CrossFit Freshman is youngest to hold training title

Freshman Zach Knight became the youngest certified CrossFit trainer in June. CrossFit is a sport that has recently risen in popularity.

“[It’s] a community of people doing group exercise to achieve the healthiest and fittest possible lifestyle,” Knight said.

Knight started his CrossFit career in June 2012 after interning at TJ’s Gym in Mill Valley, Calif. Before then, he had an interest in various other sports including baseball, basketball and cross country, but CrossFit was a whole different experience.

Through his internship at the gym Knight realized that he wanted to become a certified CrossFit trainer. His coach and owner of the Mill Valley gym, Marcus Filly, helped Knight realize his goal, and at 17 years old, Knight received his CrossFit trainer certification.

“The average age [of a certified CrossFit trainer] is mid- to upper-30s,” Knight said. “Very few people get certified young.”

Knight is proud of his accomplishment.

“I haven’t been able to do much with it yet,” Knight said, “but it’s pretty cool.”

Knight applied to the two-day seminar at which he would receive his CrossFit trainer certificate once he realized he did not have to be 18 to become certified. He’d already been helping as an intern at TJ’s Gym, shadowing others as they went through their workouts, and he saw becoming certified as a way to better understand CrossFit philosophy and techniques. The seminar Knight attended was held by NorCal CrossFit in San Jose, Calif.

“You go down to one of the specified gyms and get taught by a number of these specially certified instructors,” Knight said. “The way is to teach all the basic movements, the ideology behind CrossFit and programming, along with diet and basically all the things you can do with CrossFit.”

Knight surprised many of the participants in the seminar when he told them how young he was.

“I was the youngest by about 15 years, which was something funny I noticed,” Knight said. “We did two workouts, one each day as a group, and I won one of the workouts, which is something. It was a really fun experience. I learned a lot. I enjoyed every minute.”

None of the participants that Knight trained with had heard of a person becoming a certified CrossFit trainer at 17.

“I did some research into it afterward, and no one else had,” Knight said.

At Linfield, Knight plans to major in business. He originally thought about majoring in athletic training or something athletically oriented.

“I thought I’d bring something else to the table by doing something different,” Knight said.

Knight has also considered visiting the CrossFit gym in McMinnville or starting a CrossFit club. CrossFit is something he definitely sees himself doing and teaching in the future.

Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at