How To Become A CrossFit Instructor

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CrossFit is a lifestyle and wellness exercise program built around high-intensity workouts and good nutrition. Thousands of people practice CrossFit to improve their health, lose weight and perform better. The program has been shown to work for individuals who are just starting an exercise program as well as those who’ve been training for years. Introduced in 2000, CrossFit rapidly grew into one of the most popular fitness trends of the last 20 years. CrossFit promotes itself as “the sport of fitness” through intense, structured workouts that vary from day to day.

Today there are more than 13,000 CrossFit gyms in the United States. CrossFit even has its own slang and insider terminology. For instance, gyms are known as “boxes” and those workouts of the day are called WODs. Don’t worry. Your trainer will explain all the lingo.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How Much You Can Make
  • Training and Certification
  • CrossFit Affiliation
  • Costs
  • Career Options
  • Finding Clients
  • Helpful Tips for CrossFit instructors

Combining high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with gymnastics, weight lifting, and other exercise styles, the rotating “workouts of the day” are designed to build what CrossFit refers to as “functional fitness,” meaning greater ease of movement in your everyday life.

The rise of CrossFit inspired a series of athletic competitions called the CrossFit Games, which began in 2007.

CrossFit is also a proven way to drop body fat. A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that 10 weeks of CrossFit training lowered body fat in study participants by an average of 15.5 percent. Part of the training involves following a carb-free diet. The CrossFit website offers numerous videos highlighting the health benefits and diet theories behind the program.

Because of CrossFit’s enduring popularity, instructors remain in high demand.

Read on to discover how you can become a certified CrossFit trainer and get in on the excitement of this popular exercise program.

How Much You Can Make?

The current average rate for coaches with a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification is $17.81 an hour, according to

How much do crossfit trainers make

To earn the best salary, you’ll need to get an L3 Certification, which can elevate your salary to an average of $46,000 annually. That works out to $23 an hour.

You can compare that to your area with this state by state guide to personal trainer salaries.

Training and Certification

Level 1 training is the first step in becoming a CrossFit instructor. Visit the CrossFit training site to find a training course for instructors near you. The CrossFit website uses your location to display nearby courses automatically.

Only in-person training is available at this time.

The Level 1 certification offers training in the CrossFit methodology with two days of classroom instruction, small- sessions and workouts with a certified CrossFit coach. The Level 1 course is suitable for athletes at all levels.

Before taking the course, CrossFit expects you to read the Level 1 Certificate Course Participation Handbook.

During the course you’ll learn the CrossFit way to do pull-ups, squats, push-ups, weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, and many other movements. Understanding how to motivate students in an encouraging way is also part of the class.

Here’s a video of a CrossFit session to give you an idea of what goes on in class.

Prior to signing up, you can also review the CrossFit Approved Provider Handbook, which outlines the expectations and CrossFit Standards of Professional Practice for trainers offering 

CrossFit in their gyms and studios. This handbook provides a wealth of information to help you decide if CrossFit is the right fit for you.

The cost of the Level 1 course is $1,000. It’s 20% more ($200 extra) if you register 14 days or less before the course begins. There is also a $150 fee for trainees who have to take the final test a second time, but that’s not going to happen to you – right?

Crossfit training and certification

With new certificates in hand, most new CrossFit instructors start out as assistants to gain more experience before becoming independent trainers.

As part of their quality control, CrossFit also requires instructors to be recertified every 3 years to keep up with best practices and new developments in the program.

Supplemental Certifications

Like many personal fitness trainers, you may want to boost your marketability as a CrossFit instructor by acquiring other professional certifications, unless your goal is to work exclusively in a CrossFit gym. Some gyms, especially new and smaller operations, may not hire a trainer certified in a single specialization. Multiple certifications can open more doors.

Other top credentialing options include:

  •         The National Council on Strength and Fitness offers a widely-recognized certification program for personal trainers.
  •         The National Academy of Sports Medicine is widely recognized as a top-tier accreditation organization. NASM membership currently costs between $524 and $2,400 depending on the type of certification.
  •       The National Council for Certified Professional Trainers has been certifying health and fitness pros since 2000. The credential is nationally accredited by the NCCA. The NCCPT offers certifications in personal training, group exercise, strength training and power – all of which complement your CrossFit certification. The cost of NCCPT certification ranges between $250 and $550.

NASM and NCCPT certifications are each accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Both organizations require recertification every two years with proof of 20 hours of continuing education.

For social networking, there are dozens of CrossFit groups you can join on Facebook.

CrossFit Affiliation

If you want to use the CrossFit name, methods and logos legally as part of your own business, you’ll need to become an affiliate.

Here’s what’s involved:

  • CrossFit Training Certificate – Applicants for affiliation must hold at least a Level 1 Certificate.
  • Proof of Insurance (for U.S. affiliates). Affiliates operating in the United States are required to submit proof of insurance. While insurance can be purchased from many different companies, CrossFit recommends using the CrossFit Risk Retention Group, which is an insurance group run by other CrossFit affiliates.


Affiliation currently costs $3,000 a year in the United States. Prices vary for affiliates in other countries.

Crossfit training certification cost

You can check out affiliates throughout the world to get a feel for how they present their services and run their business.


Once you are a CrossFit affiliate, your business will be added to the worldwide list of CrossFit affiliates to help in promoting your CrossFit practice.

What you get as an affiliate

Affiliation allows you to use the CrossFit trademark and logos in your promotional material, and to offer CrossFit training at one physical location. CrossFit helps you promote your gym with placement on their Affiliate Finder Map and Affiliate List. These are the go-to resources for people searching for an official CrossFit gym in their area.

You also get priority access to CrossFit Games tickets, entry into the affiliate owner lounge at the Games, and prioritized support from the CrossFit legal team.  CrossFit may also promote your business on its website and social media platforms when you send photos.

Additional benefits of becoming a CrossFit affiliate:

  • Legal use of the CrossFit Kids name and logo
  • Promotion from
  • Support from CrossFit, Inc. on specific and general business issues. CrossFit notes that it “vigorously protects its brand and those licensed to use the CrossFit name.”

Career Options

While job hunting, you can create a profile on to highlight your credentials and experience. That way, employers looking for CrossFit instructors can find you.

Crossfit Career Options

CrossFit gyms and facilities that offer classes in the method are good places to look for work, but if you’ve got the ambition and outgoing personality to put yourself out there, consider walking into a gym that doesn’t have CrossFit and offering to set up a CrossFit offering for them with your services. Gym owners with an eye on expanding their business might just be receptive to your approach.

Finding Clients

  • Many CrossFit instructors say they built a client base by offering a free class in a public park or other easily accessible location. After the free session, ask for contact information so you can follow up with everyone who participated.
  • Social media promotion is a great way to find — and keep — CrossFit students. Foster a sense of belonging, of camaraderie,  and you will build client loyalty. Don’t forget to add an online booking link to all of your social profiles so prospective clients can see your availability and book you.
  • Referral programs can be a useful way to recruit new students by rewarding the clients already enrolled in your classes. Offer a discount for referrals. 
  • Another way to attract students is by offering a package deal such as pay for 3 classes and get the 4th class free.

Helpful Tips for CrossFit Instructors:

  • When students ask what CrossFit is about, you can say, “CrossFit develops proficiency in 10 general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.” That’s the long version.
  • For the short version, follow up with this: “CrossFit is a training program that builds strength and conditioning through extremely varied and challenging workouts. Each workout is different and concentrates on one of the 10 physical skills.”

If you enjoyed this article, check out some other content that can help you grow your business as a fitness trainer specializing in CrossFit. Here’s a great place to start.

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