Write Your Legislator: Stop Anti-Competitive Fitness Bills

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Below is a letter composed by John Manser, owner of CrossFit Dynamo in Georgia, urging his Senator to reject an anti-competitive bill sponsored by the ACSM. For a generic version of this letter to use in your own state, click hereIf you are a fitness professional in one of the following states and don’t want to see the ACSM and NSCA succeed in using the police power of government to force you to pay for their certifications, please send a letter to your own representative:

FL – Senator Maria Sachs
Tallahassee Office
216 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5034
Senate VOIP: 5034

MA – Representative Robert Fennell
State House
Room 146
Boston, MA 02133

NJ – Paul Sarlo
District Office Address
496 Columbia Blvd
1st Floor
Wood-Ridge, NJ 07075
Phone: (201) 804-8118

GA – Emanuel Jones
Capitol Office
420-D State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0502
Fax: (404) 657-9728

Dear Senator Jones:

Senate Bill 204 from the 2011-2012 state legislative session (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20112012/SB/204) is of significant interest to me because the bill, in its latest form, would affect my business and the value I can bring to my community. If passed, this bill would negatively affect the fight against the growing national epidemic of obesity in both adults and children, which is one of any fitness professional’s ultimate concerns.

Here are some terrifying statistics about obesity in our nation and our great state of Georgia. As a CrossFit owner, I am working tirelessly and passionately to reverse these disturbing trends:

  •       86% of Health care spending goes to fighting lifestyle-related illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes as reported by the CDC. ¹
  •       Georgia’s obesity levels rose from less than <10% in 1985 to between 25% and 29% by 2010. ²
  •       Obesity is estimated to kill 112,000 people annually. ³
  •       And it’s going to only get worse if changes aren’t made for the positive. 165 million Americans will be obese by 2030 according to the Harvard Food Law Society.4
  •       The Congressional Budget Office states that our nation will not be able to sustain rising health care costs.5

Personal training licensure will make fitness training more expensive and less accessible, the exact opposite of the apparent need of the bill.

Personal trainers will be forced to pay more of their hard-earned money in fees and certifications than they would otherwise. Licensure of other professions has often lowered the supply and increased the cost of employing that professional service. Personal training licensure will make our profession a less common one that ends up costing those chasing better health more money.

“Advocacy” here can be interpreted as “lobbying for solutions to problems that don’t exist."

“Advocacy” here can be interpreted as “lobbying for solutions to problems that don’t exist.”

Advocates of personal training licensure claim that they only seek to keep the public safe. However, only narrow fitness industry special interest groups seek licensure, and they don’t use injury data to do so.6 If licensure were in the public interest the public would push for it.

Narrow industry interests must not be allowed to outweigh the indisputable fact that millions of Americans are dying from poor nutrition and movement choices. The advocates of personal training licensure do not seek first and foremost to make America healthier, as one could guess when seeing that PepsiCo is the largest sponsor of pro-licensure organizations.7 Instead they seek to constrain competition. Most bills would remove the need for organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), which offer personal training certifications accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), to provide a high-quality product to compete with American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited courses, such as CrossFit’s. A small business owner might be forced to pay for and take extra certifications to comply with government regulation even if that certification provided no value to his practice.

These licensure bills allow special interests like the ACSM and NSCA to profit from their competitors without providing any value to them, ultimately making American fitness training less effective and more expensive.

Personally, Senator, I want to share with you why I decided to open up a CrossFit gym. First and foremost, CrossFit changed me dramatically, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well….CrossFit taught me the idea of virtuosity, doing the common uncommonly well.  While it started with perfection of movement in the gym, the idea of giving your best effort stayed with me even after I left the building.  It helped me be a better father, a better worker/leader. In fact, I was markedly better in every facet of my life, not just in those that a medical doctor can measure. When you find something so positively transformational, is it not a sin to hide it and not share it with others?

Thank you for your consideration. This issue is of paramount importance, and I would like to see any legislation that limits Americans’ access to healthy lifestyle choices fail, especially when advocates of that legislation have no meaningful data to back up their claims. I would be honored to speak with you in more detail as your schedule permits.


John Manser,

Affiliate Owner, CrossFit Dynamo


1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention:  http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/

2. CDC National Obesity Epidemic 1985 – 2010:  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/04/obesity_in_america_cdc_releases_gif_of_epidemic_over_time.htm

3. CDC Calculation of Obesity:  http://www.cdc.gov/PDF/Frequently_Asked_Questions_About_Calculating_Obesity-Related_risk.pdf

4. Harvard Food Law Society video (long): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wSu6U8OzPk

5. CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook:  https://www.cbo.gov/publication/45471

6. CrossFit Lawsuit due to data fabrication: http://therussells.crossfit.com/2014/03/27/crossfit-affiliate-lawsuit-against-steven-devor-michael-smith-and-the-nsca/

7. PepsiCo news release:  http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=78265&p=irol-newsArticle_Print&ID=716681&highlight=


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  2. Hi Russells, thanks for spreading the word on this licensure lobbying effort, so that we the people can prevent it from being approved in these state legislatures. I’ll admit that I haven’t read all of the various bills in depth, but the first concern that came to mind was this: This legislation affects so much more than simply CrossFit trainers and affiliates, and really could get ugly! Many different types of fitness hubs other than CrossFit affiliates would be affected, right? What about a USAW oly lifting coach, a yogi, pilates instructor, rock climbing instructor, spin class instructor, the masters swim coach at your local pool, or the coaching volunteers from charitable organizations like Team in Training? Can you imagine these folks having to pay license fees to bring other people the gift of fitness and health?

    Has anyone from these constituencies aware of or have they spoken up against these proposed bills? These groups might make for strong allies for CrossFit HQ – just a thought.

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