We surveyed affiliate owners and coaches to find out their favourite educational courses for CrossFit coaches.
Beyond the usual suspects—the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 certificate courses and the USA Weightlifting coaching courses—six other courses kept being recommended. They include:
1. Active Life Rx
Founded by Dr. Sean Pastuch, Active Life Rx offers a host of seminars and courses to help both gym owners and coaches become better at assessing and correcting movement patterns to help their clients get out of pain. Their education is designed by doctors and adapted for coaches to create a “simple way to identify and communicate to members” why some moments might cause them pain, discomfort or frustration based on how each joint in their body moves, explained Pastuch.
Angi Bowman Halvorsen, the owner of Carlisle CrossFit in Pennsylvania, said becoming an Active Life Rx coach has made all the difference to her business.
“We start everyone off with (the Active Life Rx) movement assessment…We go through a review joint-by-joint of each person,” she said, adding that the assessment is done in a one-on-one environment. This allows her to “go a little deeper into any issues we identify as red flags, which has gone a long way in giving her clients more of what they need, and allows her and her coach to be “wellcare providers for the long term,” she explained.
Similarly, after Chris Spigner, a full-time coach at 7 Mile Strength and Fitness in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, took the Active Life education, he was able to launch a corrective movement specialty program, which has helped him bring in new clients, and increase his average client value, client retention and paycheck in the process.
2. OPEX Fitness Coaching Certificate Program (CCP)
While OPEX Fitness offers a host of courses for coaches, such as programming principles for mixed modal athletes, the OPEX CCP is their most comprehensive education. In fact, those who have taken it say it’s the most comprehensive course on the market today.
OPEX coach Abby McCormick, for example, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, said that her college education ”pales in comparison to the CCP.” The biggest takeaway for her was how the CCP provided her a new perspective. “To be less dogmatic. In university, they teach you the way things are, but they don’t do a lot of explaining about why this is the case, or why this might not always be the case,” she said.
The CCP, which takes between six and 12 months to complete, covers anatomy and exercise physiology, program design, nutrition, the psychology of coaching, the business side of fitness, and ends with a final project, where coaches are graded on their ability to create effective individual training programs for five clients. Those who have taken the course say the way it lays out systems and principles for coaches to be able to “connect the dots” is unmatched in any other course.
3. NCFIT Education
NCFIT is, of course, former CrossFit Games champion Jason Khalipa’s brand, a brand that has dozens of gyms under its banner.
And while coaches who coach at various NCFIT gyms arew “groomed through the NCFIT coaching development system,” explained Matt DellaValle, the Chief Fitness Officer at NCFIT, many of NCFIT’s educational offerings are available to any coach, including their three-week online professional development course. This course focuses on everything from the mindset of great coaches to the tactical execution on the floor, DellaValle said.
He added: “NCFIT is hard at work on bringing more courses certificates, and education to the coaching community. The focus for NCFIT’s education is to give coaches the most practical and applicable education possible. When you earn a credential from an NCFIT education course on movement or coaching, it will be something you can put to use right away.”
4. M2 Performance Nutrition Certification Series
For many CrossFit coaches, nutrition coaching is a big hole in their game. The M2 Certification Series is designed to fill that gap.
The series includes four courses—gut biology, understanding metabolism, hormonal health and practical nutrition coaching—that can be taken all together or a la carte.
“Whether you complete one certification or all four, you will leave a better, more well-rounded coach,” said Mike Molloy, PhD the founder of M2.
What makes the M2 series unique compared to many work-at-your-own-speed courses, is that it provides more of a classroom feel, Molloy explained. Coaches attend recorded video lectures and also live Q&A sessions online.
CrossFit Games athlete and coach Tammi Robinson has high praise for the course: “I have found this course to be an absolutely invaluable learning tool in starting to put the pieces of my gut and overall health together. I’ve already gained an abundance of knowledge, as well as practical strategies, that will be beneficial in helping not only myself, but also my clients on their health and fitness journeys,” she said.
5. Precision Nutrition Level 1
Precision Nutrition is undoubtedly an industry leader in nutrition coaching, known for its non-dogmatic, compassionate, habit-based change approach to nutrition coaching.
The PN Level 1 course teaches both the science of nutrition, as well as the psychology of coaching nutrition, through in-depth readings, videos and various online quizzes. It generally takes three to six months to complete. One of the big benefits of becoming a PN coach is gaining free access to ProCoach—their online nutrition coaching software—a valuable tool when working with clients.
Those who have taken the course say Precision Nutrition’s habit-based approach to lifestyle change —with a focus on slowly building new habits over time, as opposed to the rigid diet approach to eating—is a huge game changer in helping their clients develop a healthier and sustainable relationship with food for the long-term.
6. Two-Brain Nutrition Course
Two-Brain’s nutrition course is new to the nutrition education scene, but is getting high praise already.
Developed by Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition coach, and CrossFit Canada East Regionals athlete Jennifer Broxterman, the course is designed specifically for the CrossFit coach to help their CrossFit clients.
The course, which is approved by various insurance companies, including Affiliate Guard, involves 20 video modules that cover the science of nutrition, setting up nutrition appointments, well motivational interviewing and habit-based nutrition coaching. It also touches on when concepts like macronutrient tracking and meal plans and how they might or might not be appropriate for various clients. What makes the course incredibly valuable, however, is that it also includes three one-on-one mentoring calls with a registered dietician at NutritionRx, Broxterman’s practice.
Recent graduate from the course Gabriel Mayer Bedard said this: “It is a game changer in our professional practice. The course provided help with motivational interviewing and many user friendly tools to help me better coach habit-based nutrition coaching. I value education, but even more, I value being able to use it. This course did just that.”
Coach Jessica Sally added: “I had taken the PN Level 1 course a few years ago, but this course filled in the missing pieces.The three mentoring calls that came with the course were truly invaluable for helping me build my coaching business.”
The purpose of these recommended courses is to add value to the member experience. A vital next step in that process is to communicate and action the needs of your clients. Download our free Membership Survey and get the feedback you need.
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