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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 04-29-2015, 04:10 PM   #1
Russell Greene
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Notes and Asides

For those who haven't been paying attention, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association(NSCA), and other four-letter organizations have joined forces to lobby the government and control the fitness industry. Their cartel is called USREPS: The United States Registry of Exercise Professionals.

USREPS' objective harks back to the ignominious CHAMP editorial. USREPS is lobbying the government to begin "requiring certification from recognized nonprofit certifying organizations (e.g.,ACSM, NSCA) for all authorized physical fitness trainers (e.g., a commercial certificate of a course completion alone would be insufficient)." By commercial certificate, they mean the CrossFit L1 certificate course.

Worse, USREPS is lobbying for the government to charge anyone who merely acquired a CrossFit L1 course and began training athletes with "a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature." In other words, CrossFit L1 holders who coach athletes and/or open gyms could face up to a year in jail for teaching people how to squat.

How does the USREPS cartel justify granting ACSM, NSCA, and their cronies a government-enforced monopoly? On what basis do they argue it's a good idea to throw unregistered personal trainers in jail?

USREPS' raison d'etre is that of the Mafia: they offer protection. For example, ACSM and NSCA claim that CrossFit would be safe if only its trainers were required to hold ACSM, NSCA, and other certifications, not just CrossFit's L1.

Dr. Adam Schulte studied the conjecture that ACSM, NSCA, and similar certifications make CrossFit safer. He found no support for it: http://digitalcommons.hsc.unt.edu/ra....google.com%2F

After surveying 569 CrossFit affiliate members, Dr. Schulte found "there was no significant association between the level of certification and self-reported injury."

This is the only study published to investigate the relationship between certifications and injuries, and it denies USREPS's conjecture. This should surprise no one: USREPS cannot protect CrossFit affiliates from injuries - USREPS could only protect CrossFit gyms from USREPS associates spreading baseless allegations about those injuries (see Beddie, Richard; Kraemer, William; and Devor, Steven). At a cost, however.

(Links are w/f safe)

Last edited by Russell Greene : 04-29-2015 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:21 PM   #2
Dan Woerheide
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

While I am a LVL 1 Certificate Holder and I am not a registered Personal Trainer, I do train.. With that said, I am against this attempt..

However, I would argue that merely being a Level 1 Certificate Holder is not enough in the grand scheme of things. If you open a box and do not seek more than CF LVL 1, I would argue that you are not doing enough. I don't mean run out and obtain all of the above listed certifications either... But broaden your horizons... I want a coach who constantly seeks to be better.. If you are not reading, studying and learning from various sources to improve, then what other qualifications do you have? I know that my folks don't want a coach who is only seeking the minimum quals to coach. I am constantly trying to seek out continuing education opportunities, whether it be from reading or other sources, other coaches etc... I want my people to be better and I want to be a better coach and mentor to improve our community...

I know this was a little off topic, as I stated up front, I certainly don't agree with the approach, but I do agree with doing more than just a certificate.
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Old 04-30-2015, 03:38 AM   #3
Chris Cooper
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Dan, I've been coaching for 20 years. I spend a good portion of my day talking with other affiliate owners and coaches. I've logged over 10,000 hours on these calls, and spoken with over 600 different gym owners. I often hear your comments echoed: that no certification is ever enough; that professional standards require continual improvement, etc.
In fact, EVERYONE AGREES. And what's more, EVERYONE is continually improving. You're not the only one. In fact, I've never met a gym owner or CrossFit coach who WASN'T constantly learning. We're all trying to get better.
The new L2, L3 and Certified CrossFit Coach offer a pathway and system of academic distinction. Each are excellent, and the broader world of fitness knowledge is constantly being distilled through the practice of CrossFit affiliates. Only objective measurement will prove broad and repeatable application of science, and CrossFit L1 holders are measuring this science at a greater rate and scope than any other agency or group in the world. THAT is study, my friend. And we're all doing it. The "coach who doesn't care enough to learn" is a fallacy.
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Old 04-30-2015, 05:12 AM   #4
Steven Wingo
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Is CrossFit HQ working with a lobbyist or lobbying firm to work against this bill?

I would assume so, but if not this needs to be done. It is very hard to get bills passed and very easy to kill them, such as in committee, if you educate the right people on the issues. A lobbying team is called for in this situation. A lobbying firm should also help coordinate an e-mail, letter writing, and phone call campaign by box owners and other CrossFit credentialed coaches to local congressman and senators in each of our states. These can prove very effective. I assume all this is already being done and this post is just one part of that process.

My guess is that the U.S. Congress will have very little interest in such a bill, but you have to take the efforts seriously anyway--especially since they are usually multi-year efforts and you have to keep beating the efforts back year after year after year. Their strategy is long-term persistence and sometimes they make inroads over time.

P.S. I have an NASM Personal Trainer Certification which I completed after I had gotten my Level 1 and CFE certificates and would attribute at least 95% of my training knowledge to what I've learned through CrossFit, maybe 5% to what was in the NASM "multi-week" course. The NASM stuff had zero hands on instruction and provided little practical knowledge. If it wasn't for a quality spreadsheet made available with the NASM study materials on 3 postural deficiencies/movements flaws, and target foam rolling and stretching areas to fix them, I'd say the NASM stuff was practically worthless. I'd much rather be coached by someone who attended the 2-day Level 1 practical and demonstrated enough knowledge to pass the Level 1 test.
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:05 PM   #5
Russell Greene
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Steven,

CrossFit Inc. has a plan to neutralize the threat. It includes lobbying.

These bills would pass at the state, not federal, level. Only Washington DC's city government has passed a fitness licensure bill. It's not been implemented yet, though. And the details may change.

Massachusetts is the only state to propose a similar bill in 2015. But state representatives in California, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia and other states have proposed fitness licensure bills in prior years.

Speaking of neutralizing threats, USREPS is a member of the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPS). ICREPS's chairman has been Richard Beddie.

CrossFit sued Beddie for falsely claiming that CrossFit killed six Americans and paralyzed an Australian man. Two weeks ago Beddie stepped down as ICREPS chairman. Coincidence?

I wonder if Beddie's successor Stuart Turner will continue Beddie's extortion strategy.

(links are w/f safe)

Last edited by Russell Greene : 04-30-2015 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 04-30-2015, 05:54 PM   #6
Steven Wingo
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

The state level is definitely where there is more risk. It would be very difficult to get the U.S. Congress to take action on this type of issue.

This USREPS consortium will try to promote "model legislation" by having supposed authorities sign off on it (all b.s. of course). They will first target states where they think they are most likely to have success. If they do succeed in one state, they have a feather in their cap and go to other states saying "such and such state investigated and saw the importance of taking action you should too." They try to build up steam that way. It is an old and often used game plan, but it can work.

A key is never letting them get a foot hold. Affiliate owners and other CrossFit credentialed coaches need to understand that if a bill is proposed in their state, it should be all hands on deck in that state. We can all have an influence, but if it hits your state then the residents of that state have to be heavily involved. The right person sitting in their state representative or senator's office, educating them and explaining the issues in plain and simple terms, can have a real impact. E-mails, phone calls, and letters have an impact as well. I'm willing to be the CrossFit community of coaches and athletes will step up big time if called upon to do so in their state.

I'm glad to see CrossFit is prepared on this issue and is being proactive. If you ever need help in Florida, let me know. I've been down this road multiple times, working to defeat bad bills by helping run grassroots campaigns and meeting directly with legislators. (Although I'd say in the Florida Legislature CrossFit probably doesn't have much to worry about in the immediate future the House and Senate can't even agree on basic budget issues--one chamber ended the regular legislative session early and just went home in protest without passing a budget as mandated by law. The craziest of the crazy Florida stories always come out of Tallahassee.)
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Old 04-30-2015, 11:13 PM   #7
Dan Woerheide
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Chris, well stated... Was just my two cents, I would agree I have seen some great comments here... I don't agree with the practice as mentioned, and would argue that CrossFit has much more to offer in the grand scheme of things, Hands on, mutliple levels of learning, experience and what I would offer is while those of us on the forum probably care quite a bit, I have met a few who believe they are good to go cause they got a level one, opened a box, and now they also wonder why they can't keep any members...

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Originally Posted by Chris Cooper View Post
Dan, I've been coaching for 20 years. I spend a good portion of my day talking with other affiliate owners and coaches. I've logged over 10,000 hours on these calls, and spoken with over 600 different gym owners. I often hear your comments echoed: that no certification is ever enough; that professional standards require continual improvement, etc.
In fact, EVERYONE AGREES. And what's more, EVERYONE is continually improving. You're not the only one. In fact, I've never met a gym owner or CrossFit coach who WASN'T constantly learning. We're all trying to get better.
The new L2, L3 and Certified CrossFit Coach offer a pathway and system of academic distinction. Each are excellent, and the broader world of fitness knowledge is constantly being distilled through the practice of CrossFit affiliates. Only objective measurement will prove broad and repeatable application of science, and CrossFit L1 holders are measuring this science at a greater rate and scope than any other agency or group in the world. THAT is study, my friend. And we're all doing it. The "coach who doesn't care enough to learn" is a fallacy.
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Old 05-01-2015, 06:38 AM   #8
Jim Reaume
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Thanks for the info. The only thing I find alarming is that only a few box owners seem to be outraged by this. Let's get the word out HQ, and not just on Facebook.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:52 AM   #9
Russell Greene
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Your instincts are correct, Steven. USREPS is indeed sending out sample legislation to lawmakers. They even got a Georgia representative to propose USREPS' bill, verbatim in 2014.

USREPS posted this graphic to describe their strategy and history:

We acquired the sample legislation that USREPS sent to the Georgia politician. It is attached.

The Georgia bill based on USREPS' sample legislation never made it out of committee. So this shows us what USREPS wants, not what they've achieved. Key points:

- It would require an NCCA-accredited fitness certification to practice personal fitness training. This makes sense since USREPS is exclusively composed of companies that offer NCCA-accredited fitness certifications.
- Unregistered fitness trainers would face up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
- The bill would exempt "Group Exercise Instructors," BUT it defines these as people who provide "choreographed exercise leadership to music."
- Therefore, anyone teaching CrossFit classes would need a state personal fitness trainer registration, or else "be punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature."
- A State Board of Exercise Professionals would regulate and register all personal fitness trainers in the state.
- The Board would be composed of 8 members, including 4 personal trainers with NCCA-accredited certifications and at least 3 years of experience each, a consumer advocate, a medical doctor specializing in sports medicine, and another healthcare representative.

(links are w/f safe)
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:42 PM   #10
Steven Wingo
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Re: ACSM, NSCA, ACE, USREPS: Your Aspiring Fitness Overlords

Has CrossFit or it's representatives developed a position paper and "talking points" to distribute to the CrossFit community?

That is one of the next important steps. What you want is a position paper no more than a couple of pages long, but also with a one page and easily readable "bullet point" summary--as the cover page--of the most important and effective talking points. This can be used to educate CrossFit affiliated coaches regarding the specific problems with the legislation and is something CrossFit credentialed coaches and CrossFit members/athletes called upon to lobby (as citizens, not paid professionals) leave with legislators and their staff members when lobbying them. The idea is to have something packaged where any reasonably knowledgable person can go in and effectively communicate the talking points: "Here is what is wrong with this legislation."

Some questions I would ask are what reputable certification agencies does it leave out, other than CrossFit (the 800 lb. gorilla in the room)? I'm sure there are others: USA Weighlifting, USA Gymanstics, USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, USA Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Track & Field, etc.?

Physical Education teachers in schools (or what's left of them) have to get a license?

Lay people with no training are allowed to lead physical activity under the legislation, but trained instructors from well known organizations cannot do so?

The definitions and distinctions the model law tries to draw are so ambiguous it would create an administrative and legal nightmare:

Can a YMCA or other fitness facility not have staff on the weight room floor to assist members?--they would be violating the law if giving instruction. What about showing proper use of machines? (machines are not our thing but in fighting battles like this one you sometimes align yourselves with those who you might typically consider enemies or your competition)

Is a YMCA allowed to have volunteer coaches for its youth sports anymore? This would be a huge issue for YMCAs, which operate extensively through the use of volunteers to help coach youth sports programs.

Can the manufacturers and sellers of equipment give advice on how to properly use the equipment and/or recommend training plans? (That instructional DVD you just got with your new Kettlebell or TRX machine probably violates the law).

That proposed model legislation is a mess.

P.S. If this issue comes up in Florida make sure to contact me. I used to be a board member of a very large YMCA (27 branches spanning 6 counties with a $75+ million budget) and I'm virtually certain it would consider this "model" legislation a huge problem it would want to oppose.
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