The path to becoming a coach

In October I left my 9-5 desk job working for a global brand with over 280,000 employees and became the first full time employee as a coach at CrossFit East Northants, quite a change. The decision had been made months before, but the first day of not wearing a suit to work was still very strange and I found myself looking at the gym clock at 8:30 thinking I was going to be late for work! I had been training at CFEN for almost exactly a year when I joined the coaching team having taken my Level 1 course a month or so before and starting to get myself involved in coaching part time at the box.


While I’ve always had a sporting background I have only been involved in CrossFit for a year, having trained as a competitive swimmer when I was younger and picked up training in commercial gyms to support that. So, I thought I was in good shape but I remember being faced with the benchmark workout Grace and the Hero WOD Whitten very early on in my time at CFEN and completely rethinking that! A certain South African member absolutely thrashed me at Whitten but continued to cheer me on throughout the workout (which I never completed, I hit the time cap!) and pretty much set my understanding of the way things were done at CFEN.
Why did I take the decision to talk to Jack about taking my Level 1 and becoming a coach? Standing in front of the whiteboard for the first time feeling incredibly nervous and with a big Yeti pulling faces at me from the back of the class I think I momentarily asked myself the same question! I took the decision to become a coach because I think that if you have a job that you love then you’ll never work a day in your life. Having seen the impact that CFEN can have on people’s lives and watching the PR board fill up every month with people doing things for the first time and things they never thought possible made the decision easy. Whether it’s running their first 400m unbroken or mastering strict muscle ups or anything in-between it’s incredibly rewarding and is the reason I became a coach.
The change from standing half asleep at a 6am training session trying to work out just how much the WOD was going to hurt to being the person taking the class through the workout was initially very strange, most sessions once I’d read through the board I wanted to join in with the training! CFEN is very much built around Jack’s personality and his experiences of the way a box should be run so the moment that the responsibility of the job hit home was when a brand-new member walked into reception and I was the only member of staff there, suddenly I was their first impression of CFEN!
Having never regularly trained or had experience coaching at another box has been both a challenge and an advantage. On one hand it means that the learning curve has been very steep moving into the world of coaching but on the other hand I only really know the CFEN way!
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind going from coaching 2-3 hours a week to 15 hours per week but it’s been brilliant, we’ve had plenty of new faces joining the community and the whole of CFEN have been very supportive of me starting of the journey of becoming a coach. Being jumped on and covered in silly string by the 6am class after my first morning session was a particular highlight, as was coaching my first ever official class wearing a Viking hat (Thanks Houghts!).
One of the biggest things that I have learned in my first couple of weeks is that the knowledge accumulation never stops and there aren’t enough hours in the day, CrossFit pulls on so many different areas of sport and fitness that there is a never-ending source of information that can be applied into improving people’s fitness.
The Level 1 course is a fantastic introduction to the world of becoming a CrossFit Trainer but it’s just the beginning, I certainly have a long way to go and I think that the pursuit of becoming the best coach possible never truly stops either!
However the main thing I’ve taken from the last two weeks is just how easy the whole of Team CFEN have made it for me to move into the role of coaching permanently, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be working with!
Coach Ed