So you all know that I’ve been studying for my NASM exam. What you don’t know is that I failed it once. And then guess what? Yesterday, I failed it again. Woo! Winner city over here!
I’ve been really down on myself about it. It’s hard not to feel discouraged after studying for months and failing, and then studying even HARDER only to fail it again. I know confidence is key and you have to believe in yourself, but it’s sort of hard to not feel like a total loser.
After I cried my eyes out on the car ride home and had myself a nice little pity party yesterday afternoon (which included Real Housewives of BH and chocolate chip cookies, not on the GYST Detox) I knew I had to snap out of it. I took a step back and started to think about why I’m doing the NASM and why I can’t seem to get it down. Sidenote- this post is sort of hard for me to write because I’m admitting that, much to my dismay, I am not perfect at everything. I figure that there are a lot of people out there who may be trying to pass this beast of a test as well so wanted to share my story and struggles. Hopefully I will have a post up soon about me PASSING the f-ing thing. Anyways, here’s what I’ve come up with:
I am a total right brainer. My whole life, I’ve been the artsy chick. Give me some Sharpies and charcoal and I am happier than a pig in shit. Algebra? Science? Equations? Logic? Not so much. Science and math just never made sense to me. I remember vividly in second grade arguing with my teacher about the < and > signs. I kept asking her “well, how do you know which number you’re looking at it from? How do you know I’m not looking at the RIGHT number, and it’s telling the LEFT number that it’s bigger than it?” It took me weeks to figure that concept out. My brain just doesn’t work that way.
I was able to drop math and science classes my senior year and took more art and history classes. When it came to applying to college, I either wanted to go for fitness or for design. Ultimately, I chose design not only because I loved it and was good at it, but because I was scared shitless of having to navigate through biology and anatomy if I got a degree in Exercise Science. I don’t regret my decision to go to art school for a second. I loved all of my classes, was challenged creatively and did really well.
When I made the choice to do fitness full time, several sources advised me to take the NASM because it would give me the most understanding of exercise science, kinesiology and anatomy. So, I figured, what the hell, this won’t be so bad. And then my brain was all like “Hey, Emily. You went to art school and haven’t taken a science class since you were 16. Have fun trying to get me to memorize this shit!! Jokes on you!” (how many time have I said shit in this post?) The bottom line is- it is REALLY HARD for me to wrap my head around this stuff. I have read the entire book, watched all of the videos, made a mega study guide, flashcards, you name it. After I failed for the second time, the test practitioner said “isn’t there a book or something you should have read?”. Thanks, wench. Thanks for that advice.
But, I need to keep stepping back and reminding myself that this is not my forte. This is a huge challenge for me, and I can’t just expect to “get” everything instantly. Just because I can’t pass, doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. I just have different strengths. No, NASM, I can’t tell you off the top of my head where my sternocleidomastoid muscle is, but I CAN tell you at one quick glance that the font on the front of your textbook is Gotham Medium. And while your musculature drawings are really intricate and sexy, I can tell you that you should have invested some more time and money in choosing your stock photography (ok, now I’m just bitter).
To finish up this brutally honest post, I’m not even sure if NASM is the right certification for me. I’m never going to think in terms of how they want trainers to think- it’s all very mathematical, which is not me. I’m human. When you’re doing squats, I will say “put the weight in that booty” not “Please, eccentrically decelerate your gluteus maximus down to the ground”. I will say “pick it up, pick it up, little harder, come on!” not “Ah, I see at this point, according to my calculations, you should be working at 85% of your max heart rate. Kindly, pick up your pace”.
At this point, I really just want to pass it because it’s pissing me off that I CAN’T pass it. I don’t like to be told “I can’t”. And also because I’m just pooping paychecks over to NASM. Seriously. But I’m going to give it one more shot. 3rd time is the charm..? And if I don’t pass it, I’m going to look into other certifications that are more up my alley and realistic. I shouldn’t stress about it- I already have a full time training job and am certified in the model in which I am training, but it’s just like GAH. This is a challenge. And I want to be able to say that I DID it, so I can show the left side of my brain some love. Even though it’s a betch.
Any NASM winners or losers out there? Would love to hear your experiences with the beast!