In Intro to Personal Training Licensure, we stated that government licensure of fitness faces a dilemma:
Only participants in the fitness industry have the technical knowledge to regulate the profession, yet all practitioners have private interests that directly conflict with the public interest. What’s to prevent a licensing board of fitness professionals from becoming a cartel that crushes competition and maximizes its own profits?
And it’s unlikely that ACSM and NSCA officials even have the necessary technical knowledge. They just have the conflict of interest.
This isn’t merely hypothetical. Colorado legalized weed, but it is cracking down on uncertified yoga.
Just as in fitness, the support for regulation comes from industry insiders, not consumers.
Lorna Candler is the director of Colorado’s Division of Private Occupational Schools, the division in charge of implementing Colorado’s yoga studio regulation. For six years she has worked as a yoga instructor for CorePower Yoga. CorePower is Colorado’s largest yoga chain.
Candler insists her long-term work for CorePower Yoga has nothing to do with her efforts to impose greater fees and regulation on CorePower’s competitors. She says,
What goes on with me teaching yoga and my job here do not really intersect at all … this is not about yoga; this is about teacher-training programs.
… Except, the initiative she’s led has to do with teacher-training programs for yoga instructors in yoga studios
Candler did not disclose her CorePower Yoga position to the media. When the Denver Post discovered her conflict of interest, they penned a scathing editorial criticizing Candler’s conflict of interest.
Candler’s campaign confronts Colorado’s Yoga studios with hefty fees. Here is a preview of what CrossFit affiliates can expect if fitness meets the same fate as yoga:
The state charges $1,750 for an initial provisional certificate that is good for up to two years, then $1,500 for a renewable certificate good for three years. It also charges $175 for every “agent” authorized to enter into a contract with a student, plus $3.75 per student per quarter. In addition, schools that have been certified must secure a minimum bond of $5,000, which is based on the amount of tuition collected.
And the true cost of state regulation is much higher. All fitness regulation takes time away from business. The gym and trainers must prove to the state they’re qualified to do the jobs they’ve done for years.
In the case of yoga, studios have to send their teaching materials to state officials for evaluation. Yoga studios also may also have to change their curriculum. In the case of fitness, states will force aspiring trainers to study for and take irrelevant courses.
Complying with fitness licensing could easily cost a CrossFit affiliate thousands of dollars yearly.
Yoga and fitness have something in common besides handstands and pants: industry insiders are trying to use the government to crack down on competitors.
Fitness has fared better than yoga, though. Only one licensure bill has passed. None is currently active. If CrossFit affiliates defend their businesses from the ACSM and NSCA’s intrusion, they will avoid the fate of Colorado’s yogis
Want to join the fight? Write your legislator.