Crossfit trainers get Obamacare comeuppance: Panniculus-afflicted bureaucrats hungry for regulation

Crossfit TwitterYears ago I helped manage a gym in Washington, D.C. A friend of mine introduced me to Crossfit well before it had a national cult-like following, which meant a couple years of odd looks from bystanders at the local track. Being conservative in the nation’s capital truly made us a rare breed. Regardless, the point is this: We told anyone in D.C. who would listen that Obamacare would bring unintended consequences. We (and millions of other Americans with an understanding of basic economics and human nature) were ignored, and now Crossfit trainers are feeling the pain.

The Washington Post reported August 23:

New regulations, being written by and for the nation’s capital city, will create a registry of all personal trainers in the District only. But they are expected to become a model that winners and losers in the fight believe will be replicated elsewhere.

The credit — or blame — for the newfound urgency can be traced in part to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. A variety of workplace wellness programs and preventive health-care initiatives called for in the law could soon translate into rivers of billable hours for those with credentials to keep American waistlines in check. …

An obscure group of D.C. regulators — the Board of Physical Therapy — is preparing to release rules that could send a shock wave through the American fitness industry. Fearing the outcome, some of the loudest voices in the field have decided to go on the offensive. They are calling the process into question and urging city lawmakers to pull back or even halt the effort with threats of drawn-out legal battles. …

Under a bill passed unanimously last year by the D.C. Council and signed into law by the mayor, the District’s Board of Physical Therapy was tasked with writing the new regulations. The board plans to release its rules next month, seek public comment and then publish them as law. And the heat is on: The District is behind in the process ordered in the legislation. By a strict reading of the law, no personal trainer is operating legally in the nation’s capital because the deadline to register has passed.

The uncertainty over the coming rules is weighing heavily on many who make their living in the industry, especially through CrossFit, which has thrived in a heretofore unregulated space.

The Post adds that “lawyers and lobbyists are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to shape the nation’s first-ever rules over who has the right to tell someone else how to exercise.”

Doesn’t that sort of say it all? The industry has survived for decades perfectly fine without panniculus-sporting bureaucrats policing the fitness landscape. Now, suddenly, a board of physical therapists is writing rules that will have far-reaching effects. Ask your Magic 8 Ball what the chances are that the new regulations will heavily benefit physical therapists who are hampered by the success of Crossfit. My guess is that the answer will come back “Ha! Ask me a real question. That’s too easy.”

The fact of the matter is that the internet exists. It helps millions of Americans every single day make sound business decisions. As Crossfit continues to grow and thrive, the industry will continue refining the process of separating the wheat from the chaff. But to D.C. regulators that isn’t good enough.

The Post continued:

“We all have heard anecdotal reports of injuries, sexual misconduct and misrepresentation of titles by persons claiming to be competent in that area,” [Senora Simpson, chairwoman of the D.C. board and a physical therapist] testified before a D.C. Council committee. She called the lack of any registration or licensure of personal trainers “a nationwide failure.”

Ms. Simpson’s anecdotal evidence doesn’t means squat (pun intended). Crossfit would not have a rabid (and growing) following if such anecdotal evidence was even worth mentioning. The real reason for D.C. regulators to get involved in the industry is easy: control.

Here is another way to think about it for those who enjoy video games: Do you remember that giant hand, Wallmaster, from the Zelda games that would grab Link? That is the government. It must control every aspect of your life. The clawing hands of bureaucrats never cramp, and they’re always itching to grab something new. In this case, Crossfit is the victim.

Zelda WallmasterNote to liberal Crossfit fanatics: Blogs like this tried to tell you about the crushing weight of the government regulation. You blew off the warnings, and now it doesn’t matter how strong you are — the dead weight of Obamacare isn’t coming off your chest without a lot of help. Think about that in 2016 and beyond.

Lifting Weights: The Making of a Conservative.

Weights don’t care about your race, religion, or your dad’s bank account. They don’t care about excuses. You can either lift a particular weight, or you can’t. The lessons imparted by them are embraced by conservatives. Regardless of your political stripes, they can help build a better you.

Over the years I’ve walked in quite a few different social circles, and one overlapping theme I’ve noticed is that those who are serious about weight lifting tend to either a.) have a conservative a streak that runs through them or b.) are much more open to considering the conservative point of view than my more sedentary friends. While the chicken or the egg question undoubtedly comes up, I can’t help notice that the weights impart hard lessons on anyone who’s willing to listen – and those lessons more often than not are of a conservative bent.

Weights don’t care who you are. They don’t care about your race, religion, or social status. They are colorblind. They don’t care who your dad is, where he went to school, the networks at his disposal, or his bank account. You can ether lift a particular weight, or you can’t. And if you want to be able to break personal bests and soar to great heights it ultimately will come down to your work ethic and how bad you want it. Personal trainers are great for those who need them, but they’re only an investment that can create an environment conducive to success; the best trainers in the world are still limited by their clients’ inner drive, discipline, and willingness to meet them half way.

Lifting weights requires patience. The “you” you want to sculpt is there, but like most worthwhile endeavors, success comes in incremental steps over the long haul. Success is fraught with setbacks and disappointment, and the finish line only awaits those with the persistence to work through pain, suffering, and at times unfair odds.

Conservatives who face down steel plates regularly know that they can glean important life lessons from their routines. They approach the cold, uncaring metal (that doesn’t respond to excuses or sob stories) like they do life, and they’re much better for it.

Working out with a friend or a complete stranger whose genetics or upbringing has them looking better or lifting more than you from the get go? The weights don’t care. Inequalities exist – deal with it. Work harder and smarter than the next guy. Put in hours in the gym or your basement or the garage long after everyone else is out partying, and more often than not the long haul will reward you. And if not, who cares – because there’s always someone who’s bigger and faster and stronger than you. And in the end it’s not really about the weights anyway. It’s about the work ethic that carries over into other aspects of your life without you realizing it. It’s about knowing that there’s a deeper meaning to life, and that the picture becomes clearer through sweat and effort instead of sloth and apathy.

Ultimately, our physical bodies are pieces of putty that will be ground down by time and returned to the earth, but there are diamonds inside each and every one of us. It might be in the form of an idea that changes the way the world does business, your expertise in a given field, or a body that was simply waiting for you to reveal it to the world. In each case it takes a sustained effort and a search for knowledge to discover many of our inner gems. Lifting weights has been teaching conservatives this for ages. Regardless of your political stripes, I hope you use this year to hone your talents and realize your dreams.

Best,

Doug