CEO of Exercise New Zealand and Board Member of REPs New Zealand Richard Beddie appears to have lied to the press about CrossFit having killed people, and then lied about having told that lie. Rather than responding to these allegations, Beddie has refused to answer questions over the phone, ignored the emailed questions he requested we send instead, and his organizations have essentially gone silent on the issue.
But not silent enough. Speaking on behalf of the Exercise Association of New Zealand, Beddie recently took another stab at our program in this video, one that leaves us asking the question, “Is Beddie really this threatened by CrossFit?”
Following the basic formula for poor journalism, the video depicts CrossFit from only one point of view, interviewing CrossFit’s competitors in the traditional fitness world (Beddie and his organization) yet failing to interview anyone actually associated with, or even knowledgeable about the CrossFit program.
The video focuses on female urinary incontinence, and attempts to link CrossFit trainers with an increase in the incidence of the problem. The narrator explains that The Exercise Association (of NZ) “admits some ill-informed personal trainers are pushing people beyond their limits.”
Richard Beddie even says the following: “Unfortunately, when they’ve got two-day’s training, which some people have, they don’t know enough about what they don’t know. Exercise professionals can help but unfortunately some of the cowboys are actually making the problem in the first place”
That’s right, Richard Beddie is claiming that CrossFit trainers are “actually making the problem in the first place.” As if female incontinence during exercise didn’t exist until CrossFit was created.
In reality, female urinary incontinence isn’t a problem with a particular training methodology, or a lack of education on the part of trainers. It is a well-documented occurrence in all areas of the population and has been studied clinically for decades. 1, 2, 3
Contrary to what Beddie and his organization imply, this is a common problem in sport and exercise. It is not simply the result of one successful methodology (CrossFit). As Australian physiotherapist Anthony Lo explains on his blog, leaking urine during training is generally an indication of a pre-existing problem in the pelvic floor, and should be seen as a reason to modify and continue CrossFit, not avoid it.
“Treat your pelvic floor dysfunction as a weakness to work on. If you can do this well, you will actually get stronger, be able to do more unbroken reps and lift more.”
This view is echoed by the authors of this Norwegian study– “It is a general belief that women who are physically fit also have strong pelvic floor muscles. On the other hand, some activities may unmask symptoms of stress incontinence during the exercise.”
Even more damning to Beddie’s claims are the results of a 1997 study conducted on female Olympic athletes. It concluded that “Participation in regular, strenuous, high impact activity when younger did not predispose women to a markedly higher rate of clinically significant urinary incontinence in later life.” (source)
In other words, Beddie’s insinuation that CrossFit is destroying pelvic floors (and therefore women should be afraid to train with anyone other than REPs-registered trainers) is another baseless and anti-competitive reaction to the success of CrossFit affiliates in New Zealand.