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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 02-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #1
Jason Martin
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Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

Not sure if this is the right place or not, please move as you might see fit.

Looking for some advice!

I have been CF'ing for a little over a year now, and am at the point that I would like to get a CF L1 cert and start doing some training. We have a group of 5-7 folks that wod regularly together at a university gym. Two of us are a bit more advanced, and I have an absolute passion about getting new folks into the game. Watching people progress and grow is a very fulfilling thing for me. We are not trainers, and do not pretend to be, but offer our experience as best we can. There isn't a box in our town, so we do the best we can with what we have.

None of us has the cash flow to start a box yet. We hope to one day. I would like to start training and possibly doing personal training as a side gig in the near future. I have two small kids, and a decent 9-5 job I don't plan on leaving just yet.

What is your advice as far as getting into training? I was thinking of volunteering at a box (if they would have me) after cert, and maybe working towards some kind of personal trainer certs (NASM??) . I have a BA in Anthro from UCSB, and was thinking about doing an AA in phys ed? Or a BA in Kinesology? Not sure what path most folks go.

Any advice on what to do or not to do? I don't want to waste my time getting another BA or NASM certification if it won't make much of an impact. I would like the option of supplementing my income via non-CF training if it is necessary.

1-2 year goal is CF L1 cert and gain experience (not necessarily paid) training/assistant training CF.
2-3 year goal expand to paid trainer CF and possibly personal training outside of CF
3-5 year goal start box
5-10 year goal quit my office job and do training CF full-time (if possible) .
10-15 year goal (stop using () so much. )
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

What I did worked well:

Join a well established box as a client. The knowledge base of a well established box is invaluable. You will learn so much through observation of the coaches and clients interaction. I spent 4 months at CrossFit Fury before my Certification Class. It was so valuable.

You could see how much further along the people in the Cert. class were that came from big boxes then the rest of the folks (many of which were great athletes coming from other back grounds).

Sign-up and go to your level 1 Cert.

Don't think that another degree is required. This is a common mistake people make. Another degree makes the trainer "feel" more qualified but the clients don't care. Great coaching has to do with specific knowledge and experience and isn't learned in degree programs.

There is so much training information out there that is inferior to CrossFit that you are better off focusing your education to these areas:

CrossFit (Programing, metabolic pathways, general concepts)
Olympic weightlifting (Snatch, Clean & Jerk)
Nutrition Paleo or Zone (The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf is a must read)
Power lifting (Dead lift, Squats, Shoulder Press and Bench Press)
Gymnastic (most coaches weakness, including mine)
Mobility & body position (Kelly Starrett's http://mobilitywod.blogspot.com/ is a great place to start)

There is certainly more but the list above will keep you busy for a while.

Don't assume you know how to do something until you study up on it. When I read "Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training" I learned a lot about lifts I thought I already I knew.

So far all my clients have walked through the door with either no idea how to workout or the old globo gym ideas.

None of my women had ever picked up a barbell, let alone been told to put a bunch of weight on it and dead lift it. Now it is all they want to do and I have to lay down the law about running, rowing and met-cons.

The two best things I have learned in running a CrossFit affiliate came form coping other people.

First is have white boards with peoples PR's up on the wall. It is so motivating to my clients.

Second is get the MucsleDriver "No Limits" clock. When I switched from a stop watch no one could see to the big red, digital clock on the wall everyone started pushing themselves harder without me every saying a thing. I bought it for the interval programing but the real value is the increase in time awareness. It instills a sense of urgency that increases intensity in WODs which produces better results faster. You won't get taught that in a degree program.

That clock is f******* relentless when your hurting in the middle of a WOD. It is a beautiful thing.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:40 PM   #3
Brian Strump
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

I agree with alot of the above, 2 things I'd disagree with are;

You are doing yourself and members a disservice if you do not learn outside of CrossFit. You can learn Olympic lifting outside of your box that will be on par or better than a 2 day CF Cert in O-lifts. Same goes for everything from running to nutrition; on to any other training that may be of interest to you. Even if you chose not to utilize everything you learn, at the very least, when someone asks, and they will...why is CrossFit better than x,y,z? If your only answer is CrossFit is functional, varied, intense, blah, blah, blah, whatever you memorize from your notes, you will lose alot of potential members.

Second, you do not need a degree to open and be successful. I think some would be beneficial to your knowledge base for anatomy and physiology. True, there are thousands of trainers(CF and others) that don't know jack about how a body actually moves outside of push a barbell.
As most CF trainers without knowledge of anatomy and physiology why someone can't squat, AND how to fix it and you'll see what I'm talking about. Not every deficient movement is due to a weak core, tight hamstrings, or poor shoulder mobility. Why can't your new member get below parallel on an air squat? Can't get their back flat for a deadlift? You get the point.
The good news is that there is a load of great information on blogs, books, etc. that will teach you alot of what a great trainer should know without getting that degree.

Good luck!
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

Start reading now, and like Brian said, educate yourself outside of the "CF world" as well.

Books that I would recommend as a starting point:
1. Starting Strength - Book and DVD
2. Practical Programming
3. 5/3/1
4. Westside Barbell Book of Methods
5. Olympic Weightlifting by Everett
6. The Weightlifting Encyclopedia by Dreschler
7. Anatomy without a Scalpel by Lon Kilgore

I would definitely get some one-on-one coaching on your Olympic lifts. You can find a coach through USAW, and you are less than 2 hours from California Strength .

Consider joining the NSCA. As a professional, I think it's important to know what is going on in the larger S&C community, even if you don't agree with it. At least check out their webinars and other professional development opportunities.

Visit as many gyms as you can to see how people do things.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:28 PM   #5
Ryan Hoegner
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

I love the fact that you want to take your time and do it right. The only issue is there will probably be quite a few "boxes" in your area within 3-5 years at CF's current rate of expansion. We were the only gym in a 5-7 mile radius a year ago and now we are 1 of 4 (and who knows how many are in the works).

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Old 02-14-2011, 03:11 PM   #6
Jason Martin
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

Thank you all so much for the input. This is *REALLY* valuable.

As far as boxes in the area, there is one that is about 30min away and another that is 45min away. I absolutely plan on joining the closest for several months in preparation for CF cert

The city I am in is has a very very high unemployment rate, and is economically impoverished right now. Huge housing bubble fall out. I suspect that it would be difficult to keep the lights on in a box for the next year or two. That said, there is a small but dedicated group that may be able to pull together enough steam to become a small self sufficient affiliate. The growing may be very slow, but there is nothing wrong with that.

I am absolutely a CF geek... I love to do the WOD's, read about this stuff, and be immersed how ever possible. I know I have a lot to learn though too. I had my first box experience several months ago (CF Northridge) and just fell in love with the idea of doing this thing semi-full time /professionally down the road.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:05 PM   #7
Patrick McCarty
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

Jason,

I agree wholeheartedly with Tamara. At the risk of sounding heretical, I think you should also study up on the strength world as part of your programming science. OPT and Cathletics.com are the best places to start om terms of strength as a supplement to CF.

Meaning, CF tends to sometimes take on a metcon-heavy spin. A lot of people out there think you are not getting a workout unless you are laying in a pile of your own blood & sweat at the end of a 20 minute chipper. They ignore the 1-1-1-1-1 days because not a sweat is broken.

There are some tensions between Catalyst Athletics and CF but I think there is a place for both in your box - OPT does a good job of creating a nice balance. If you educate yourself now on the CrossFit world, the Catalyst world, and the OPT world, and everything in between, you will be a force to be reckoned with when you get your cert and move toward opening a box.

Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCarty View Post
Jason,

I agree wholeheartedly with Tamara. At the risk of sounding heretical, I think you should also study up on the strength world as part of your programming science. OPT and Cathletics.com are the best places to start om terms of strength as a supplement to CF.

Meaning, CF tends to sometimes take on a metcon-heavy spin. A lot of people out there think you are not getting a workout unless you are laying in a pile of your own blood & sweat at the end of a 20 minute chipper. They ignore the 1-1-1-1-1 days because not a sweat is broken.

There are some tensions between Catalyst Athletics and CF but I think there is a place for both in your box - OPT does a good job of creating a nice balance. If you educate yourself now on the CrossFit world, the Catalyst world, and the OPT world, and everything in between, you will be a force to be reckoned with when you get your cert and move toward opening a box.

Good luck.
I agree also in terms of looking at what other people are programming. Look at OPT's Big Dawg programming, Catalyst, Mike's Gym, and some other affiliates. I'd spend some time lurking on some other forums - Pendlay, SS, Catalyst. Watch Glenn's clean and snatch progression videos. Watch Rip's platform video series. Read articles over at EliteFTS. Heck, even read at T-Nation. You have to know what other people are saying about stuff.

You need to know how you are going to coach specific skills. If someone walks into your gym and doesn't have a full pushup, what progression are you going to use to help them? What about a pullup? A snatch? Are you going to teach the high bar back squat, the low bar back squat or both, and why?

I'd recommend competing in at least a local CF competition if not also a local PL or OL meet. Because if your athletes want to compete, how are you going to coach them through that process?

You are not going to walk out of a Level 1 cert with all of this information. Ask yourself what knowledge you think you need to have to be viewed as a professional in this field.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:34 PM   #9
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Level 1 to Box and how to get there.

While I'm thinking about it, two other good free resources:

Jay Ashman's e-book: http://www.gorilla-pit.com/2011/02/f...-conditioning/ (WFS)

Dr. Michael Hartman's Olympic Weightlifting 8 week training program: http://doctorhartman.blogspot.com/p/...ng-course.html (WFS)
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