Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CrossFit Level 1 Certification Course, CF Atlanta, 18-19 Feb 2012

I got the opportunity last month to attend the CrossFit Level 1 Trainers Course at CrossFit Atlanta. Thought I would share my experience online for those who wish to read. I had been looking forward to attending the 2-day course for about a year now, but I thought it best I get past the WS100 first before going off on some other damn fool venture! So the report here will summarize the flow of the 2-day course, my thoughts, even a couple of WOD PRs!

The certification course was held at the home base of CF in metro Atlanta area, CF Atlanta. Our trainers included Chuck Carswell, Mike G, Chris (active duty Navy), Christmas (yes, that's her name, phenomenally fit athlete), and Andy Hendel (the old veteran athlete and coach of the group). We kicked off at 0900 sharp on Saturday morning. Opening lecture covered the definition and philosophy of CrossFit. This is the remainder of the agenda for Saturday:

  • General Physical Preparedness, 10 definitions of physical fitness skills, Power, Work Capacity
  • Squat series demo then hands on, practical exercise training (including picture-perfect air squat, the front squat, and overhead squat)
  • Press series (Shoulder Press, Push Press, Push Jerk) demo then hands on training
  • Deadlift series (deadlift, sumo deadlift high-pull, and med ball cleans) demo then hands on training
The lunch break was an hour. Some folks ventured off, others stayed and got to watch the trainers put on a lunchtime WOD demo. In this case, they did Fran (21-15-9 of 95# thrusters and pull-ups). I watched Mike G do it in 2:06. Pretty darned amazing, especially considering I might have the round of 21 complete in that time. Then after spending most of the day cycling between uncomfortable plastic chairs and the above exercise demos, at 5pm we all got notice that FRAN was coming for us! So about 5:30pm I got my turn along with 20 others (60 folks attending, we did three heats of 20 each). Of course, the energy in the room was fantastic, but it had still been a long day for many, especially those who worked all week then all thru Sat. Regardless, I completed the WOD in 6:15 (PR by over a minute). Would like to break 6min at some point, then drive it down to an ultimate goal of 5min.

Met a lot of good folks, talked a lot about CrossFit (obviously) and their home boxes. I was surprised to understand that well over 2/3 of the attendees were fitness professionals and this certification course was a really big deal for many. Several owned gyms or are personal trainers. Others were opening their own CF boxes inside of a month, so the course and the test were no-joke for these folks. I was one of the few in attendance that was just there for kicks and grins. Many folks were talking shop about the economics of their box (or their personal training business), so when several folks asked if I owned CF Huntsville (uhhmm, no; but was wearing a CFHSV shirt) and I admitted that I did not, they weren't much interested in talking with me anymore! I never offered my own professional pedigree, but when 2-3 folks actually asked my occupation (aerospace engineer), the non-plussed look from them was slightly funny! I can imagine the same folks with wild stares if they asked Larry Lowe about his day job (Ph.D. in EE). Oh well, did meet some reforming ultrarunners and we shared mountain running war stories.

Saturday evening was pretty chill for me. I was blasted from working all week, and needed to study for the next day's test, so I stayed in that night. No wild partying in Atlanta, I must be getting middle-aged. Sunday's agenda included:

  • Lecture on Technique vs. Intensity
  • Hands-on review of the Push-Jerk and Med-Ball Clean (two of the more complex movements)
  • Lecture of CF's nutrition prescription. Meats/eggs/proteins, veggies, nuts/seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar. If possible, do it in Zone-proportions per Dr. Barry Sears' recommendations. 3-5g per day of fish oil (EPA and DHA)
  • Demo on proper way to perform, and more important, how to teach, the kipping pull-ups. Then hands on exercises for the kipping pull-ups. The trainers did not cover butterfly pull-ups for the group, though offered to do so for those interested after class time.
  • 10min AMRAP WOD in teams: KB swing, 200m run, squat jumps. Pretty nice little routine: one person did KB swings while the other completed a 200m run. But when the trainer blew a whistle, all athletes stopped and did 5 squat jumps. Score was total KB swings by a team in 10 minutes.
  • Lunch for an hour. We were treated to the trainers doing a variant of Fight Gone Bad for the WOD: 75# squat snatch, box jumps, pull-ups, 75# thrusters, and something else I can't remember.
  • Afternoon started with a lecture on the GHD and associated exercises: back extension, hip extension, hip-back extension, and GHD situps. No hands-on work with 60 people in the room and only 4 GHDs.
  • Snatch demo and hands on practice
  • Muscle-up demo and hands-on. Got my first MU! Then came back and did 2 linked!
  • Lecture on CF Programming lecture and short review of test materials
  • And because CF Level 1 is now accredited by ANSI under its certificate accreditation program, we got to take a test! 50 multiple choice questions, and it was no joke! I had to pay attention, for sure.
  • Flowmaster Chuck Carswell finished the day around 5:30pm with some closing remarks. I chatted with Chris for a while talking Navy stuff and how he is managing his moonlighting job as a CF trainers. Then I wandered over to the rings to try the MU again, make sure they weren't a fluke. Performed 3 strict, linked!

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