Say Hello to your Newest CrossFit L-1 Trainer!

I joined my local CrossFit box (shout out to CFMY!) in March 2013.

At CFMY, it’s not just about exercise.

We workout.


We participate in charity events.


and play pick-up soccer games.


Sometimes we misbehave.


But, most importantly, we are all a family.



As a former soccer athlete, I had been part of an athletic community for my entire life until I graduated from college in 2010. For 3 years, I found myself searching for something to fill that void in my life. CrossFit did just that, and more.

The members of CrossFit Manayunk (CFMY) are very welcoming and the coaching staff is just phenomenal. The CrossFit community tends to get a bad wrap, in general, because of a belief that all boxes are run by unqualified trainers who push their clients so far that they end up injured. While I cannot speak for other boxes, this is not true of CFMY. With that being said, I would highly recommend that you do your own research prior to joining a CrossFit gym in your area.

Because I think safety is a huge concern to most athletes, below I provide a few tips to help you in your search for the perfect CrossFit box in your area:

1. has a CrossFit Trainer Directory. Please use this Directory to verify that the trainers at your gym have the necessary qualifications. *As a side note, I found out that I passed my exam on June 22, 2014 and my name is not yet on this directory. It may take some time for new trainers to be listed on the site. Edited 7/8/14: My name is listed on this site and I can be contacted now!


2. The CrossFit Journal is free to the general public to review and learn all methodology, concepts and movements that CrossFit teaches. It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with this prior to deciding whether CrossFit is the right fit for you.


3. Every workout can be scaled to your athletic ability and needs. If your coach does not teach this, then you need to find a new one.


 4. If you are uncertain at all, please contact me and I would be happy to help you with your decision.


The CrossFit L-1 Trainer Certification Course: The Who? What? When? Where? and Why?


Who? Me, of course! 

What is the CrossFit L-1 Trainer Certificate Course? – A two-day introductory course on the methodology, concepts, and movements that CrossFit teaches.

When and Where? – I took my course at Crossfit KOP on June 14th and 15th. The course lasted from 9AM-5:30PM, both days.

What does the course include? – Classroom instruction and demonstration on the CrossFit concepts and methodology, foundational movements, programming to optimize training results, and nutrition strategies to support fitness.

Why did I attend the L-1 Trainer Course? – To gain more knowledge in the field of health and wellness. Also, to coach classes at my CrossFit box, because I love coaching others and wanted to be more involved. I do not consider this course the end of my education to be a trainer, but rather the beginning.


At check-in, we were all handed a Reebok T-shirt.


The course I attended was very large, with 60 participants and 6 amazing trainers (Denise Thomas, Meagan Burns, Amy Ottavinia, Keith Wittenstein, Chris Russell, and Gregg Martino).


  • Lecture #1 was taught by the lovely Denise Thomas


Denise explained the 3-part definition of CrossFit.

  • Lecture #2 was taught by ‘Games Athlete Gregg’


Gregg explained the squat series (air squat, front squat, overhead squat), which was then followed by movement practice and drills in small groups.

  • Keith Wittenstein or ‘Coach Panda’ then answered the question ‘What is Fitness?’ with Lecture #3, and discussed the 4 models that define fitness.


  • Lecture #4 was taught by Meagan Burns


Meagan explained the Shoulder Press, Push, Press, and Push Jerk, which was followed by movement practice and drills in small groups.

  • Denise taught the final lecture of the day, Lecture #5, on technique. This lecture was followed by a review of the Thruster and Kipping Pull-up.
  •  The final order of business for the day was our workout! Everyone completed 3 rounds of: 15 Thrusters and 12 Burpees. I finished in 6:23.



  • Denise started of the day with Lecture #6, which was ‘The Deadlifts.’ Explanation, demonstration, and practice of the Deadlift, Sumo Deadlift High Pull, and Medicine Ball Clean. Following this lecture, we grouped up into pairs and completed an 8 minute AMRAP of 8 push-ups, 10 medicine ball cleans, and 12 sit-ups. While one partner was completing the workout, the other was practicing their coaching skills and correcting form. It felt really good to put what we had learned into action!
  • Lecture #7 was taught by Chris Russell on Nutrition and Supplementation

chris russell

The main focus of this lecture was on The Zone Diet and the importance of consuming the right amount of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat for your lifestyle. For questions regarding nutrition and supplementation, please contact me.

  • Lecture #8 was a demonstration of the Glute-Hamstring Developer (GHD) machine by Gregg, and explanation of mid-line stabilization. Following this lecture/demonstration, we all practiced/learned The Snatch and Muscle-Up progressions.
  • Our last and final lecture, Lecture #9, was Programming, taught by Meagan. This is where we finally learned how to apply all of the skills that we learned over the course of the weekend and program our own strength and conditioning workouts!


The exam was the final order of business for the day. It was a closed-book, multiple choice, scan-tron exam. There were several different versions of the exam, so the person next to you was not answering the same questions (at least not in the same order). The trainers were not allowed to answer any questions, even if it was a simple misunderstanding of the question being asked.

The exam was tricky, but if you listen closely and take notes throughout the course you shouldn’t have a problem. Obviously, everyone there was nervous. Especially since we all knew we had to wait at least 7 days for our results. But, all in all, I believe the exam scores are a true indication of how well you prepared yourself and your involvement during the weekend lectures, demonstrations, and practice.

  • Denise finished off the night with some closing remarks before we left. 

Below is a group photo of all 60 people who attended the course:

Crossfit KOP Level 1 Course

I received my test results 8 days after taking the exam.

I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday to pee and checked my phone (out of anxiety), and saw the email.


I had passed!!

I got as excited as you can get at 3:45 in the morning before immediately falling back asleep.

My Next Steps: Since passing my exam, I’ve been shadowing the trainers at my CrossFit gym to become more comfortable and learn even more about the coaching process and specific coaching queues. My education does not stop with this test. Each and every day is a continuation of my learning process. I will only get better from here!

**If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please feel free to speak your mind!


  1. Jenna,
    That is awesome. Congratulations. I know you will be a great trainer.

    1. You always have faith in me! I appreciate the support!

  2. This is so awesome – congratulations! My box has a coaching internship program that my husband and I have been thinking about doing for awhile. We’ve only been doing CrossFit since June 2013 so there’s some hesitation… I think we’re going to continue to try to improve and eventually, take the leap. I agree with all your comments about the CrossFit community – we agree, it’s awesome!!! Congrats again!

    1. Thanks, Sara! The community really is great. The coaching internship program sounds like a great idea – you really learn the most from experience. I learned a lot from the L-1 certification and I think that it will help you both improve as well! Let me know how it goes once you take the leap 🙂

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