Why I Chose NASM Certification

 Why I Chose NASM Certification

While I already mentioned that I’m working on my NASM certification this summer in this post, I thought I’d share about why I chose NASM certification over all the other ones out there.

NASM is well respected. 

NASM has been certifying people in the fitness industry for more than 20 years now. In the grand scheme of things the fitness industry isn’t very old, so being a big name for 20 years is a huge accomplishment. Other people in the online fitness world have good things to say about NASM. I’ve seen people become certified and then get great results with clients and really change their clients’ quality of life. The level of knowledge needed to pass the test requires studying – you can’t just walk in thinking you know everything just because you’ve “been into fitness for years”. Training people is very different from working out yourself.

NASM is a well rounded education. 

Now that I’ve had a year’s worth of university level fitness classes, I have a better sense of how much information there is out there when it comes to fitness. It’s not just a matter of knowing about what muscles are required for different movements, but also how you apply the knowledge you have to clients who all have different histories, likes, and injuries. Knowing the subject matter isn’t enough to be a good trainer. You also have to be able to figure out what kinds of workouts will work best with your client’s goals.

Although I’m only a few chapters in to the textbook so far, I’ve been impressed with the depth of knowledge that NASM requires. I’ve already touched on anatomy, physiology, allied health professionals, ethics, and exercise physiology. While you could have an entire textbook on each chapter in the textbook (affiliate link), NASM manages to highlight the important things that you’ll need to know once you’re in the industry working with clients, without overwhelming you with too much information.

Why I Chose NASM Certification Textbook

Other people in the fitness industry recommend it. 

I had multiple conversations with trainers while I was at my practicum placement about certifications. While everyone there had particular clients or modalities that they liked to work with, one of the things that kept coming up with all of them was getting a great education to build on.  My placement had strict education requirements in place for new hires – they needed a minimum level of education to even be considered. I think that’s a great thing because it means that the clients at that facility are getting the best of the best in terms of trainers.

More than one of the trainers mentioned NASM to me. One specifically said that he liked the specializations you can get once you’re a Certified Personal Trainer. They vary from corrective exercise to women’s fitness to weight loss, so there’s something for just about anybody, no matter who you like to work with as a trainer.

NASM requires continuing education to stay certified. 

Whenever I hear about a new certification I always check to see if they require continuing education credits to stay certified. A certification from 15 years ago isn’t very useful today if the person who holds it hasn’t leaned anything in the last 15 years. There’s constantly new research about the body and fitness, and staying up to date is so important, especially when you’re giving advice to other people. Requiring continuing education means that NASM is invested in keeping their trainers on the leading edge of research. It would less trouble to let people go on their own once they’ve taken their exam, but instead they really do want the people that they’ve certified to dig deeper.

In addition, the flexibility in getting the continuing education credits means that I can take courses that interest me. I’m more interested in working with older adults than high performance athletes, so I can get credits that are geared to baby boomers instead of athletes.

Are you in the fitness industry? What certifications do you hold? 

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Vancouver 2016 Trip

Today I’m sharing a recap of my trip to Vancouver. I got there Sunday afternoon and left Friday morning, so I had four full days there. I managed to get in quite a few different activities while at the same time getting in some relaxing down time each day as well.

Just a warning, this is a long I post!

Vancouver July 2016 Trip

Once I arrived in Vancouver I took a cab from the airport to the hotel. I stayed at the Sheraton Wall Centre, right in the middle of downtown. The location was perfect as I was planning on walking being my main mode of transportation. Vancouver is a really pedestrian friendly city so I wanted to take advantage of it. It was a gorgeous room, and I’d definitely stay here again.

I then headed down to the water. My last trip to Vancouver I spent quite a bit of time by the water, and I knew I wanted to get back to it first thing. Because it was a Sunday it was really crowded with everyone taking advantage of the gorgeous weather. Vancouver tends to be cloudy and rainy, but I lucked out and didn’t see any rain while I was there. After I’d walked along the beach for awhile I started to get hungry, so I headed to Davie Street to find somewhere to eat.

Vancouver July 2016 Trip

I’d gotten a recommendation for a Thai restaurant so when I came across it I figured I’d give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed because the food was amazing. The portion was generous and I got a table by the window so I could people watch as they walked by outside. I then headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime. I was wiped out from travelling and I knew I had an early morning the next day.

Victoria and Butchart Gardens

I’d booked a tour on Monday to go to Victoria. To get to Victoria you either have to fly or take a ferry. Both ferry terminals are outside of Vancouver and Victoria, so I figured it would be easier and a better use of my time to do a tour and have all the transportation arrangements done for me. I went with Landsea Adventures and took the Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed right off the bat when the guide and bus were close to 20 minutes late picking me up from my hotel. Once we picked up a few other people at different hotels we started the drive out to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, which took about 30 minutes. Because the guide was late picking everyone up we just missed the 9 am sailing and instead had to wait for the 10 am one, which was a bit of a bummer.

Once we drove onto the ferry I headed to the upper decks to find something for breakfast. I settled on a sandwich and some apple juice. Once I’d eaten I headed to the outdoor decks to take in the beautiful scenery. The ferry rice takes about 90 minutes so I had lots of time to wander around before I had to be back at the bus. Once we were off the ferry we drove about 30 minutes south to Victoria. We got dropped off Chinatown where I picked up a few things to take home as gifts before finding a pub to have lunch at.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

I knew I wanted to check out the Empress Hotel and the Legislature building while I was in Victoria. They were both down by the harbor so I spent some time walking around there. I found that area to be super touristy which I was a little disappointed about. I felt like it took away from what a beautiful place it is. The Empress has beautiful gardens outside of it, so I found a bench in a shady spot and took in everything until it was time to meet up with the bus again to head to Butchart Gardens.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

I was really looking forward to Butchart Gardens because I’m a huge plant person. It was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you looked there were more and more plants and flowers. The only thing I didn’t like were how many people were there. I don’t like crowds, but there were lots of them at the gardens. Honestly now that I’ve seen it, I don’t think I’d want to go back just because of how many people were there.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

After spending a few hours at the gardens it was time to head back to the bus to head to the ferry terminal again. While we were heading back to Vancouver the sun was starting to set so I spent most of my time outside taking it in. It was absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t get back to my hotel room til 10 pm, so it was a pretty long day. I had a lot of fun though so it was definitely worth it.

Howe Sound Boat Tour 

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Tuesday morning I slept in and headed to a little hole in the wall bistro for breakfast. I’d eaten there the last time I was in Vancouver and it was delicious. I ordered the eggs benedict. Afterwards I went back to the hotel to wait for a shuttle to pick me up to go to West Vancouver where I’d booked a boat tour of Howe Sound with Sewell’s Marina.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Howe Sound was probably the thing that was my favorite to do while I was in Vancouver. I spent two hours out on the water checking out the beautiful houses right on the water (which sell for between $25 and $30 million), seeing lots and lots of seals, as well as birds. I was a little worried that there would be fog and low cloud, but the weather cooperated and was perfect. I wish I could have spent several more hours on the boat.

By the time I got back to downtown Vancouver it was dinner time, so I ate at a little Malaysian place called Banana Leaf. I ordered a curry which was pretty tasty. Afterwards I decided to head over to Robson Street to check out some of the shopping. Within a block of two I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and twisted my ankle. Thankfully it didn’t hurt too much right away and I still able to check out Robson Street, but by the time I got back to my hotel it was throbbing and starting to swell up.

Vancouver Art Gallery

When I woke up the next morning my ankle was pretty sore. I knew I wanted to take it easy, but still see more of Vancouver. I decided on going to the Vancouver Art Gallery which was only a few blocks from my hotel. They had a Picasso exhibit on so I was pretty excited to see that. I also checked out a few other exhibits before my ankle told me I had to get off it for awhile. I decided to get a cold drink at a Starbucks and hang out on the patio. I then headed to my hotel room to put my foot up for a bit.

Adele Concert

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Wednesday night was the Adele concert. I walked over to Rogers Arena and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes before they opened the doors. My seat was in the lower bowl at the opposite end from the main stage. There was a B stage closer to me though, so I ended up having some pretty good views. The show started just after 8 pm and she was on stage for two hours. Just like her other dates on this tour she started off with Hello. While I know she has a massive amount of talent, it didn’t really hit me until she started singing.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

She actually talked quite a bit between songs, which was kind of cool. She sang a good variety from all three of her albums, as well as Skyfall. The very last song she did was Rolling in the Deep, and she did a great job with it, but I was still a little sad that it was over. If you have the chance to see Adele live I’d definitely recommend it – I know I didn’t really understand her talent til I saw her in person.

Museum of Anthropology 

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Thursday I decided to head to the Museum of Anthropology on the UBC campus. The museum is quite a distance outside of downtown, so I opted for a 20 minute cap ride instead of walking. If you’re only going to do one museum in Vancouver, I’d recommend this one. There was so much First Nations artwork. Even the canoes were beautiful, let along the totem poles. The second part of the museum houses artifacts from First Nations people around the world. I particularly liked the saris and kimonos – they were so pretty with such delicate stitching on them. I could have stayed there another hour or two checking everything out, but my ankle was starting to get sore, so I caught another cab back downtown to Chinatown.

Chinese Gardens and Chinatown 

Vancouver 2016 Trip

I’m so glad I got to check out the Chinese gardens this time, because I missed out on it during my last trip to Vancouver. I did a guided tour of the gardens which was great because I learned so much about how the gardens were designed. Every little detail – from the patterns on the floor to the design of the windows – had so much thought go into it. The plants and flowers were also beautiful. I found out that bamboo only blooms once in it’s lifetime and then it dies.

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Afterwards I wandered around Chinatown for awhile. I went into a few shops and got some tea for my mom. Apparently the Vancouver Chinatown is one of the oldest ones in North America, which I didn’t know. It makes sense though since it’s on the west coast.

Walking Tour of Gastown

Vancouver 2016 Trip

Later that night I headed to Gastown for a The Lost Souls of Vancouver walking tour. Before I booked it I knew it was going to be different from typical walking tours. This one was lead by an actor, and while the character he played was fictional, all the places and went and events that happened there were all real. He talked about everything from the fire to the small pox outbreak. It was a really fun way to learn about some of the history of Gastown.

Friday morning I was up bright and early to head to the airport for my flight home. Even though I managed to fit quite a bit into my trip I still felt like it went by way too quick. There’s so much to do there, there’s no way you can fit it all into one trip.

Where was the last place you traveled to? 

Weekly Recap

Happy Saturday! I spent the last week in Vancouver, and as much fun as it was, it also feels good to be home. Sleeping in my bed felt pretty darn good last night.

Adele concert July 2016 Vancouver

First off I have to say that the Adele concert on Wednesday night was absolutely amazing! She put on a great show and it was a great two hours of music. She actually talked quite a bit between songs and even mentioned her visit to a catfe in Vancouver the day before the concert. If you have a ticket for an upcoming show you definitely won’t be disappointed.

I’ll be writing a recap of my time in Vancouver, so be sure to stop by on Monday for that. I checked out the Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Art Gallery (where I got to see a Picasso exhibit!), Howe Sound from a boat (so many seals), Victoria, and Butchart Gardens, and a walking tour of Gastown. I kept myself busy while I was in Vancouver but also made sure to spend some time taking in the city and people watching.

It’s time to get back to my usual routine now that I’m back home. I have less than a month until my first certification exam, so there will be a ton of studying happening for that. A lot of what I’ve covered so far has been content that I’ve covered in classes already, so I’m happy about that. It’s much easier (and quicker) when it’s not completely new material.

I also got an email from a former boss asking if I’d be interested in coming back to work for her in August and September. I’m definitely looking forward to making some extra money that I wasn’t expecting.

Now I’m off to unpack and get some laundry done. I swear dirty laundry somehow multiplies while you’re on vacation.

Lower Body Circuit Workout

I’m still in Vancouver (and seriously excited about the Adele concert tonight), but I wanted to make sure I still have posts going up while I was gone. Today psot is a lower body circuit workout. Enjoy! 

 Lower Body Circuit Workout

Step ups Find something that when you put your foot on it, your knee is at a 90 degree angle. This could be a chair or bench. Step up with your left foot, and pushing off that heel step your right foot off the floor and onto the bench. Immediately step back down with your left foot, followed by your right foot.

Body weight Squats With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Alternating forward lunges Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 60 seconds.

Skaters With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

Donkey kicks Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg so that your knee is parallel to the floor and the bottom of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Lower you leg back down and repeat wit the right leg.

Alternating curtsy lunges Similar to a backward lunge, if you’re stepping back with your left leg, instead of keeping it to the left of your right leg, you bring it to the right side, so that it crosses the right leg behind you.

High knees Starting in a standing position, quickly bring your left knee up in front of you as high as you can. Step back down and repeat with your right leg. Repeat.

Sumo squats Similar to body weight squats, the movement is the same but your feet are wider apart. Make sure your knees follow your feet, and move outwards and forwards instead of just forwards.

Wall sit Stand with your back to a wall and slowly slide your back down while stepping out your feet until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your feet should be about hip width apart. This is an isometric hold, so you’re staying in this position for the entire time.

Alternating side lunges Similar to the forward lunges, side lunges require that you step out to the side instead of forward. Step out to the left first, and then the right.

Mountain climbers Start in a plank position. Jump one foot up as close to the hips as possible while bending at the knee and hip. Then jump that foot back while bringing the other foot up.  An easier modification is to use a chair to put your hands on.

Looking for more workouts? Check out my Workouts page.

As always, check with a doctor before beginning a new workout program. Honor your body and modify as needed. 

Troll Falls Hike

Although I’m on vacation (I’m in Victoria today!), I wanted to make sure I had a few posts scheduled and ready to go this week. Today I’m recapping the beautiful hike I did last week. 

Troll Falls Hike

Last week my dad and I went on a hike to Trolls Falls. It’s located in Kananaskis, which is just outside of Banff National Park. Neither of us had done this hike before, but once I saw some of the photos of the waterfall at the end I knew I wanted to do it. It looked relatively easy and quick, with some beautiful scenery along the way. You can’t go wrong with that kind of combination.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

Considering how big the parking lot was (this is only half of it), I was surprised to only see two other cars there when we arrived at the trailhead. Although the weather wasn’t the greatest, I was still expecting more people to be here, as it’s a fairly popular hike in Kananaskis. I’m not complaining though – for the most part we had the trail all to ourselves, and only saw two other people.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

The first half of the hike into the falls looked like this. It was wide and until you got closer to the falls it rock and root free. I can see why this hike is recommended to families. It’s easy to navigate and short enough that kids can do it.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

As you can tell, it was pretty cloudy with misting rain. The clouds were low and were actually kind of pretty even though we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains. It didn’t feel like it while we were walking, but we’d actually gained a bit of elevation by this point. We were surrounded by trees until here so it was hard to tell.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

I loved the look of those mossy rocks in this little stream. Although I for some reason didn’t take any photos, this is a great hike to see wildflowers. Everywhere you looked there were lots of red paintbrush, bluebells, yarrow, and asters. I even saw quite a few wild strawberry plants, though they weren’t blooming.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

We were so lucky to be able to see a deer! I almost walked right past her until I saw her move out of the corner of my eye. She wasn’t that far off the trail and didn’t seem at all concerned that we were there. She gave us a look and then went back to eating some plants. We were able to watch her for a minute or two until she heard something off in the other direction and ran away. It’s always surprising to me that in just an hour’s drive away from Calgary I can see stuff like this.

Troll Falls Kananaskis Hike

The waterfall at the end of the hike was definitely worth it. It turned out to be bigger than I was expecting. It was surprisingly loud and I almost had to shout to be able to talk to my dad. I would have loved to explore the area around the waterfall a bit more, but everything was really wet from all the rain we’ve had lately and I didn’t want to risk slipping on the rocks.

We made it back to the car in just under an hour even though we stopped quite a bit to take photos and check out the wildflowers. I’d definitely recommend this hike as an add on one to do with another hike in the area because it’s so short.

It’s not far from Canmore either, so you can drive into town and have lunch or dinner afterwards. That’s exactly what we ended up doing. We ate at La Belle Potate and then stopped by Valbella to check out their deli and bought a few things to bring home. We then dead to downtown Canmore and walked around a bit before we got back on the highway to head back to Calgary.

When’s the last time you went on a hike?