One year ago, I was sitting at a desk in an office in the Troop Medical Clinic next to the U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning. I remember my last day as a Physical Therapist in the Army. I didn’t see patients that day. I had to go around the post and make sure I was cleared to leave and was fully out processed. This requires a lot of waiting as many other soldiers are doing the same thing. Waiting in long lines affords you an incredible amount of time to think and in my case worry about the future.
As I sat in the endless lines to finish my out processing from the Army, the same question kept running through my head. Am I making the right choice? I would think anyone that has started a business has had the same doubts. This same question constantly ran through my head for about the first six months after I separated from the Army.
I had spent 7 years in the Army. I was literally born in the Army since my dad was a career Army officer. I grew up on military bases, I had a high and tight haircut for the majority of my life and I knew little in regards to how the civilian world differed from the military.
To make things more complicated I had a family to provide for. When I left my comfortable job with great healthcare benefits it was at a time when I had a 2 year old son and a 6 month old daughter. My goal was to leave the military, move to Atlanta, Georgia, open a physical therapy practice that didn’t accept insurance and do it in a CrossFit gym!
As I write this, my plan sounds reckless. Obviously most of my friends and family thought my plan sounded crazy and they voiced their opinions/concerns to me up until the day I got out of the Army. The reality is that they were worried about me. They didn’t mean to be negative because they didn’t believe in me or what I was doing. They didn’t understand what I was doing or why I was leaving a steady paycheck and good benefits. It was hard for them to accept and their anxiety over the transition manifested itself in questioning my decisions.
This is something you have to come to terms with quickly if you want to be an entrepreneur. That’s exactly what you’re becoming if you decide to open a physical therapy practice. You may be a physical therapist but above all else you are a businessman/businesswoman. Get used to people doubting you. Get used to people questioning your decisions. You have to embrace it and the faster you do it the better you will feel.
Our vision is very clear at Athletes’ Potential.
With a commitment to excellence we embrace our role as a cornerstone of the medical and strength and conditioning community. We strive to provide honest patient care and respect those that work with us in a way we would want our own family members to be treated. We serve others selflessly every day and aspire to become a lifelong resource to our clients, their friends and family members.
Leading from the front is the only way to lead. We embody our values both in the workplace and outside of it. We strive to live long, healthy and happy lives through clean nutrition, regular training and positive relationships with our loved ones.
Thank you for being a part of Athletes’ Potential during our first year in business. You are the reason we have succeeded and we appreciate your trust in us. Together we’ll make our second year even better than the first.
“80% of success is just showing up, the remaining 20% is based on knowledge, skill and execution.” Woody Allen
If you’re a coach/trainer you have entered a vitally important career. You get to help people be healthier, stronger, happier and live longer more fulfilled lives. It’s an amazing time to be in this career field as well. More than ever, wellness and health are being prioritized.
If you’ve chosen to be a coach, you’ve also chosen to be a slave to learning the rest of your life. That’s right, you will continually have to read, listen to podcasts, watch webinars and attend courses. You don’t just get your certification and that’s it. For some coaches, this is what they love most about their job (me included). They have an insatiable drive to learn more and become better and better. Others struggle to find time to continue learning. If you have kids, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’m a huge fan of reading. Not just physical therapy, medical or strength and conditioning material. I love reading personal development, business, psychology, marketing, sales and even fiction.
One of my favorite books is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. This is particularly important to read if you’re in a field like a strength coach or the medical field. Anyone can become a CrossFit coach, personal trainer or physical therapist. Within these sub-specialities there are different levels of knowledge level, skill and experience. If you want to be the best in your career field, use the principles of the slight edge.
1. Show Up
Think of people you know that aren’t naturally the smartest or most talented. I graduated no where near the top of my class in PT school. I know tons of PTs that are smarter than I am. The difference in my mind is that I show up everyday. I grind away at being the best I can be every day. I’m obsessed with being the best PT/coach in the country. Show up and do the work, everyday.
2. Be Consistent
This could honestly apply to any problem you are having in life. Having marriage difficulty? Make a decision to work on it consistently with your spouse everyday. Overweight? Clean up your diet, take a picture of every meal you eat and post it on Facebook everyday. Have a shitty job? Start studying a new career field. Read a chapter of a book everyday. Once you’ve finished that book, get another.
3. Have a Good Attitude
I love the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Napoleon Hill (not Napoleon Dynamite or Napoleon Bonaparte!). This is actually the second best selling book of all time behind the Bible. If you haven’t read this you should. A positive attitude will get you very far in life. Try this, next time you go to the store. Smile at whoever is working the checkout lane you’re going to. Genuinely ask them how their day is going. Watch their face light up. You might just have made their day.
This is the same for our clients/members/athletes. It can be hard enough to drag your ass to the gym. It sure helps if you know your coach is going to be nothing be positive when you get their.
“Success isn’t owned, it’s leased and rent is due everyday.” JJ Watt
In part one, I went over the first 3 principles to one of my favorite books, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. In this post we will finish with the last 4 principles. These principles are time tested and the truth. Following them will do nothing but improve your coaching skill and life.
4. Be Committed For a Long Period of Time
Most people commit to things for a week at most. I love what I call the “Good Idea Fairies”. These are people that come up with great ideas all the time. They freak out over their awesome idea for about a week and then realize that it won’t happen overnight. Progress is slow, becoming great is a long process. You have to commit or you’ll end up being complacent and stalling. Give yourself a year. Commit to that year and set shorter term goals during the course of that 12 months. Starting is easy, finishing is hard.
5. Have Faith and a Burning Desire
If you’re reading this you probably already have number 5 taken care of. If not, hopefully I’ve inspired you by this point to be the best coach you can be. I look at progression and learning as a competition. I hate losing more than I like to win. In college, I kicked a kid off my flag football team during the middle of a game (sorry Mr. Anderson, but you were killing us). Make being the best coach your competition. Get mad when another coach is better than you. Put that competitive drive to work to improve your skill set, get better results, and make more money!
6. Be Willing to Pay the Price
Being the best is not easy. As I write this my entire family is asleep. I had a 6 am patient this morning and I’ve already put in about 10 hours of work today. Progressing is not easy. You have to decide what things you can sacrifice to achieve your goals.
It can also be expensive. I recently went to a weekend course that cost me about $2000. That’s a lot of money to me. It’s important to invest in yourself and your progress as a coach/medical provider. Pay for continuing education, buy books, go to courses. Meet other coaches, build your network. Don’t just look at the price, think of education as an investment in yourself.
7. Practice Slight Edge Integrity
This is defined as what you do when no one is watching. Don’t be the kind of person that only wants to help or do something difficult when your boss/someone you’re trying to impress is around. We had a name for these people when I was in the Army, we called them Spotlight Rangers. I absolutely hate people like this and after a short period of time they become very transparent.
Work each day as if your mentor was standing right behind you. If you don’t have a mentor, get one. Do you think your mentor would approve of you surfing through Facebook for an hour looking at a bunch of worthless crap?
The coach/trainers are the tip of the spear. You’re so much more important than you may even think. You’re an integral part of our current medical model and fill a much needed role in our society. Don’t undervalue yourself and don’t assume that you’re just a coach. You have a profound effect on people’s lives. Follow the 7 principles from this book, you’ll be the best you can be for your athletes and they’ll love you for it!
There are a few things in life that everyone knows to be true. We all have to pay taxes, we all will die one day and if you have poor extension in your upper back you will have a poor overhead position. Maybe the third one isn’t quite as obvious as the first two but it’s absolutely true!
Why is it that your upper back causes so many problems for the shoulder? That answer is very complex and for the sake of you borderline ADHD people like myself, I’ll keep this to one simple concept, scapular tilting.
Scapular tilting occurs anytime that we raise or lower our arm in front of us. In the picture below you can see the the shoulder blade of the person on the right is tilted forward more than the person on the left. This forward tilt is called anterior tilting of the shoulder blade. Anterior tilting is a problem because it creates a bone block as the arm raises overhead. You can’t push through this and force it into a better overhead position.
We can see in the person on the left in the same picture that the shoulder blade is now perpendicular with the ground. This is a good thing and called posterior tilting of the scapula. We need to get the shoulder blade into this position in order to achieve a full overhead position. This posterior tilt of the shoulder blade is primarily allowed by our upper back's ability to extend or flatten out. This is why people that have rounded or what we call kyphotic upper backs have a very difficult time with achieving a fully locked out overhead position.
So how do we get that thoracic spine to flatten out and allow the shoulder blade to tilt posterior? It's not easy if you have lost a ton of mobility, but here's a simple two-step process to start improving this movement.
1. Get the hell out of your chair!
If you sit for a long period of time everyday, chances are you have really poor mobility in your upper back. Get a standing desk or put your chair on your desk and force yourself to get out of that position. If you sit for 8 hours with a rounded upper back and think 5 minutes of mobility work will negate that, you're completely wrong.
2. Work on mobilizing to improve thoracic extension.
This is the hard part. You have to chip away at this problem daily if you have a significant loss in mobility. The good news is there's a ton of great video content out from my boy, Kelly Starrett on improving upper back mobility. Here's a great video to give you a better idea of what types of mobility techniques you need to add in to your training.
Good luck and leave us a comment if you have any questions.
I recently spent two weeks teaching the CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer Course in Australia. I’m thrilled that Kelly and Juliet Starrett trust me enough to teach this course internationally. We taught close to 300 attendees. These people ranged from CrossFit coaches and personal trainers to electricians and retired teachers just trying to learn how to take care of their bodies.
I learned some fascinating things about the Australian culture during my time there. They are a very friendly group of people and I felt very welcome everywhere I went. I especially felt very welcome with my adopted Australian family. My co-instructor for this course, Sean McBride, deserves a special thank you for letting me into his wonderful and very fun family. My experience was not the typical tourist experience. Because of this I learned some fascinating things about Australia.
Here are my top 15 things I learned in the land of Oz.
1. They have phenomenal coffee. Even their “bad” coffee is still pretty damn good.
2. They have the greatest breakfast I’ve ever been exposed to. I would either go with the big brekky or the bacon egg roll!
3. They are lazy talkers. I was told this by a very funny man named Lindsey, but everyone just calls him Lins. They will shorten anything they can, i.e breakfast is brekky, a football game is called a footy and vegetables are called veg.
4. People in Brisbane apparently think the people in Sydney are soft. It’s kind of like how people in Texas think people that live in New York City are soft.
5. They have a popular motto “Harden the fuck up!” which as a fan on timely cursing I absolutely loved.
6. If you see a spider in Australia, you just kill it. Apparently they have some pretty legit spiders in Australia.
7. They don’t have as many Kangaroos as I was told I would see before I left. I can thank the Discovery Channel for that bit of poor information.
8. It’s an incredibly safe country. Being a man that lives in a borderline safe area in Atlanta, I keep my head on a swivel when I’m outside. It was nice to walk around at night and not have to be hyper-vigilant.
9. It’s a continent but it has a population that’s only a couple million more than the greater Los Angeles area; approximately 19 million in greater Los Angeles and 23 million in Australia. I found this stat pretty crazy. I have much more respect for their strong Olympic program after learning this.
10. College education is a fraction of the cost that we typically pay. When I told an Australian physical therapist that most American PTs come out of school with $100-150K in loans he almost passed out.
11. They drive on the wrong side of the road. Seriously, I never got used to this and would occasionally get a gut-wrenching feeling when making right turns against traffic.
12. Their meat of choice is lamb. I think I ate lamb once in my life before this trip. I ate a decent amount of lamb during my two weeks and I’m proud to say I’ve found yet another animal that I’m a big fan of eating!
13. Rugby is a game loved by Australians. They have multiple variations of the game is it’s absolutely confusing. It would be like us having 4 variations of American football. I did get the opportunity to go to a footy (rugby match). Those guys are big and hit like a mack truck, much respect to these athletes.
14. They have tiny highways compared to the US. The major highways in Australia are two lanes. Ironically, traffic isn’t that bad. They also have phenomenal public transportation; listen up Atlanta!
15. Last, but not least, they use their Physical Therapists the right way. We could learn a lot from the Australians in this respect. Also, following rule number 3 they just call them Physios. More on this in my next blog post!
Dr. Danny and Dr. Jackie's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.