Pulse: At Your Service: Pitch a Fit

It’s sweeping Philly. But can CrossFit really become the workout for people who hate working out?

CrossFit — the new fitness craze now offered at 15 area gyms — basically works this way: You do super-intense workouts in very short bursts (some workouts last as little as seven minutes), and your body snaps into shape. It’s designed to get people like me, who are hardly exercise lovers, back into the gym on a regular basis. I was skeptical. But Dan Kramli, the owner of New Hope Fitness, told me that if I gave him 30 days, I’d become a convert. Here goes.

[sidebar]Day 1: Most of the workouts are named after women (don’t ask), and my first is Fran: 21 “thrusters” (thrusting a 35-pound weight bar above my head) and 21 pull-ups, followed by rounds of 15 and 9, respectively, which you’re supposed to do as quickly as you can. My hands are bleeding from the pull-ups, of which I can only do two before needing a green band to assist me getting over the bar. Memories of Ms. Whitman, my drill sergeant gym teacher at Woodrow Wilson Junior High, flood my brain. I end up with a final time of 28 minutes.

Day 2: I am assigned 150 “wall balls,” squatting and then throwing a 8-pound medicine ball above my head, against a wall, 150 times. I group them in spurts of 15, but by the halfway point my arms and shoulders are starting to scream. Time: 16:16. It feels like 16 days.

Day 3: I have to do as many sets as possible of 5 squats, 10 push-ups, and 15 sit-ups in 10 minutes. How can 10 minutes today feel longer than the 16 minutes I did yesterday? I manage 4 rounds before crumpling in a sweaty heap. Saying to myself, “Screw it, I deserve it,” that night I treat myself to a vanilla milkshake. A vision of Dan as an evil genie floats above me.

Day 4: No workout. Thank God.

Day 5: On my own at the gym, I tackle a regimen of 300 jump rope rotations and 150 sit-ups, which takes me 29 minutes. A middle-aged woman shoots me a look that says, “What’s the fat guy doing skipping rope?”, probably because I jump like a fifth-grade girl at St. Dominic’s. Tom Molnar, another trainer, claps his hands rapidly, saying, “Remember our motto: ‘Let’s do it!’” I flip him the bird. I send Dan a text: “Pathetic!” He texts back, “We need to change your attitude.”

Day 6: Due to schedule conflicts, I am now in the unenviable position of having to do a workout at 9 pm and then come back tomorrow at 7 am. Ugh. Tonight is Helen: rowing (400 meters), 21 cowbell lifts, then 12 pull-ups. I clock in at 18:49. My arms feel like rubber.

Day 7: I’m in at 7 AM with hunky Dana Cole, who is pinch-hitting for Dan, who is away. We go through his long tutorial about proper form for holding a 20-pound ball, squatting, and shrugging your shoulders, digging your feet into the floor through your heels. Midway through he keeps yelling, “Heels! Heels!” I snap back, “Stop yelling at me!” A guy doing pull-ups nearby chuckles. I show some flashes of good form, but most of it is — as it has been since I started this a week ago — a Bataan death march to when the clock stops ticking. After the 15 minutes are up I have completed 6 rounds of the medicine ball squats (10 each) and push-ups (5 each). And I have now found someone I despise more than Dan.

Day 8: I am troubled by how much I now look forward to my “off” days. Am I not supposed to fall in love with working out?

Day 9: Back to wall balls. I remain severely winded, and I feel like I am losing form from my first go round. But I cut almost 3 minutes off the time, to 13:17. But I am nagged that part of that improvement came at the expense of my form, which went to hell in the last few rounds. I tried to channel Dana screaming “heels!” as I squatted and threw the ball, but as my quads yelp in pain I feel myself getting woozy in my stance. Not a good day. Later, I don’t feel as stiff or sore as I did after the first time around, which I take as either (a) me getting in better shape from all of this or (b) me cheating.

Day 10: The 10-minute torture (squats/push-ups/sit-ups) returns. I match the first time –4 rounds — and am bummed. No improvement. I fear this is the price I am paying for the pancakes I ate yesterday. I feel sweaty and exhausted, but not to the point of death, as I did last time. But I definitely showed better form on these, as opposed to the Wall Ball Fiasco. What does this all mean? I text Dan with an update, telling him I only matched the previous time, but that I did, I think, keep better form. “That’s what way it’s supposed to work,” he replies. Good.

Day 11: I trudge to the gym late, around 8:30, to do the jump rope and sit-up routine. I end up cutting the time by almost 3 minutes, to 26:40. This workout doesn’t feel as punishing, something I am loathe to admit to Dan, for fear he’ll replace it with something worse.

Day 12: My off day, but I come in for 45 minutes on the elliptical anyway. Such dedication! (And atonement for the doughnut I ate this morning.)

Day 13: Agh! My first missed day. I have to work late, and I didn’t realize I was going to have to work late, so I didn’t schedule a morning workout. Now I won’t be home till after 9, and that’s going to be too late to make it to the gym. Dan is nonplussed but seemingly understanding. I text him, promising I will make it up with a harder workout tomorrow. He texts back: “You certainly will.”

Day 14: At the gym at 7 AM, we are back to… Fran. But this time I am going to do it with the assisted pull-up machine, a testament to my lame performance on the pull-up bar. I race through the routine in under 9 minutes, cutting my last time by half, but it’s not apples to apples, so I am a bit deflated. Instead of making me feel good, I can only feel bad about how obviously a wreck I was the first go-round. And now I feel worse, because it’s evident Dan has had to scale back the intensity of the workout because I am far more out of shape than he first thought. I leave the workout stiff, sweaty, and bummed.

Day 15: I am not due for a day off, but now that the schedule is already kaflooey I decide to take it here and then start over again and get back on track on Saturday. I feel the few pounds I’ve lost oozing back on.

Day 16: Down the shore for the weekend, I cut another 30 seconds off my 150 wall balls time, but am happier that my form is maintaining better, and that I am able to do more of them in each round (20 at a time rather than 15, with a final 30 push). Winded and sweaty, I try to walk off on Gumby legs afterward. My sister-in-law looks out of the window of our beach house. Her look says either she’s impressed at my commitment or she’s about to speed-dial Shore Memorial Hospital. I can’t tell.

Day 17: The 10-minute round. This time I only get through 3 rounds and then 7 sit-ups before the clock tings. Damn! A setback. I try to convince myself this is because I am really using good form, so it’s harder, but the truth is much more likely that it’s because I am doing this at 9 at night after I have taken a long walk earlier in the day. I am simply too tired.

Day 18: Dan introduces me to “The Filthy Fifty,” which is a series of 10 different moves, each done 25 times (except the last, jump rope). It’s normally 50 times, but since I am chubby and middle-aged, he is “modifying” for me (translation: cutting in half so I don’t end up needing paramedics). I label the routine “Dan,” because, well, I hate it. The lineup: Step-ups on a bench, pull-ups on the rings, kettle bells swings, walking knee lunges, wall balls, in-a-contraption raises/sit-ups, jump rope, drops to the floor followed by a push-up then a clap… Who the hell invents this stuff? I manage to clock in at just under a half hour. I think I have figured out what they were making the prisoners do at Abu Graib.

Day 19: Off. I eat some melon. I certainly feel better, but the whole sell of CrossFit is that (a) it’s short and (b) it’s addictive. I concede it’s shorter than most workouts, but addictive? Chocolate chip cookies are addictive. Martinis are addictive. This, not so much.

Day 20: I cut a whole 20 seconds off my Helen time and I have to admit: I am far less winded this time around. Could this stuff actually work?

Day 21: I do my jump rope/sit-ups workout and slice more than four minutes off the time, clocking in at 24:40, though I still jump rope like someone should be singing “A my name is Anna and I come from Alabama” during it. That night I try on a pair of pants that haven’t fit in months. They button. I’m beginning to see the CrossFit light.

Day 22: Motivated, I tackle my wall balls workout and push myself harder than ever before. In the end, I do the 150 — with good form — in just over 8 minutes: half the time I started at. Wowza! I text Dan with my exciting news, and he plays proud papa. “You weren’t supposed to be able to do that yet,” he writes. “Good job!”

Day 23: My day off. I feel good. Tired, but good.

And Now, We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Workout: I take a week’s vacation down the Shore and pay for it, as my jump rope and wall ball gather dust. The beauty of CrossFit is its portability: Most of the workouts are really short and don’t require you even be inside an actual gym. Nevertheless my vacation evidently also means a vacation from CrossFit, as I slide into a morass of bad Boardwalk food and post-beach cocktail hours. I avoid texting Dan, who I imagine upon my return will look at me the way parents do when they find weed in their 15-year-old’s room.

Days 24-30: As anyone facing the gym the day after New Year’s can attest, getting back on the horse — or in this case, Fran — after drifting away from your workout routine is, shall we say, a challenge. I do my best, and Dan adopts a patient, Mike Brady-ish “Kid, you can do it” attitude, but as I limp to the finish line of my month of CrossFit, I feel…eh. Although my midsection is still more Jell-O than “Hello!,” I have dropped a few pounds (which would have been more had the Boardwalk not intervened) and my legs look amazing (even my sister-in-law Jean, not prone to notice such things, was impressed). More important, I feel better: my heart feels stronger, I am no longer winded going up inclines and stairs, even my skin is clearer. But I fall short of the CrossFit cult that has sprung up in Philly. Perhaps I will just never be the type who will set the alarm for 5 AM, venturing out into the cold to run my 2K before work. Which leaves me with one question: Are you going to eat that last slice of pizza?

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  • Ray

    I am 48 years old, and weighed in at about 235 lbs 2 years ago. CrossFit has taken me to less than 185 lbs, and I am in better shape than I was in my 20′s. Best of all is the CrossFit community of people. No other fitness program compares.

    Check out CrossFit King of Prussia in Bridgeport:

    http://www.crossfitkop.com

    Aimee is the best!!

  • Jonah

    I’m 28 years old and up until 9 months ago I never really worked out a day in my life. Crossfit changed all that. I work out at Crossfit Center City (www.crossfitcc.com) and have completely changed my body and mind. It’s not just the workouts, it’s the community of people who you work out with.

  • Justin

    Right on the Cherry Hill and Pennsaulen border, I’ve been going there for just over a year and I am in better shape now than when I was 18 and doing 3 sports. Yes, it is hard work, but the community and the improvements in fitness are wonderful!

  • Chris P.

    Crossfit KoP for the win! Who can beat 8000 sq. ft???

  • just

    Since when does “Helen” involve rowing and a cowbell???????

  • D.F.

    Chris P., when did “size of the box” become a competition?

  • Dan

    It’s called “scaling”. If your client can’t run, you substitute with another movement, hence rowing for running. As for “cowbell”…well, we know it’s a kettlebell, but the fact that he called it a “cowbell” is humorous.

  • jill

    I love crossfit. aimee my trainer has changed my life. I lost 15 lbs and now can do pullups. crossfit has helped me with my self confidence and brought me steength I never knew possible!

  • Howard

    Dan, congrats! You have introduced me to a life changing workout and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Crossfit=Fight Club

  • Bubba

    I’m 12yrs old and love it. I like to compete with the older guys. They help me with my form. It helps me with my wrestling. It’s just fun over all.

  • jeannette

    One thing I love about Crossfit is the encouragement from my team, Crossfit South Philly. I find Crossfit with them 100 times easier than working out on my own. Also, friendly competition is a powerful catalyst for improvement beyond just working off that pizza. Keep it up, Michael!

  • Eric

    This programming is unheard of at any CF affiliate – it’s the same thing over and over. Karen, Mini-Cindy, Fran each 3 times in a month?

  • Kim

    CrossFit has improved my life in many ways! I have been a member of CrossFit South Philly for over a year and I will never workout at the “gym” again. CrossFit’s workouts have made me stronger and have conditioned me for long distance running as well. This is something that I just did not get at the “gym”. . . heck I hardly broke a sweat at the “gym”. The difference at CrossFit is the intensity, variation, coaching(qualified), and the support from the group. Thanks CrossFit South Philly!!

  • Catlyn

    Another South Philly Crossfitter here! First, mainstream media needs to stop with the phrase “new fitness craze.” Glassman formed his methodology in the early 90s, the first box formed in ’95, the website has existed since ’01, and I have worked out in Philly with either trainers using CF principles or affiliated boxes since at least ’04. While we may have sprouted a batch of new affiliates lately, the CF approach is neither “new” nor a “craze.” Second, I don’t think the article fully highlights either the variability of the methodology or our amazing community, which I feel is our greatest strength. For Fight Gone Bad this past Saturday, we represented CFSP while cheering on members of CF Prime, CF Renaissance, and CF Love and purchasing Paleokits from CF Tribe to support the outreach they provide to teenagers in Camden, all while contributing to the $1 million raised by over 5000 Crossfitters to benefit Athletes for a Cure and the Wounded Warrior Project. I know on those days when I’

  • Catlyn

    I’m feeling less than motivated, my trainers and workout buddies will be there to cheer me on to a new personal record. I look forward to many years of increasing my physical capabilities and building relationships with these amazing and warm-hearted athletes.

  • Dan

    Greatly appreciate your feedback. At my affiliate we follow the mainpage wod’s, throw in some CrossFit Football and some other variations.
    Every trainer needs to understand their client’s goals. Michael’s goal was to experience CrossFit in a 30 day window so that he could write a well-informed article. My goal was to ensure that Michael would experience real, measurable results in this 30 day window. Hence the program and mission accomplished.

  • Dan

    Catlyn: This article is a diary of one person’s CrossFit experience intended to give more exposure to CrossFit affiliates throughout Philadelphia. Hopefully attracting more athletes to local boxes. I think affiliate owners are big fans of new Cro$$Fitter$. Maybe instead of piling on, you should thank Michael for investing his time, his blood, his sweat and, well, I don’t think there were any tears.
    Also, Michael, who would not fall under the category of typical CrossFitter, worked just as hard as the athletes I competed against in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifier last April. So, take the article for what it is, and please reply with a response thanking Michael for helping to spread the good word. I’m sure your local affiliate owners would appreciate the effort.

  • William

    I am glad that Michael saw some measurable results, and do appreciate him taking the time to write about CrossFit. I think both Eric and Catlyn’s posts were only intended to illustrate to the readers that there is a lot more to CF than what appeared in the short article. Calling CF a “new fitness craze” and only mentioning 5 WODs doesn’t give the average reader an accurate picture of CrossFit. Readers, research your local affiliates to learn more!

  • Janice

    I started crossfit 1 year ago thanks to my amazing trainer. Now that we have an affiliate in West Chester, I have not only a fantastic place to do the WODs,but a terrific community of friends to cheer and groan with. I never liked exercise, and to find myself eagerly looking for the posted workout and a “I can’t wait to get to the gym” attitude is a wonderful thing!

  • Dan

    Thanks William. An awesome characteristic of CrossFit is that is more supportive than it is competitive. We know how competitive CrossFit is which means the level of support in this community is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. To me, Eric’s comment is certainly not supportive and while the majority of Catlyn’s is, “Piling On” is not a supportive concept.

    In closing, my advice to anyone who considers adopting CrossFit as their training platform is to explore the website for a couple weeks and then visit your local box. If you can’t get to a box, perform some wod’s that appeal to your strengths, practicing good form and range of motion then increase the intensity over time. Then go after it following the main board day-by-day, don’t shy away from your weaknesses because that’s where you will experience the most gains.

  • Eric

    My issue is this Dan: Looking at your REAL programming – it’s good. You obviously are a good trainer. But I don’t think you were true to yourself or CF. I meant to say that while you used the benchmarks, what you did does not meet the definition of Crossfit. CrossFit is not Fran but constantly varied functional movement done at high intensity. While I understand what you were trying to do I think you need to ask yourself weather Michael’s experiences really present CrossFit in a good light. This article didn’t make most people I talked to who read it actually want to try CF. I think an honest Crossfit experience rather than one designed to inflate his numbers through constant repetition of a few highly-scaled workouts would have been much more beneficial to the community.

  • Laura

    First…Hi Janice!
    In response to the post that this article does not show the variety of programming at a typical box I believe the reason for this is because it was meant to show the improvement one can have in a short period of time. This is easier to show if you have a baseline and a finish point. My husband is part owner of CFWC and has had an extremem change in his body structure over the last 2 years. I am getting into it as well and although my ass, quads and thighs are killing me, I’ll see you tonight at 7 Janice! (Because if not I’d feel badly and that is why it is addictive)

  • Dan

    Eric. See Laura’s comment, she gets it.

  • Dan

    Thanks Laura and the upside is that your ass, quads and thighs will continue to kill you. If it goes away, you’re not working hard enough.

  • Peter

    If Fran goes for over 10-15 minutes it was inappropriately scaled, end of. Broomstick thrusters and jumping pullups would have done the job. Moving straight into a 3-on-1-off routine seems harsh too, why not a 2 on 1 off? How much was nutrition discussed over the period? Nothing against the box and trainers, but this seemed like too harsh of an introduction to CF.

  • Thomas

    Interesting post. I’d be interested to know if there’s any research on how CrossFit can benefit runners. Some sports institute argue that they see limited benefit without separate endurance and strength. Maybe mixing blunts both?

  • William

    CrossFit has a huge benefit to runners, including injury prevention and improved metabolic endurance. I am a marathoner who used to be plagued by injury but since I started CF four years ago I have been injury free. As to the scientific research, check out crossfitendurance.com for more information.

  • Katie

    No, offense, but this guy sounds like a big sally…you need to suck it up. And, I still think there should have been more variation, and ONE test at the beginning and the same one on day 30…it’s just not an accurate test of CrossFit. What he did wasn’t truly CrossFit. Not to mention, his dedication was that of a 2-year-old, which leads to crappy results…and most of CrossFit is nutrition, (it IS the bottom of the pyramid), anyone who has been around a while knows that. This seems like a mediocre attempt on both parties.

  • Eric

    Unless you’re an elite runner (i.e. the 16 minute 5K, 2:30 half marathon types) CF will probably help your running. Over a 4 month period of doing nothing but CF.com workouts, I cut my 3 mile time from 19:40 to 18:30 while also getting significantly stronger on all my lifts. Increased mental toughness doesn’t hurt distance running either.

  • Eric

    ^^ Meant 2:30 marathon.

  • Eric

    ^^ Meant 2:30 marathon.

  • Robert

    You have said that in regards to the programming, that you wanted to ensure that the client would experience real, measurable results. Did you not believe that “constantly varied” would be the best way to achieve real, measurable results? I beleive that you deviated from Crossfit philosphy because you knew it would not be the BEST way to show results for the article. Specific practice of limited exercies, the program you used here, provides better results when those exercises are tested than a constantly varied program would. I do not think you represented Crossfit well and actually admitted it weaknesses.

  • Greg Glassman

    You are all a bunch of faggots and I hate you.

    Now please affiliate and contribute to the RRG!!!

  • Johnny

    Your body is supposed to fall apart when doing crossfit. If it doesn’t hurt, you are not making progress. You should have tendonitis, bleeding hands, and a limp after the first month of training. ATI = Always Trained Injured. If it doesn’t hurt to pick up your kids, you are not doing xfit right.

  • Doug

    will realize that crossfit is retarded and move on to a properly programed routine or the couch if crossfit messed them up to bad. Your Messiah is a drunk who doesnt work out, and he is leading you sheep right to the bank $$

  • Paris

    Suck it up and stop whining. You wanted a hard workout, you got one. Now you’re regretting it. Get some man pants and grow a pair. Crossfit is for real men and real women.

  • Dan

    I was trying to figure out a long drawn out way to say you’re wrong…

  • Andy

    CFDV has changed my life. But that’s because it requires a commitment greater than 30 days, a commitment I was willing to make. Sure, you’ll feel pretty good about yourself after 30 days, but wait until you hit 90, then 180, when you really notice the difference! I started CF weighing 205 pounds with a resting heartrate around 100 BPM (seriously). I was in HORRIBLE shape…couldn’t do a full-plank pushup, could barely do 5 red band pullups. 7 mos later, I weigh 168 pounds, can bang out 12 or so unassisted kip pullups, 20 full plank pushups, and have a resting heartrate of 60-70BPM. Stick it out for longer than 30 days, and you’ll get there too.

  • John

    30 days ago I was feeling bad. I had trouble waking up in the mornings, slept poorly, was exhausted by the end of a work day, was extremely out of breath taking the 5 flights of stairs to my office, etc… I had driven by a glorified shed with a sign that said Crossfit Champions for a couple of years, AND had given regular gyms my money for years without the discipline to get results(or even show up for that matter), so I decided to give them a call. The owner (Matt) gave me a quick description of what CrossFit is about and convinced me to go through their Elements Class. It has now been 24 days since starting that class and their recommended nutrition plan and I have: lost 27 pounds and over 2 inches off my waist; decreased my times in the 1k, 5k, and sprints; improved from being able to do less than 10 push-ups total to doing 45 in less than a minute this morning; improved from not being able to do 1 pull-up to 45 in less than 2 minutes this morning; I can now easily wake up at 4

  • John

    AM to make it to my 5 AM CrossFit class; and best of all, I feel better. I am a better employee, husband, athlete, etc… as a direct result of CrossFit. I can’t wait to see the results in 180 days or so. One of my favorite things about CrossFit is that I never get bored. I have now done 15 different workouts (the 1st 6 were Elements which is only 3/week), each with new challenges, goals, and results.

  • Dan

    Great description of CrossFit on The Game page:
    The scope of the CrossFit Games extend far beyond crowning the fittest athletes on the planet. In the greater context it is an experiment we are all involved with, the purpose of which is to elicit the best practices for producing measurable, observable and repeatable results in elite human performance. Each athlete at the games contributes in some way to making CrossFit better, and to improving our understanding of fitness and how it can, and should be achieved.
    Coach Glassman paraphrases in ‘The Crucible,’ the latest video produced by Marty Cej and John Buffone of BNN . “You got a better way to train people? A better way to rest? A better way to eat? If it doesn’t show in force, distance and time… if it doesn’t show up in improved work capacity, then we can dismiss it. And if it is there, we can’t ignore it. The method is important; the narrative is a byproduct, but the data is everything. these are proving grounds… this is a plac

  • Dan

    Great description of CrossFit.
    The scope of the CrossFit Games extend far beyond crowning the fittest athletes on the planet. In the greater context it is an experiment we are all involved with, the purpose of which is to elicit the best practices for producing measurable, observable and repeatable results in elite human performance. Each athlete at the games contributes in some way to making CrossFit better, and to improving our understanding of fitness and how it can, and should be achieved.

  • Dan

    Coach Glassman paraphrases in ‘The Crucible,’ the latest video produced by Marty Cej and John Buffone of BNN . “You got a better way to train people? A better way to rest? A better way to eat? If it doesn’t show in force, distance and time… if it doesn’t show up in improved work capacity, then we can dismiss it. And if it is there, we can’t ignore it. The method is important; the narrative is a byproduct, but the data is everything. these are proving grounds… this is a place to test your shit.”

  • Dan

    Hypotheses and narratives about the superiority of training methodologies have no credence without results. The individuals and affiliates that are on or near the podium every year must be doing something right. “Take Calgary, for example. A town of one million people had four individual athletes in the top 16, plus an affiliate team in the top four.” This type of data draws attention.

  • a

    Check out the Injuries subforum on their message board

  • Dan

    Prior to CrossFit, when I was following a bodybuilding/cardio program, I was always injured. Shoulder and back problems to be more precise.
    I’ve been CrossFitting for two years and my shoulder/back problems have essentially gone away. Why? Because I’ve learned good form, increased my range of motion and my entire body has gotten stronger…a lot stronger. I’ve come to realize that my back and shoulder problems were due to weaknesses in my body… heavy bench press and curls do not make you strong…they make you look strong.

  • Dan

    There are just as many, if not more injuries in Globo Gym programs. CrossFit has a forum to talk about them rather than ignore them. Think about the number of people you know who won’t do deadlifts or squats because they hurt their back/knees or they “heard” they’re not good for your back/knees.
    I’ve seen two types of injuries sustained in all types of training. (1) Injuries due poor form, or what I would call being stupid. You find CrossFitters experience these injuries early on because they want to get from A to Z without learning the alphabet. In other words they sacrifice form for time or increased loads. These injuries tend to be more serious. (2) Intensity related injuries, or what I would call “going after it” injuries. Which would be injuries sustained by CrossFitters who have reached a level where they can push the limits. These injuries tend to be less serious.

  • Paul

    Just because someone spends $1000 for a weekend certification doesn’t mean they’re qualified to train people.

  • William

    That may be true. In the same respect, if someone gets an exercise physiology degree from a college that also doesn’t mean they’re qualified to train people. Whether it’s a CF certification or any other type of study that should only be the beginning. It’s EXPERIENCE that makes a good, qualified trainer.

  • Dan

    I’ve attended many certifications offered by various organizations with costs ranging from $150 to $500. ACE, AAAI ISMA, etc… all were crap. If you’re looking for a Trainer/Training Program, the bottom 1% of CrossFit Level I Certified Trainers are a better investment than the top 1% of trainer’s certified by these other programs. Attend a Cert and you’ll know why.