Mooned by NSCA Sponsors, Part 1, by John Weatherly

Editor’s Note: The Russells’ blog has a history with NSCA and ACSM sponsors. We first detailed Gatorade’s corruption of hydration science. Gatorade has since begun advising athletes to drink “ad libitum” during exercise. NSCA removed Power Plate from its sponsor section after John T. Weatherly exposed the unreliable research on Power Plate that NSCA has published. Today Weatherly turns his target to Musclepharm.

MusclePharm is the lead sponsor for NSCA education programs and research.

Their CEO Brad Pyatt says:

“But don’t take my word for it. As with any product you put in your body, I invite and encourage you to truly examine our products, our ingredients and processes, then incorporate the correct ones into your fitness routine.”

MusclePharm also brags about backing up claims with “real science and quality control.

Where is the Quality Control?

Truly examine MusclePharm as their CEO Brad Pyatt advises and you’ll find them being sued for not providing the protein content they state on product labels. FDA press officer Jennifer Dooren states,

 FDA requires that dietary supplements be labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading. With regard to the labeling of protein content, FDA’s expectation for proper nutrition labeling is that firms will evaluate the protein content from actual protein sources – not other nitrogen – containing ingredients such as individual amino acids – and label the products consistent with the results of such evaluations …

This current lawsuit against MusclePharm concerns the ingredients in the MusclePharm Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Iron Mass product. The plaintiff accuses Musclepharm of deceptive or false advertising that has caused consumers to pay more for much less protein content than MusclePharm represents on the label.

By adding cheap fillers such as non-protein ingredients and cheaper free-form amino acids MusclePharm can increase the nitrogen content of their protein powder. This is called protein spiking. Protein spiking allows MusclePharm to fake a high protein content. This faked high protein content means consumers of the product receive less than half of the protein content listed on the label of the product (19.4 grams instead of the listed 40 grams) according to scientific testing.

So, MusclePharm is currently being sued for lying on their labels about the actual protein content in their products. Go back a couple years and you’ll find MusclePharm was sued for using NSF certifications without authorization. NSF states,

Any MusclePharm products bearing NSF marks, or claims of NSF certification or claims of being manufactured in and NSF certified or regulated facility are not approved or certified by NSF International.

In addition to this, MusclePharm was recently caught using the CrossFit name without authorization by saying they had a “Complete CrossFit Gym” as part of their onsite fitness facility. Musclepharm has since removed this false claim from their website.

It’s obvious MusclePharm has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of deceitful behavior.

The Tentacles of MusclePharm in the NSCA

Musclepharm Sports Science Institute Director Jordan Moon presents at the NSCA National Conference.

Musclepharm Sports Science Institute Director Jordan Moon presents at the NSCA National Conference. Source:

Musclepharm is not merely a sponsor of NSCA – it’s intimately involved in the NSCA’s core businesses. MusclePharm hosts NSCA events including certification exams and regional conferences at the MusclePharm headquarters.

Dr. Jordan Moon is the MusclePharm Research Institute Director. Dr. Moon is also a reviewer for the NSCA’s journals: the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the Strength and Conditioning Journal. In addition Dr. Moon works as a NSCA research grant reviewer, research consortium coordinator, and abstract reviewer for the NSCA. Furthermore, Dr. Moon was a judge for student research presentations at the 2011 NSCA National Conference and a presenter at the 2014 NSCA National Conference. Despite the controversy surrounding Musclepharm, Moon will present at the 2015 NSCA National Conference as well.

Dr. Moon is also the NSCA Colorado State Director.

Notice two of the statements that describe what NSCA state directors do:

– “Provide educational opportunities in the form of educational events.”

– “Facilitate the exchange of information between membership and the NSCA Board of Directors.”

The October 6, 2014 NSCA Foundation BOD Teleconference Meeting illuminates the influence of Dr. Moon and MusclePharm on the NSCA.

Chad Kerksick introduced and indicated he spoke with Jordan Moon, PhD, Research Director for MusclePharm, on 9/9/14. Jordan Moon reiterated his company’s interest in providing funds to offset the cost of the abstract submission program in exchange for recognition of support.

Dr. Jordan Moon is an NSCA official and director of the Musclepharm Sports Science Institute.

Dr. Jordan Moon is an NSCA official and director of the Musclepharm Sports Science Institute.

Conflict of Interest

So, here we have the lead sponsor for education and research of the NSCA sued for fraud, sued for the unauthorized use of NSF marks and certifications, and guilty of the unauthorized use of the registered CrossFit trademark at their onsite corporate fitness facilities. MusclePharm has hosted NSCA events and certification tests at their company headquarters. Dr. Jordan Moon is a reviewer for NSCA publications, research grants, has spoken at the NSCA National Conference, and is the NSCA’s Colorado State Director. These are highlights of MusclePharm’s behavior and influence on the NSCA.

There’s more to this story. Intrepid sleuths may want to focus on why MusclePharm would lie about NSF certification for products in 2013? The answer and more information will be coming right here on Russells’ Blog in Part 3. But next, in part two Russ Greene will cover the NSCA partner’s sketchy financial behavior, including an SEC investigation.

About the Author: John T. Weatherly has undergraduate and graduate degrees in exercise science. He was a research assistant to the former Head of Sports Physiology for the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and has helped with conditioning programs for athletes in Olympic sports as well as professional baseball, college football, and an NBA player. In the 90’s, John published and reviewed articles for the NSCA and was an NSCA media contact on the sport of baseball. He helped initiate the first study on a rotary inertia exercise device at the University of Southern California (USC) and has consulted with the exercise industry on various topics, including vibration.


  1. So is the purpose of this article to suggest the non-profit NSCA should rigorously vet their sponsors and refuse sponsorship funds based on moral objections to the sponsors desire to sell more of their product?

    If so, why is CrossFit not held to the same standard?
    CrossFit “partner” Progenex adds fillers to their protein product, as per their website “PROGENEX More Muscle features a full 20 percent more BCAAs and leucine than regular whey protein isolate. The precise amount of BCAAs added to PROGENEX More Muscle were carefully calibrated, as the leucine content of whole proteins is directly related to how much protein your body will integrate into muscle. “ They even go so far and claim these “cheap filler” (per Forbes article and lawsuit you sited) AA Leucine increases the amount of protein our bodies integrate into muscle.

    • Russ Greene

      Great question. I’m glad you asked it. The purpose of the article was not what you stated,

      “to suggest the non-profit NSCA should rigorously vet their sponsors and refuse sponsorship funds based on moral objections to the sponsors desire to sell more of their product”

      Musclepharm is not merely a sponsor of NSCA. As this article details, Musclepharm’s director of science enjoys a prominent position inside NSCA’s organizational structure whereby he presents and advise on research and reviews submissions. Given Musclepharm and Moon’s difficulty with verifying their own matters, it is strange that NSCA would enlist their support in verifying research.

  2. Pingback: Mooned by NSCA Sponsors, Part 2 by Russ Greene | THE RUSSELLS

  3. Pingback: Coaching Matters: Around the web January 2017 week 4 - Underground Athletics

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