Good writeup about getting your level 1 cert.   I thought this was very insightful and exactly something I struggled with upon my certification. Shawn M.

There are CF Level 1 tests every weekend.  Read that again.  Every weekend, and the certs are packed.  50-80 people get certified every weekend as CrossFit Level 1  coaches/trainers/instructors.  And this is freaking awesome.

When I went for my L1 cert in 2008 I was awestruck.  I had been a “certified” trainer since 2004 (some bullshit $100 cert from the internet) and been a “real-certified” trainer since 2006 (real cert, real test, real full-time job as a trainer).  When I went to workshops as a trainer all the really knowledgable folks looked like they had never seen the inside of gym.  They were merely academics, lab coat nerd types with no muscle and way too much fat.

So imagine going to a cert where the knowledgeable folks can deadlift 400+lbs and bang out 20+ pullups and crush 400m runs like a high school track star.  Nerds that blend the booksmart into a way you can understand it, and  a way you can better relay it to the general population.  You immediately fall in love with such a program.  They welcome your questions, no matter how stupid (don’t be a pussy and say they were mean if they made fun of your question with an anwser Rip style).  And they “make you” workout on BOTH days of the cert!  Freaking cool right?

But many  people walk away from this with a huge ego (while instead they should feel humbled).  They immediately go back home and tell everyone at their gym/home/church how dumb everything they are doing is dumb.  That only the 9 foundational moves of CF are the only functional things around.  But remember what they say at the L1, that it is a survey course (“an inch deep and a mile wide”).  Imagine how annoying some college kids are who just finished their first semester and took a philosophy 101 class and proceed to tell you about Plato’s Cave orNietzsche.

Same shit here.  Get some life experience or a philosophy major before you spout off at the mouth about Kierkegaard or Ayn Rand.  Get some coaching experience before you tell me that battle ropes, atlas stones, or assistance exercises are “not functional”.

A L1 cert is not the end all be all of fitness certs.  It is a starting point.  It doesn’t mean you should have your grandma do “Fran” as Rx’d. It doesn’t mean necessarily that you are qualified to judge out of the ordinary movements at CrossFit competitions.

According to Gladwell, you need a minimum 10,000 hours of work in your field before you are an expert.  So your 2-day 8 hour a day cert doesn’t make you an expert.  Don’t act like one.  As CFers we should be the MOST open to new ideas and things that can help us in our fitness journey.  You want to increase your expertise? Find a coach who knows more than you about: programming, powerlifting, strongman, olympic lifting, gymnastics, running, or crossfit in general and learn from them.  Be willing to pay up to take certs from them, or if you are lucky, be within an hour driving distance and go up there every few months to learn.  This will help you alleviate level 1 syndrome.

I have seen alot of Level 1 syndrome happen.  It can lead to both awful over-coaching and total butchering of competition reps (both too lenient and over the top form-nazism due to lack of understanding of basic human anatomy).  Just because you got your Level 1 it doesn’t mean you are automatically better at CrossFit.  It doesn’t make you an expert on the deadlift, on full depth of a 1 arm kettlebell squat, or automatically put 20 lbs. on your jerk.

What it does is this:  starts you on a journey to a better understanding of the fitness we are all chasing and allow you to put your own personal spin on what CrossFit is.