Controversy over CrossFit Coach Certification - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Controversy over CrossFit Coach Certification

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Fitness trends are always happening and the newest one has been in the valley for just a couple of years. The CrossFit craze is spreading like wildfire with thousands of new CrossFit gyms worldwide.

Along with the growing number of people involved, criticism is swirling around the intense workout and how qualified some CrossFit coaches really are. Valley News Teams Ashley Bishop investigates who can become a coach and what that means for you. 

Just like most workouts, CrossFit incorporates strength and conditioning
, but it uses different elements. 

"We combine elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, running and rowing into workouts that keeps your body guessing," says CrossFit Fargo owner and CrossFit Coach Jessica Grondahl.

"It's really intense, high paced, quick stuff," says CrossFitter Jake Euglem.

A CrossFit gym is known as "the box" and does not look like your typical gym.

"If you look around we don't have any weight machines, your body is the machine," Grondahl explains.  

Grondahl's box, CrossFit Fargo, is just one of the affiliated 6,000 CrossFit gyms across the country. The workouts are done in groups both experienced athletes and beginners complete the same workout each day.

"I think the difference is the community, 
says CrossFitter Anna Senn. "I belonged to other gyms before and they're fun and you get a workout but when I walk into a CrossFit box you are embraced like family and it make it easy to come back."

"Anybody can do CrossFit, it is not for everybody but anybody can do it. It's for people looking to add excitement to their workout routine. Former athletes love it because provides challenge in competitive atmosphere. People who work out do CrossFit because it is universally modifiable and scaleable. You can start at a beginning level of fitness," says Grondahl.  

The strenuous workouts have increased popularity and criticisms. The Internet is full of personal stories of why people no longer participate in CrossFit. Many claim the workouts set people up to be injured, and now, some are criticizing the qualification and training of the CrossFit coaches.

Those wishing to be a coach must pay $1,000 and go through a Level 1 certificate course. The training is a two-day course where you learn the fundamental principles. At the end of weekend, a test is taken and, if you pass, a certificate is mailed. Some believe a degree should be required to be teaching these difficult workouts.

"Degrees are great to have and they do benefit in understanding the muscle, but doing research in your time going through different movement, going through certificate course, I don't have an exercise science degree but I do understand what I am doing," says CrossFit Coach Brandon Schlenner.
Most trainers at other gyms mostly have a four-year degree in exercise science and are re-certified every year.  In CrossFit, you go through re-certification every five years. CrossFit does offer additional courses for coaches who want to coach children and other coaches. Grondahl, who has been participating in CrossFit for more than three years, understands the criticism and agrees that it can be terrifying.

"It is scary, anyone out there can get their Level 1 and open a gym as long as CrossFit says they can. You hear stories and there are people out there that have no idea what is in the best interest of their athletes."

Grondahl adds that CrossFit is a company with a different approach.

"They are very libertarian in that everything will regulate itself. Right now it is going through growing pains and there are so many people out there trying it."

At the CrossFit Fargo facility, her coaches must be observed and trained in before they can begin teach class workouts on their own.

"Here the coaches are very much into their education and go above and beyond to learn more and I know here I have never been concerned," says CrossFitter Anna Senn.

Grondahl advises anyone interested in CrossFit to do their homework on the gym and coaches before they join.

"It's important for people to contact the coaches, talk to them, watch a class. Are the coaches next to the people to help them move better?"

That advice is true for more than just CrossFit but for anyone looking for a trainer.

"Interview your trainer and ask them how many years of experience they have," says Courts Plus personal trainer Jodi Roper.
The biggest piece of advice trainers, and CrossFit coaches, can give is to start out slow, listen to your body, and always keep your form.

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