Cross-Training For Dummies
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CrossFit super-enthusiasts who want to take it to the next level can become a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT) or Certified CrossFit Coach (CCFC). Earning certification shows that you have the skills to work knowledgeably and effectively with individuals and groups at all levels of experience. And in a broader sense, certification ensures integrity and consistency among CrossFit certificants and affiliates.

If you're not familiar with CrossFit, it's a high-intensity health and athletic exercise routine that has transformed into a global fitness philosophy and competitive sport. Check out this video for more insight and information on CrossFit training.

The 4 levels of CrossFit certification

CrossFit offers four levels of progressive certification beginning with Level 1(newbie status) and culminating at Level 4 (full-fledged coach):
  • Level 1: A two-day introductory course covering basic movements, workouts, and CrossFit methods. Upon completion, you are a CF-L1 Trainer. Cost: $1,000 (US)

  • Level 2: An intermediate course covering more advanced movements and coaching skills. Level 1 certification is a prerequisite. You can call yourself a CF-L2 Trainer. Cost: $1,000 (US)

  • Level 3 or Certified CrossFit Trainer: It's at this level where you take the computer-based exam (more information follows) for certification as a certified trainer.

    You become a CCFT, in one of two ways:

    • Attain Level 3 Certification. The prerequisites are Level 1 and Level 2 training, plus 750 hours of CrossFit coaching. You can identify yourself as a CF-L3 trainer or CCFT.

    • Show that you have at least 1,500 hours of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) training with college or professional athletes. With this approach, you are known as a CCFT — but not a CF-L3, because you didn't go through the CF-L1 and CF-L2 training.

  • Level 4: Certified CrossFit Coach (CCFC) — the top-level certification. To earn this, you must have L1 through L3 certification and pass an intense, one-day performance evaluation of your coaching abilities. Congratulations on your CF-L4, Coach!

What you need to become a Certified CrossFit Trainer

Here's a quick look at the application requirements for becoming a Certified CrossFit Trainer:

  • Meet eligibility requirements, such as

    • Medical certifications, such as CPR/AED, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, EMT/Paramedic

    • Education and experience consisting of either

      Official CrossFit training (Level 1 and Level 2) and 750 hours of coaching, or

      1,500 hours of strength and conditioning coaching at the university level or for a professional league sports team.

    • Minimum age (18 years old)

    • Agreement to act in accordance with the CrossFit Standards of Professional Practice.

  • Pass the CCFT computer-based exam, consisting of 160 questions

    To take the exam, you need the following:

    • CCFT application fee, nonrefundable

    • Completed application form

    • Examination fee (required after application form is approved)

    • Time. The exam lasts 3 hours and 55 minutes.

  • Commit to long-term continuing education. Enhance your professional development in a variety of areas such as gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, endurance training, kettlebells, self-defense, rowing, and more. You can also take online classes or attend specialty seminars, publish a CrossFit Journal article, take a leadership role at a CrossFit event, or participate on a panel or advisory board. Other types of education (provided by third parties) might be eligible for continuing education credits, but they must be CrossFit-approved.

How to maintain your CrossFit certification

After you earn any of the CrossFit certifications, you can't just rest on your laurels. The following table shows what you need to keep your certification valid and up to date:
Your Level What to Do to Maintain CrossFit Certification Your Cost
CF-L1 Every five years, retake the two-day course and pass the 50-question written test $500 (US)
CF-L2 Keep a current CF-L1 certificate and complete the Level 2 requirements $500 (US) every five years to retake the Level 1 course and test.
CF-L3 or CCFT Recertify every three years by keeping your CPR certification current; earning 50 hours of continuing education credits over the three years; spend at least 300 hours on coaching every year for three years. None
CF-L4 Keep a current CF-L3. See above. None

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