Government-Approved Workouts? The Fight Against Fitness Licensing

If you control who gets to practice a profession you also get to control how it’s practiced. The licensure effort, that’s an attempt to
silence CrossFit on the subject of nutrition and exercise. The state legislature that would adopt a state-wide
licensure program for exercise is composed of people who do not understand
anything about the squat. The federal government has designed this food
pyramid. For the past three decades, almost everything the federal government has
told the public about eating a healthy diet may have been wrong. The nutrition guidelines that were set in
the late 1970s that was primarily politics. When it comes to calories, fat is the enemy. The surgeon general told Americans to avoid
saturated fats and prioritize grains and other carbohydrates. Low-fat products began filling the aisles
at grocery stores as families tried to follow the government’s
famous food pyramid. At it’s base are foods like breads and pastas
that should be eaten in greatest quantity. As obesity continued to climb in America, some dissenting scientists and experts began
to question the consensus, but the US government and major health organizations
were slow to react, only now beginning to update their recommendations. And some fitness professionals are afraid
that what happened to the field of nutrition is about to happen to exercise. All of these government agencies, all of our
universities, they’ve all sat silent through one of the
worst declines in health the modern world’s ever seen. And they’re response is still, is still exactly
wrong. Greg Glassman is the founder of Crossfit, which is a corporate donor to the nonprofit
that publishes Reason. Crossfit has disrupted the personal fitness
industry by taking a radically different approach to
both nutrition and exercise. In contrast to much of the competition and against the recommendations of many establishment scientists, Crossfit has always emphasized a high-intensity
workout and a low carb diet. The approach has been wildly successful for
Crossfit, which went from 13 gyms in 2005 to more than
13,000 across the world today. But Glassman says the rise to the top has
entailed near-constant battle with the opposition. And so we’ve made some nice enemies out of
a good chunk of the food and beverage industry And all of its clowns that do its bidding. Crossfit’s explosive growth was made possible
in no small part by the lack of regulation in the fitness industry. While many states require licenses for occupations
as innocuous as trimming trees, tending bar, braiding hair, or even arranging
flowers, personal trainers can work without government
oversight. This arrangement allows Crossfit to have its
own certification program that ignores most of the conventional nutrition
and exercise advice emanating from government and academic institutions. But over the past several years, competing
credentialing organizations have joined together to lobby for government licensure of fitness
trainers in several states. That’s an attempt on silence Crossfit on
the subject of nutrition and exercise. The fight is occuring largely behind-the-scenes
at state legislatures across the country, where licensing laws have been introduced
on twenty-six separate occasions since 2005. But Crossfit supporters have pushed back just
as hard, at times showing up in person to speak out
against the bills. The one place where Crossfit lost the battle
was Washington, DC, which passed the nation’s first fitness
trainer licensure law in 2014. Though even that hasn’t gone fully into effect. If you control who gets to practice a profession you also get to control how it’s practiced. Russ Greene is Crossfit’s point man in the
fight against government licensure. He says that licensing could kill a program
like Crossfit. Are we going to be free to talk to each other
about fitness and food or is what we can say about them going to
be determined by federal and state policy? State licensure is a protection racket and
that’s all it is. Mark Rippetoe is a weightlifting coach and
author of the book Starting Strength, a program distinct from Crossfit but which
shares certain commonalities like promoting training with barbells and
encouraging movements that aren’t approved by establishment players
in the fitness industry. The state legislature that would adopt a state-wide
licensure program for exercise is composed of people who do not understand
anything about the squat. Rippetoe and Crossfit trainers both promote
what they call a “full squat,” which involves dipping below parallel, in
contrast to the less dramatic squat promoted by the American College of Sports
Medicine. So what do you think they will say about our
below-parallel squat? It’ll be in the document as a standard of
practice that squats cannot be done below parallel,
I promise you that. You’re removing the ability of the purchaser
of the product to determine what he wants to get done in
his strength and conditioning program by telling him, essentially, that he must
buy the services of a licensed guy who cannot prescribe below-parallel squats
because it’s illegal now. The interaction or intersection of policy
and politics is a very problematic one. Holden McRae, a sports medicine professor
at Pepperdine University and a member of a Crossfit gym, says that the government’s record on fitness
guidance is spotty at best. Establishment fitness began when Frank Shorter
won the gold medal in the Olympic marathon in Munich in 1972 and the running boom took
off. And then a big shift occurred in the mid 1990s. In 1995, the Surgeon General issued a report that shifted the recommendations away from
vigorous activity towards low-to-moderate intensity and de-emphasized certain fitness markers
like strength, agility, speed, power and coordination putting most of the focus on cardiorespiratory
fitness. The guidelines were adopted by the American
Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
and the American College of Sports Medicine. The federal goverment’s National Activity
Guidelines, published by Congress, recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical
activity a week. Moderate physical activity, that requirement probably satisfied by walking
30 minutes five times a week. Most people do that accidentally, it’s a very
low standard to hold a human being to. Doing yard work or walking slowly around the
block that’s not going to get you there, I’m sorry,
you actually have to work hard. The risk reduction for vigorous activity is
actually two times greater compared to moderate exercise. It was an experiment that was run on the US
population with very little evidence to support it. Similar to what we had with the dietary guidelines and I don’t think there’s enough transparency
with the conflicts of interest you know, the involvement of big soda for
example. Recent work out of the University of California
San Francisco has uncovered evidence that the sugar lobby
paid off researchers to downplay the link between sugar and heart
disease, with the very first paper that placed the
blame on saturated fat having clear ties to the sugar industry. There’s some evidence that the same special
interests that used the government and universities to influence nutrition science for the past
several decades is employing similar tactics in the fitness
industry to promote the message it’s lack of physical
activity, rather than sugar consumption, driving obesity. Most of the focus in the popular media and
in the scientific press is, you know, they’re eating too much, eating
too much, eating too much, blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and
so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling
evidence that that in fact is the cause. That’s from a video from the Global Energy
Balance Network, a group forced to disband after its ties to
Coca Cola were revealed. At least one major group involved in the occupational
licensing fight has received support from soda companies. Coca Cola did not reply to requests to comment and the American College of Sports Medicine
declined to participate in this story. But ASCM’s website does say that it only
advocates licensure for trainers working with clients with “medical conditions that require minimal
to advanced clinical support.” ASCM’s newest venture, Exercise is medicine, is an attempt to create a credentialing system to have doctors “prescribe” fitness trainers
to patients, and it was underwritten by the Coca Cola company. Even health organizations as powerful and
influential as the Centers for Disease Control have recieved grants from Coca Cola. So Coca Cola is partnered with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. That fact alone is sufficient to explain the
degree of the chronic disease crisis that we’re facing in this country today. These are 501C3 proxies that are able to keep
their doors open by the contributions from soda pop. When you think ACSM you better be thinking
Coca Cola ’cause that’s what you got. The fields of nutrition and fitness are littered
with bad or incomplete science that may take years or even decades more to
sort out. And this is why Rippetoe and Glassman are
skeptical that government can do anything but make the
problem worse. The competative marketplace and people who
consume strength and conditioning instruction is capable of sorting this out. Am I happy with my trainer? Did I get stronger? Did I get more fit? These should be the criteria that a competative
marketplace provides for the profession.

100 thoughts on “Government-Approved Workouts? The Fight Against Fitness Licensing

  1. The government needs to stay out of our personal lives and decisions we make! Like what we eat, drink or what type of EXERCISE we want to do! Grrrrrr! 😡 This type of stuff is personal choice and they have no clue what they are doing! Perfect example: the food pyramid, just was they were saying. Crazy lol.

  2. how can it be that most of the trainers and experts shown in this video are fat?

    something to think about i guess 🤔

  3. As much as I hate crossfit and the incompetent crossfit trainers (which is the majority of trainers), the government should keep their dirty paws off of it. They think they know everything. They don't know shit. They had it totally wrong with nutrition, and if they ever get their hands on exercise, it will be the same thing.

  4. CrossFit is dogshit, and eating loads of saturated fat will cause health problems. That said, the government shouldn't have any say in any of this.

  5. Cross fit is PE class for adults. That’s it. It favors weight lifted over form and it’s just another fad work out that’s dying off as fast as it came around.

  6. Licensure is just the government taking away your right to do something and selling it back to you. It’s tyranny at its finest.

  7. Just say no to State intervention in the fitness industry. The market has regulated itself so far and can continue to do so. That said, people should do their own due diligence before hiring any trainer or choosing to engage in any particular type of activity such as Crossfit. One should especially ask about injury risk/rates, primarily by looking at objective research or at minimum interviewing participants. Crossfitters for example appear to have a fairly high rate of injuries (20% of participants) due to the ballistic methods used which introduce unnecessarily high forces if your goal is fitness (rather than specific athletic achievements).  

    A responsible trainer should understand what causes injuries to occur, and be able to explain how he/she designs injury prevention into his programs. Ironically however, running and other "aerobic' activities viewed as "safer than weight training" by many doctors and lay people alike have much higher injury rates than proper strength training protocols because of the repetitive high impact forces involved in pounding the pavement and jumping around.

  8. I don't care if the government opposes it, I'm not gonna start eating like a retarded caveman and I sure as hell will not be doing crossfit.

  9. I honestly think regulation of the Fitness Industry in the US will be it's death. We don't need the same people who made the food pyramid dictating exercise

  10. Effect of big government. Won't be suprised if the US ends up being a communist state in a 100-150 years or so.

  11. I don't like crossfit because it is done typically with horrible form, but what they are fighting against is excellent.

  12. Well we're already getting into gov't regulated bathrooms, so hey why not food too? While we're at it, let's regulate how many breaths we're allowed to have in a day.

  13. I'm conflicted about this. I don't really want the government regulating things like this. But by many accounts, Crossfit are teaching people terrible technique which leads to them injuring themselves.

  14. There's definitely some points to critique about lobbyism in the US. Not that, I'm in any way advocating the Coca-Cola/sugar industry/"insert other lobbyists", but these being entirely responsible (as suggested by the crossfit trainer) for the obesity epidemic is an underdetermined and speculative claim. What is observed is simply an increase in obesity. Theory is very solid on what causes this: A caloric surplus. A sedentary lifestyle clearly doesn't help either. As for the "low-fat" products being loaded with easily digestible polysaccharides or sugars: That's not a good thing either. However, that is absolutely NOT recommended by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion which explicitly state that at least half of consumed grain products should be whole grain (i.e. more fiber, minerals and markedly lower GI) as well as added sugar consumption making up at most 10 % of daily calorie consumption. It is also very comparable to what is recommended by the WHO and in most other western countries.

    Having a licensing system for personal trainers can also act as a quality insurance system, rather than a tool to "bring down crossfit". Obviously Mark Rippetoe knows how to squat, but the main reason why below parallel squats are uncommon outside power lifting/Olympic weight lifting/crossfit is because the shear forces acting on the knee increase exponentially the deeper you go, unlike the EMG readouts showing just slight gains in muscle activation (actually some studies have found a lack of activation at rock bottom because you're literally just sitting there). Not to mention that mobility-wise a perfect AtG squat isn't going to happen for the average gym goer (and definitely not the average person). Mark Rippetoe is a powerlifter, and arguably, a great coach for those getting into strength training. What he is absolutely not is an expert on what makes you healthy. He repeatedly argues against any form of cardiovascular exercise. Of course he uses the straw man often, and mentions marathons (as if that's what most people do when they go for a jog, swim or do some intervals). This is of course counter to scientific consensus and regular medical advice. You should do both strength and cardiovascular exercise.

  15. I think some kind of regulation or standardized curriculum is necessary. Not just in crossfit, but across the board the bar for entry is so low to teach people about fitness and nutrition. Every compulsive, mentally unstable "I had a life changing experience with fitness" health nut can easily become a professional in the industry. And the fact of the matter is, most of them are super biased, who dispense dogmatic, and often incorrect information. Even physicians, who were educated in probably some elective course 20 years ago, are dispensing awful information to their patients because they simply don't keep up to date on the topic of fitness/nutrition. It causes a lot of confusion among the general public, as well as sometimes creating this false perception of what it takes to be healthy.

    Government regulated information is hilariously awful. But every moron out there can get a credential which makes them an "authority" on the topic. There has to be a middle ground found somewhere.

  16. For a channel called "ReasonTV", this sounds SUPER conspiratorial. Lots of speculation without any backing. Talking about "big sugar"… Where is the evidence, or REASONING for these positions other than "the government is wrong". DC has this in place already, but does this story look at their licensing program to see what it entails? Nope. What about proposed legislation? Nope. What about interviews with policy advocates in favor of the position? Not in this video.

    Can some of this be right? Sure. Do the people in this video against the proposal want to have anything to do with the legislation, such as working with proponents in crafting it so that it doesn't marginalize them or stop them from doing what they do? No. All regulation is bad because everyone is so libertarian.

    The nutrition guidelines keep changing as we learn more about health and nutrition. Yes, we need to excersize more, but our available calories and our levels of automation have skyrocketed in the last 50 years. We don't move enough like we used to, but we are biologically per-disposed to consume more calories than we need to. This isn't just about sugar, this is about not needing to work for food any longer to survive, and we have to learn to deal with this new reality.

  17. Crossfit needs to be monitored and should have some sort of qualifications to train people, I attended a seminar of crossfit and broke my ankle, so I couldn't squat for months and ever since that ever couple of months or ever 6 months I go over on it! Over 10 years now and my ankle is still fucked thanks

  18. The Riptoe squat is a parallel squat, it's not a deep squat it a basic squat your hip bone should go passed your knee bone!

  19. Except when people try and make the case against carbohydrates, they say stupid shit like “Carbs are bad. Sugar makes you fat. Sugars are carbohydrates. But carbohydrates are not necessarily sugar. At least as far as the effects on the body. STOP EQUATING SWEET POTATOES, YAMS, BEANS, BROWN RICE, etc WITH FUCKING REFINED WHITE SUGAR WITH NO NUTRIENTS OR FIBER.

    fucking no nothings

  20. This bill is a joke. People will always train how THEY want. Licensed instructors with no results will
    become jokes and parody, people who actually have results and know what the fuck they're doing will make money anyway, license or not.

  21. The US is a very strange and confusing place. Surely "personal fitness instructor" can simply change there name to "personal fitness reporter" and get around any regulation? They just need to change their style a bit.
    Reporter (Instructor): "In today's news, Mike was squatting above 90 degrees, perhaps he should have gone lower"
    Mike: "Nice opinion piece"

  22. Despite the problems I have with crossfit I do agree with these people.

    Although, on another note, I find it interesting that these crossfitters arguing against government regulation are probably big government types and they don’t even realise it

  23. Using crossfit as an example in this is perfect. It proves a point – that some licenceing is neccessary. What better case that those ill informed peanuts jumping around doing dangerous compound training movements as excercise to show that it is much needed.
    Licenceing isn't bad, bad licenceing is bad.

  24. The irony is that the example being used to denounce licencing is the very institution that most needs it, crossfit!! This is gold

  25. The recommendations de-emphasised certain fitness markers such as strength, agility, speed, power, and coordination. In other words the fitness recommendations de-emphasised fitness.

  26. I agree that licensing is ridiculous but jeez, the reason why crossfit gets so much backlash is because "High intensity and low carbs" is unhealthy. Although it works to shred fat and build muscle, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that workouts like that can lead to injury.

  27. We'll soon need a state approved license to wipe our own ass! This is insane how invasive the government is in the western world! Even in Soviet Russia they didn't go that far! And they have the audacity to call this totalitarian system "free world", "democracy"!

  28. Call me a conspiracy theorist…but why on earth all single official recommandation about health, nutrition and fitness are counterproductive to optimal health as if there was a deliberate intention to fucking up people's health?! I don't think this is just about monopole and money, some assholes really want us to be weak and sick! A sick and weakened people is not only much more profitable, but also easily controlled than an healthy one.

  29. Fitness lives in those who practice. People will always take advice by those who are well practiced, safe and proven. Soda is for the weak. Keep you squats low and mind open to a variety of knowledge to help you get more buff.

  30. Simple. Avoid processed sugars and excess saturated fat. Eat healthy protein, and fat sources. Avocado, seeds. Beans,lentils, lean meats. And complex carbs. Sweet potato, brown rice, white potatoes. And don’t forget a portion of veg with every meal

  31. Here's a crazy idea. Do your own research, build your own personalized program, and make your own diet. You don't need a trainer of any kind, most of them are fucking jokes anyway.

  32. The US has gone full on absurdist. Exercise will be regulated by a government that is led by a doughy disaster who believes that exercise depletes our batteries.

  33. People really need to stand up. Pretty soon they will be telling us what toilet paper we have to buy how to fold it and how many times we have to wipe our asses..

  34. I agree with the majority of this video. But don't put tree trimming in the same category as flower arranging. Tree trimming can be very dangerous. Working at height with heavy loads and chain saws requires training. You tube is full of tree trimming disaster videos. Don't undermine an otherwise good argument by advocating the elimination of all state professional licenses. Right now I'm training to become a paramedic. Trust me, some professions need oversight.

  35. The government, CDC, WHO are the IDIOTS. They shouldn't be trusted. In a normal society those entities wouldn't exist.

  36. CrossFit is horrible for you and anybody who knows anything about fitness and safe lifting would say the same thing.

  37. To everyone who is pissed off by this…you should be. But what you have to realize is that the government is trying to do this in every aspect of our lives. Deregulation is the good for all industry. That’s what a FREE market is. FREE of regulations. The more regulations you have, the less prosperity you have

  38. Damn, this is a good point, screw licenses, we should also rid society of the need to obtain a license in order to practice medicine as well, and while we're at it, dentistry too. No one said you need a license to lift a weight, but if someone needs physical therapy do you not believe there should be a standard on how to exercise properly and to restore functionality? When you require a license to practice you eliminate the chances of the community attending an incompetent program. These people just seem apoplectic that someone will be telling them they're a neophyte in regards to exercise. They do not want someone telling them their methods are unsustainable. And when we force them to get a license to prove they can confidently train someone without causing further injury, we rid ourselves of those who are detrimental to the well being of others. Yes, I agree physical therapists, trainers, exercise physiologists. etc. need to obtain some sort of license in order to prove they are competent. If we can agree that training and other forms of physical therapy are forms of medicine, should we not hold them to standards just as we do with, say, doctors and dentists?

  39. Crossfit is a bullshit fad that is gonna fade away as its practitioners continue to break themselves down. But Mark Rippetoe is a fucking master of his shit.

  40. I'm currently on Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength program and I am making a lot of progress with no injury. When I started, I didn't care about state guidelines and I still don't, now. I trust what he says over any pencil-pushing bureaucrat any day.

  41. Um. What other lifting discipline will fuck your kidneys? I haven’t found one. Watch this video. What “accomplished” lifters, besides Rip, do you see? Cross shit was developed to make house wives and lawyers with guts and gray hair believe they’re accomplishing something because it’s dangerous. Seriously. It’s dangerous. With shit form leading to injury, or over exertion causing your proteins to be filtered through your kidneys, it gives easily gullible people a reason to believe they’re “accomplishing” something. Because “This can kill you” (Cross shit founder said this). Um. I’ve been shot at. A LOT. Courtesy of Uncle Sam. I can tell you. Just because it can kill you. Doesn’t mean it should be embraced. Oh yeah. I’ll grab my popcorn and wait for all of the flaming. As a side note. I’m a black man. 6’4. 260. 345 bench. 475 squat. 600 deadlift. Nothin great. But I guarantee I can outlift a cross shitter. For reps. Oh yeah. I can do 35 strict pull-ups. 4 sets.

  42. Government licensing is the font of corruption and has only negative consequences to its debt. There is absolutely no legitimate Lawful justification for this massive usurpation of the natural rights of the Individual. Separation of economics and state!

    And furthermore the progressive establishment is a threat to human liberty and therefore it must be abolished!

  43. Since when is ReasonTV vilifying private businesses like Coca Cola? It is big gov that invites lobbying. Don’t go the route of leftie lazy thinking blaming businesses for the problems caused by big gov. I expect better from ReasonTV

  44. Because of the massive increase in injuries to the general public due to the New Fads Of Fitness since…. P90X, Biggest Loser, Insanity, Cross Fit etc…. ever since these "Old School Approaches to Fitness" have been brought back… injuries directly related to these new Fads Of Training…. High Impact Training for General Public is not right. They are not Athletes. Jumping, Pounding, swinging, yanking, jerking, jarring… all bad for General Public wanting only to get in shape and lose fat. Squats to 90 degree works great for body builders and athletes… research and X athletes know deep knee squats and other moves rise risk for injuries. Dieting is another topic. Remove All the crap eating…. Eating crap makes it easy to "over eat" which causes fat gain ….. I'm an expert in the industry and over 10 certifications based on education and then the years of my own research on case studies and listening to decades of athletes… I watch the industry closely for over 30 years… the patterns are predictable…. Cross fit is fighting this mainly because they are just another gimmick with Zero actual education… just "how to teach cross fit". I have met so many trainers and most never know anything about how the body functions… they just repeat what they are told to say. I'm an athlete of many different sports my whole life… but always trained "Smarter not more Radically". I've been a competitive body builder, MMA, Triathlete, and more…. I have the experience, education, research, history behind me…. This is all about money lost if the fitness industry was told to stop teaching "Made up Exercises" or bringing back "Old school moves" that already are known to cause people higher risk for injuries. General public doesn't want fitness at the cost of injuries. They want great results, fitness and with a very low chance of injury. No where did i state "low intensity", no where did i say "eliminate working out hard", …. don't attempt to put words in my mouth and make up your opinions and accusations based on nothing i stated. The fitness industry has become so radical that 98% of Trainers don't know what they are doing… the "mimic" what they learned from their coach in high school, or what they see on the internet or in the local gym…. then call themselves educated trainers…. they hurt the industry and make it harder for the highly educated and experienced. General public don't even realize that there is "No Requirements, No Regulatory Agency" for Trainers or fitness coaches etc…. Zero! There is Zero requirements to have any education in this industry. Which is why their is so much confusion of what is best, what is safe, what works, ….. mass marketing companies are selling crap and that becomes fads and everyone follows the new fad… thinking it's correct… I could go on and on… this industry is RADICAL. It's all about "rush to make up the new trend, make money, then start the next trend, … .it's only about money and no care about injuries… or results… most people that I see doing cross fit… look fat after a year of doing it…. They are more active… but I also get to see the large amounts of complaints of Injuries they got from Cross fit and P90X etc….. Don't argue with me… go do your research first…. your opinions only start arguments… look up injuries in the fitness industry. Do several different ways of searching on that line of questioning… you will find "Independent" studies and medical history of the rise in injuries to the general public because of the new trends of the recent 10 years.

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