CrossFit vs the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
When your bottom line is at stake, all kinds of things get overlooked…or just plain lied about.
I’ve seen more injuries from people in personal training and/or sports than in CrossFit. I enjoyed doing CrossFit a lot, but it ended up being too risky for me with certain lingering injuries (that I got doing not CrossFit, I should add). I now include Crossfit-like work in my sessions.
CrossFit doesn’t have the science that says its methods are better than other kinds of work outs. Indeed, CrossFit isn’t actually ABOUT getting fit. It’s the “Sport of Fitness.” It’s doing fitness as a competition in and of itself. And let’s face it, few new work outs ever do get the science to back them up. How many DVD work outs come out each year? How many new specialty clubs that hit or kick or drum and call themselves “fitness”? CrossFit is fun, challenging, and competitive, keeping many people engaged in fitness in a way 3 sets of rows just don’t.
But you’ve heard and seen the CrossFit bashing going on. Your own trainer or chiropractor likely warned you. Most people hear anecdotes and extrapolate, but they don’t have statistics to back them up. And, apparently, neither did the National Strength and Conditioning Association! This body is in the business of certifying and re-certifying — and collecting those revenues from personal trainers, strength coaches, and athletic trainers. CrossFit Level I certification is a one-time shot of $1000 or so. Different business models. Different fitness models.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) knowingly published false information in a 2013 journal article criticizing CrossFit Inc., a California federal judge ruled last Wednesday in an ongoing lawsuit between the two groups.
“[T]he evidence now before the court could reasonably support the inference that the injury data were false and—worse—that the NSCA knew they were false and published them anyway in an attempt to protect its position in the market,” the judge said.
CrossFit representatives said that CrossFit poses an “existential threat to the NSCA” and the nonprofit’s “traditional” model of issuing trainer certifications. As a result, the NSCA allegedly “engage[d] in a smear campaign—using its JSCR as a platform to malign CrossFit training as ‘unsafe,’” the order said.
The order states: “Looking at the communication from the JSCR editorial staff to the Devor Study authors, a reasonable fact finder could conclude that the NSCA pressured the authors to include data disparaging CrossFit’s exercise regimen, and the editor-in-chief’s admonition—‘[r]emember the paper can still be rejected if the reviewers are not impressed with the sophistication of the revisions made’—could be construed as a veiled threat that the JSCR would not be interested in publishing the Devor Study if it did not include information showing ‘the fact many people do get injured doing these types of workouts,’ whether or not that ‘fact’ was true in this qualitative study.” (Club Industry)
I don’t see CrossFit doing away with the NSCA, strength coaches, athletic trainers, or personal trainers. Their “existential threat” is a little overblown. But they are taking some of the industry profits.
The NSCA is arguing the bad stats are still protected First Amendment speech, while CrossFit is saying it’s commercial speech or at least has commercial implications and they dragged the NSCA throught the mud on their blog. The upshot is it’s the NSCA who is suing CrossFit for liable.