CrossFit Goes to Court?

What were to happen to fitness if we were to take movements from powerlifting, combine it with gymnastics and cardio, and put it all together in one workout? Well, you get one of the fastest growing, high endurance, high-intensity fitness competitions in the world today, known as CrossFit. CrossFit has become one of the fastest growing fitness brands in the country. According to USA Today Sports, “In the past decade CrossFit has exploded in popularity, growing from a single gym in 2000 to 10,000 CrossFit locations with more than a million participants.” CrossFit allows for people to get a full body workout, pushing your body to its absolute limits in a short period of time.

CrossFit may sound amazing, (to be offered a workout that can encapsulate everything in such a short time) but it can be very dangerous if it is not properly taught. CrossFit affiliations require each and every one of their coaches/trainers to become “Level-One” certified. This certification stems from in-class learning of the functional movements, and also makes sure that these coaches can perform the various exercises themselves. Once certified, CrossFit allows for small business owners to use their trademarked brand and teach the various workouts that the “mega fitness empire” has created.

However, in July of 2014, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (a non-profit organization which provides the certification process for many personal trainers and gym coaches) published a study claiming that a high number of CrossFit participants fail to complete the certification program, and are now teaching CrossFit movements in a litigious fashion. The study attacks CrossFit, stating that they are responsible for injuries to athletes, as they cannot enforce their own certification process, and still allow these people to train/coach. Rather than be silent as to this study, CrossFit lawyers have perked up and are ready to go to battle.

According to USA Today, in their complaint, lawyers frame the motivation of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) for publishing the study as a fight over the certification model. While most gyms and trainers have certifications from organizations such as the NSCA, that is not required of CrossFit instructors. A CrossFit attorney added, “Like the NSCA and ACSM, CrossFit makes a significant portion of its revenue through the certification of CrossFit trainers,” lawyers for CrossFit wrote in court papers. “CrossFit, Inc. offers its initial Level I Trainer’s course, as well as both advanced and specialty courses. CrossFit’s ascendance, therefore, threatens the revenue stream of the traditional fitness providers.”

In August of 2014, the two parties had a phone call to try and mediate this situation before pursuing court action.CrossFit is determined to stand behind their brand and certification process, they feel that the NCSA is only attacking them due to their inability to provide their own certification process. CrossFit truly believes there is true no data to prove this libelous attack, and they are ready to prove so.

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