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The 5 Reasons NASM Certification Is The Best For Personal Trainers

Are you interested in becoming a NASM-certified personal trainer? Are you checking out the personal training certification offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)?

This article will discuss becoming a NASM-certified personal trainer and the benefits of selecting NASM for your program design. By the end of this article, you will better understand what the National Academy of Sports Medicine offers, including various NASM programs and other advanced specializations.

First, let’s discuss the ins and outs of becoming a NASM-certified personal trainer.

Personal Trainer VS Certified Personal Trainer

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A personal trainer is a person who helps clients achieve their overall health goals by sharing their knowledge and expertise. This means assisting with advice regarding exercise, workouts, weight loss, food, nutrition, or general fitness and wellness tips.

A certified personal trainer is a trainer who matches the above descriptions but has also taken a CPT course offered by a company such as NASM and has passed the final NASM certification exam.

The additional NASM certification and the knowledge it provides are an advantage to personal trainers’ professional development, either as a hobby or a fitness career.

Why Should Personal Trainers Get Certified?

Certified trainers can be more knowledgeable and better trained than those without personal trainer certification and better positioned to help their clients achieve their goals.

Potential clients interviewing fitness trainers to help with training and fitness often prefer to hire a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).

Many gyms require certification for personal trainers that wish to work there. It helps gyms ensure that the hired fitness professional trainers have a good foundation of knowledge and are well prepared to help their clients and others train in the gym properly.

Certified Personal Trainers Can Make More Money

Because trainers with certification are often preferred when it comes to being hired by fitness facilities and the general public, this can often lead to better income opportunities due to increase opportunities to attract more clients.


Fitness professionals with a higher level of education and learning can demand a higher pay rate compared to those with lesser or no educational background.

Why Should I Get A NASM Personal Trainer Certification?

nasm personal trainer

Now, let’s look at the 5 reasons getting your NASM certification for a personal training career is worth it.

1. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Impact

The National Academy of Sports Medicine is more than just a training company.

For over 30 years, NASM has been a global leader in personal training by helping personal trainers, coaches, and clients achieve their fitness goals, personally and through careers.

The National Commission accredits NASM for Certifying Agencies, a nationally recognized third-party agency that ensures certification companies work at the highest standards. They aim to set the fitness sector’s standard for health and wellbeing. The National Academy of Sports Medicine is one of the largest accredited certification companies for personal trainers, with over 1.3 million fitness professionals educated in over 100 countries with NASM trainers.

They’ve also partnered with over ten thousand gyms and health and fitness clubs to provide location and employment opportunities for new and experienced trainers.

2. The NASM Optimum Performance Training (OPT) Model

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sports performance training opt model

The NASM Optimum Performance Training Model, also called the OPT Model, is the creation and flagship of the successful NASM personal trainer certification program.

NASM defines the OPT Model as “a systematic, integrated, and functional training program that simultaneously improves an individual’s biomotor abilities and builds high functional strength, neuromuscular efficiency, and dynamic flexibility.”

This NASM personal training program model is broken down into five phases designed to help clients progress through each phase to achieve their desired goals. 

3. NASM Certification Brings Credibility

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NASM Personal Trainers

People call themselves “personal trainers” online, giving advice on health and fitness. Unfortunately, many trainers have no training or background in health and fitness. So, a NASM certification can help a personal trainer stand out. Specifically, the NASM certification is a well-known name in the personal trainer and fitness industry.

As a NASM CPT, the NASM certification signals that you’ve placed learning and knowledge high on your requirements to serve your clients better. The personal training certification shows that you understand fitness, corrective practices, exercise science, nutrition, and general wellness well. It also shows that trainers are more likely to have a plan of action when working with clients to help them achieve their goals.

The NASM online course for a personal trainer is very in-depth, and the NASM certification exam required at the end of the online course is not an easy pass, so the bar is high to achieve NASM certification status. But this is part of why the NASM CPT tag and the NASM certificate brings extra credibility.

It’s a high bar to reach.

4. 100% Online Courses For Personal Trainers

In today’s modern age of technology, taking courses and classes online is very important.

This is why NASM offers 100% online courses to ensure that anyone can get their personal trainer certification, regardless of location. NASM also offers a couple of options for taking the courses.

The courses range from a basic, which provides the online course with self-study and the NASM certification exam, to a premium, which offers all the basics but with perks such as Gymternship. The premium gets you 80 hours of in-gym training experience and free lifetime recertification.

With four different study packages, NASM person training is at everyone’s fingertips.

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NASM Continuing Education

5. NASM Offers Other Certification and Specialization Courses

Becoming a NASM certified personal trainer is the first step, but then you can continue with your education with the NASM library of certification and advanced specialization opportunities.

NASM offers wellness Coach, Nutrition and Fitness, and Sports Nutrition certifications.

Additionally, you can expand your knowledge by taking other certification courses to increase your ability to help your clients. Some of these NASM courses include:

  • Weight Loss Specialization
  • Home Gym Design Specialization
  • Behavioral Coaching Specialization
  • Senior Fitness Specialization
  • Youth Exercise Specialization
  • And many others

NASM takes many different training concepts and provides personal trainers opportunities to expand their knowledge beyond the base NASM certification.

The Extra Bonus of Continuing Education

NASM requires that every NASM-certified personal trainer must recertify every two years. All personal trainers are required to take new certification classes equaling 20 contact hours.

Continuing education greatly benefits NASM-certified personal trainer and their clients. For clients, this means that personal trainers will constantly be learning and expanding their knowledge base with the newest and up-to-date issues in the health and fitness industry.

For the NASM CPT trainers, this is not just a way to create more knowledge but also to expand their professional development and what services they can offer to their clients to better their lives and achieve their wellness goals.

How Do I Get NASM Certified?

You will need to complete a few steps to get your NASM certification. These include taking the online course and passing the final exam.

The following criteria will walk you through the required steps to get your NASM Certified Personal Trainer certification.

  1. You must have your high school diploma or GED
  2. Complete a personal training course from NASM
  3. Obtain your CPR Certification
  4. Obtain your AED certification
  5. Complete the NASM CPT Exam at the end of the course

The 5 Phases of the OPT Model

Phase 1 – Stabilization and Endurance

Phase 1 of the OPT Model is the beginning and foundation of the overall program design.

It’s where the NASM CPT does the initial assessments to help determine a client’s overall endurance and balance, which will impact how they can perform in the following phases.

It’s also an opportunity for those not as experienced with working with a NASM CPT to start the program design with workouts and exercises designed to be the first step for personal trainers. This phase uses exercise to promote muscular endurance and the proper exercise technique necessary for the success of Phase 2: Strength Endurance.

Phase 2 – Strength Endurance

In the second phase of the Optimum Performance Training Model, we see an introduction to exercise with heavier weights and exercises with higher intensities.

This is possible by the work done in the previous phase for stabilization and endurance. We also see exercise supersets introduced into the NASM program. 

This step increases overall muscle strength and endurance. And with those higher-intensity workouts and exercise, there will be an increase in calorie expenditure.

Phase 3 – Muscular Development/Hypertrophy

Phase 3 is all about the adaptation of maximal muscle growth.

In this phase, we are looking to increase both muscle strengths while at the same time using exercise to build the amount of muscle.

This phase is one of the most popular as it’s the most likely to create physical change in the body, creating a more robust and muscular look and resulting in a change in exercise, workout intensity, and speed.

Phase 4 – Maximal Strength

Phase 4, Maximal Strength, is geared towards growing the client’s abilities to produce maximal or greatest possible strength.

The progression to this phase means a change in how you work out. Specifically, you’ll be lifting your max amount and at only a few reps at a time. It also means more extended rest periods in between sets.

This phase is all about one thing: optimizing your strength.

Phase 5 – Power

The last phase of the optimum performance training OPT Model is Power. For many, this is the most fun of the phases.

In this phase, there is a concentration on fast and powerful movements and exercises with high force and velocity to increase power.

Examples of exercises in this phase include ball slams, high jumps, or box jumps.

NASM FAQ And Answers

NASM stands for National Academy of Sports Medicine.

To prepare for the NASM exam, study, a lot. Each test is different, and the tests change the weight of each section. One test might have a heavy dose of muscle naming, while the next may not. NASM also offers exam prep options. They also offer a practice test option.

For any of their certification courses to be complete, you must enroll in the class and take a final exam.

NASM, or the National Academy of Sports Medicine, is an organization that specializes in certifications for personal trainers and wellness coaches.

This depends on which of the study packages you choose. The self study option allows you to go at your own pace, while the guided option is more of a timed course. You have 1 year to complete and pass the course from the time you purchase it. The standard CPT course is 10 weeks.

A NASM CPT is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.

Final Thoughts on the NASM CPT Programs

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personal trainer certification nasm

I now have two NASM certifications: the CPT and the Certified Nutrion Coach. I even signed up for the NASM Recertification for Life. I highly recommend considering the National Academy of Sports Medicine certification if looking into personal training certifications.

I took the premium course to get my NASM CPT certificate and found it very well-paced and highly insightful.

The knowledge I learned was insane, and the confidence boost from being better equipped to answer questions was one of the best benefits.

The tools I learned from this NASM personal training certification program helped me achieve some personal goals, like completing the 75 Hard challenge. This is why so many consider it the best certification for personal training.

I also made a Youtube video with tips on how to pass the NASM CPT Exam:


Getting the NASM CPT certification isn’t just about helping clients. It’s also about helping yourself. The tools you will learn during this course can keep your clients and you, as a NASM CPT, headed on the right path toward achieving your exercise and fitness goals.

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