On June 30, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act, which allows CrossFit trainers to give their clients nutritional guidance without professional accreditation in the field. CrossFit affiliates have called this a “significant victory,” but accredited dieticians are expressing their disapproval.
This news is the second time in a month that CrossFit has made headlines. The first was on June 8 when former CEO Greg Glassman tweeted, “It’s FLOYD-19” after the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation classified racism and discrimination as a public health issue. He also told several CrossFit gym owners on a Zoom call that he “does not mourn George Floyd,” as reported by Mike Young, who wrote about his experience for Medium.com.
Our profession has been doomed for years, now this kills nutrition. Years of studies now replaced by weekend courses.
— Marco Cardinale (@Marco_Cardinale) July 4, 2020
Florida’s Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act was established in 1988, which enforced regulations around guidance regarding diet and nutrition. In Canada, registered dietician (RD) is a protected title which is only given to provincially certified practitioners. While CrossFit trainers cannot call themselves dieticians, they will now be permitted to give nutrition advice in exchange for money. The course to become a Level One CrossFit trainer takes two days to complete. To become an RD in Canada, you need to complete four years of schooling along with an internship and accreditation.
While the CrossFit trainer two-day course does cover nutrition, a few hours in class compared to years of training are two very different things. When runners are looking for nutritional guidance, it’s important to consult a registered dietician. Marathoner and RD Krista DuChene explains what that means in Canada.
“I wouldn’t go to a mechanic or dentist who doesn’t have a licence,” she says. “The point of a licence is to protect the public. If you’re not getting good nutrition advice you’re spending money on poor advice and getting poor results longterm. The reality is that nutrition advice doesn’t have to be complicated, which is what some people are looking for. I’m giving individualized advice based on research. It’s a little scary to think that a two-day course means you can council people on nutrition.”
What about in Canada?
DuChene explains that anyone, even in Canada, can call themselves a nutritionist. “The title nutritionist is a grey area. You need a licence and you need to belong to your provincial college to be a dietician, but nutritionists don’t. It’s not a protected title. Runners need to know who they’re seeing. They need to be seeing someone who’s credible and good at their job.”
While there’s lots of good nutrition advice available if you look in the right places, DuChene reminds runners that quick fixes usually don’t last. “If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. When you’re giving someone nutrition advice you need their complete health history. People want a quick fix, but unfortunately quick fixes don’t always last.”