September 12, 2019

How to Become a CrossFit Instructor

If you’ve been wondering how to become a CrossFit coach, you’ve come to the right place!

This guide is designed to walk you through the process of becoming a certified CrossFit instructor and starting a career in the CrossFit industry.

Working as a coach in a CrossFit gym can be an incredibly fulfilling career. Not only do entry-level coach salaries start around $40,000, but the joy of helping other people achieve their fitness goals is also practically priceless.

CrossFit gym owner in a black sports bra and gray yoga pants working out with an orange and black medicine ball before her next class

Most CrossFit coaches start their experience with by joining a gym as a member. 

As passion for the sport grows, many people try their hand at competing in the CrossFit games. Oftentimes, the intense team-focused training required to prepare for a competition ends up being the eye-opening moment that helps them realize how satisfying a career working as a coach could be. 

The following sections are designed to walk you down the path of transforming this dream into a reality. In the paragraphs below, you’ll learn: 

  • The Advantages and Disadvantages of Life as a CrossFit Instructor
  • The Steps Required to Earn your Level One CrossFit Coach Certification
  • How to Progress from a CrossFit Instructor to a CrossFit Gym Owner
  • The Importance of CrossFit Insurance for Coaches and Gym Owners

Advantages and Disadvantages of Working as a CrossFit Trainer

Much like any other job, working as a CrossFit Coach has its ups and downs. 

Some of the upsides of this career path include:

● Freedom to set your own work schedule (assuming you don’t work for a gym owned by someone else)

● Free swag and sponsorship opportunities from nutritional supplement and fitness gear companies

● The fulfillment of knowing you are changing people’s lives for the better with your work

● The versatility of being able to move almost anywhere in the world and find work

● The ability to build a tight-knit network and client portfolio

● High demand and long-term job security

● You get to work out at work!

As you can probably guess, becoming a CrossFit Instructor isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.  

Some of the downsides of this career include: 

● CrossFit coaching is physically demanding work (takes the difficulty of working through a sick day to a whole new level!)

● The need to constantly keep up on your conditioning and certifications to make a competitive salary

● Getting held accountable for the results of clients who aren’t giving it their all

● The need to consistently market yourself and build/maintain your client base

● High likelihood of working in a position with no health insurance or benefits

● The potential of sustaining a career-ending injury


All things considered, becoming a CrossFit instructor can be an incredibly rewarding career path. That said, it’s important to carefully weigh these advantages and disadvantages before making the decision to pursue this life. 


If you’ve weighed the pluses and minuses and decided that this life is for you, it’s time to take a serious look at getting your Level 1 CrossFit Certification. 

To qualify for your Level 1 certification, you’ll need to meet a few pre-qualifications established by CrossFit Inc:

● 17 Years of Age or Older

● Committed to Continued CrossFit Education (both in-person and video training)

● Committed to Maintaining a High Level of Personal Fitness

● Committed to Following the CrossFit Standard of Professional Practice

The Level 1 CrossFit certification course lasts (2) days and costs $1,000 USD. 

After completing their Level 1 Certification, most CrossFit Instructor hopefuls start work as an assistant to an experienced instructor. Although it is not mandatory to obtain a CPR/First Aid certification to obtain your CrossFit certifications, it’s important to keep in mind that most gyms will require you to do so. 

Working as an assistant to an experienced CrossFit Coach is not only a great way to learn the ropes, it’s also the best chance you’ll have at getting someone else to pay for your L2, L3, and L4 certifications. 

Considering that each level of CrossFit certification costs an additional $750-$1,000 to complete, building a relationship with and earning the trust of a gym owner or seasoned trainer could end up saving you nearly $3,000! 

It’s important to note that getting your certifications paid for by someone else often requires signing a contract to work for their gym or CrossFit training business for a set amount of time. 

How to Become a CrossFit Gym Owner 

If you’re hoping to work for yourself as soon as possible, it may make more sense to pay for your Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 certs on your own. 

While earning a Level one certification technically authorizes someone to start coaching CrossFit, most coaches continue to earn their L2, L3, and L4 certifications before opening a gym or starting a CrossFit training business.  

Getting a Level 2 Certification also requires a 2-day course and $1,000 fee. 

To qualify for the L2, a candidate needs to have a current L1 certification, in addition to meeting all the aforementioned pre qualifications listed for that certification. 

After earning a Level two CrossFit Certification, a candidate looking to get their Level 3 certification will need to demonstrate a minimum of 750 hours of coaching experience to qualify. 

For this reason, many professional CrossFit coaches start their own CrossFit gym or training business after earning their L2 certification. 

Woman in workout clothing selecting dumbells from a weight rack for a CrossFit Workout

Fortunately for those who aren’t yet ready to set out on their own, the qualifying hours required for an L3 certification can be earned at any qualified CrossFit gym that allows an L2 certification holder to independently coach classes or train clients. 

While many CrossFit instructors never end up earning their Level 4 certification, it’s practically a non-negotiable for those looking to work with professional athletes. 

Whether you aspire to train semi-pro and professional CrossFit athletes for competitions or hope to use your L4 certification to open the door to joining another high-level professional athletic training program, this certification is considered the gold standard of CrossFit coaching. 

To qualify for a Level 4 CrossFit certification, candidates must have a current L3 certification, meet all the aforementioned prerequisites for certification, and demonstrate a minimum of 1500 hours of professional-level or collegiate coaching experience.

Once a candidate qualifies for the L4 certification, they’ll need to take and pass an exam to earn their certificate.

In the interest of upholding the highest standard of professional training, CrossFit Inc. requires certification holders to participate in a 3-year re-certification process.

To maintain their certification, a CrossFit coach must:

● Stay in compliance with the CrossFit Standards of Professional Practice

● Demonstrate a minimum of 300 qualifying coaching hours

● Maintain a current CPR and First Aid certificate

● Earn 50 continuing education units 

Outside of the certifications required to become a professional CrossFit coach, there are many other important considerations and preparations to consider related to owning your own business. 

While including a full guide to starting a business in this guide would make it a little too long for the average visitor, here are some useful resources for starting a new business: 

U.S. Small Business Administration

Widely-considered the most important organization for new entrepreneurs, connecting with your local SBA is one of the best ways to make sure your CrossFit business makes it in the long-run.

The volunteers at the SBA give free advice to new business owners, helping with everything from writing a business plan to getting financing and a ton of other important considerations. 

The Balance Small Business

Few informational resources for small businesses exist that hold a candle to the information found on The Balance Small Business.

This organization has made a name for itself as a leading authority for small business owners in all stages of life, offering useful guides for every imaginable part of starting and running a business


A business needs customers to be successful.

Because most small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a marketing firm to help with promotion, Moz decided to put together a huge library of marketing resources to help fill the gap.

Whether you’re looking to promote your CrossFit business on social media, build a website that shows up in Google, or learn how to best spend your time creating visibility for your business and growing your client base, Moz has you covered.

CrossFit Insurance

At the end of the day, even the most successful business is only a few steps away from failing because of an unexpected catastrophe.

From the above-average likelihood that a client will get injured at your gym to the inherent risks of owning any small business, there are literally 100s of ways things can unexpectedly go wrong.

Fortunately, CrossFit insurance from Tomins is designed specifically with your gym in mind.

Unlike most other insurance firms, we actually take the time to understand each business we serve to make sure we’re delivering a policy that makes sense for their unique needs.

Our consultative approach to CrossFit Insurance helps make sure you’re getting all the coverages you need and none that you don’t.

At Tomins, we pride ourselves in delivering the right coverage at the right price. Every time.

Get your free Tomins CrossFit Insurance quote today.

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