Steve Wingo explains how to create a study plan that will help you earn the Certified CrossFit Trainer credential.

My experience is important because of who I am not.

I’m not a CrossFit Seminar Staff member or longtime coach from one of the original CrossFit affiliates. Other than the CrossFit courses I’ve taken, I have not been mentored on a daily basis at any of the well-known boxes teeming with master coaches. I don’t have a degree in exercise physiology or kinesiology, and didn’t play collegiate sports. I’m not one of the household names you see all the time in CrossFit instructional videos.

Instead, I’m a 47-year-old attorney with a full-time law practice, a wife, two college-age daughters, and a host of other time-consuming and stressful responsibilities wholly unrelated to CrossFit.

And I’m a Certified CrossFit Trainer, CF-L3.

My CrossFit journey began in earnest in late August 2012, when a box opened close to my home. I was a beat-up, ailing weekend-warrior endurance athlete who showed up with virtually no knowledge of gymnastics or weightlifting. I weighed 132 lb. and could run a mean 5K, and I could ride mountain and road bikes uphill pretty damn well for a middle-aged guy. But from an overall fitness perspective I was in terrible shape.

Like many of you, I quickly fell in love with CrossFit, attending more frequently and starting to really see results. My wife then joined me because she liked the changes she saw in me both physically and mentally. Less than a year after starting, we were on the edge of our seats listening to Chuck Carswell introduce himself as flowmaster at a Level 1 Certificate Course.

In July 2014 I watched a video in which Nicole Carroll, CrossFit Director of Certification and Training, described the new Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3, CCFT) and Certified CrossFit Coach (CF-L4, CCFC) credentials.

There was no hesitation or doubt regarding whether I would pursue the CCFT/CF-L3. I reviewed the requirements that morning and set my plan.

Check the CrossFit Trainer Directory and you will learn few hold the CCFT credential. That is a shame and a problem I want to help remedy. On social media and message boards, I’ve heard some discouraging talk that the test is too hard, isn’t fair, isn’t worth it, is just another way for CrossFit to make money, and so on. None of that is true. CrossFit has provided everything you need to turn yourself into an outstanding coach and earn the CCFT designation [hyper]here[hyper] (https://certifications.crossfit.com/ccft/study-materials). You are going to have to bust your ass, but it is worth it.

If you have a passion for coaching or own an affiliate, you should pursue the CCFT credential. It is the counterpart to board certification in any other profession. It signifies you have moved beyond the basic requirements to engage in a profession and taken the responsibility to develop a higher level of proficiency.

To help you prepare for and pass the CF-L3 exam, I’ll describe how I prepared for it and hopefully offer some guidance. Here is your blueprint.

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