Yes, the Russells’ blog is now Keep Fitness Legal. Unlike most corporate rebrands (see: Altria), we’re not burying a shameful past. We could not be prouder, in fact.
Over the past five years, CrossFit HQ has defended its affiliates against our adversaries’ fraudulent injury claims, as well as the prospect of jail time for squatting instruction or dietary advice. We caught the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) committing fraud and sued. Four years later the NSCA’s own lawyers are jumping ship and the NSCA has been sued by its own insurance carrier to avoid coverage. We have not even made it to trial yet, but the judge has already ordered the NSCA to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to CrossFit in sanctions for discovery abuse. And the NSCA has been slapped with even more fees to cover a court-ordered forensic investigation of its servers. Will we even have an NSCA to write about in 2020? (I must admit the NSCA’s demise would be amazing for affiliates but bittersweet for blogging.)
On the licensure front, we stopped Washington, D.C., from implementing an insane law that was already technically on the books. As the Wall Street Journal observed of CrossFit’s success, “In the past 40 years, there have been just eight successful attempts to roll back such laws.”
Laws criminalizing nutritional speech are next on our target list. We don’t think states such as Florida should be conducting undercover sting operations and threatening jail time against CrossFit trainers just for speaking about junk food. How unreasonable of us.
When not going after the NSCA and ACSM, we have exposed our nation’s public health agencies’ corrupt and illegally hidden partnerships with the soda and opioid industries. This work even caused Congress to reprimand the CDC and NIH foundations for failing to comply with their founding legislation. And our hydration and nutrition conferences forced the food and beverage industry to confront the deadly consequences that result from the public’s profitable overconsumption of their products.
It is no exaggeration that the fields of health and fitness would be drastically different today if not for the discoveries and campaigns exposed on CrossFit’s properties. CrossFit’s affiliate model would be illegal in a small but growing number of jurisdictions. And the NSCA and ACSM still would be generating front-page coverage with hard-hitting journalistic headlines like Outside Magazine’s “Is CrossFit Killing Us?” Moreover, Congress never would have caught Coke, Pepsi and Anonymous Giver #1 illegally funding public health.
Yes, Russell Berger is gone. Here is not the place to reason why. No matter how you feel about his personal views, they are not sufficient cause to overlook his contributing role to the unprecedented efforts covered above, as Rocket CrossFit owner Alyssa Royse makes clear.
CrossFit’s brand battles against junk science and corrupt policy efforts continue apace, led with Greg Glassman at the helm, and General Counsel Marshall Brenner and government relations specialist Brett Ewer, not to mention yours truly, Russ Greene, aka “the last Russ.”
Why “Keep Fitness Legal”? While we’ve warded off the “Exercise Is Medicine” doomsday scenario hitherto, our adversaries continue advocating to make the daily practices of our world illegal. In New Zealand, serial fibber Richard Beddie proposed regulations to limit how many times a week citizens are permitted to engage in high-intensity exercise. And in Australia, doltish Mark Stitt suggested laws limiting the number of gyms permitted to open in a given area.
Imagine getting locked up for opening an unlicensed gym. Don’t think about it too hard, though. As long as CrossFit HQ is around, the Beddies and Stitts of the world will confront an industry leader steadfastly committed to Keeping Fitness Legal.
P.S. If you would like to support the campaign against stupid fitness legislation, maybe check out this sweet “Keep Fitness Legal” T-shirt.