2021 Learning: ACE Personal Trainer Certification
ACE Personal Training Certification

Ecstatic at passing!Guess who’s now an ACE certified personal trainer? 😆 After struggling with information overload, cramming totally new and unfamiliar concepts, sleeping at 3 am every day to study, whining & wondering what did I get myself into,…. I PASSED! 🥳🥳 (I honestly thought I’ll fail and was preparing my mom and boyfriend!)

Many of you are really interested in the course & I haven’t been able to reply to all the questions, so wrote a FAQ post about the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Training course. 


Started with me wanting to know accurate information about nutrition, exercises and proper form due to:

a) Being frustrated about weight gain (no thanks to egg freezing, bad dietary habits, lack of sleep & binging on alcohol).

b) Had PT last year, was disappointed with the dismal results.

c) Wanting to explore more strength workouts but unsure of proper form.

d) I always take a full certification course every year, since 2015. It’s usually a part-time course that lasts 3 months, so I am always struggling to juggle work and learning. So far, I have taken Digital Marketing, MIT FinTech Course, Ruby on Rails coding course,… this year I chose Personal Training.  

I set being certified as a Personal Trainer as my 2021 learning goals & signed up during Phase 2 Heightened Alert. What better time since I don’t go out as much!

ACE Personal Training Certification
800-page textbook!

Some of you wondered how I see this fitting in my life since I’m mostly in finance or entrepreneurship. I have a strong interest in fitness, have always been athletic but have regressed pathetically over the years. So, this is purely personal interest; I didn’t take PT as a career or financial move. But definitely love to explore fitness as a sector or business. So, who knows where this might bring me to?


I enrolled in the ACE personal training certification, directly online for US$699 (there was a 40% promotion). Much cheaper than taking it locally (about S$2000-4000), even though I wanted to use my SkillsFuture. It’s better for me as I can’t afford the time for physical lessons. I’m also a terrible student and prefer self-learning. 


This is harder than I initially thought – totally underestimated how intensive and rigorous it was going to be.

I believe the recommended time is 6-12 months. The textbook itself is ~800 pages. It took me 1.5 months from registration to the final exam. Initially, I had a lofty goal of wanting to complete it in 2 weeks, during my hospitalisation leave. Oh, the arrogance! 😂The curriculum is EXTREMELY tough for me. Maybe the concepts are too foreign to me but the last time I learn Biology is 20 years ago, in Secondary 4.Maybe I’m not used to them or “mugging” anymore… but damn, I haven’t studied this much for a long time. I love learning but not exams.

This course is a lot of anatomies and medical knowledge. You also have to memorise a lot of facts, I found many unnecessary. To be honest, there is a discrepancy between what I wanted to learn and what is covered. But since I signed up, I still wanted to excel and complete it.

I read the 800-page book twice back to back, did the online courses, completed the study companion and did the 2 mock exams 3 times. I spent more than 15 hours every weekend studying.

I even brought the book out to study, while walking at the field for my daily 45-minute workout challenge! (People we’re staring at this weirdo who’s walking & reading out loud to herself 😅)

Hours before the exam


Definitely for the knowledge. Once I got through the shock and whinging, it’s actually quite fun. Especially the second time I read the book. A lot of things made sense & just clicked. But you really have to go through the hump. It’s very dry and painful.

Do note what the syllabus is. Like I said earlier, I was looking to learn how to perfect my forms and a more practical approach. This is a lot of theoretical knowledge. Is it necessary? For a personal trainer, yes. But wasn’t exactly what I was interested in. My own fault. If you are interested in the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, here’s the free PDF they provide on the course curriculum. 

Do note that I’m taking it purely out of interest, so I am not sure in terms of career prospects. Might be better to be immersed into the local system if you’re looking at it as a career. Please ask an experienced Personal Trainer for better advice. 🙏🏻

Now, does anyone wants to be my personal training client? 😅

What’s next? I’ve already signed up for a trading course. Thinking of learning DeFi for my SkillsFuture credits.



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