How does someone get a CrossFit certification

What's wrong with CrossFit?

The biggest problem with Crossfit is really not Crossfit. It's the licensing model and how quickly someone with no prior training experience can open their own Crossfit gym (or a box, as they like to call it). More on that later as it comes down to choosing a specific Crossfit gym.

Exercise selection

With Crossfit you experience a variety of exercises and training. You will not get expert status in any of them as that is not the point of Crossfit. It's about becoming a general athlete who can do just about any physical activity in no time.

If you've only experienced bodyweight exercises or aerobics classes (this is where P90X applies) you will quickly find out just how challenging a Crossfit class can be.

Crossfit has done more to introduce the barbell to athletes than any other sport or activity before. Thanks to Crossfit, you can easily get a good pair of weightlifting shoes and a good pair of powerlifting shoes from Rebock. It made the barbell mainstream and I think that's a good thing.

Programming and coaching

Depending on the actual experience of the trainers in attendance, you can find a range of experiences from one Crossfit gym to another. This is where Crossfit is criticized the most. Some of it is just unfair, but some of it is also justified. The more experience the Crossfit trainers have in real life, the more likely your programming (exercise choices over time) will help you move forward as an athlete. Unfortunately, you never know what you're going to get until you show up and start doing it.

The cases in which Crossfitters developed rhabdomyolysis are in large part due to the inexperience of the trainers who failed to understand the early warning signs and excluded the person from training. Another factor is the culture in many crossfit gyms where everyone is very encouraging and trying to get each other to do more. In most cases this is a good thing, but when someone pushes past severe fatigue, it becomes dangerous. A good coach can control the culture so well that someone who has to take it easy can actually do so.

Some Crossfit gyms have great reputations, even from people who don't do Crossfit. Some gyms are both Crossfit gyms and Starting Strength certified gyms. The starting strength certification is a lot stricter than the Crossfit certifications, so this is a good bet that they have good trainers and coaches.


When you pay a monthly fee to a Crossfit gym, you not only get access to a world-class workout facility. Most of these gyms have great equipment that you will never see in a commercial gym. These range from strongman equipment to Olympic lifting tools and gymnastics equipment. You also get access to group training. There are two different tiers of payment in a typical commercial gym. If you don't want the class, you can just pay for commercial gym access. In a crossfit gym, they're one and the same.

When a crossfit gym has some good trainers, they may receive personal training / coaching so you can learn a new technique. For example, a local Crossfit gym has a decent Olympic lift instructor for me. The personal training / coaching includes access to the gym for the time that you are being trained in most cases.

However, since there are a multitude of gyms out there, it doesn't hurt to ask a Crossfit gym if they have a different price if you just want to use their facilities.

Where does the bad representative come from?

It comes from a number of sources:

  • People who train in a more traditional weight training sport sometimes resent the attention Crossfit receives.
  • It gives Examples of coaches who have well-meaning people doing stupid things. Not all Crossfit gyms are created equal. Editor's note: Not everything you don't understand is stupid.Dumb is a high risk exercise for results that are better achieved by various means, such as weighted squats on a bosu ball.
  • Crossfitters generally seem a little more prone to fitness hype and are enthusiastic about it.

The Crossfit Games have made a huge contribution to legitimizing Crossfit both in the minds of strength athletes and in the minds of the general population. The looseness of the certification process did two things: it made Crossfit much more readily available for the lower barrier of entry, and inexperienced trainers were more likely to try to train people.

Bottom line

Crossfit gyms are a mixed bag. There are a number of really good gyms and a number of really bad gyms. What makes them good or bad is the staff who train the crossfitter or provide their programming. The more certifications a Crossfit gym staff has, the more likely it is that it is a good place to work out.

Most gyms offer a package that you can try before you buy. You may need to buy a day pass or two, but it's well worth the investment if you're trying to figure out if a particular gym is good or bad.

If you have a good gym, the trainers will teach you about fitness hype and fitness facts. Whether you have a good gym or not, you owe it to yourself to learn how to recognize what is hype and what is real.

Kneel in front of the ZOD

Thanks for the answers. I've learned a few things about the problem and will build on them.


You forgot to talk about what kind of strength CrossFit targets. I would say if you want to look athletic, low in fat, with some muscle volume and good cardiovascular levels, Crossfit is the way to go. Otherwise, weight lifting is better if you want to aim for definition while looking tall, and cardiovascular performance will depend on whether or not you are doing cardio. If you want purity, do powerlifting.

Berin Loritsch

@Krotanix, The people who look at CrossFit really don't think so, and this really isn't a review that I have heard / read a lot about. I've covered the most controversial aspects of CrossFit. You are right that training specificity is king to get the results you want. However, I would argue that people who focus on the weightlifting sports, powerlifting, strongman, etc. are doing so in order to get better at the sport. I know a number of bodybuilders who are incredibly strong and have good cardio performance. That's why I hate dividing results into disciplines.