There is also a NASM Pocket Prep test applications with more than 500 exercises.

One thing to note is that NASM does not release test scores. That means if you fail, you will not know how close you are to pass.

I wish all schools the certification will give you feedback on your results, but this can cause problems with people cheating in recapturing them.

NASM Recertification, Renewal and CEUs

NASM requires that all personal trainers with their CPT certification recertified every two years.

It costs $ 99 and you must get a 2.0 CEUs (20 contact hours) during this period, despite a 0.1 CEUs can be obtained from the CPR / AED certification you.

There are also “Recert for Life” option which costs $ 299, though you still have to complete the same number of CEUs.

There are several ways you can earn CEUs. NASM offers a range of specialties, conferences, live workshops, and classroom programs, which accounted for Your CEU hours.

There is a NASM-approved program that is run by a third party organization, and you can apply for the course even if it has not been approved yet.

You can also get CEUs from completed courses at the college. CEUs amount depends on the number of units, so with NASM before you start.

In the case of CEUs, NASM CPT is less demanding than many certification bodies. Recertification period of two years for $ 99 is not too expensive, although there are cheaper options as well.

Note: If you end up CPT certification, NASM offers a grace period of 90 days to get your CEUs, although no late fees for this.

If this CEUs completed within 90 days, you have a year to submit for re-certification. If you fail to complete CEUs within this grace period, you must re-register again.

NASM Certification Costs

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) do offer military discounts.

There is no getting around it: NASM CPT is a relatively expensive school to get your personal training certification.

NASM has some study options for prospective coaches and they really boil down to choosing the right one for you.

The main NASM certification that people want to know about is the NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification. For another, you can see the above expenses.

NASM, at the time of this writing, have four study options to choose from:

1.Self-Study – $ 699

2.Premium Self-Study- $ 999

3.Guided-Study- $ 1,299

4.All-Inclusive- $ 1,999

Each option offers study grants is getting more and assets that will help you pass the exam. If you want the best study materials NASM, created by NASM college level instructors who take the exam each year.

Check Free Study Guide for NASM and Audio Lectures Our Practice Test and Study Guide for NASM Exam CPT.

This guide is the best on the internet and will help you save a huge amount of money and time compared with NASM’s study package. Our students boast a pass rate of 99%, making the choice to utilize study materials Fitness Mentors no-brainer!

Wondering how NASM CPTs stacks up against others in terms of cost? We put together the best in-depth look at the personal trainer certification and do cost comparisons.

Salary and Career Prospects

As I mentioned earlier, the NASM certification is one of the most widely recognized. It is accepted by many gyms, thus providing excellent career prospects.

Many employers are also looking for NCCA-accredited certification even if they do not mention the special NASM.

With that said, some gym or studio might prefer certification from another organization (such as ACE). If you know where you want to work in the gym, make sure you check they receive certification.

In the blog post we did on Best Personal Trainer Certification, we evaluate the average income of NASM, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, AFAA, and personal trainers NCSF.

This data is pulled from reputable sites where registered users self-reporting their income.

The top of the income level is with NASM, at $ 41 598 per year. This was followed by ACE at $ 41 546.

The others were under $ 40k annual salary a year. The important thing to note is that this is only an average.

Your ability to be successful really depends on your business acumen and less about the words after your name.

Regardless, it is interesting to note that, on average, NASM trainers make the most of.

How to Get Certification NASM

NASM website claims that you can get your NASM CPT within 10 to 12 weeks. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

At least 18 years
Hold a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification.

From there, you just sign up for one of the study program in NASM website and start learning, then schedule a time to take the exam as you feel ready.

How do you know if you are going to be ready? Fitness Mentor Online Course for NASM CPT Exam come with a guarantee to pass, so it is a good place to start.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will get to them as soon as possible.

Summary & Final Finding

As a personal trainer candidates, there is a good chance you’ve considered a NASM certification to add to the list of professional awards.

There is a good reason too, NASM is considered a global leader in fitness professional credentialing, and their wealth of certification will prepare you for a promising career in personal training or one of their other specialties.

In my opinion, is the best NASM certified personal trainer available today – at least for general fitness population.

It is a well-rounded cert that focuses on corrective techniques and build a strong foundation for your clients. OPT Model also means you can work with a variety of clients, including those settled and athletes.

There are some drawbacks though. This is one of the most certifications are expensive, especially if you want to live workshops, access to a mentor or extra training materials.

Exams are also relatively difficult – though this is not really a bad thing.

When it comes to jobs and career prospects, however, NASM is a very good choice. While some gyms prefer other certifications, many receive NASM.

It also NCCA-accredited organization providing lots of additional training and specialization.


  • very credible certification that is widely recognized by the gym and the studio
  • Science is supported OPT Model simplifies creating a program of diverse clients
  • Provide a strong foundation in kinesiology, biomechanics and sports science
  • Excellent and well-rounded knowledge base to start a career in personal training


  • Relatively expensive – especially for a higher package
  • self-study package does not include access to mentor, webinar or forum questions
  • difficult exam, although it increases the value of certification

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