CrossFit MDL1s are Networking Medical Doctors

CrossFit MDL1

CrossFit Health is making waves.

On October 5, 2018, a CrossFit MDL1 was hosted at the Ranch in Aromas, California. Basically, it’s the L1 geared toward doctors. The goal is to reach into the medical community and give them the tools of functional fitness/medicine.

“The CrossFit MDL1s are a project of CrossFit Health, and were conceived as a means to network medical doctors within the CrossFit community who share an essential view regarding the role of lifestyle choices in chronic disease,” said Karen Thomson, the executive director of CrossFit Health. “These attending doctors are often isolated, as they operate at odds with the dominant paradigm in medicine, which emphasizes symptomatic treatment of chronic disease via pharma and procedures, rather than fundamental lifestyle change. The course content, learning material and objectives are exactly the same as what is presented in every CrossFit Level 1 seminar.”

The Impact

But this isn’t just for new doctors. During each MDL1, alumni from previous courses are invited to attend during the Saturday of the course. Discussion and interaction include participation in a lecture series, discussion groups, a community workout, etc. It’s simply a chance for those in the medical community to network and support one another. At the most recent MDL1, speakers included Paul Rosch, MD, FACP; David Diamond, PhD; and Ivor Cummins, BE(Chem) CEng MIEI, who spoke on fat, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

“The weekend at the Ranch clarified some thoughts and solidified my commitment,” said James Thornton, MD, CFL1. “I returned to clinical practice with both appreciation but some sadness that I have frankly failed nearly a generation of patients. Now when I see a morbidly obese or diabetic or cancer patient, my first thoughts are not clinical but more of chagrin about the forces that drove an otherwise healthy person into unnecessary sickness. The task ahead is incredibly difficult but clearly the most beneficial thing I can be a part of for the remainder of my medical career.”

The Box Owner’s Role

What does this mean for you the Affiliate and how can you get involved? “CrossFit Affiliates share the frontlines of chronic disease prevention and reversal with the CrossFit physician,” said Thomson. “The training at each MDL1 is the same material and methodology taught to every CrossFit Affiliate during their L1 course. The MDL1 connects and supports like-minded physicians as they work alongside the Affiliate owner to direct patients toward the lifestyle changes that can save their lives, forming a natural network of health within local communities.”

CrossFit Health welcomes every CrossFit Affiliate to spread the word about the MDL1 opportunity to physicians in their community. In fact, these seminars are free to doctors. Upcoming dates for MDL1s are:

  • March 9-10, 2019
  • June 8-9, 2019
  • September 14-15, 2019
  • December 14-15, 2019

All in all, you can begin letting your medical members know this option is available. It’s just another way to fulfill your mission to positively impact the world. “The ripple effect of attending this course has been far-reaching,” said Katina Thorton, MD, CFL1. “I have never had a deeper understanding of the interplay of exercise and nutrition, and have never felt more competent advising friends, family, and patients in these areas.”

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at


  1. Avatar


    November 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    In Canadian, Nurse Practitioners are primary healthcare providers equal to physicians. Why limited it to MDs only?

    • Heather Hartmann

      Heather Hartmann

      November 5, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Thanks for your question! Please email as they will be the best ones to answer your inquiry.

  2. Avatar

    Anti Nelly Soto-Hernandez

    November 4, 2018 at 12:38 am

    I’m a family physician, CFL1 since 2015.
    Inspired to prevent chronic illness by promoting healthy habits and introducing functional lifestyle in the youth.
    Operating CF kids program since 2016, new Affiliate CrossFit ThunderHawks since 9/26/18, the premier CrossFit kid only affiliate in New Mexico. I love to be involved. How?

    • Heather Hartmann

      Heather Hartmann

      November 5, 2018 at 9:30 am

      That is so awesome! You should TOTALLY get involved. Email and they’ll get you the details.

  3. Avatar

    Austin Hervey

    November 4, 2018 at 9:03 am

    My wife is completing her Doctorate as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Is this course open to nurse practitioners, or only MD?

    • Heather Hartmann

      Heather Hartmann

      November 5, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Hi Austin! I’m not quite sure, but if you email they can answer that question and get you all the details. It would be great to get her involved!

  4. Avatar

    Gábor Matyasi MD.

    November 10, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    In our box (Crossfit B’Bros – Laura Horvath) will be organised the first L1 seminar in Hungary. Is it free for MD-s too?
    MDL1 course will not be in the nearest countries. 🙁

    • Heather Hartmann

      Heather Hartmann

      November 12, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Hi Gábor! I don’t believe the regular L1 is free for MDs. However, if you email they will better be able to answer your question and get you further information.

  5. Avatar

    Thomas Cartolano

    November 11, 2018 at 11:10 am

    How do you go about registering to take one of the MDL-1 classes

    • Heather Hartmann

      Heather Hartmann

      November 12, 2018 at 8:23 am

      Hi Thomas! So glad you’re interested. Email and they’ll get you the details.