CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course – CrossFit Mayhem

Wow, so I have no idea where to even begin with this. If you would have told me even a year ago that I would be going through the CrossFit Level 1 Cert I would have asked you what that meant… then laughed in your face.

When I went to my first CrossFit class back in June I was skeptically optimistic. I knew it would be a good workout, but I had no idea that it would literally change my life (so cliche, I know). I’ve been working hard for the past 8 months and I want to keep getting better. When my husband said he wanted to get his CrossFit Level 1 Certificate I was all “Go You!” and didn’t even think twice about it doing it for myself. I mean, I can’t even do pull ups without a band or RX most WODs, surely I wasn’t ready for Level 1. The more he talked about it the more I was interested in it. I saw people from all different levels and experiences with CrossFit attending the Level 1 seminar. I was interested for sure. It isn’t cheap. I knew I was going to have to work hard to get the money together to go, so there was that. It went from me thinking about it to me committing to it when he decided he was going to go to CrossFit Mayhem for it. I wasn’t going to let him go spend the weekend with Rich Froning without me!! So I signed up. and freaked out.

I read through and studied the CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide. And then it was finally time to head out. Last Friday we packed up to make the 6 hour drive down to Cookeville, TN. We left around lunch time, stopped in Nashville to pick up a friend who was coming a long with us and then ended up checking into our hotel around 9, decided we were hungry so we went to chili’s (LOVE their lighter options menu! Margarita Chicken was amazing!) We didn’t end up going to bed until close to midnight.

Saturday morning we went to check out the hotel breakfast and found it was typical southern breakfast: biscuits, gravy, waffles…. loads and loads of white flour. We knew that wasn’t going to fuel us well for a day full of CrossFit fun so we ventured next door to Waffle House, breakfast of champions!


I was full of nerves. Not only was I going to be going through crazy training, lectures, small groups, and have to take a test on all that… I was about to meet some of the best people in the sport of CrossFit, including the Fittest Man on Earth. We scarfed our breakfast and headed over to CrossFit Mayhem to check in. We walked into the large lobby that Mayhem shares with the Laser Tag place. I kept telling myself not to freak out.



We walked in the door of the gym and I was immediately impressed by the size…. of the gym, and Rich Froning & Jason Khalipa’s muscles. HA! I acted cool and went and found a seat in the classroom area, in the front row of course. We were a bit early so we just hung around and eventually got up the nerve to go talk to Rich. He is shorter in person than I expected, but just as impressive as I’d imagined. He was super cool and even took some pictures with us! Actually Chris took a picture with him, I didn’t get mine until later that day… But I just wanted to show it to you now anyway.


That’s my “I’m so excited I could explode” smile. ha.

So, the seminar staff we had was pretty much amazing. Led by Joe Alexander, with help from Leah Polaski, Neal Maddox, Austin Stack, Rich Froning, and Jason Khalipa. Rich Froning’s cousin Darren Hunsucker was there too, that dude knows his stuff!


weird stalker pic of all the trainers taking a pic with someone else.

We had several lectures on topics like “What is CrossFit?” and “What is Fitness?” and we went over the 9 foundational moves of CrossFit. They broke down even the simplest move, the air squat, and showed us proper form and common mistakes. Rich demonstrated a lot of the movements.


They did ask us not to take pictures during the day, but Jason Khalipa tweeted this one from the squat session. See me on the front right, third person in the front row, with a headband on?

After a few lectures and demos we split into small groups and worked on fixing our problems as well as learning to recognize and coach them. I was with Neal Maddox on the squat session. Dude is no joke. Apparently I have been squatting wrong this whole time, I knew squats were uncomfortable but I didn’t imagine doing them right would burn so bad!

When it came time for lunch we decided to make a quick dash for food and come back because rumor had it the seminar staff did a workout over lunch. Sure enough we walk back in to see them getting set up. It was crazy watching them WOD! They did a gazillion GHD sit ups with some power cleans or something else heavy. I was in awe of how fast and efficient they worked!

It was time for more sessions, small groups, and break outs. We worked on our Press, Push Press, and Push Jerk in our small groups. It was awesome being able to get feedback and corrections from Rich and Joe. They would teach us coaching cues and help us with our individual movements. Nothing like having the fittest man on earth tell you to not have lazy elbows! They taught us a kipping pull up progression that I am excited to work on. Also, while in the back room working on the kipping progression I noticed a face that seemed really familiar. His name tag said Josh, but I didn’t connect that with who he was until he talked. You can’t mistake that deep voice, it was Josh Turner! Apparently he met Rich in an airport and this weekend was his (and his wife’s) first experience with CrossFit!

After the Kipping Pull up and Thruster breakouts it was time for the WOD. Can you guess what WOD we did? Hint: It includes pull ups and thrusters!


This is the Wodify Setup that Mayhem had. Awesome, right?!

So we had 3 heats of Fran. I sure as heck didn’t want to go first. They had an enormous monster rig and I knew that even doing jumping pullups on the 24″ box would be tough for me because the pull up bars were so tall. I was planning on scaling the weight down to 55lbs because I was already worn out and my shoulder was acting weird, but when I walked up to a bar for the second heat I didn’t realize it was a mens bar. So I went RX on the weight and did jumping pull ups. My PR on Fran in that same scenario was 7:24. I struggled with this workout, despite the motivation and awesome coaching going on. I wasn’t properly fueled or hydrated and I was already worn out from all our small group work on squats and presses. So I squeaked in at 8:28. I had Darren, Rich’s cousin, coaching me through the last set and that was super helpful.

They brought dinner in, BBQ. To be honest, I was NOT feeling up to eating after Fran. We ended up hanging around and chatting and I got to meet Hillary, Rich’s wife. She is so sweet! I loved being able to talk with her for awhile. While she isn’t exactly interested in CrossFit for herself, she does have to put up with both Rich & Dan and their relationship… and sometimes I feel the same way with my hubs and his BFF! Who is married to who, ya know? LOL

Of course I had to get a picture with Jason… KHALIPA!
(if you don’t get the above statement watch this)


And of course all the seminar staff had to get another workout in. Not that I minded watching…


Rich Froning & Jason Khalipa rocking out HSPU

Anyway- We ended up going out to eat after leaving there and I literally almost fell asleep at the table.

Sunday we hit up Waffle House again before heading back to Mayhem. Mmm.

Sunday was full of more lectures, small groups and break outs. I had never done a Med Ball Clean before this. After using a barbell for cleans a med ball doesn’t seem that bad, right? WRONG. Med Ball Cleans are no joke. SO much squatting. We did a Workout earlier in the day since we’d have to take our test at the end of the day. The WOD:

8 min AMRAP

8 Push Ups
10 Med Ball cleans
12 Sit ups

(I may have those reps wrong, but it was close to that)

We paired up in teams of 2 and practiced coaching while our partner did the WOD and then switched roles. It was good hands on training for effective coaching.

When it came time for the test I was pretty confident in everything I had studied and learned. Then I opened the test booklet and freaked out. It didn’t help that they used the WOD timer with a 3-2-1-GO! for the test. I should be getting my results sometime this week but I walked away from the test feeling unsure. There were a ton of ambiguous questions like “Which is the MOST correct answer” and then some pictures that showed common faults of movements where it was hard to tell exactly what they were asking. I’ll be nervous until I get an email from HQ with the results. Ugh.

Alright, lets wrap this up. Remember how I said I was nervous to take this course to start with? I totally shouldn’t have been. I think that this course is great for anyone who wants to be a better athlete, wants to coach, or both! This was a great way to really learn the methods behind the madness. I may break down some of the individual sessions into posts, because there is just SO much information to share. I know I will be doing a full post on the Nutrition Lecture, I was a huge fan of that one. While it was a lot of work and I was stupid sore from working out mostly with a PVC pipe, I wasn’t as inept as I pictured myself being in a large group of fellow CrossFitters.

This Level 1 Seminar solidified to me that CrossFit is just as much about community as it is about anything else. If you ever question if it would be worth it for you to attend a Level 1 Seminar, the answer is YES. A million times over. The seminar staff is so knowledgable and helpful, not at all overpowering, demeaning, or judgmental. I can’t wait to continue to grow in my knowledge along this journey.


CrossFit Mayhem Level 1 Seminar – Feb 2-3, 2013


37 thoughts on “CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course – CrossFit Mayhem”

  1. Great post! I did my Level 1 course last March. The wait for the results almost KILLED me! I bet you did great, though! I’m so jealous that you got Froning AND Khalipa! I think Joe was the one that lead my group, too! Pretty awesome experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! 🙂


  2. Great post, Courtney! I did my L1 this fall and it sounds like we had a pretty similar experience as far as the class goes, but how cool that you got to meet all of those guys! What an all-star training cast that is! Do you think you’ll ever get into coaching?


    1. It was totally all star, for sure! I loved all the lectures and break outs but it was even better having Rich Froning coach my push jerk! I hope to get into coaching eventually…


  3. So glad you enjoyed it! And what an AMAZING seminar staff! so jealous!

    I was so new to crossfit when I attended the Level seemed like everyone else there wanted to coach, and I was just thinking it would be fun? So awesome!


    1. The only person there who was brand new to crossfit was Josh Turner and his wife. Everyone else had been CrossFitting at least 3 months or more. I’d love to be able to coach one day, but I really was looking forward to working on my knowledge and abilities.


  4. This is awesome Court! I am so excited for you! Do you actually certify to teach now? I am really enjoying CF myself and can’t wait to get better and better!


  5. WOW!!! How awesome 🙂 You still kick total booty at Fran 🙂 Agree with Linz dang those are some good looking guys too! What do you do with the certification? Are you able to coach classes or what does that allow you to do/not?


    1. I’ve RXd before… but I don’t think my form was great. I think once I work on my “pop” off the shoulders coming up from the squat it will be easier. Still working on those dang pull ups though!


  6. I have total envy that you got to attend the seminar, and of course, be up close and personal with some muscles.. hehe.

    I am so excited for you that you are going for your certification!! This is something I hope to be able to done day as well!


  7. Great post! I´m going to take the course next month and I was freakinf out, till I read your post!
    I hope I do well! 😉


  8. Hey Courtney!! loved your post! I’m taking L1C this weekend and am kinda freaking out about the test. Some people say it’s really hard. I’ve read the training guide once already and am reading it again and taking notes. I’ve been doing crossfit for about year and half but have never coached anyone … but you think the test is doable? I’ve had less than a month to prepare 😦


    1. Congrats on going for you L1! The test isn’t hard if you pay attention. They will tell you “if I write this on the board in green it means it’s important” aka – it is going to be on the test. The trickiest part is the drawings where you have to correct form, but it still isn’t that difficult. Stay engaged and you should do fine! Good luck!


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