CrossFit, Inc. is flexing its muscles in court, by filing a lawsuit against competitor National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Both CrossFit and the NSCA certify trainers and exist in the same space for athletic participants and customers. CrossFit contends that the NSCA and CrossFit are competitors in the fitness industry and that the NSCA has now published a study to take down what many detractors call the ‘Cult of CrossFit.’
CrossFit subscribes to a different kind of interval training that has gained widespread popularity in recent years, while NSCA allegedly favors a more traditional “gym-based” model. Both CrossFit and the NSCA certify personal trainers, and, in association with those certification programs, the organizations provide training materials, seminars that coach prospective trainers on how to pass the exams, and other videos and study guides.
Both the NSCA, and its peer organization American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in the words of the CrossFit complaint, “are largely responsible for maintaining the status quo in the massive fitness industry and they have a vested interested in doing so . . . .” CrossFit alleges that rival NSCA and ACSM published a study that falsified the injury rates of CrossFit participants and “attacked” the CrossFit interval model. According to the complaint, CrossFit alleges that it “made the NSCA well aware of the fact that the study’s data was falsified, but the NSCA has nonetheless refused to take any corrective action.”
CrossFit is contending that its participant injury rates are actually no higher than for any other form of gym exercise. The NSCA has responded that, while both CrossFit and the NSCA train and certify personal trainers, it disputes that there was anything wrong with the study or that the parties are ‘competitors’ in any sense of the word and disputes that its personal training certification program “is a threat to the NSCA’s and ACSM’s business models.”
Whether CrossFit can deliver a knock out punch or will fall flat on its face remains to be seen.
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