140. Amy Hollingsworth | CrossFit Certifications

140. Amy Hollingsworth | CrossFit Certifications

On today’s episode, Fern sits down with Amy Hollingsworth, the Certification Program Manager for Crossfit and owners Kitsap Crossfit with her husband, Dan. Fern and Amy discuss the differences between The Levels 1, 2, 3 and the soon to be released level 4. Nicole Carroll says that “Amy’s  superpower is getting things a credited.” Amy has been fundamental when it comes to The Level 3 being certified. She talks us through how it’s professional credential with less than 1% of Crossfit Credentialed professional having it. She takes a deep dive into why you really do need to know your stuff for this exam and why it demands a lot from you. Also, Amy remind us how much The Level 3 is still in its early days with it came out in 2015. Part of that is it’s always getting refreshed and update, so it reflects the standard of the coaches taking it. Amy’s answers some questions around The Level 4, like it is real and why it’s taking it’s time to be released. The simple answer is like the all things Crossfit wants to do it right and make sure it means something not just in the Crossfit world be everywhere. 

Time Stamps: 

(1:37) Amy’s background and how she got to this position at Crossfit. 
(4:38) Why it’s important the Levels ar accredited 
(12:03) The process
(15:32) The difference between education, training and certification
(24:12) Level 2 Changes
(26:25) Level 3
(31:38) How to understand the Level 3 questions
(35:48) The recertification requirements. (27:28) The two pathways
(41:23) Legitimate course
(43:24) The problems with Licensure in the fitness industry
(46:49) Start with your goals
(47:41) The Level 4 

Amy’s Background:

Amy Hollingsworth along with her husband Dan are owners of Kitsap CrossFit.  Amy’s early athletic endeavours began with gymnastics and diving before turning to endurance events in college. She started running marathons and moved into triathlons shortly thereafter. She has completed 8 half-marathons, 4 marathons, 1 50K ultramarathon, 2 Half-Ironman triathlons and 20+ Olympic/sprint distance triathlons/duathlons. She took an almost 3-year break from serious training after the birth of her first daughter in 2005 before discovering CrossFit in late 2007. She continued to do CrossFit throughout her entire pregnancy, including “Karen” two days before the birth of her second daughter in 2010. Amy has worked in the healthcare industry for 14 years as a Speech Pathologist treating adults with voice and swallowing disorders. She has helped hundreds of patients regain the ability to eat and drink following neurologic injuries and head & neck cancer. She has also witnessed the devastating effects of poor dietary habits and its role in declining cardiovascular health, rise in Type II Diabetes and skyrocketing healthcare costs. She developed an interest in nutrition as a means of disease prevention and treatment to improve patients’ quality of life. Amy’s coaching style is formed by her experience as an athlete in combination with her ability to develop a personal connection with people. She is a strong proponent of leading people outside of their comfort zones in a safe and supportive environment in order to achieve extraordinary results.

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Fern:
All right, everybody, welcome back to the Best Other Day Fern here. I’m actually super excited about this episode because I’m actually going to learn a lot. I think most of the Crossfit, community would be very well served listening to this, because what we are going gonna do is we are going to pull back the curtain on a lot of the courses, their credentials, how it all works. What the hell’s the difference between the level one, level two, level three, level four. And I have no better person here with me to do that than Amy Hollingsworth. And she is also an affiliate owner. So she not only she is not only the certificate certification program manager for Crossfit, HQ, but she is an affiliate owner. And what’s cool about our relationship is that we are literally on opposite coasts. But I have over the years had many of Amy’s members who have made their way via the military from West Coast, East Coast, who are now training at my gym, which is really, really cool. So thank you. So I’m trying to think I’ve got at least four or five over the years and.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Nice, it’s so cool.

Fern:
Yeah, it’s awesome.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Glad they are in good Hands.

Fern:
Well, it’s also it’s always it’s always refreshing because I know. Coming. So Amy’s husband, Dan Hollingsworth, is also on some of our staff. So I know what kind of coaching they’ve got coming to our gym, and I know that. They’re going to get a very similar environment and coaching coming here. So it’s always it’s always a very easy transition for those folks. But cool. So real quick. How does one. What is your background? How do you become the certification program manager for an entity like Forget Crossfit,? Like, how does that work?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Oh, that’s a really interesting question because I came about this. I think, you know, I’m not really sure how someone would do this in in a general organization, but how I did this. My background is in allied health care. And so I was a speech pathologist and I was the rehab manager for a local hospital system. And I was responsible for thirty five staff, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists. And I also had a physician and a nursing staff from a wound clinic. And part of that one small aspect of my duties, I was helping my staff become get there. There is a continuing education that is required for their licensure. And one year we the hospital wasn’t doing super well and we had all of our continuing education benefits completely slashed. So, yeah, so my staff went from having $900 a year to put towards continued education to zero. And I had to do a ton of research to figure out what I was going to do to help these people. And so I just started getting into the weeds about what the actual requirements were. And I learned a ton myself. Even having a background, it’s, you know, knowing that I needed to CEEU to maintain my licensure, I didn’t really know a lot about the process. We just became super focused on what things needed to happen. Long story short, I. Because I knew so much about that process when when we were standing up the level three, I had reached out to Nicole and said, hey, I hear you’re doing this certification process. And I know a lot about continuing professional development. If there’s an opportunity become involved, I’d like to do that. And so that was kind of my entry into it, is I helped with the professional development piece of it and then just kind of fell into the accreditation piece. And so that it it kind of morphed into this whole process for me. Know this was back in 2012.

Fern:
Oh, this was OK. So this is not recent. Yeah. OK. Got it. OK. I asked that because I believe Nicole’s words were Amy’s superpower is getting things assertive, right?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. So I actually think what she said was my superpower is getting things a credit.

Fern:
That’s right. That’s what it was. Yeah.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Exactly. And so you know that it somewhat fell into my lap. How how this all came to be. But because that through that process, I was I just understood how to figure out how to make how to meet a certain standard, just standard. And so I want to take what we’re doing and ensure that we’re meeting the standard, sometimes exceeding the standard so that we can move forward, basically.

Fern:
So on that note, what like. And feel free to talk about this at whatever level you want. Like, what is that like? Why was it so important about like to to make these courses accredited? Like what? Like why should people understand that that’s a big deal other than just like I’ve got my level one and having it accredited actually does mean something versus not being accredited.

Amy Hollingsworth:
I think there are two levels here. One is accreditation is basically a voluntary process that an organization undertakes. So it’s something we chose to do. And the reason you choose to get accredited is basically a validation to show the public that you’re serious about having a high quality program. And then number two is there are certain occupational licensing organizations or, you know, governments or entities that will require that certain credentials are accredited. So, you know, we’re we’re super fortunate in this in our industry that we haven’t gone that route yet. And I know Crossfit, H. Q has taken multiple steps to fight any efforts to license the fitness industry. But you know, Organa, other organizations or other professions might not have that opportunity to choose to do that.

Fern:
What’s what’s your personal thoughts on licensure in general coming from a previous profession that did require licensing versus the fitness industry?

Amy Hollingsworth:
I guess it’s kind of depends on your occupation, but it is you know, honestly, it’s a slippery slope because I came from, you know, physicians, physical therapists, like nurse, like all of those folks are are licensed and by law. And it’s I think, you know, depending on kind of if you get really philosophical about occupational licensing. You know, there’s the thought that it’s protects the public and then there’s the plot that, you know, it’s somewhat of a back in that what it does is it provides a barrier for other people to get into the space. And so I think there has to be a balance. And what we have right now is a system that requires licensure for certain professions. And I think it’s just there there needs to there need. We need to have some sort of public awareness of just the kind of the whole landscape of licensing so that it doesn’t get out of control.

Fern:
Yeah, the. Is there any. Try to think about it as this question so it makes sense. Does being accredited help in any way, shape or form in the event. Licensor does hit the fitness industry?

Fern:
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Because, again, you know, it’s it’s something that the government is is used to looking at. You know, if you look at the Department of Defense, you could you could name a whole slew of things that they require to be accredited, whether it’s occupations or whether it’s, you know, programs or, you know, they accredit. Products. So, you know, if if a part that has to go into an airplane. You know, those types of things. The government is used to looking for that level of validation when it’s looking at considering that kind of things.

Fern:
You know, obviously we don’t we to particularly and I say we Crossfit, doesn’t really want licenser to come into the fitness industry. I just I know coaches is pretty adamant about that. But in the event that it did, would this kind of how or where would this put, you know, the Crossfit, trainers, whether it’s level one, level two, level three in kind of a better spot in the event that that starts coming down the pipe and they’re just like, hey, now you have to be licensed. Is that does that help us in any way?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, it helps from the perspective of what would happen. What likely would happen is licensure would say in order to become licensed, you need to have an accredited credential.

Fern:
Got it. OK. That makes sense. The other thing that I remember reading this in a couple of the blogs that the Russel’s did you like while ago, that they like the different governing bodies for accreditation. So Crossfit, uses ANSI, A-N-S-I. But what are the other ones? I don’t know. Yeah, there’s somebody there. So the what? So we use andsay which is American National Standards Institute. Is that correct? Yeah, right. And then what’s different about that one from some of the other ones?

Amy Hollingsworth:
So that the other main organization that other people the fitness industry go through is the NCCA, which. OK, now I’m going to mess this up. It’s the National Day. I should look it up for you because I don’t recall what the what the acronym stands for. But essentially they’re a national body, so they only accredit programs in the US.

Fern:
OK.ANSI

Amy Hollingsworth:
ANSI is actually a member of the International Accreditation Forum, which is an international body that establishes standards. So when you have your accredited by ANSI, you’re accredited to an international standard. What’s cool about that is they take subject matter experts from around the world and establish best practices.

Fern:
No you’re good go ahead.

Amy Hollingsworth:
They establish standards based on, you know, international considerations, which I think is amazing because especially for us, because we have trainers all over the world. And so what we want to be able to do is take input from, you know, what’s important to other countries. And, you know, they’re always giving be considerations that people nationally. OK.

Fern:
Ok. So now and then. So typically, what are most. So like like I’m dealing with the ones that come to mind or like the the CBT or the CSC. Yes. Like what’s different about those? Are they accredited by different bodies? Like it’s the stuff that funds that falls under like a CSM or NACA. You know what there is are.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, they’re all they’re all accredited through the NCCA.

Fern:
Ok. Got it. OK. So that that larger governing body is that’s considered in the kind of is that’s considered the andsay that’s considered thing. Is that considered better because it’s international or is it just considered different?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, we would say it’s better.

Fern:
Yeah.

Amy Hollingsworth:
And would say that the requirements to meet the international standards are much more rigorous and much more challenging. And so we would say it’s actually easier to meet the NCCA standard, which is why more innocent organizations do that. So it’s the National Commission for Certifying Agency.

Fern:
That’s what they got. Yeah, I was I remember I remember there was three different ones and I just didn’t have the information from the article and I took my time, but. OK. So do you like the other thing I don’t think people understand is how long it is to make this happen? Like what the like how long it takes to get a program or a course accredited. Like it’s not just I submitted online application. They come back and they say, you’re good. It’s a significant process that take that not only takes a long time to get online, but then takes a continuing effort to keep it accredited over the years.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yes. I mean, it’s it’s substantial. And I think so. I came into the process, like I said, in 2012, Nepal had already done a tremendous amount of work. to get this is rolling. And we were finally accredited in 2015 is that at right?

Fern:
That sounds right. Yeah.

Amy Hollingsworth:
I should know this off the top of my head, right.

Fern:
It’s been a while at this point, though. I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s right. I’m almost positive. That’s right, actually.

Amy Hollingsworth:
And so, you know, the process entails. You know, you’ve got to have so many you’ve got to complete a job task analysis. And that is you. You survey members of the community and you find out what are the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to do this job. And then based on that, you put together a reasoned blueprint and then you have to provide there have people go through the examination. I’m kind of like a beta test and then you have to analyze that data. So, I mean, it’s there’s so many steps to the process. And not only is it a lot of time. There’s a tremendous amount of money where hiring testing consultants are hired. Psychometrics is where hiring accreditation consultants, they’re auditing our work. They’re telling us, hey, you need to beef up your ability to do this, this and this. And it’s it’s real. And then also, you know, we’ve got our peers from within the Crossfit, community. So we had a lot of subject matter experts that came in and did the, you know, kind of analyze that, the job task analysis and the exam print and then and then actually the process for writing the exam. Know that was all guided by consultants and high level professionals in the community. And it was you know, it was a long, arduous and really rigorous process. And so I think that, you know, we take a lot of pride in the product we put out. It’s it’s an amazing in the exam itself is an amazing exam. And it’s no joke.

Amy Hollingsworth:
You know, I think a lot of people in the beginning. No, you’re good. Dallas. Well, no.

Fern:
The reason I bring that up is because, you know, the specifically the, you know, folks outside of the Crossfit, community would give a level one, specifically some flacking to be like, oh, well, you took a weekend course and then took a test, you know, to which my argument is always, well, I don’t have to take any, you know, in-person instruction to become a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Right. I can just literally as long as I have a degree, I can register for the test and I can go take that test and I can pass or fail. So I think there’s just a misunderstanding about how all of this works and how the function of all of it and the fitness industry.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Right. You know, and that actually is a really good Segway to talk about the difference between education, training and certification. Just a follow up on what you just said. You know, there is not there is nobody on seminar staff. There’s nobody from within HQ. You that said, once you take that level one, you have, you know, everything you need to know about being a fitness trainer and you never need to do anything more.

Fern:
No, that’s like exactly that. That is the complete opposite of what we end the weekend with. Where we say this is literally your first step in this lifelong journey like you are, you are not even close to being done. It’s like it’s like in a 24 hour day. Look, the level one is you waking up and getting out of bed like that is the first. So the whole equation, you know.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Right. Yeah. And it’s just it’s kind of frustrating because, you know, that statement, it’s and it’s really kind of an ignorant statement. And the flip side of that is why it why it’s some why it’s such an important first step. And, you know, this is that it’s hands on. You were you are actually doing something. It’s it’s a it’s a participatory experience. And I think that’s why it sets up since people up well for their for their journey in fitness training.

Fern:
So. So explain to people what the difference between like how like what should they know? Like, so people are always looking for continue education, whether it’s like some sort or whether it’s an actual piece of paper or a certificate or something. What should they understand about education versus training versus certification?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Ok. So education, the way I like to think about it is kind of like the overarching theoretical. Information, so an example of that is an example of education is teaching people why it’s important to squat. OK. Training is. I’m going to teach you the skill to train others how to squat. OK. And then certification is I am going to assess you to determine if you’ve taken everything you’ve learned over the course of your profession and see if you can demonstrate competence.

Fern:
Ok. So the level one would encompass what? So at least education and training. But I know there I know there’s a lot there’s a there is a pretty definitive cut off between a certificate versus a certification.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Correct. And so a certification. So Serta. So a certificate program is much different than a certification program. And the level one and level two, like you mentioned, our certificate courses and certificate course means that there is a set defined learning objectives. You are provided instruction that teach to those learning objectives and then you may or may not test to see if there’s mastery of those learning objectives.

Amy Hollingsworth:
That’s a certificate course. Does not have to include a test. Does not have to. Got it. So that’s it. So in that regard, the level one is going above and beyond for the certificate course.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Correct. And so then just some you know, some basic things about certificates is that they typically do not issue. You know, there are there typically are no ongoing requirements as far as professional development. But there typically are there there’s a validation period or validity period. Yes. I like a level one, which is five years. Correct. Or in another really good example. That is like CPR. Right. You know, you pass the test. And in three or two years, you need to repeat that training because it’s only valid for two years. Yeah. We’re not saying you didn’t do the training or that the training is necessarily outdated. But what we’re saying is in order to keep up with a certain level of skill, then we’re saying you need to repeat it like like we have a revalidation system.

Fern:
And I think for people to understand, because there are some people in again, they just don’t know what they don’t know. They think that Crossfit, mandates that they come back every five years and that don’t Crossfit, doesn’t have any. So and they’re like that’s that is mandated in order to keep in a career like an accredited course.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, correct. So there is a validity period that is required. And so and that’s an industry standard. That’s that’s just what high quality certificate programs do, is they establish what the validity period is and they expect that you revisit that information and along that timeline. So that’s yeah, that’s not something that we pull out of thin air.

Fern:
Yeah. And I’m trying to think back to the timeline. I want to say the the Level 1 course obviously was originally not tested. And I want to say it became tested in like 2011 and then accredited in 2015. I want to say that’s like that’s a very rough timeline.

Amy Hollingsworth:
But that’s actually was it was a credit in 2010. Oh, really? OK, yeah. Yeah. This is yeah. We’re doing nine years of credit nation for the level one, but.

Fern:
Oh that’s right. But that’s when. OK. I remember because that’s when they moved away from it. If I’m not correct. If I’m correct that’s when they moved away from testing and getting it.

Amy Hollingsworth:
I’m sorry. Alice corruptness.

Fern:
That’s why I think is that when they moved from testing and getting on site.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Might be I’m not the person on that.

Fern:
OK. I remember I just remember there was like a specific period in there where you had to your credential was no longer good. It was in that five year period. You had you had like so long like because they had gone through the accreditation process.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yes, that’s exactly right. So you had in order to have the accredited credentials you had, you were given that time frame. UPS are my door.

Fern:
OK, take care of whatever you need to.

Fern:
Yes. I think is important. So timeline is important, your guys. So you need to think about, OK, this has been a decade long process and is only going to improve over time. So we’re going to talk a little bit about the level two and the level three, and then we’ll kind of give you as much as we can about level four that is coming online. So but the level three, I think, is five years old.

Fern:
And that is Amy’s that’s kind of her swim line. So Amy kind of governs the certification or the program. She’s a manager for a program for that for the level three specifically. So she we’re gonna get we’re gonna do a deep dive level 3. OK. So the. Yeah. So I think that I think that timeline is correct. We had like a really small window to get that like to get up to speed. Otherwise your credential is no longer any good. And then trying to think. So I came on staff in 2013 and that’s when I think that’s when really when a lot of the kind of revisions and oversight really started to hit hard with regard to how the program held up. The course was facilitated where like there were some hard there’s like some really hard wickets that you have to hit with regard to presenting course. Otherwise you can lose that accreditation.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s it the process is its yearly surveillance. So every year we’re submitting just a massive amount of documentation to show that we you know, that we continue to meet the standard and then assessors say, hey, these are the standards you’re not meeting. You need to fix things. And so that’s you know, it’s that kind of back and forth.

Fern:
And the test is in the test gets revised as well. So if anybody’s taken all of of course, you remember when it gets briefed at test time, they say, hey, there are five test questions on here that don’t count towards or against you. And so that’s part of the accreditation process as well, to make sure that the questions are appropriate in that overall picture of keeping a course accredited as well. So, OK.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. So there’s a standard that speaks to having a fair and reliable exam. And so we have to and you know, that’s all part of how we how you manage reliability is constantly refreshing. And it’s super hard with the level one because of exposure. You know, the hundreds of thousands of people that take bags that test. You know, it keeps everybody on their toes with that whole. Yes. To refresh reliability issue.

Fern:
Yeah. That’s why there is like verbage in all of the like in the test briefing about like not discussing the test and all that stuff. And then at the the level two, that’s going through some changes. So that’s going to change as far as that certificate. But I don’t remember. Is does that is that course also accredited? I feel like I should know that, but it is not okay. And and it’s and it’s not because that one is it’s a kind of a unique course. And I’ve been I feel like that is has a lot to do with it.

Amy Hollingsworth:
It is. So it’s harder to standardize a course like the level to. Yes. So, you know, it’s it’s just it’s just a hard process. It’s certainly something we’ve discussed. And, you know, we’ll see down the road. It might that might change. And actually that the change with the with it that the change in the new test, that also might streamline that process. But right now, I honestly don’t know. Yeah. What if you know what the decision for that is?

Fern:
So. Yeah. So for those of you you don’t know, this is not a kind of secret information. This has already been released. I don’t I don’t know what the timeline for that is or what the specifics are, but for the level to you, there will no longer be a test on site. There will be a test that you can take after the course. Kind of, I guess, like the easiest way to kind of like you would take the judge’s course, you know, for the for the open. But. But it would be for your level to. So that will no longer be tested on site, will be tested post taking the course to get that certificate. So that’s gonna be a change. So it’s not going back to what it was before. It’s kind of like an intermediate between those two where used to just take the level two and it was more participatory than anything. But yeah. So for the standard, for those of you that have not taken your level two the reason that win is probably it. Again, in my limited knowledge, more. Difficult to get accredited is because of the uniqueness of the course, meaning of most of that is personalized feedback to the coaches that come in and take that course. So be incredibly difficult to standardize individual feedback across. However, many tens of hundreds of thousands of athletes that are coming through the level two course.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Correct.

Fern:
So so now what we transition. I want to get into a little bit, which is your kind of specific swim lane in this whole process, which is your baby is the level 3. So for those who have not sat for the level three, it isn’t no joke, right? It is a full fledged for our test. And if I told people all the time, do not go into that. Thinking that it’s going to go well, like it is a very difficult test the most, I don’t know what the numbers are, but like the failure rate is not low. It’s pretty significant, which I think is a testament to the test.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, and we don’t we don’t actually published the pass rate. You know, I think what we’re waiting for in regards to that is just a few more years of data. Yeah. You know, it was so it was accredited in the fall of 2015 that the seminar staff actually took that the exam is part of the beta.

Fern:
Yep.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Year before. So it’s really still a pretty young exam. And so we want to get make sure we’ve got a lot of really good data before we start pointing that out to the public. But you know, the past rate is the pass rate. It as far as it doesn’t really impact individuals per say because. Yeah, you know, whether or not someone else passed has no impact on whether the next person is gonna pass because it’s it’s not you know, it’s based on. There’s a there’s an absolute cut score. And you either meet the cut score or you don’t.

Fern:
Is can you tell like do you know how many of you have taken it? Can you release that information? How many people have actually gone through that course?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, it’s not, of course. So the exam.

Fern:
So that’s a good place to start, actually, but have taken that test and then we can talk about the difference between, of course, and what makes it a certification.

Amy Hollingsworth:
OK, so how gosh,.

Fern:
If you don’t know, that’s fine.

Amy Hollingsworth:
But I don’t know how many people have taken the exam because my data that I get includes people who have retaken it. Well, I can’t tell you. I can tell you there are approximately eleven hundred, almost twelve hundred people who have who are a level three as CFT level three. Oh, that’s a fair number of people who have the credential.

Fern:
So that’s problem. I mean that’s definitely less than one percent of Crossfit, trainers out there.

Amy Hollingsworth:
It is. Yeah.

Fern:
Like significantly less than 1 percent because I want to say that I want that Crossfit, level one trainer is like something to the tune of 1 20 to 1 50 120. OK.

Amy Hollingsworth:
That sounds great to me as well. So yeah, I mean, if you talk if you look at percentages within the credentialed staff within Crossfit, or the credentialed professionals, I think Crossfit,, that’s a really small percentage, you know. Of course we’d like to see that grow and but but the reality is, is it’s not it’s not a Hey sign up, check in the box, show up. You know, if you’ve got a pulse, you’ll pass and you know, you go on your merry way and say it’s a serious professional credential.

Fern:
Yeah. So. So let’s talk about that. So what makes that level three different? Right. So what what’s the difference between your typical course and what? Now we’ve moved into the role of like I hold a certification.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Ok. So certification means assessment of basically the breadth of a professional knowledge base so that knowledge, skills and abilities that you need to be a certain professional. And so it’s not based on any coursework. It’s not based on any specific items. It’s basically this whole broad view of do you mean a minimum level of competency to actually do this job? So it’s very broad in scope.

Fern:
That’s why I always I always that’s why I always struggle when people ask me what should I study for the level three? And I’m like, everything, like. Yeah. It’s really tough in that regard because there is no one place. It’s not like, hey, if you read through this book or this, like it’s it is really a very, very broad assessment of one’s coaching skills in general. So like technical knowledge to go to programming, nutrition, your visual perpetuity with regard to seeing movement like all of that stuff.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Right now. But that said, there is there is a continent online that is that forms the exam blueprint. Right. So, you know, you go you can look at how how many how many questions are going to be involved with coaching or how many questions are going to be involved with classroom management, that kind of thing. In the exam, questions are are written to the content online, meaning if you see a knowledge, skill or ability that’s that’s described in the content outline. We’re gonna ask you a question that you should be able to apply for. If you are competent in that knowledge base, you should be able to apply that knowledge and answer that question properly.

Fern:
And that is that’s. Yeah, no, it makes perfect sense to me. And this is where I this where I think people get hung up because in a lot of instances I’m trying to like.

Fern:
I couldn’t give away any questions if I wanted to because I remember because I took it five years ago, but it’s much less like, you know, it. The answers are. It is a multiple choice test, but they do all of the questions require a very broad comprehension of the topic. So a lot of it is not just like, you know, is this the right hand or the left hand is like the most bait. Like it’s like, do you understand like the overarching principle and how it would be applied and kind of this scenario? That’s what I think. That’s what I think makes it very challenging.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, that’s exactly right. So, you know, we also provide some online study materials. And what we see is the question that the exam items aren’t taken from the study materials. What we providing the study materials for is if you if you look at the content outline and let’s say here, let me give you an example. So continent-wide under programming is you should be able to adjust programming based on performance and goals. OK, so that that’s a pretty broad,.

Fern:
Super broad,.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Super broad. So maybe we have some study materials that address programming for different performance levels and goal levels, different ability levels, those kinds of things. So the study materials are there to help you develop the the ability to apply that knowledge to that particular exam.

Fern:
Yeah, the the guidance I generally give people is if you are not enough in an affiliate actively coaching and instructing Crossfit, on on almost a daily basis, you should probably not sit for that test.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. I mean practical experience coaching is critical. It’s absolutely critical.

Fern:
So. Yeah, and I think that’s that’s so. So a lot of people and I think, you know, which is strange because we’re five years into this, but I think people are now really starting to understand the value of the Level 3 because. And if you kind of think about that, nobody really got it. Five years ago, there was like, OK, cool, it’s another course that Crossfitters gonna make money on, blah, blah, blah, which is probably not the case. But but you see this as the Crossfit, matures, as the affiliate community matures, as coaches mature, because realistically, like there’s still a fairly new. Kind of environment that we’re all operating in relative to fitness like overall, that is now a separator like now that people will start looking for people who have a level three because it is very much a clear delineation between somebodies knowledge and skill set versus the next person. And I think Nicole said this, you know, as she does, you know, very, very succinctly, is absent of any other information about this person. It tells me that they know what they’re talking about. Right. You know, like outside of the fact, like, are they an asshole or all of that other stuff. But it does tell me that they have like a significant amount of knowledge with regard to Crossfit, in its entirety.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean it’s just it it’s somewhat it’s what it speaks to as someone who’s taken that next level to show that they’re competent and to show that they’re serious about maintaining professional credential, that is going to insist that they have ongoing professional development and ongoing coaching hours. And it just puts them in a level of, you know, as if we were licensed, you know, making that voluntary step to maintain the standard of actually our license while we’re not.

Fern:
Yeah. So on that note. So that’s actually a good little like kind of pivot there, which is the how to see use fit into this whole game. So this is not once you take the Level 3. There’s kind of two ways you can keep your credential, one, I can do my CV use in that time frame, but if I don’t, then I would have to reset for that exam. Correct.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Correct. Yeah. So the the the the research that part of the standard is you have to have established re certification requirements in our recertification requirements are you use ongoing coaching hours maintenance so that your CPR and see you use so for you know, continue education. CEU continuing education units. Some people call them credit. Some people call them, you know, whatever we call him C use. It basically is just a standard of measurement for hours spent in ongoing education.

Fern:
So what are the what are the what’s the hours required for to maintain that credential for the level 3?

Amy Hollingsworth:
50 hours Yeah, 50 hours every three years with the hours every three or so.

Fern:
Nothing crazy. You got to get roughly fifteen hours of C you use annually in order to maintain your credential. Correct. And then how many hours what’s the hours requirement of coach and do you know. I don’t know what that is actually.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Three hundred.

Fern:
Three hundred. Got it. OK, so not an incredible amount.

Amy Hollingsworth:
But you want to know something interesting. When we launched the credential it was nine hundred.

Fern:
For maintenance?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yes.

Fern:
That’s more than it’s required to sit for the exam.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah.

Fern:
It’s not with a 700 or some fifty seven fifty two.

Amy Hollingsworth:
If you apply through path one.

Fern:
Yeah. Yeah. So then there’s two path, So ya talk about that.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. So to finished that. So we launched it at night nine hundred hours every three years and then we quickly realized that was just not sustainable. And so.

Fern:
That’s a lot.

Amy Hollingsworth:
It Is a lot. It is a lot. And so we we changed that to three hundred. I think it’s a lot more reasonable. And but you know there’s somebody if you’re again holding a professional credential, there’s no reason you can’t. Maintain 100 contact hours per year of coaching. But OK, so part 1, part 2 per credit hour. So accreditation standards that we adhere to require that you have an alternative pathway from your own instruction. So we can’t require someone to take Crossfit, training harder to even eligible for this exam. So one pathway is you can get your level on your level two and then you have 750 hours of training others utilizing the Crossfit, methodology pathway two IS you can have fifteen hundred hours of strength and conditioning coaching at the collegiate or professional level. So an example of that is your the strength coach for the baseball team at UCLA or your the strength coach for the Seattle Seahawks. That type of thing.

Fern:
And those do they still have different names? It wasn’t one, though. It was CFL three and then the other was CFT. Or am I saying that right?

Amy Hollingsworth:
No. So actually, so sure, this is a good part of clarification as well. So the actual credentials called the CCFT certified Crossfit, trainer. That is, if that acronym is the actual accredited certification program, the level 3 is a Crossfit, specific designation. It’s got to get people who have part have come up, have passed the exam, coming through pathway one. Got it. So you’re if you’re the strength coach and you apply the pathway to you don’t have a Crossfit, level 3. Got it. You just CCFT. You have to. OK. Yeah. OK.

Fern:
Yeah, I thought that was interesting, and I even though, like somebody like it would be interesting, like I would. I’d be curious how many people and I’m probally don’t even have this information. Have gone through pathway two. Like, I just don’t know. I don’t know how successful you would be on sitting for that exam if you were not had not come through the, the other the other pathway.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. It’s still a pretty small number. You know. I don’t know. I haven’t separated out that pass rate. But, you know, I it’s it is why I think that I think there’s avenues for both people to be successful. So. Yeah. But yeah, I mean it’s just it’s just part of, you know. Cause can you imagine what a racket that is? You develop a certification and you say the only way you can get this is if you take all of my courses here.

Fern:
Yeah, absolutely. People would be like, yeah, you just want more my money and just like that. And that would be a valid gripe. So when I saw that, I was like, oh, that’s that’s a fifteen hundred hours in the strength conditioning. That’s it. This is significant. That’s not chump change.

Amy Hollingsworth:
And the rationale behind that is, okay, so you don’t have you there has what they ask for is some sort of equivalency. And you know, the reality is, is that that’s a really tough thing to decide. But, you know, we haven’t we have a board of subject matter experts that consider all of these things. And in what we looked at was, well, people coming from the strength conditioning community. Maybe they should have additional hours in lieu of. Any type of training requirements and so, you know, it is what it is, it’s been reviewed, it’s been approved. And here we are five years later, four and a half years later. But yeah, the issue is that you have to give people the opportunity to to have an alternate pathway.

Fern:
And the real takeaway I would really want people to walk away with is the amount of time, resources, money that Crossfit, is putting behind, like making this pipeline legitimate, like far more legitimate than most, if not any other trainer credentials that you could have because of the requirement. I mean, somebody who has a level one, level two, level three, and then we can chat a little bit about the level four. That is a significant journey and tells me a lot about you as a professional, which is not the case if I’m just going to you know, like if you if you have the CBT, which is a certified personal trainer through ACE, I mean, you can just take that test like you over the block.

Amy Hollingsworth:
You study the book and you take the test.

Fern:
Or you don’t study and you can just don’t like. I took the CSC photos. I took the CSC. Yes. I did not study one second for that test. I looked like I was able to apply because I have a degree. So my my degree is in economics, by the way. So I register for the test. I went took the test. So there’s that’s a two part test. So that is I forget what they’re called. I’m in a butcher these names. But one is like basically the practical application and the other one is like applied sciences or something of that nature breezed through the practical application and then failed the applied sciences portion because that one that portion of the test is very specific to the study material, which I had not because they want very specific answers. And for somebody who’s looking for a little bit more specificity on that, if they’re talking about caloric needs for an athlete like they want a specific answer based on the athletes in the parameters that they gave you, which in large part would not fall in line with what we believe would be calorically required for an athlete and and macro distribution as well. So that’s the kind of stuff where I am going to sit for it and take it again. But I’m gonna have to crack a book for that. So because I’m going to have to study to that test in order to pass the test.

Amy Hollingsworth:
And you actually just done a really important information of why licensure itself is really scary, because the potential for licensure is that there would be somebody that is not a subject matter. Experts making decisions about that exam question needing to be. Isn’t there new nutrition standards or nutrition standards, someone else’s nutrition standards and and and really what the answer should be. Is a nutrition standard. And I mean, it’s kind of like having a state sponsored religion. We don’t want it. We want our state picking one. Right? We want. It’s like religious freedom, no matter matter what you believe, I don’t believe. You get to pay, not what I can tell you.

Fern:
So. So actually, that’s actually a good kind of like little mini discussion is why should Crossfit, trainers actually forget that trainers in general? Why should they be a little bit weary of license? Sure. In the fitness industry. Like, if you want to elaborate more, a little bit more along the lines of that, what you were just kind of talking about, like, why should we be worried about that?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, you should be worried because I think traditionally the people that are driving those driving that whole process have potentially their own interests in mind where they you know, other drafts that we’ve seen in certain states have said you need to be accredited by this body or you need to have a credential from this organization where they’re specifying who gets to be the purveyor of of our profession. That’s total and utter bullshit.

Fern:
Yeah. And if you want to do a deeper dive into that, I think it’s keeping fitness legal is up now the name of the blog.

Amy Hollingsworth:
A. So yeah. I mean those guys have covered this. Yeah. That I could never even, you know, summarize for you. But I mean it’s you know, it’s the issue is if you if you look at what the goal if somebody is goal is to prevent someone else from. Having a share in the market, then you really need to be concerned that maybe they don’t have your best interests at heart.

Fern:
Yeah, I think the big takeaway is like two fold. It’s like, hey, it is somewhat of a racket to limit market competition. But more importantly, I think there’s a confusion generally on the consumer and that having a license means that like there’s some sort of like specific professional development behind that person, which is not the case. Like in a lot of those instances. It means I just paid for the license. Like without any sort of credential behind it, meaning I just have this piece of paper that means I’m licensed to do this thing, but it doesn’t speak to it’s not based on professional development and qualifications or reach to be at a certain level within a specific industry, which I think is a bigger takeaway. Is that being a license in the way that it’s trying to come down via legislation is not going to mean that somebody is good at what they do. Correct. So cool. That’s a lot. So what else, if anything, should people know about level one, level two or just that kind of certification process in general?

Amy Hollingsworth:
Well, I think, you know, what I always recommend is you need to start with your goals. What are your goals? Right. And if your goals are to receive the highest quality education and training, then you go and you take your level one. If your goals are, then to advance your you know, your your training, your ability to train others and you go when you take your level to your next goal is to kind of commit to a higher level professional standard. Then you decide you’re going to set for your level for this CFT examination. And then part of that process is ongoing professional development and maintaining that certification. So, you know, it’s all about what? What are your goals? What do you want to do? And then you decide where to go from there.

Fern:
Yeah. And then I think the the burning question on a very small percentage of the population, because only those people, less than 1 percent, is even qualified to potentially get there. The follow on kind of the last credential will be the level four. So we can’t give you specific dates are too too much on that. But I know there’s always been like a level four has been like this myth that kind of floats around like, oh yeah, great unicorn. And I think I think it does want a discussion about kind of like why that has been this kind of cloud, if you will, that kind of sits up there because of the uniqueness of it. And if you think about certifications, credentials, to my knowledge, I this what Crossfit, is trying to do with a Level 4 has literally never been done before.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah. I mean, so it’s it’s pretty epic. And, you know, we’re we’re aiming just to release it. We really are like everything Crossfit, does. You know, we’re doing it the right way. We’re engaging in a process that people don’t even, you know, can’t even comprehend that goes into standing up and a credential like that. And so the level four is also going to be a certain occasion. Meeting eligibility requirements, it’s going to be a test to test a broad range of knowledge, skills and abilities. It’s going to have recertification Reklau into an ongoing professional development. All of those things that fits in that certification box. And so the other part of that is that we have to have rely a fair and reliable exam.

Fern:
And so that’s the part that I think is sticky that people understand is like the so there’s the there’s the chorus. But then the way Nicole Coal is explaining it was and I’m not going to give away anything that is super specific, but the accredit tours within the organization have to go through a pretty significant kind of. And once say accreditors mean or assessors, it’s probably better words for that. I have to go through a pretty nauseating process to make sure that that assess ment process is is pretty standardized across because. So you can imagine, you know, if I if there’s whatever, we’ll just use the whole Crossfit, some of our stuff to do. There’s let’s just say there was two hundred level one and level two trainers total. I mean let’s say you picked. I’m just making these numbers up so don’t hold me to these guys. Let’s say you picked 10 of them out of there who are gonna be level four assessors. Those four are those 10 people would have to have a very reliable, consistent means of assessment across the board, regardless of who they were assessing or where or what combination they were put in. So that really is the struggle. And currently, that is is trying to be sorted out.

Amy Hollingsworth:
So, I mean, yes, I mean, the whole the whole evaluation. Development so that we refer to the level of the CCFT As an examination, we refer to the level for the C CFC as an evaluation. So for the evaluation, you know, the evaluation has to be written and then it has to be, you know, like you said, the Raiders would have to be trained to give that assessment. And then all of that piece has to be analyzed by testing Green Zone, psychometric patricians, all of that kind of stuff. And it’s this continuous process. And it’s like I’ve said, it’s super rigorous and it’s super time consuming. And so what we’re doing is putting putting into play the really important steps, laying the foundation, really strong foundation for I mean, a pretty kick ass evaluation. It’s going to mean it’s gonna be just kind of like I think when the CCF team came on, people, you know, everyone’s excited. They Rasheda, they’re like, oh, shit, you know it you know, it’s it’s not I would say any certification in general that Crossfit, puts out is not to be rushed into lightly. It’s it’s a serious it’s a serious endeavor. You have to you have to know why you’re doing it. And have you know, it’s not just a check in the box. It’s not just because you want a bunch of letters behind your name. It’s because you take the process seriously and approach it with a little bit of respect because some.

Fern:
I mean, to be blown out of a ship. You need to know your shit,.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Know your shit. Y

Fern:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think I think the frustration is people are anxious to do it. However, it could be because the reality is like Crossfit, could have put it together and put it on the street and we could do this processing and we could and we could slap level four people that would, you know, the organization deemed worthy, but it wouldn’t be legitimized by an outside party, which I think is why they’re taking kind of the long, slow approach to this. So that long term, ten, fifteen years from now, like that credential actually means something like I got up, I got a sticker, you know, and says, I’m level 4.

Amy Hollingsworth:
The t shirt right. You know, honestly, I that’s a really good assessment of it. And I think that one of the things that’s most exciting for me is the feedback that I see that people who undertake this process and I have feeling it’s going to be the seat will really see the same feedback for the level four that people say, I learned so much and I grew as a coach during this process. So whether even people who failed have come back and say, I failed and I’m disappointed, but I’m gonna do it again because I’ve learned so much, I’ve become a better coach. So you know who the real winners are? Is the whole community, because what they’re getting is more experience, more confident, more competent and more just aware coaches out there that are that are really serving this community. And to me, that’s that’s pretty phenomenal.

Fern:
Yeah, I mean, I don’t I can’t I actually can’t think of a better way to end this podcast. I think that was a great summation of like why this process is important, why Crossfit, and HQ is spending so much time trying to make sure that this, you know, came online, stays online, and then they follow on courses. We’ll do the same thing. So awesome. I think that was a good kind of clarification on a lot of kind of weird little mis misunderstandings about the whole process and and the courses in general. So thank you. I learned something of those grand. Absolutely. If you guys have questions about this stuff, just hit us up in IDM and and we’ll be happy to hand those off to Amy. And like I said, like this is kind of straight from, you know, the head up there about what’s going on, why it is the way it is. And I think you guys should be excited. So the level four is coming. It’s coming. It’s going to happen. But if you have not taken a level three and you want to pursue your professional level as a coach, I highly recommend the level three. But, you know, as Amy and I have both stated, it is not something to be taken lightly. You should spend some time with your face in a book. You just spend some time coaching and athletes on the floor and up and be prepared for a rigorous, you know, test of your knowledge.

Fern:
So anything else?

Amy Hollingsworth:
No, I just. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Fern:
An awesome.

Amy Hollingsworth:
It’s great.

Fern:
Listen, if I know you guys are mad because we never seen any people to Washington. But nobody goes from Virginia Beach to Washington. But if they do, I’m sending rockets out Crossfit,.

Amy Hollingsworth:
So we appreciate that.

Fern:
Awesome. Let’s have any other questions. Please send them our way and we’d be happy to get answers for you. Via Amy and the certification team. So awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I know you’re busy, so we appreciate it.

Amy Hollingsworth:
Yeah, absolutely. My pleasure.

Fern:
Awesome.

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