CPT Blog #2: Studying before the Workshop

Time for blog #2 in my “journey to personal training certification” series. This one is about how I am studying before the 3-day workshop (one of the reasons I chose ACSM). Although the date of my test is not for 2 months, the 3-day workshop is at the end of this month. I’ve read that the workshop is a great review of the information for the test, so although I won’t have studied hardcore by the workshop, I want to have read through all the information to get an idea of the concepts. There is no “one right way” to study, it really all depends on your time, knowledge, how you like to study, etc. However, I want to give you a basic idea of how I am tackling all of it.

First, I want to say that this whole process can be taken at a pace that works for you. I wouldn’t suggest you drag it out too long, but whether you have 6 weeks or 6 months, you’ll be okay. One of the reasons I started studying over Christmas break was because I knew I would have more free time to focus on it–that free time included studying for 2 hours 5-6 days a week. During this time, I started reading the textbook and taking full-on notes of what I was reading (see below). I know what I’m doing may be over-excessive, but writing it all out is the best way I learn and it helps me absorb the information. I highlight and underline important parts in the textbook, and take notes on definitions, pictures, diagrams, important information, etc. I am treating this just as I found what works taking notes for school–for each section, subsection, and so on.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I write a lot for a chapter, other times I don’t because I’ve absorbed it by reading (but most of the time I do). I also created quizlets for some of the basic terminology and definitions. The biggest thing I didn’t take notes on is all the muscles and bones. One because I know a lot of the bones and some muscles, but two, it’s a big thing I’ll have to just straight up study and memorize.

I’ve also been reading the notebook of guidelines for exercise testing to review the information.

Once school starts, I won’t be able to spend 2 hours everyday, but I am still hoping to get at least 30 minutes a day in, up to 2 hours on my days of no class. When I started back to class, I finished Chapters 1-13 (out of 22). I have 3 weeks until the workshop, so my plan is to read/take notes on 3 chapters a week that will take me right up to the workshop. Going into the workshop, as I mentioned, I already wanted to have a working knowledge of all the topics before I learned tips and tricks to hammer it home. And this is exactly how I am doing it. My next blog in the series will be discussing and dissecting the 3-day workshop I will be attending!

My Top 5 Tips for Creating Goals

It’s that time of year again. 2018 is soon upon us and everyone will be starting to make their New Year’s Resolutions, their goals for the new year of how they’ll change and what they’ll do. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people making goals and achieving them, I myself am doing the same thing. However, I think that most people don’t know how to go about creating realistic goals that they can stick to as the year passes on. I mean you all have heard the jokes…and if you haven’t, see the memes below.

It’s funny, but true. But I don’t think it has to be this way. That’s why I want to share with you my top 5 tips for creating goals in hopes of encouraging you to write good goals that you’ll be able to actually plan, work for, and achieve!

1. See Goals Simplistically

If you view your resolutions for yourself as a daunting task or a huge deal, you’re likely going to quit out of fear. This also means that New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to only start January 1st. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to wait until the end of one year/beginning of the next to make a positive change in your life. However, if you make a big deal about your goals being New Year’s, you’re going to think you have to wait around until the next year to start them. Instead, think of your goals as just that…simply goals for you to achieve in the coming year, not only to start during a certain period. Also, seeing your goals simplistically voids the all-or-nothing principle, where if you mess up on just one tiny part of your goal you’re done for the year. WRONG! It’s not a big deal if you mess up because goals are just a work in progress for you to work on piece-by-piece all year-long. If you mess up, simply get back on track or start over–even if that means it’s August. Bottom line: Don’t make too big a deal out of your goals.

2. Make Them Realistic and Specific

This is probably my most important tip. All too often people make resolutions; however, they make them so unrealistic that they soon get discouraged and quit. Making realistic goals is so important to actually sticking to what you said you were going to do. What exactly is realistic is going to depend on the goal, the situation, your resources and past experiences, etc.  Also, creating specific goals will only help further your accurate achievement–the more specific the better. For example, let’s say someone put their goal as “lose weight”. Does this mean 5 pounds or 50 pounds? Without being specific, there is no end goal in mind. So now let’s say someone says they want to lose 20 pounds, (yay for specific), but doing so in 1 month is unrealistic. If someone set that as their goal, and one month later didn’t reach it, they may just give up on the whole thing, when in reality if they had said to lose the weight in 5 months, the situation may have been better. You don’t want to sell yourself short to make it easy to be lackadaisical (saying you’ll lose 20 pounds in the next 3 years) but, you do want to make sure that what you’re setting up for yourself is healthily attainable.

3. Make a Plan

Big goals can be scary and daunting to accomplish. Creating a plan where you break them down into smaller goals, can help you achieve more. Think of them as the stepping-stones to get to your final destination. Making a plan will also help you stay on track so that you can know exactly what to do to reach your goals. For example, I want to eventually be able to do 5 pull-ups in a row. Instead of daunting myself with getting 5 in a row, I’ll break it down. First, I want to be able to do 1 pull-up. Then, I want to be able to do 3 in a row. Then, I will focus on achieving 5 in a row. This of course applies to non-fitness related goals too. Say you want to change your mindset to being more positive/grateful by the end of the year–but this sets no timeline up for how you will achieve that because unfortunately, it won’t magically happen on its own. Instead you break it down: saying that you want to write 2 things you’re grateful for 4/7 days of the week. Then, once you achieve that for a few weeks, change it to 7/7 days of the week. Then, whenever something negative happens, you decide you’ll stop and think of a positive thing to switch your mindset. Breaking your goals down will help keep you going and give you small accomplishments to be able to celebrate on your way to achieving the end goal.

4. Set a Timetable

A timeframe for your goals will help you even further to have a plan-of-action. Without a set timeframe, many people will end up half-assing their progress and not really achieving anything that they want to. I suggest creating a timetable for both your end goal, and your smaller goals that you created as well. Going back up to my pull-up goal, I may set to get 1 pull-up by April 1st, 3 pull-ups by July 1st, and 5 pull-ups by October 1st. Or for the person wanting to lose 20 pounds, set a specific amount to lose each month or every few weeks to keep your progress on track.

5. Just Get Started

Lastly, this one is short and sweet. As Nike says…Just Do It! So many people wait for the “right time” or when life is less hectic. Let me just tell you, life will always be crazy busy and hectic, there will always be excuses and roadblocks; there will never be the right time, there just won’t. Instead, you just need to get over the hardest hurdle: starting. Once you get started, assuming you set realistic goals with a plan and timeline, you’ll start seeing positive changes in your life and you’ll be able to run with it: All the way to achieving your goals/resolutions. Starting is the hardest part, but I promise you it is the best thing you’ll ever choose for yourself.

CPT Blog #1: Choosing ACSM

I’m so excited to be writing this series over the course of the next few months! Not only because I am passionate about getting my personal trainer certification (CPT), but also because it is something y’all seemed interested in too. This first blog is going to be on the most important first step: how to choose. I decided to become a personal trainer because  I want to help people live a healthier lifestyle. Even though my degree is in marketing, I’ve always loved lifting and had a passion for health/fitness/nutrition that I want to apply and challenge myself with.

No matter what the reason for choosing to get your CPT–main job, to go with your degree, passion, side job, fun, etc.–once you’ve decided to get your certification (great choice!), you need to select one of the many different organizations that offers CPT certifications. NASM, ACSM, ACE, ISSA…the list goes on. Although there are many, most of them are going to be equally accepted at gyms and most of your clients won’t even know the difference. However, the starting point should be that if you have your heart set on working for a certain gym, check with them to see what certifications they accept (most will accept NASM, ACSM, and ACE). Next step, is to do your research because each organization will offer slightly different things in terms of study plans, study products/reviews, workshops, textbooks, testing and retesting, etc. Although it may seem daunting, going through each website and checking it out for yourself is your best bet.

With that said, I narrowed my final decision down to NASM and ACSM because they seemed to be the two best programs. Please note this is not to say that any other wouldn’t be okay or if you already have your cert from one of these other orgs you’re “less”, just from my research I found these two to be my best options on account of offerings, credibility, and the organization as a whole. I did more research, watched numerous videos, and looked at the packages and I finally decided upon ACSM for 3 reasons:

1) ACSM seems to be the “gold standard” of CPT, the extra-mile so to speak, which caught my attention because I always want to be and do the best. You Again, NASM is still an excellent program and you learn essentially the same material–NASM even uses textbooks that refer to studies and research by ACSM. Personally, I felt that through research ACSM seemed slightly higher.

2) ACSM’s 3-day workshop.  While NASM has a live workshop, it was 1 day and seemed to be more of working out and some superficial application. ACSM’s 3-day workshop was in-depth studying of the material, applications, and tricks/tools for remembering material. The workshop received great reviews as being really helpful. It also is offered many, many times a year at all different locations so you can find the one that works best for you.

3) ACSM is science-based–something I was interested in knowing the science behind it all. However, NASM gears their programs towards creating workout programs, which is probably slightly more useful for being a certified personal trainer. Personally, I wanted more of the science and knowledge in my studies though.

Last step in after choosing your program is to choose the package you’ll buy. NASM does slightly better in laying out their different packages for purchase and showing the differences in what you get. With ACSM, there aren’t really packages, more of multiple different components you can buy to help you. This is one of the downsides to ACSM, my dad had to call their service number to help get understanding and clarity. With that said, I ended up getting almost everything I could to help me. This included: 3 textbooks (a resource textbook, a guideline for testing and prescribing, & a certification test review), prepU (online study course), and a 3-day workshop. All in all, I believe the ACSM is slightly cheaper (about $200) when comparing the two, but NASM does have cheaper packages for self-study rather than other resources.

Overall, you won’t go wrong as long as you do the research and take the time to choose the program that best fits you, your lifestyle, needs, resources, etc.

When You Feel Lost…

This wasn’t one of the posts I originally planned to write. It’s not one of the titles that I had written down. It’s just an idea, a thought that popped into my mind and all the sudden I started writing this blog in my head. And that’s why I knew I had to write it. I’m going to say that I truly believe this message is from God, for me and for you. It may not be the most organized or drafted post, but it’s a blog from the heart and soul that I believe is very meaningful.

It’s scary to feel lost, to feel as if you have no idea where to go or what to do. To have this desire to be so much more and make an impact, yet have no direction for how to go about doing that. When people say they’ve found their dream job/career or they are following their passion, and you still don’t know…I’ve been there (heck, I’m still there). It’s scary, it’s terrifying, it causes fear to creep in and take over. In today’s world there are so many options, paths, careers, choices, etc. that it overwhelms us into just staying where we are–happy or not. We tend to turn to people asking them what we should do, letting their opinions or decision become the choices we make. We turn our attention so intensely onto another person, object, etc.  to fill that void/lost feeling we have. Or maybe we just stay where we are, hopelessly scraping by; we give up. Oftentimes we are so desperate for answers and immediate fixes that we almost always overlook the one simple truth. You see here’s the truth:

It’s not that we’re lost, it’s that we are looking for answers in all the wrong places.

That’s it. We turn to friends, family, significant others, substances, food, addictions, things we can control, etc. instead of running to the one who already has a plan for you. You aren’t lost, there is a plan for your life far greater than you could ever imagine, so much greater that if you knew it all right this instant, you couldn’t even comprehend it. That’s why there are no quick fixes or immediate clarity because we only got a piece at a time; and over time those little pieces add up to the big, grand life that God has planned for you. I understand that this isn’t easy. That it’s not easy to let go of control and to feel lost with no direction, but the great thing is, is that God knows this too and He is looking out for you–whether you feel it or not. In times when you feel lost with no direction, here’s what you need to remember: the only direction you need to turn is to God. It doesn’t matter if you know what you want to do, who you want to be, what your passion or purpose is. Give it to God and he will supply the rest.

It can be easy to run to things of this world which give quick gratification, but you and I both know that whatever that is, it will ultimately leave you feeling empty in the end–wanting and needing more. So instead in tough times, when you don’t know what to do or where to go, run to the One who does know, the One who will meet all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus. You are not lost, you are just going in the opposite direction looking for answers in the wrong places. When you feel lost, remember this and remind yourself to turn your focus and direction back on God. Remind yourself to be in constant communication with Him and to put your full faith and trust in what He can do. No matter how lost you feel, you’re just one step away from the Father who is calling you to Him.

You aren’t lost; you don’t have no direction. You are loved by the only direction that leads to joy, purpose, and grace. Follow that road and don’t look back. Instead look to the future, to all the amazing things the God of the universe has in store for you, and to the present, to what He is doing in your life right now.