Greg Glassman to ICREPs: Over My Dead Body

Editor’s Note: We are honored to present this message from CrossFit Inc. Founder and CEO Greg Glassman.

Last March, Richard Beddie, president of the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs), stated in NZ Stuff News that “CrossFit has resulted in six deaths overseas and rendered an Australian man paraplegic.” This was false. CrossFit contacted Stuff and alerted its reporters. Stuff removed some of Beddie’s defamation.

Next, Beddie went on TV One, the New Zealand government’s TV network, and implied CrossFit trainers were responsible for female urinary incontinence.

After these two pieces ran, Beddie contacted CrossFit with a very straightforward business proposition. If we’d join his registry, he’d be willing to learn about CrossFit and would then work internationally to help us avoid some of the bad press we’d been getting. The price offered to CrossFit Inc. equated to US$300,000 a year in Mr. Beddie’s New Zealand, and $30 million annually for global protection. That’s $30 million a year to learn what we are doing and help us avoid bad press. That was the proposition. We declined participation.

After CrossFit rejected his offer, Beddie appeared in the press questioning if CrossFit trainers “meet standards that the industry has agreed on.”

Hypothetically, what are the requirements to meet the industry’s standards? The answer: each trainer would pay Mr. Beddie NZ$400 annually. In exchange, Mr. Beddie would put them in his register.

Fed up with Beddie’s defamation and unwilling to pay extortion money, CrossFit filed suit against Beddie and ICREPs. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are partners with Mr. Beddie in ICREPs, through the U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS). These organizations have all engaged in long-term, systematic, regular, and collaborative fraud—fraud that is scientific, academic, and tortious—in their representatives’ collective statements, publications, press releases, and in a paid public-relations campaign against CrossFit. We’ve documented this effort publicly and have filed suit against the NSCA in a United States District Court. Much in the manner of Beddie, the NSCA altered a study to include injuries that never occurred and fed it to media including Outside Magazine, which dutifully asked “Is CrossFit Killing Us?” in its December 2013 issue. This came up as the top Google search return on CrossFit for months. For the record, the American ICREPs counterpart began its tortious assaults on CrossFit ahead of its president in New Zealand. For $30 million we can make this stop.

I think it warrants mentioning that ICREPs membership roster includes not a single organization teaching, training, studying, or knowledgeable in, functional movement. Oddly enough, they’re each resolutely committed to hyperinsulinemic fare. It’s impossible not to ask why that is.

CrossFit has presented a formidable challenge to a status quo that unfailingly and for decades produced record-breaking obesity and disease. CrossFit, an elegant and common-sense program of functional movement and a balanced diet, has had the single greatest positive impact on Americans’ health in modern times. We are spearheading a reformation of the fitness industry. As a conservative estimate, CrossFitters completed 300,000,000 workouts in 2014. CrossFitters have shed millions of pounds of body fat. In 2015 alone, CrossFitters will complete another 500,000,000 workouts. This will all take place absent the deaths and injuries publicly claimed by the ICREPs partners in the U.S. and abroad.

Beyond the obvious monetary opportunity to extort CrossFit and its affiliates for $30 million every year sits the threat we pose to a trillion-dollar industry entirely dependent on the near-universal avoidance of functional movement as exercise and the extinction of balanced meals from the American landscape. I won’t give you the names; just find the ACSM’s and the NSCA’s largest financial contributors.

It’s not out of fear that I don’t mention these giants and their threats to global health; it’s that you won’t believe it unless you find it for yourself. What could possibly be the well-organized big-dollar commitment to a diet that kills and exercise that does essentially nothing? Research for yourself and report back.

I don’t want to pay the $30 million. We could do it. A score of super-lucrative rent-seeking options could buy our protection, but over time the pressure would build until you mavericks, one at a time, quit with the meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds and got back on the damn machines where exercise supposedly belongs. Anyone interested in CrossFit-Gatorade?

I’m not budging, and I’ll commit our resources to the very last drop to fight for the right of the independent owner-operator to speak openly and honestly about human movement, and eating, without fear of repercussion regardless of whether you are flying the CrossFit flag or not. We have terrific positions in our cases in American and Kiwi courts. The Kiwis have a great reputation for abhorring fraud and corruption—especially in fitness and health. The work of your detractors has been clumsy: It’s as though these organizations are so besotted with soda-pop dollars that they never thought anyone would sue them for blatant tortious interference and business fraud.

But, in the end, only one thing matters, and it’s that we tell the truth—only and always—and commit the best that we can muster to protecting the well-being of all people. That’s what it means to me to lead this community.

– Greg Glassman, CrossFit Inc. Founder and CEO

Greg Glassman speaks to Auckland, New Zealand affiliate owners about Richard Beddie and ICREPS.

Greg Glassman speaks to Auckland, New Zealand affiliate owners about Richard Beddie and ICREPs.

27 comments

  1. Spending my first few years of CrossFit reading and rereading Coaches articles….i realize how much I miss reading his clear, unapologetic truth. I’m eight years into CrossFit and the battle cry has never changed. He is saying the same things he said in 2002, because its the truth.

  2. From what I see of CrossFit in my 2-year-so-far journey is that you’re no more likely to be injured in a well-run box than you are out working out on your own or belonging to a globo-gym (of which, sadly, I was a member). Personally, I feel you are LESS likely to be truly injured. But, haters gonna hate, and opportunists are going to try and capitalize on a perceived opportunity. However, I don’t think Beddie realized Coach Glassman is a force to be reckoned with and Beddie better watch out.

  3. I’ve been doing CrossFit now for a year. I’ve lost 56 pounds so far and many inches. I haven’t been injured yet due to any work out because I have great coaches who care about our fitness journey. This is the only program that has worked for me along with eating cleaner. I’ve learned a lot about health, and myself. CrossFit works because it helps you in every day life. When you sit down on a coach, or pick up something you are using basic CrossFit movements. So I applaude Coach Glassman for staying true to his vision.

  4. Your both wrong and your both right. The Health-Fitness Industry indeed must change but the change must occur somewhere in the middle. At present legislation is pending I believe now in every state in the U.S. and in the end if I understand the legislative intent the language it will not include things like Zumba on one end and things like Cross-fit on the other. The Affordable Health Care Act is and will continue to evolve via amendment and at the end of the day prevention will take precedence over reactive “sick care” which has existed for over 40 years and buried us in debt and worse yet worsening health as a nation. Consequently, just as Massage Therapy in an attempt to align itself with these changes upped it’s game and most states now have licensure for Massage Therapy, the result here in the State of Michigan has by all accounts been fantastic, it has separated the good from the bad, the unskilled “in it for a quick buck” from the skilled and educated “in it for the long haul”, it has essentially redefined Massage Therapy as a ‘Career’ and put them in line for direct pay from insurance companies. This is exactly what needs to happen to the Health-Fitness Industry and will. If we are in fact going to weed out those who aren’t in this as a career it will continue to be the joke that it is. I have no doubt ACSM and NSCA are in this for the money and will protect its sovereign like oversight but someone has to champion this shift and it makes sense that the only organization that the AMA consistently references do so.

    This pissing match btw ACSM and Cross-Fit is nothing but a red herring to the larger issue. To me Cross-Fit due to it’s competitive ‘sport-like’ nature will be excluded from the scope legislated in this licensing process in the same manner that Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba will. Personal Training is now a four year degree at some universities and Wellness Coaching and Personal Coaching will become commonplace as employees in Corporate Fitness settings. The Affordable health Care Act has specifically defined the increased role Corporation will play in improving the health of our country and it is not likely they will hire Cross-Fit instructors or build Cross-Fit type gyms. In fact Blue Cross New England has already taken the first step toward paying health-fitness facilities and professionals but only if there is a substantial raising of the bar in terms of education and accreditation. This is a bridge that must be crossed.

    • Russ Greene

      Thanks for your comment. I will address your points one by one.

      “Your both wrong and your both right. The Health-Fitness Industry indeed must change but the change must occur somewhere in the middle. At present legislation is pending I believe now in every state in the U.S. and in the end if I understand the legislative intent the language it will not include things like Zumba on one end and things like Cross-fit on the other.”

      There are two factual inaccuracies here. Massachusetts is the only state with a “pending” fitness licensure bill. And the city of Washington D.C. has passed a fitness licensure law.

      Second, the legislation that ICREPS / USREPS promote and consult on would indeed affect CrossFit affiliate classes. For more information, please see this article: https://therussells.crossfit.com/2015/05/14/jail-time-for-air-squats-usreps-schemes-to-stop-crossfit/

      “The Affordable Health Care Act is and will continue to evolve via amendment and at the end of the day prevention will take precedence over reactive ‘sick care’ which has existed for over 40 years and buried us in debt and worse yet worsening health as a nation. Consequently, just as Massage Therapy in an attempt to align itself with these changes upped it’s game and most states now have licensure for Massage Therapy, the result here in the State of Michigan has by all accounts been fantastic, it has separated the good from the bad, the unskilled ‘in it for a quick buck’ from the skilled and educated ‘in it for the long haul’, it has essentially redefined Massage Therapy as a ‘Career’ and put them in line for direct pay from insurance companies. This is exactly what needs to happen to the Health-Fitness Industry and will. If we are in fact going to weed out those who aren’t in this as a career it will continue to be the joke that it is. I have no doubt ACSM and NSCA are in this for the money and will protect its sovereign like oversight but someone has to champion this shift and it makes sense that the only organization that the AMA consistently references do so.”

      Do you have any evidence that the quality of massage has improved due to licensure? I’d like to see it since it would contradict the work of Kleiner, who’s shown definite increases in costs, but found no clear improvements in outcomes, following occupational licensure.

      Furthermore, do you have any evidence that requiring USREPS’ two-hour certifications (with no experience nor instructional requirements) will improve the quality or safety of fitness training?

      “This pissing match btw ACSM and Cross-Fit is nothing but a red herring to the larger issue. To me Cross-Fit due to it’s competitive ‘sport-like’ nature will be excluded from the scope legislated in this licensing process in the same manner that Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba will. Personal Training is now a four year degree at some universities and Wellness Coaching and Personal Coaching will become commonplace as employees in Corporate Fitness settings. The Affordable health Care Act has specifically defined the increased role Corporation will play in improving the health of our country and it is not likely they will hire Cross-Fit instructors or build Cross-Fit type gyms. In fact Blue Cross New England has already taken the first step toward paying health-fitness facilities and professionals but only if there is a substantial raising of the bar in terms of education and accreditation. This is a bridge that must be crossed.”

      It would behoove you to spell CrossFit correctly before confidently predicting the future of the fitness industry.

      What you and other Coca-Cola / Exercise is Medicine defenders miss is that health care billing does not imply nor require fitness licensure. For example, health care companies could maintain databases of whatever certified trainers they chose. This in no way requires that all other trainers become illegal for lacking the health care companies’ approved certifications.

      CrossFit is exposing the failures of ACSM and NSCA because these are the companies lobbying for government-granted privileges and control. If licensure laws pass, they will empower ACSM and NSCA, and thus magnify these companies’ incompetence and corruption.

      Licensure is a last-ditch effort by Big Soda and its sponsored organizations to acquire by government force the revenue and authority they’ve lost to market forces. I would like you to explain to me why you think it’s a good idea for the government to put Coca-Cola, ACSM, Pepsico and NSCA in charge of fitness. Secondly, I would also like you to explain why you think it’s a good idea for CrossFit affiliate owners to face up to 12 months in jail for teaching their clients how to squat.

      I eagerly await your response.

  5. Russ,
    I can assure you my intent was not to necessarily challenge CrossFits legitimacy for what it is. It’s my opinion that CrossFit could be technically considered a ‘Sport’ as a way to avoid the licensure issue in the same way that adult tennis camps, teen sports performance camps, and specifically designed Triathlon programs are offered. Ohio State University and other major universities are considering four year degrees in personal training and health coaching, some smaller college already do. How do you propose they be differentiated? In my opinion they will trump certifications and even circumvent the need for any further state licensure requirements.

    ACSM and NSCA are by no means the only organizations involved with furthering the licensure process. Recently I attended the IHRSA annual meeting in L.A. and it was a part of the discussion in many lectures especially those that covered changes in health care. The question was never whether licensing would happen but rather when and how to deal with these changes. The Medical Fitness Association in reference to “Scope of Practice” referred to Florida Diatetics and Nutrition Practice Act 468.503 as a sound example to follow. I listened to a panel of six industry advocates and including three lobbyist from Texas, California, and Pennsylvania discuss how this process would be implemented.

    I have three Massage Therapists in my family who have all gone far and above other therapists in terms of certification, continued education and now licensing and listening the them and their colleagues whom now are being paid directly by health insurance providers they are more than happy with these changes, as anecdotal as that may be. I would like you to explain to me how is has not improved Massage Therapy as a legitimate career.

    Health-Fitness Training however is a different animal with a much wider scope of modalities which is why it is a trickier process and exactly why defining scope will need some hand holding. Scope has been suggested by some in the following designations….1. Medical/rehabilitation(already licensed), 2. Competitive sport based(should be opted out), 3. Adaptative or Science Based Fitness(should be held accountable to licensing standards), 4. Social or Energy based Fitness(should be opted out), 5. Yoga/ Meditative(will be held accountable to separate licensing standards), 6. Outdoor/ Purpose based programming(questionable). There is obviously some cross over but the legislative sponsors state by state will need and seek guidance. s

    Personally speaking I am an advocate of the “upping our game” notion whether its licensing or not and I like what I see and hear, especially from TPA’s in regards to direct pay for preventative services. I am also not necessarily a big fan of ACSM or any of the others in the certification ‘for-profit’ circus. Personally and for my staff I require (or at least highly recommend) a Certification of Applied Functional Science (CAFS) and 3D Maps Movement Analysis Certification by a group of primarily physical therapist out of Adrian Michigan. The Gray Institute is literally ‘changing the game’ in terms of movement performance of the masses. And let us not forget about the masses. The masses are in fear of what most in the industry offer at present and while I’m sure there are countless examples of individuals who have succeeded and over come the odds opting for CrossFit it is not the long term answer for the 85% of Americans who have zero affiliation with any gym or exercise program in America. ACSM by replacing the word specialist with physiologist is a joke but their posturing and positioning themselves.

    Finally, I want to say that I admire you for the passion that comes through you posts. I have followed your posts and thoroughly enjoyed so much that you have shared and pass on your posts with others often. I believe we are all in this for the same thing but we need to drop our egos at the door as hard as that may be. For me this is more of a ‘grass roots’ desire and not anything I would attach to ACSM or NSCA.

    Yours in Health,
    Doug Petersen

    • Russ Greene

      “I can assure you my intent was not to necessarily challenge CrossFits legitimacy for what it is. It’s my opinion that CrossFit could be technically considered a ‘Sport’ as a way to avoid the licensure issue in the same way that adult tennis camps, teen sports performance camps, and specifically designed Triathlon programs are offered.”

      CrossFit is not primarily a competitive sport. It is primarily a strength and conditioning program that improves the health and fitness of ordinary people, including the sedentary, disabled, and elderly.

      For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTvYMaMcsFo

      “Ohio State University and other major universities are considering four year degrees in personal training and health coaching, some smaller college already do. How do you propose they be differentiated?”

      I propose that Ohio State and the rest of the exercise science field cease publishing fraudulent studies and correct their own flawed work on fitness, squatting, hydration, nutrition, etc. before attempting to “trump” the work of legitimate fitness practitioners.

      For example:
      https://therussells.crossfit.com/2015/01/19/paleo-fraud-at-the-international-journal-of-exercise-science/
      https://therussells.crossfit.com/2015/03/24/crossfits-case-against-the-nsca-the-facts/
      http://journal.crossfit.com/2012/09/consortium-for-health-and-military-performance-and-american-college-of-sports-medicine-consensus-pap.tpl
      http://www.amazon.com/Waterlogged-Serious-Problem-Overhydration-Endurance/dp/145042497X

      “In my opinion they will trump certifications and even circumvent the need for any further state licensure requirements.”

      Four-year-degree exercise science programs (absent practical experience) are often substandard preparation for training in the real world. They generally contain little to no barbell movement instruction, for example.

      For example:
      http://journal.crossfit.com/2014/07/shell-games-and-competency-education-vs-certification.tpl
      https://therussells.crossfit.com/2015/01/29/a-four-year-degree-vs-a-two-day-seminar-by-david-barnett/
      http://journal.crossfit.com/2015/06/where-students-become-coaches.tpl#featureArticleTitle

      “ACSM and NSCA are by no means the only organizations involved with furthering the licensure process. Recently I attended the IHRSA annual meeting in L.A. and it was a part of the discussion in many lectures especially those that covered changes in health care. The question was never whether licensing would happen but rather when and how to deal with these changes. The Medical Fitness Association in reference to “Scope of Practice” referred to Florida Diatetics and Nutrition Practice Act 468.503 as a sound example to follow. I listened to a panel of six industry advocates and including three lobbyist from Texas, California, and Pennsylvania discuss how this process would be implemented.”

      If this is true, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. I sent you an email requesting more details about how IHRSA and other organizations are promoting licensure.

      “I have three Massage Therapists in my family who have all gone far and above other therapists in terms of certification, continued education and now licensing and listening the them and their colleagues whom now are being paid directly by health insurance providers they are more than happy with these changes, as anecdotal as that may be. I would like you to explain to me how is has not improved Massage Therapy as a legitimate career.”

      I’m convinced that massage therapists are happy when the government makes their competitors illegal. You’ve shown no evidence, however, that the public is better served by limiting the supply of massage therapists. And the example of other licensed professions suggests that licensing forces the public to pay more, for no documented increases in quality (and possibly decreases). Kleiner notes that “more stringent occupational licensing of dentists does not lead to improved measured dental outcomes of patients, but is associated with higher prices of certain services, likely because there are fewer dentists.”

      Source:
      http://research.upjohn.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1008&context=up_policypapers

      “Health-Fitness Training however is a different animal with a much wider scope of modalities which is why it is a trickier process and exactly why defining scope will need some hand holding. Scope has been suggested by some in the following designations….1. Medical/rehabilitation(already licensed), 2. Competitive sport based(should be opted out), 3. Adaptative or Science Based Fitness(should be held accountable to licensing standards), 4. Social or Energy based Fitness(should be opted out), 5. Yoga/ Meditative(will be held accountable to separate licensing standards), 6. Outdoor/ Purpose based programming(questionable). There is obviously some cross over but the legislative sponsors state by state will need and seek guidance.”

      Your premises:
      1. CrossFit is a sport
      2. Sport based fitness is a separate category from “adaptive or science based fitness” and “medical/rehabilitative” fitness.
      Therefore, your implication:
      CrossFit is not useful for those looking to improve their health, or is somehow less scientific than the training programs NSCA and ACSM offer.

      Dr. Lon Kilgore has closely examined the scientific basis for the NSCA’s programming doctrine and found that NSCA’s programming is not science based:
      http://journal.crossfit.com/2015/02/periodization-period-or-question-mark.tpl
      http://journal.crossfit.com/2015/04/periodization-period-or-question-markpart-2.tpl

      And my earlier links demonstrated that many other standard ACSM and NSCA positions are not based on evidence, either.

      The NSCA for example claims that soreness, by itself, is an injury. They also can’t identify a parallel squat.

      If not, the NSCA or ACSM, who do you propose is qualified to oversee and license CrossFit affiliates? On what basis?

      “Personally speaking I am an advocate of the “upping our game” notion whether its licensing or not and I like what I see and hear, especially from TPA’s in regards to direct pay for preventative services. I am also not necessarily a big fan of ACSM or any of the others in the certification ‘for-profit’ circus. Personally and for my staff I require (or at least highly recommend) a Certification of Applied Functional Science (CAFS) and 3D Maps Movement Analysis Certification by a group of primarily physical therapist out of Adrian Michigan. The Gray Institute is literally ‘changing the game’ in terms of movement performance of the masses. And let us not forget about the masses. The masses are in fear of what most in the industry offer at present and while I’m sure there are countless examples of individuals who have succeeded and over come the odds opting for CrossFit it is not the long term answer for the 85% of Americans who have zero affiliation with any gym or exercise program in America. ACSM by replacing the word specialist with physiologist is a joke but their posturing and positioning themselves.”

      CrossFit is the largest gym chain in the world and the fastest growing major chain in fitness. We have more gym locations than any other fitness model in the world. Yet you assert that it “is not the long term answer” for “the masses.” CrossFit’s growth seems to contradict your conjecture. Are you under the impression that CrossFit’s 12000+ affiliates are populated by 80 or so elite CrossFit Games athletes?

      CrossFit does support increasing the skills and education of trainers. The laws that USREPS and others advocate are an obstacle to that goal, however.

      For example our Level 3 certification requires at least 750 hours of experience training clients. Licensure would make it illegal for CrossFit L1 trainers to start acquiring the experience necessary to eventually progress to the L3.

      It takes just one 90-minute test to become a USREPS registered trainer. Licensure would have the effect of lowering, not raising, the quality of training at CrossFit affiliates.

      Sources:
      https://therussells.crossfit.com/2015/06/02/usreps-licensure-scheme-high-profits-low-standards/
      http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_2014_06_Education_13NCarroll.pdf

      “Finally, I want to say that I admire you for the passion that comes through you posts. I have followed your posts and thoroughly enjoyed so much that you have shared and pass on your posts with others often. I believe we are all in this for the same thing but we need to drop our egos at the door as hard as that may be. For me this is more of a ‘grass roots’ desire and not anything I would attach to ACSM or NSCA.
      Yours in Health,
      Doug Petersen”

      You assert that licensure is a response to a “grass roots desire.”

      Can you provide me examples of any consumers (not tied to industry) lobbying for licensure?

      Lastly, here’s the undeniable fact you won’t even address:

      Coca-Cola, ACSM, Pepsico, and NSCA are funding a campaign to throw CrossFit affiliate owners in jail for teaching air squats (and telling their clients not to drink branded sugar water).

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  8. “Personal Training is now a four year degree at some universities” – This is a rather large fallacy. Universities provide four year degrees in some aspect of exercise science, clinical exercise, physical education, or athletic training. If you actually look at what universities offer, there are virtually no universities who actually offer degrees called “personal training”. Some do offer lesser certificates and diplomas, but not degrees. Just as universities began de-emphasizing physical education as a major decades ago, they have distanced themselves from personal training as a major more recently. HOWEVER, in order to keep recruiting at high levels they will list personal training as one of the many occupations that their curriculum prepares the student for … but sadly they do not include actual preparation for the job of personal training in those curricula.

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