CrossFit Coach

CrossFit Coach

CrossFit Coach


Male, 37

I opened CrossFit Hell's Kitchen NYC in September 2010 and since have coached thousands of CrossFitters. I have had athletes make it to the CrossFit Regionals as well as place in many local competitions. Prior to CrossFit, I ran a Kettlebell club at a gym in midtown Manhattan while I worked as a personal trainer. I am a licensed massage therapist who worked on Randy Johnson "The Big Unit" during his pitching days with the NY Yankees.

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32 Questions


Last Answer on April 21, 2017

Best Rated

What's the Crossfit gym certification process like? It seems to be blowing up these days; what do you have to do to be able to use the Crossfit name, and does the parent organization dictate how many there can be in one city?

Asked by Chelsea212 about 5 years ago

The certification process is at a cost of $1000.00 and is weekend long process under watchful eyes of the CrossFit HQ staff. Yes, as the popularity of CrossFit increases, so does the demand for more coaches as well as the increased demand for HQ to provide more certification seminars. They sell out almost as quickly as they are posted. In order to be able to use the CrossFit name, one must be a level 1 certification, be a licensed affiliate by HQ, have the proper insurance a live web site and a few other things. Here is the link to CrossFit HQ's site with all the details: No, CrossFit HQ does not limit the number of affiliates in a city or region. The belief is that a free market and competition will allow everyone to be their best and thrive, and I couldn't agree more. As the saying goes, "The cream always rises to the top".

What was the most dramatic before-and-after you experienced with a client?

Asked by Cali cat about 5 years ago

There have been so many transformations at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen, it is hard to say. The most recent one I can think of is a gentleman involved in our corporate program who has lost 44 pounds over the past 2 months by coming in 3-4 days a week and following a strict Paleo diet. He has gotten such great results, he now has even better support as his girlfriend has joined as well.

How do the economics of opening a Crossfit gym work? Are there huge up-front costs involved with buying or leasing equipment and if so, when should a box owner expect to turn a profit? Right out of the gate?

Asked by GWB about 5 years ago

That is a really tough question to answer, as the economics of a large city like NYC where CrossFit Hell's Kitchen is located compared to a CrossFit Gym in a rural area will be completely different. Different gyms will be outfitted with differing amounts of equipment. For example we have 60 feet of pull up rigging, 40 Olympic Barbells and almost 4000 pounds of bumper plates as well as 15 Concept 2 rowers and 4500 square feet of fully mat covered floor space. We also have a 6 GHD's, 20 sets of rings, 40 med balls, full dumbell set and a host of other goodies, air dynes, logs, farmers handles, 40 kettlebells and full locker/ shower facilities. We are a full time, fully equipped CrossFit facility. Others start out much smaller, sometimes in their garage, with only a single pull up rig and barbell. Growing slowly from there as they start to train others, any money made is reinvested into more equipment. If you plan on opening up a full time serious CrossFit gym, then, yes, there is a substantial upfront cost involved, not only equipment, but also the lease, legal fees on setting up the corporation, affiliate fees, website set up, insurance, architect fees, build out of the space and the list goes on and on and on. When is a profit returned? It depends on all of those variables and really cannot be answered. I have friends who run one of the largest CrossFits in the states, and for the first 5 years, they either were at a loss, or just broke even. It was only after their 6th year in business that they showed a profit. Others I know, with minimal investment, were able to make money after the first 6 months, but still had to keep their day jobs and run their box part time. I think one of the best things to do is have a SOLID business plan in place before you spend a dollar on opening up. Know what you are getting yourself into and be prepared to pour your heart and soul into your CrossFit. If you aren't willing to sacrifice that much then go in cautiously, you had better LOVE CrossFit and be willing to be broke for the first few years. The benefits of this business cannot and should not ever be measured in dollars. If you are after a financial profit alone, you will be very disappointed. If the money isn't your concern, and you love CrossFit and helping others, then you won't need to worry about a profit, it will happen, maybe not right out of the gate, but eventually it will. How soon though? That I cannot foresee.

What made you decide to become a CrossFit coach, instead of continuing your personal training more broadly?

Asked by dan79 about 5 years ago

That is an interesting question. It was a direct extension for my desire to improve my clients performance. After examining several other forms of training, I felt it was in the best interest of my clients to revisit CrossFit and it's principles. As a CrossFit Coach, I am able to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to my athletes training. Using the best of weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, kettlebells, as well as varying the intensities, duration, rest and loads I have been able to improve overall performance, strength, power and conditioning of the people I coach.

What kind of weights can the strongest guy and girl at your box lift?

Asked by michael_kim about 5 years ago

CrossFit total, which consists of the following lifts: Squat, press and deadlift has had a 405 squat, 185 press and a 565 deadlift by an athlete that weighed in at 190 pounds. Deadlift of 335 by a 105 pound athlete. 215 pound snatch and 270 clean and jerk by an athlete weighing 195 and a 285 clean by a 200 pound athlete. One girl who made Regionals last year and weighs 105 has a clean and jerk of 165.

Do elite athletes have crazy musculature that a massage therapist can feel? For example, did Randy Johnson's body composition and muscle tone feel dramatically different than that of a typical weekend warrior with a desk job?

Asked by Pete about 5 years ago

The quality and tone of musculature varies widely amongst people, regardless of their being elite or not, and mostly depending on their level of injury, as that is what I specialized in, injury treatment. Healthy muscle tissue is softer and more pliable in nature than hyper-tonic, injured tissue. There is a different quality to injured tissue. I would usually explain to people I treated that it starts out soft and squishy, like a water balloon. It then feels like a gummy bear and finally after it is chronic, more like beef jerky. Most of the people I treated were injured, and despite their being weekend warriors of Pro Athletes, all the injuries had the same qualities.

How much do those giant tires cost? And are those things manufactured specifically for gyms, or were they actually part of a huge vehicle at some point?

Asked by XDrewX about 5 years ago

The tires used are actually from some huge vehicle! Most to the time they can be found at junk yards and usually are free, since taking them relieves the junk yards from having to recycle them. One of the problems associated with the used tires though, is the lack of standards in weight and/or size. Despite them weighing the same at manufacture, the use of the tire over it's lifetime wears away an amount of rubber, leaving no two tires the same weight. One ingenious way to create a standard in tire flipping practice is this device: While it may be a bit more expensive than the tires, it allows for many different weights to be trained with and can be done so in a much smaller space and without the need for several different sized tires. It is one of the next things on CrossFit Hell's Kitchen's wish list!

Is Crossfit really just a brilliant MARKETING success story more than anything? It always seemed to me like it was just plyometrics packaged for the masses. (Hey, whatever works, right?)

Asked by rainman about 5 years ago

Marketing? In what way? Only recently, with Reebok's involvement has there been any marketing at all. I was around before Reebok or any marketing took place and was busy and successful long before they came on board. I think one of the greatest things about CrossFit is the LACK of marketing. Look at the ads from globo gyms like Planet Fitness or NYSC or Equinox. They have advertisers that set up ads and marketing budgets. CrossFit relies on word of mouth and member referrals, all of which are unsolicited. I really do no marketing at all, have never been good at networking, exploiting connections or advertising. What I am good at though is training and coaching people. We get great results with the people here, weight loss of 15-20 pounds is pretty common as well as phenomenal strength and performance increases. To say it is "just plyometrics packaged for the masses" shows a lack of understanding of what it is that is done here. We do a lot more than just plyometrics, but I'm sure you know that. I think a lot of the success with the individual CrossFit Gyms comes down to how well they are run, the knowledge and coaching ability of the owner and staff as well as the level of customer service. If it were brilliant marketing without something to offer, there would no retention of members. I have had people here with me for years and didn't have to rely on marketing at all. So, long story short, no, not brilliant marketing, but rather a brilliant system of fitness. And, yes, indeed, it does work!

When I see male trainers w/female clients at gyms, there seems to be a lot of sexual tension. Suggestive assisted stretches, hands everywhere, etc (and the women don't seem to mind). Do trainers do this on purpose?

Asked by always wanted to know... about 5 years ago

I would hope this isn't the case at all, and if it is, it is a sad statement on the quality of trainers. ANYONE who is professional at what they do would NEVER do anything like this. Trainers are SUPPOSED to be professional in what they do and I personally find it disgusting that a trainer would be so predatory as to do something like this. There is a power differential between trainer and client and a level of trust is given to the trainer. When a trainer violates this trust, the trainer should be fired from the facility immediately. It gives the gym a bad reputation and potentially could cause sexual harassment lawsuits. The manager or fitness director at the facility should be notified or made aware of this behavior and should take take action. If they do not, it is a statement on how the facility does business and should be avoided.

Is CrossFit recommended for extremely overweight people? Would you suggest it ?

Asked by Katherine about 5 years ago

CrossFit is ideal for people who overweight, provided they are free of medical conditions that inhibit their ability to work out and have been cleared by their doctor. CrossFit is infinitely scalable and therefore can be a great workout regimen. One of the benefits of CrossFit (not just for overweight people, but for everyone) is that it is great at positive reinforcement. While people may temporarily plateau in weight loss, and become discouraged, they will still get new personal records on lifts and WODs. The ability to still have goals met will provide the necessary positive reinforcement to have someone stick with an exercise program, which ultimately will lead to better health, a more positive outlook and the ability to believe that one can achieve things never accomplished before, even massive amounts of weight loss if they haven't been able to do so before.

How did Crossfit achieve such broad appeal with women? I gave up on getting my girlfriend to use free weights (typical girl fear of getting "too big"), and then she comes home one day saying she wants to try Crossfit. How'd they crack that code?

Asked by Ravi S. about 5 years ago

I believe that CrossFit, through its ability to use weightlifting, power lifting, kettlebells, plyometrics, body weight exercises, gymnastics, running, rowing, strongman movements as well as a variety of other disciplines as a means to get people in shape has gained widespread appeal. Women coming into CrossFit usually do so after friends of theirs have and have had no issues with "bulking up". Since women are seeing other women get in great shape, lean, strong and "toned", any fear they have had is alleviated. The "code" has been cracked because it works, plain and simple. Women want to be lean, strong and in shape, and CrossFit does this!

What are the most common injuries you see at CrossFit? How do you protect against them with new clients whose strength and weaknesses you're not yet familiar with?

Asked by Dedlift McGee about 5 years ago

We don't see many injuries at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen. I attribute it to our focus on quality before quantity. We coach every member, in every class, on every movement. It is something we pride ourselves on, quality in coaching. If ever a member has a tweak or a pain, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and Active Release Technique provider and have treated numerous injuries, so quick intervention and treatment is key. I am also fortunate enough to have on staff a medical scientist from a very well known orthopedic hospital and a great physical therapist who is a member. So, even in the rare occurrence of someone having an issue, we have it covered.

Do you get hit on a lot by clients? Ever date any?

Asked by anon about 5 years ago

No, actually never. Never hit on by any, never dated either. One thing that a professional should be is just that, professional. I take great pride in the CrossFit Gym I have built and would never jeopardize the professional reputation I have worked hard to build. When I am on the floor at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen, I am there in a professional manner, as a coach and mentor. My athletes trust me, and I would never dream of doing anything to violate that trust. Plus, the love of my life, and my fiance runs the place with me, and everyone there knows we are together, so there is never an issue or even a question.

Can you usually tell right away which clients are going to stick with the program vs. those who will bail quickly?

Asked by heynowwww about 5 years ago

I never expect people to bail out on the CrossFit program. There is such great benefit, so much variety from the different workouts daily and the fact it is really a lot of fun with a great community I am always surprised when people don't stay.

What percentage of CrossFit customers are male vs. female?

Asked by slowburn about 5 years ago

Here at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen NYC we have a almost even 50/50 split. I do not know about the rest of the world, but other CrossFit Gyms I have spoken to have roughly the same percentage.

For someone of average weight and build, does CrossFit aim to help him slim down, bulk up, or get toned?

Asked by hans, not franz about 5 years ago

All 3 actually. It isn't uncommon for people to reduce their body fat, (slimming down), increasing their muscle mass (bulking up) and as a result, having a more muscular, leaner and "toned" look to them.

When people start CrossFit, is it recommended that they ONLY do CrossFit, or should they mix in other kinds of workouts (cardio, weights, yoga) as well? In other words, is CrossFit meant to be a an all-in-one fitness solution?

Asked by sugar Kane about 5 years ago

Since we have the variety of movements we have, it realy isn't necessary to do other things. We have a metabolic conditioning component as well as lift a lot of weights, every day here at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen. We have a mobility class to help with flexibility and mobiity as wel as a Pilates Class. I can't think of much that one woud want or need to do outside of here, maybe swim as no CrossFit I know of has a pool, or cycle out doors. Other than that, I cannot think of what else anyone woud need. Yes, CrossFit is an all in one training methodology.

What's your most effective way to get someone to dig deep and get those last 1 or 2 reps out? Do you have a go-to motivational line or something?

Asked by CFCFCF about 5 years ago

If it is during a met con, I tell them that they are not going to die, which is very true. At times, you feel as though you cannot do one more because it feels like you will die, but in reality, we all know that we won't. That reminder seems to help. If it is during a strength portion, usually just getting in their face and screaming PULL, or PUSH does it. Just knowing that I am there, watching or spotting them helps a LOT!

Are there any nutritional aspects -- even informal ones -- that are a suggest part of the CrossFit program? Like low-carbs, high-protein, that sort of thing?

Asked by Shogunn about 5 years ago

A lot of people follow either Zone or Paleo, or Zone/Paleo where they eat within the confines of a Zone type diet, making sure they have the breakdown of protein/fats/carbs and eat ony paleo foods. While we do regular 30 Day Paleo Challenges, where we challenge our members to eat ony meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds for 30 days while cutting out dairy, processed foods, grains, sugar and alcohol, it is really up to the individua to find what works best for him. basic common sense rules here though. Don't eat processed foods, eat good quality meats, lots of veggies, fruit and drink water whie cutting out/back on alcohol and soda.

How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a personal trainer, and what was the biggest motivating factor? Have any stories about sand getting kicked in your face at the beach:)?

Asked by Blalock almost 5 years ago

Ha, no, no sand in the face stories. I really never wanted to become a trainer, I just fell into it. My background is in Martial Arts. Had my own Karate when I was a 19 year old Black Belt. I eventually left the school and did a ton of other things, winding up in NYC where I ran a Martial Arts in Queens. I was asked to help out a friend and do some cardio kickboxing classes at a gym in Manhattan. That eventually led to doing some one on one training.....the rest is history!

What's the hardest part of running a fitness business?

Asked by Aaron about 5 years ago

The sheer amount of hours necessary to do it. At CrossFit Hell's Kitchen, I run the business differently than the other paces in NYC. For starters, I am not ony the owner, but the coach as well. What I mean by this, is that I not only run the business, but also coach the classes. Most days I coach 10-12 classes AND hande the emails, ordering, payroll, updating the site, staying connected via facebook

here we are by the way:


as wel as anyhting that needs to be done on a day to day basis. I also do private coaching, staff meetings/trainings and take care of the marketing and planning for the future as CrossFit Hell's Kitchen looks to expand.

So, the hardest thing is that I do almost everything. BUT, it is the way I want to run my business. I think I can best sum it up here, with something I had written a while ago:

Here is a story I like to share,

A while ago another coach and I were in the gym late at night working on the floor. I was thinking about a conversation I had recently with one of the members. He was asking me about the investors here and the renovations.


I have no investors.

I know that there are several CrossFits around that are "owned" by investors.

This one is owned by the person who is also the coach, and owned by each and every one of you.

Investors are interested in their investments.

They are interested in their return on investment.

So am I, except my investment is in you, my members, my athletes, my friends.

I do not measure my sucess by the amount of money made.

I measure it by how many Personal Records you make.

I do not measure it by improvements the business has made.

I measure it by the improvements you make.

I am successful, because you are successful, not because the business is a success.

I am not a business investor.

I am an investor in people.

No one will ever tell me what to do to improve the bottom line.

Because the bottom line is you, and your imrovements.

This is what CrossFit was and what it should be.

It is what I will uphold as it is what I believe in, even as the "investor driven" boxes open up.

I am driven to improve my investments as well, each and every one of you.

Hi, in a scaled competition there are athletes on the other team who can not do a full squat. Is it fair to me, who can do a full squat if they are allowed to not squat all the way? we are doing Fran and a an AMRAP WOD with wall ball shots.

Asked by who that almost 3 years ago

I guess it comes down to the rules, the judges and the athletes individual mechanics.

If the rules don't stipulate that the hip crease needs to be below the knee, then it cannot be automatically assumed.

Yes, I know that with both thrusters and wall balls it is the standard, but then again, the standards for a clean and jerk at a weightlifting meet is way different than the standards at an affiliate CrossFit.

Then the individual comes into play. Most rules say something to the effect of limited range of motion needing to be explained to the judges prior.

So, there is no clear cut answer to your question.

Was it "fair"? I guess it is all relative.

I'm 26YO female and started CrossFit last Nov. I recently started doing double classes each day (WOD and Bootcamp) and work out 4-5x a wk just bec I enjoy it so much, but I'm worried if this will damage my metabolism or cause weight loss to plateau?

Asked by ggabs about 3 years ago

The idea of CrossFit is constantly varied movement, so your body never truly gets efficient enough to plateau or end up with "chunky aerobics instructor syndrome" .

Yes, it is an actual thing, you can google it.

I'd be more concerned with overtraining and overuse leading to fatigue and/or injury.

I tell even my seasoned athletes to pay attention to their bodies and take 1-2 full rest days a week. Full Rest means, some mobility work, but not the "recovery" 5k run or row.

But, yes, I know how much fun it can be and why people are here -56, even 7 days a week. This CrossFit stuff is very addicting!

I have started looking at locations to open up a crossfit box, however, after speaking to an attorney she pretty much told me some things I need to work on before I go any further. First, I need a business plan. I need help finding a one. Any help?

Asked by Steph over 2 years ago

Hi Steph,

I would look into the Small Business administration and ask for advice. I know they are a great resource. The way I look at a location to see if it is viable is to figure the sq ft of the space and how many people can fit safely for a WOD. Plan on 125 to 150 square feet per person at a time. This is on the conservative side. I would go up to 200 sq ft per person. A 3000 sq ft floor could have 15 to 20 people on it training. This does not include locker room, shower, bathroom or front desk space. Once you have that number, and know how many people can train at a time. Figure the number of classes per day. 20 people per class X 8 classes per day would be 160 people per day. Our formula is the number of people per day, 160 X 1.5. This would be capacity. In this case 240 total members. If you can survive, pay bills and have a profit with this number, then it may and I stress MAY be viable. Of course there are a lot of other costs other than rent. Payroll, workers comp, unemployment insurance, electric, water, insurance, internet, cleaning and maintenance, trash removal etc etc etc....If after ALL those expenses the numbers still work, then, yes it MAY be viable. However, you will not open the doors with 240 members. Based on your location, demographics of the area and population, the growth factor will vary. This is where the SBA can help much moreso.

What do you think of the shoes they make specifically for Crossfit training? Do they really help or are they just a gimmick?

Asked by Brat about 4 years ago

Some help a lot.

Nike Metcons are great all around CrossFit shoes. Designed to be stable enough to lift well, grippy enough and sturdy enough to rope climb, but light enough to box jump, burpee too.

Bowling shoes, football cleats, track spikes, boxing and wrestling shoes all have a purpose, as well as CrossFit shoes.

Can you do CrossFit without them, of course, but I'd rather use the right shoe for the right job and not go bowling with my track spikes.

I love CrossFit more than just about anything else in my life. It changed everything for me, my soul and body. Since moving back to NYC it is so insanely out of my budget. Why is CrossFit so expensive and out of reach financially?

Asked by Tori over 3 years ago

Cost of commercial rent. Plain and simple.

I know of CrossFit facilities that are paying $45,000+ a month. That is over half a million in rent alone!

My brother owns a house upstate. Huge house, 4 bedroom, 3 bath,3 car garage larger than my apartment. 2.5 acres of land, pond in the backyard. He paid less for his property than the down payment alone on my 400sq ft apartment in NYC.

Why, the cost of everything is higher.

If things were cheaper, things would be cheaper....

Have you asked any of the CrossFit gyms about a work for program?

I do it here. We have interns and people that help out for a less expensive or even no cost membership.

It helps everyone out that way and builds a stronger community on top of it all too!

Hi I'm thin girl but I want to get toned and curvy. I just started crossfitness class a month ago. My question is will it help me get a thigh gap? My thighs touch I hate it. But im afriad that crossfitness will not help me on that area.

Asked by rubi401 almost 3 years ago

What is a thigh gap? And why do you want one? I'm assuming not having your thighs touch?

I believe that is based more on genetics and your hip width as well as where the hip sockets sit in your pelvis. If you have wide hips with a more lateral displacement of your acetabulum (hip socket) then I believe your thighs will be further apart and not touch. Since you said you are thin, I am not figuring your thighs touch because they are carrying too much excess adipose tissue meaning you don't have fat thighs. I'm not sure if this helps, but CrossFit surely cannot hurt your endeavour!

My crossfit box isn't doing well, I have about 25 members and in a good location. How can I promote my box without spending money?

Asked by Emma Pickett about 1 year ago

Hi Emma,

There are several things to consider as to why you may not be doing as well as you'd like to be.

Location and population.

How much competition is there? Not just from other CrossFit boxes,but bootcamps, orange theory type facilities, boutique gyms etc. They all can attract your potential customers.

Are your class times convenient?

Are your facilities up to standards? Clean and well equipped?

How is the coaching staff? Are they competent? Is the programming what people want, not just what you think they need?

Is your pricing correct? Do you charge enough for what you offer? Are you overcharging and driving yourself out of the market?

How do people contact you? Email? Do you respond in a timely fashion. Call you? Do you answer, or at the very least return calls within 24 hours tops?

How good is your website? Is it clearly written with the information people seek. Address clearly stated with a google maps link. Pricing. Class schedule. Information on how people can contact you and/or get started.

You could do the best marketing and still not do well. It is the bucket with holes in it dilema. You can pour more and more water in the bucket ( do great marketing and have a ton of people coming in), however, if the holes in the bucket are too large or too many, adding more water doesn't help. You need to look at your bucket first and figure out where your holes are and work on plugging them. This way, whatever you do to draw people in won't be wasted on people leaving.

Please feel free to reach out to me and we can open a dialogue to figure out where the holes in your bucket are first, then work on no cost forms of marketing.

How much does it cost to join CrossFit? Will it train you for parkour? And will it bulk skinny guys up when combined with the right diet?

Asked by JackKelly almost 5 years ago


I'm overweight but have been crossfit ting for a year. I'm thinking of becoming a coach. Do you think people would be willing to train with an "unfit and in progress" coach?

Asked by April almost 5 years ago


iam 15 i want to do crossfit but cant because i live in Mauritius where there isnt that gym what can i do to become professional

Asked by vaaman 10 months ago


Why does it seem like a lot of Crossfit gyms recommend a Paleo diet? Is there something about that diet that makes it particularly effective for Crossfit practitioners more than other athletes?

Asked by Nick almost 5 years ago