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The Path To Becoming A Certified Personal Trainer

This runner loves all things fitness—and it's because of this passion that she decided to become a certified personal trainer.

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I Recently Became A Certified PT

About two weeks ago, I accomplished something that I never in a million years thought I would accomplish: I passed my personal training test for my American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Certification. The process varies depending on the organization through which one decides to become certified. For ACE, it was a two-textbook process that also involved online supplemental quizzes, videos and flashcards. Studying for the exam can take anywhere from three months to a full year, depending on the study load one chooses to take on. Some people take a bit longer to study while working full-time—others don’t. I personally chose to focus all of my energy on studying for the exam for a few months.

Walking into the test, I was full of nerves and questions. Was I ready for this? Would I pass? What would happen if I didn’t? I handed the proctor my ID card and she led me to the computer so I could start the test. As I took a seat and pressed the start button, my hands shaking, I took a few minutes to reflect on the steps that had led me to this point.

Related: Real Runners: Group Fitness Makes Me A Better Runner

How’d I Get Here?

I fell into fitness during college when I was trying to lose my “freshman 15” and I wasn’t really sure where to start. So I began taking group fitness classes. Spin was clearly my favorite class, but I tried them all. I loved leaving strength and toning classes feeling stronger. I loved leaving cardio classes feeling euphoric. I remember trying Orangetheory Fitness with my sister and feeling like I had found the holy grail mix of cardio, strength and toning. I loved finding new ways to switch up my workout routine–mixing my spin with strength training, my outdoor running with body pump, my treadmill intervals or hill sprints with a full body bootcamp. I was constantly trying something new, making new friends and finding new instructors to push me out of my comfort zone.

Finding The Cross-Training Sweet Spot

That was step one. Step two came when I took a leap of faith and got certified as a spin instructor. I was so scared to earn the certification, but I went through with it; after eight intense hours, I was officially certified to teach spin. Step three came when my class started growing. As a new instructor, it was an amazing feeling to have people slowly becoming regulars in my classes and seeing my class size grow from two, four and six people until it was finally full. After about a year of teaching spin classes, I realized that I was in a position where I could help people tap into the confidence and strength they had within themselves as they traveled along their journey to becoming more fit and healthy versions of themselves. I decided that I wanted to tap into those feelings and find ways to motivate people outside of spin classes. That was the moment when I decided to become a certified personal trainer.

Passing The Test

It was while thinking back on those moments, in that room, that I decided to take the certification test with confidence. I went through question after question–and, sure enough, I passed! Now I am ready to continue my journey as a fitness professional and help others find confidence in their abilities, the same way I found confidence in mine. Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this process–I would not be where I am without you!


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