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CrossFit Coaches Need Training, Too 

The CrossFit debate continues at TSWeekly.

So many people in our community are passionate about their workout. I understand. I am a certified personal trainer and there is nothing I enjoy more than individuals 'fired up' about their fitness. So, let's talk about the CrossFit debate which began with James Williams' [CrossFit piece from] "Best of Bend 2011."

There is no doubt that CrossFit serves a purpose in our community, indeed, across the nation. As a professional in the fitness industry since 1989, it behooves me to pay attention to why CrossFit is growing in popularity. I have participated in CrossFit workouts, here and most recently in Okinawa, Japan at the Kadena Air Force Base. What I have witnessed in these workouts is a sense of camaraderie with equal measures of competitive fun thrown in. Who wouldn't want to be a part of something that makes you feel good and sends you down a path of greater fitness, as well as boosting one's self esteem, as KC Caldwell states in her letter (9.28.11)?


I came to these workouts with a critical eye. I have stated the positive above, but now it is time to address the concerns I have over this growing trend. How many years does your 'coach' have under [his or her] belt with CrossFit? What is the certification process for CrossFit 'coaches?' These questions address experience levels and knowledge base when working with clients from multiple age groups and varied fitness levels. (These are the same questions you should ask when researching a personal trainer.) CrossFit's Level 1 certification is a two - day weekend course with a test at the end. Their website suggests taking a few classes prior to the weekend certification.

Some may take offense to the quotes I place around coach, but it serves an intentional purpose. Anyone with passion can 'coach.' Combining passion with solid research through education and experience will make the difference between a 'coach' and a coach. What I saw at the Kadena Air Force Base was a group of individuals ranging in age from their mid-20's to mid-30's. The workout, "Fight Gone Bad," was a benefit to raise funds for the education of children who had lost parents in combat and I was proud and honored to participate. Over 80 people participated, with an appropriate ratio of 'coaches' to attendees. I was hopeful I would see enthusiastic and professional direction, and while the enthusiasm was in abundance, I noted improper form throughout the room. In her letter dated August 25, 2011, Heidi Hackenbruck writes, "To state that injuries happen because of CrossFit is irresponsible." Improper form does, however, translate to injury, especially when demographics begin to include deconditioned, untrained individuals, and 'coaches' who are not prepared to coach.

The fitness industry offers all sorts of accredited certifications. Some are better than others. I suggest doing your research before you place yourself into the hands of anyone, CrossFit or other.

Morri Stewart, BA, MA, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, owner Energize Fitness

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