Accreditation and Results

By Greg Glassman

In CrossFit, Videos

August 03, 2009

Video Article

CrossFit will become accredited in the state of California, but it won’t make the training at certs any better, Coach Greg Glassman told participants at a CrossFit Level 1 Certification Seminar at CrossFit Brisbane in Brisbane, Australia on May 16, 2009.

CrossFit trainers have more in common with rugby or swimming coaches than trainers in commercial gyms. That’s because CrossFit trainers keep score in competitive workouts. And sports coaches have a higher risk tolerance than Globo Gym trainers. When novice members of rugby team are taught to tackle, one or two may get injured. The only way to have a perfectly safe program is to have a perfectly ineffective one. But you can’t define success as simply the avoidance of injury. Doing too little in a training program doesn’t prepare you for life. Failing to measure long-term consequences is just a way to hide from ineffective programs. Efficacy, efficiency, and safety must all be considered together.

The real goal is to be powerful across broad time and modal domains for as long as possible. Few athletes would want high VO 2 max if they lose the game. And how much good is merely being disease-free as a senior citizen, if you have poor functionality and and a bad quality of life?

10min 27sec



19 Comments on “Accreditation and Results”


Matt Charney wrote …

Want to hear more details on the accreditation. He kind of alluded to it in May at CF101 in Murietta.

Having to fight the lobbyists is not something Coach wants to spend time doing but it looks like he will for all of us.

Go get em Coach!


wrote …

when will crossfit become accredited through the military?


wrote …

such wise wise words! couldnt agree more with all of this!


wrote …

Joshua it is up to us in the military to push the issue. If you want cross fit in your unit then bring it there. I have been relentless in trying to establish Cross Fit in my unit and it is slowly catching on. Let coach fight the big battle and let those of us who are military crossfiters take the grass routes approach. Cross Fit is works to well to be ignored forever.

I am lucky my brigade is Cross Fit friendly. 2 months ago they sponsored a level 1 cert and there is about 1 certified person in every platoon in the brigade. There are still many holdouts that like training the traditional way but it is a start in the right direction


wrote …

I wonder if coach & Lauren, while sitting in rented space in a globo gym, ever thought they would be in Brisbane, Australia addressing a group of devotees about the fact that they must now pursue accreditation. Not because they have to prove themselves through acrcreditation, but because they have so thoroughly kicked the established fitness community’s ass, that said community is now doing everything it can think of to try and regain what was once theirs.

Amazing work, keep kicking ass coach & Lauren.


wrote …

I have always agreed with Coach's long term predictions about the fitness model. But I disagree with something he said in this video: He said (paraphrase) that he would rather have functionality and disease (he mentioned cancer)than loss of function and disease free...that sounds crazy. Granted, you will be in a much better position to fight any disease that may come your way, but your fitness level is irrelevant when your dead. The model, no matter how much given area under the curve, stops when you die.


Matt Charney wrote …

Mike I think you are taking that statement a little too literal.

I agree with Coach on this as long as you are disease free until an elderly age 70, 80, 90 I don't know. I don't want to have a loss of function at 70 and not be able to take care of myself until I am 90.

I discuss this often. I want to be able to climb a flight of stairs to get to my wife/girlfriend's bedroom take care of business until the day I die. I don't want to be non-functional and have someone wiping my arse for my final years.

If you are healthy by CrossFit's definition and have been living the CrossFit lifestyle for a number of years then you will probably be disease free for the most part. Does it mean you can't get a disease no but it means your body can combat the disease better. The odds are probably in your favor also to avoid most of the diseases that are striking down people today.

I'm only 39 now and have been CrossFitting for a little over a year and Zoning for 2-1/2 when I turn 70 I will have been living this way for over 30 years. I let you know if I have changed my views on this subject.


wrote …

As a PT in Australia, you have to attain 18 CEC's (continuing education credits) every 2 years to maintain your qualifications. It would be great to give Coach the money rather than to some quack, just to get CEC's!

I hope at some point it does get accreditation here.



I think Coach would agree that being dead qualifies as a loss of function, no?


replied to comment from Russell Berger

Yes, but everyone dies. It's what your life is like before that happens that Coach is talking about.

He's saying that if you have a disease and it doesn't affect your quality of life, whether that's because you CrossFit or just because you're lucky, then does it matter? Elevated blood pressure is a better example than cancer really. You can take a lot of meds that will have a negative impact on other systems in your body, but if the elevated blood pressure doesn't impact your quality of life in any way, why should you take those meds?

Cancer and other terminal conditions are a different case, but pose a similar dilemma.
If the disease is terminal untreatable cancer that will not affect you quality of life until the final stages, while the "treatment" will make you completely miserable and unable to care for yourself for a slightly longer time than you would have untreated, should you, would you, take the treatment? I've unfortunately seen what cancer treatment can do and if all it was going to do is make what was left of my life a misery, then at the moment I would choose not to take the treatment. Whether that would be the case if I were diagnosed I can't say.

To apply the corollary of your argument, you're saying you'd rather live a long diseased life, unable to care for yourself, unable to enjoy anything resembling normal activities?
I'd have to side with Coach. If I have to choose I choose quality over longevity. If I can have it, I want both longevity and quality of life. And if during that long, active life I have high blood pressure, cancer and/or any other condition and it doesn't bother me or anyone else at all, who cares?


wrote …

This idea about Crossfit and health rattles my brain. Obviously, being active (by CF standards) will lead you down a good path. You'll be mobile and independent for a long time. You almost certainly won't get high blood pressure. Although, this is an interesting example to bring up. It's called the silent killer. Because you don't realize the impact it's having on your body....until you have a stroke. You could die, be paralyzed on one side of the body or a host of other problems/scenarios. The idea that it only matters on how it affects your work capacity over the ages, in my view, doesn't really fit. Yes, your wave on the 3D curve will have dropped - but the point you're at before the event doesn't really determine where you end up, especially if you die. With hypertension, the evidence would support an inverse relationship with crossfitting. Eg Mikko Salo probably has the lowest chance of having hypertension of all crossfitters. But, people in 'healthy' ranges of risk factors get disease. Eg Joe Crossfitter with BP of 116/72 could keel over at any time. Furthermore, there are countless diseases and illnesses that having nothing to do with exercise or fitness levels.

Exercising in the ways CF promotes is healthy. But health isn't black and white. There are so many more choices than living forever as a dependent and living until you're ninety on your own.


replied to comment from Matt Solomon


I guess you kind of hit on the question I have about Coach's presentations (both in this video and the "Volume Under Curve" videos). I am completely indoctrinated into the CF and CFE system, and I find Coach's connection between fitness and health intriguing. I want to believe everything he says, being a CrossFitter and caring about the success of our program. However, as Coach routinely reminds us in the rest day debates to evaluate an issue and post comments, what is the other side to this -- what are the arguments against the correlations, and how can us as layman understand and evaluate them?



I completely agree with you. I was just filling in the blank left in Mike's comment.


wrote …

Number of deaths for leading causes of death

* Heart disease: 631,636
* Cancer: 559,888
* Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
* Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
* Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
* Diabetes: 72,449
* Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
* Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
* Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
* Septicemia: 34,234

The above is from the CDC website 2006 data.

Coach is right! If you maintain the CF lifestyle (and don't smoke) you will be well on your way to avoiding each and every one of these disease states. The infectious disease deaths from influenza, pneumonia and septicemia involve mostly the very young and very old. A patients premorbid fitness directly influences their chance of surviving most infectious diseases. The nephritis, nephrotic... are terms physicians use when filling out death certificates for patients that die from renal failure. Usually an end stage complication of diabetes and hypertension. Accidents are accidents, can't do much about those, but to paraphrase Coach Rip, strong people are hard to kill and more useful in general.


wrote …

Glassman makes a point that he wants to be powerful across broad time and modal domains for as long as he can. Its a good ideology but there seems to be a loss of credibility when said by someone who is certainly not living up to his dogma. Do the injuries acquired by risky exercise/sport preclude one from practicing crossfit? Or is Glassman too busy to practice what he preaches? I mean these questions out of sincere curiosity since he certainly has had access to crossfit lifestyle and am not privy to the cause of the issue with his gait. I am grateful for the vast amount of technique explained and demonstrated on this site but confused why the founder is incongruent with the philosophy.


wrote …

Great points Coach!! I'm with you on the VO2max and lactate threshold stance; functional fitness is MUCH more important. As an exercise scientist doing research at NASA...I often ask myself (and my colleagues) why we put so much stock into looking at things like VO2max and LT; we know these things decline with long-duration space flight. We need to shift our focus to one of how to better predict functional work capacity and how it correlates to various mission related tasks. I am a firm believer in CrossFit and its principles. Best of luck with the accreditation process!


wrote …

Getting back to the accreditation issue...any idea when it will take place in California? My employer reimburses fees from accredited associations! This would allow me to obtain more certifications.


wrote …

I am trying to initiate dialog with both the VA and CFHQ regarding this accrediation issue. Military affiliate's top challenge is continuity and having enough Level 1 certificate holders on hand to conduct legitimate CrossFit classes. So far, I'm still trying to get to the root of the problem...

Below is my dialog with the VA:

My original question to the VA:
Will the GI bill cover courses accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)?

Response from VA:
Thank you for your inquiry. If the ANSI courses you referred to are offered at a VA approved facility and the program is also VA approved, VA will generally pay for the education benefits if the claimant has applied and is found eligible. As our answer is somewhat general in its response, as we do not know all of the details, we recommend that you telephone the VA Certifying Official at the school you are interested in attending. The individual should be familiar enough with both VA Education and his/her institution and can better advise you on the specifics of your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please visit our website at: or telephone 1-888-442-4551.

My follow up response:
Thanks. The course we'd like to attend is the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate Course. It isn't part of a specific degree program, but rather it is a stand-alone professional certification. The course is accredited by ANSI. Normally I'd be asking the DoD to fund this through tuition assistance, but they will not because the course isn't accredited by the Department of Education. My contact at the Hurlburt Field education office mentioned that the VA may be able to provide funding to members. Regardless, I've attached the trainer handbook and below is an outline of the course...

Response from VA:
Thank you for the information and good luck with the course. You may wish to talk with whomever administers the course to see if they are VA Approved. You may also wish to check with the National Association of State Approving Agencies which provides support to VA in the areas of school and program approval.

Now, my understanding of CFHQ's stance on certificates and accreditation is that they pursued course accreditation at the hest of the State of California who stated that your training course had to be accredited to be legally recognized. The question I have for CFHQ is this:

Is CFHQ willing and able to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and/or the Department of Education to obtain approval for government funding for members to attend your training courses?

If the answer is yes, there is a clear way ahead. If the answer is no, then I'm afraid we're at a point of continuing resolution...


wrote …

Lastly, I understand why there might be some resistance to pursuing a Department of Education recognized accreditation. There is a great amount of asspain associated with it and the result, again, won't make your courses any better.

But there is a strong, positive business case for why CFHQ should go for it. Below is contact info for the ACCSC (which I assume is where a CrossFit Level 1 Course would fall under).

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
Scope of recognition: the accreditation of private, postsecondary, nondegree-granting institutions and degree-granting institutions in the United States, including those granting associate, baccalaureate and master's degrees, that are predominantly organized to educate students for occupational, trade and technical careers, and including institutions that offer programs via distance education.

Michale McComis, Executive Director
2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 302
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Tel. (703) 247-4212, Fax (703) 247-4533
E-mail address:
Web address:

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