Officially a CrossFit L1 Trainer! Reflections on the L1 Seminar weekend

It’s official: A little over a year after diving head-first into CrossFit, I can now call myself (very specifically, only this): a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. While I still have a long way to go in my coaching journey, this was an expensive important first step to cross off the list. In addition to meeting a few games athletes and getting to work out at Rogue HQ, the weekend was eye-opening in many ways.

The format:

The weekend is taught in a lecture-practical-workout format, which is nice, because you’re never getting preached at for very long. The staff will trade off doing a lecture on each of the nine movements of CrossFit, going over the set-up, execution and points of performance (For me, this doubled as stare-at-Matt-Chan’s-tattoos time).

A post shared by Matt Chan (@matt1chan) on

(NOTE: We were not allowed to photo/video any of the sessions. This is pulled from his Insta, from a different session. In a different gym. But looks legit, right?)

Then you will break up into small groups with a staff member to nit pick the shit out of the movement. The movements include:

Air squat/front squat/overhead squat

Strict press/push press/push jerk

Deadlift/Sumo Deadlift High-Pull/Med ball clean

You’ll drill the hell out of the first movement of each set, then work through the more complex movements. Each day will include a workout where you’ll partner up with someone and help coach them through the WOD. It’s a good way to get your feet wet and start looking for common faults, rather than watching the entire movement happen as a whole.

There are also a couple non-movement lectures you’ll hear, which include the Sick/Well/Fit continuum (I actually really enjoyed this part – will inspire you to keep your ass out of a nursing home) and the CrossFit-recommended zone diet on day two. While both might be more theoretical and less interesting, they are key components of the L1 test, so you’ll want to pay attention and take good notes.

Some things that surprised me:

  • There was no free lunch. I mean, what the hell? I can’t get Chipotle catering somewhere in that grand I paid? But I digest. I mean, digress…
  • After the day one WOD, the staff rolls out a big cooler full of beer and hangs around to talk with everyone afterward. It’s a very chill time. I unfortunately had to run home because *kids*, but if you have time, I highly suggest sticking around to chat. People who did came in the next morning with a clear rapport among the staff.
  • There were FIFTY people at my seminar! Granted, it was at Rogue HQ, but I was shocked.
  • You’ll get some time to work on a muscle-up progression. I am VERY far from a ring muscle up, apparently. BUT: you’ll also probably see someone get their very first strict muscle up, which is goosebump-inducing awesome.


  • You may not realize it at the time, but the staff are often wording things EXACTLY how they will be on the test. Take good notes.
  • I didn’t print out the entire L1 study guide because HOLY PAGE COUNT, BATMAN, but may other people did, and it seemed to help. Live your life, make your own choices.
  • DEFINITELY bring a pen and something to write with/on. They might run out of clipboards for the test, and you’ll need something to take notes with anyway.
  • Ask questions. Ask all the questions. This is your chance to get answers straight from HQ.
  • On the same thread, think about the questions athletes may ask you in class – about the movements, about WHY we do things the way we do. Then ask how you might address those questions.
  • If you bring your own lunch, you’ll probably get to see the staff work out. For me, this meant walking back into Rogue HQ seeing Matt Chan, Lindsey Smith and Kelley Jackson doing handstand walks up and down the turf. Backwards. You know, as you do during a lunch workout.
  • Don’t spend the entire weekend thinking about the test – have fun! The staff is clearly well trained, and they are a far cry from Charlie-Brown-teacher lecturers. Remember, they are high-energy athletes – they are not about to make this 16-hour seminar boring.
  • But for the test: I would specifically go over the diet section and each movement’s points of performance and faults to look for. However, know that everything will be covered in the seminar. Take good notes.

Have you attended the CrossFit L1 Seminar? Was your experience different? Let me know!

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