“Look up when you squat, Matta!” Coach Pettis, high school football coach
Most people who played sports in high school or college have received some coaching on some basic strength movements like the bench press, squat, deadlift and power clean. In fact, thanks to programs like the Bigger Faster Stronger program, high school athletes have been doing these big compound movements for years. I remember going through this exact program when I moved to Columbus, GA as a junior in high school with our football team.
The quote above is something I remember well from all of my strength coaches, but in particular one of my coaches in Columbus. He was the one that implemented using the Bigger Faster Stronger program and he would constantly yell at us to look up when we were deadlifting, power cleaning or squatting. We all got bigger, we all got faster and yes, we all got stronger. Were these changes all beneficial? Looking back it’s hard to say but I would have to say no they were not. In my opinion, we just were adding strength to dysfunction.
So what’s my problem with this cue of looking up when pulling and squatting? I think it’s a cue gone wrong in many ways. I see the rationale behind not wanting the spine to be in flexion when pulling and squatting. You want the spine to be in neutral during these movements. Cueing people to look up is designed to get people out of a flexed position. More commonly, you’ll hear the coupling of two cues, 1) look up and 2) butt back. The problem is many athletes will drive excessively into extension and this can be an even bigger problem.
When we drive our spine into end range extension it’s very stable. The reason it’s very stable is because the facet joints in the spine are getting pressed into each other and it’s literally a bone block that stops any more movement from occurring. As stable as this might be it’s very irritating to the spine and can even cause local spinal fractures called spondylolisthesis. These are most common in young female gymnasts and young male wrestlers. One sport has a ton of arch positions in it and typically landing in arched positions and the other teaches wrestlers to bridge/arch to stop someone from pinning you. Both of these put the spine into end range extension with load.
Am I saying you are going to get a local spinal fracture from squatting while looking up and arching your back? No! But you sure as hell will aggravate your back by doing this. In fact, I would say 90% of the lower back injuries that I see in my practice are directly related to extension based back injuries.
We have to fix this problem through control. The control must come from engagement and strength of the anterior torso, inparticular the internal obliques (IO) and transverse abdominus (TA). These are deep anterior stabilizers of the spine and when we put ourself into an over-extended spinal position they are essentially weakened. Strength and control in this area in particular is the best way to gain lasting control of the anterior spine.
Now let’s fix it. Below are a few videos that directly work on correcting this area and getting you out of an overextended position. Add these in daily at home to reclaim some lost control and when you do squat, actively try and mimic the same muscle contraction that you get with these corrective drills as you do when you squat.
CrossFit is polarizing. It seems like these days you either love it and it’s all you want to talk about or you hate it and you wish you could slap your friend that can’t shut up about how much he loves CrossFit.
Initially, my experience with CrossFit was something that didn’t involve lululemon shorts, chalk everywhere and some specialized pack of vitamins to help me WOD harder. I was introduced to it by two Rangers at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas.
The two guys were both CrossFit coaches that had been in blast injuries and both had lost a leg. They were both below the knee amputees and were very high level. I saw these guys doing muscle-ups as part of their WOD one morning and spoke with them after. They told me they were doing CrossFit and invited me to train with them the next morning. So the next morning, that's exactly what I did. I got through the training session and at the end eventually had to puke into a trash can. As I wiped the puke off my face, they both laughed because they had been there before and I realized I had found something pretty awesome!
Back when I first started CrossFit, it was more underground and less mainstream than it is today. CrossFit has grown and evolved with it’s success over the years, as it has to (and should) do. I think you need to give credit where credit is due, however, and CrossFit at least deserves credit in these 3 areas:
1. Adults started doing Gymnastics
As a parent I feel some type of movement base needs to be developed in our kids (read more here). You could use a martial art, dance or something like gymnastics. The fact that grown adults are trying to learn hands stands, hollow holds and kipping movements is phenomenal. If we can all agree that gymnastics is a great movement base for our kids, why aren’t we working on it ourselves? We absolutely should work on gymnastics skills and CrossFit made that one of the central foundations of it’s training.
2. It Saved American Weightlifting
When people say the word weightlifting most people think bodybuilding. Shit, 5 years ago I was one of those people. I couldn’t have told you the difference between lifting weights and weightlifting. Through CrossFit, I’ve been exposed to a sport that involves arguably, the hardest movement in sports, the snatch.
When the last summer olympics were on I looked specifically to see when weightlifting was going to be shown. The summer olympics before that all I would have cared about was swimming and track and field (because we dominate those sports! #merica). I only wish I could have gone back and started weightlifting when I was much younger.
So, is it fair to say that CrossFit saved American weightlifting? Yes it is and if you don’t believe me here’s a podcast I did with Glenn Pendlay and one with Don McCauley. They both give all the credit in the world to the fact that CrossFit has made weightlifting matter again.
The last bit of proof, if you even need anymore, would be the the young weightlifting phenom CJ Cummings hitting a 175kg clean and jerk (video below) at the US Nationals this month. It’s an unofficial youth world record for his weight class. Where did he get his start into the sport? At a CrossFit gym!
3. Brought Back Real Training
Last week my wife and I went to see the movie Jurassic World. As we stood in line at the movie theatre in Atlanta, we had to stand next to a gym with a ton of huge glass windows. This gave us a significant amount of entertainment and helped pass the time in a relatively long line. Why was it entertaining? It was entertaining because I look back at how I used to train and I see it’s the same as what these people were doing at the gym by the theatre.
Too often people go to a nice air conditioned facility, grab a towel for the off chance that they actually sweat and head straight for the elliptical. They plug their headphones in and watch Paula Dean describe why you need 4 kinds of cheese in your macaroni and cheese to really make it correctly. Thirty minutes later after having maintained their fat burning zone it’s time for some leg extensions, bicep curls and possibly some dumbell bench press if there’s time. Grab your post workout smoothie on the way out and in your mind you’re the fucking man!
Training should be hard. Training should encompass large compound movements. It should get your heart rate elevated; who cares what your so called fat burning zone might be. Training should allow you to go hiking, swim with your kids, do yard work for 2 hours and run away from a dog that would love nothing more than bite your leg off. Maybe there were other people that were training in this fashion before or during the time CrossFit came around. What CrossFit did was make it mainstream. I’m glad they did and so are thousands if not millions of other people around the globe.
I know this is a polarizing topic. If you have an opinion leave a comment. Thanks for reading.
“The fear of pain is worse than pain itself” Arntz and Peters, 1995.
Back in the day when I was still active duty in the Army, I had to attend what was called a Joint Operational Deployment Course. It’s a week-long course where myself and other active duty medical providers learned how to take care of trauma related issues predominantly. It was great training and I learned a ton. I also learned I’m terrible at giving an IV.
One of my colleagues was unlucky enough to have me as a partner as we learned to hook up an IV bag. To make matters worse he was deathly afraid of needles and blood. In fact I’ve been around him when he had to sit down for a few minutes after getting a routine shot otherwise he would have passed out.
The process for hooking up an IV bag is pretty straight forward. Step 1: put on tourniquet. Step 2: insert needle. Step 3: attach IV clamp/bag to needle port. Step 4: take tourniquet off and open IV. Much to my friend’s dismay, I mixed up the steps and accidentally took the tourniquet off before attaching the IV bag.
My partner was intentionally looking away the entire time because if he saw the needle he would pass out. As the blood started running out of his arm through the IV port I had just placed in his vein I said the worst thing I could have at the time, “Oh Shit!!”. He immediately looked at me and then at his arm which was now next to a rather large pool of blood on the table. He immediately passed out as I fumbled to attach the IV bag and stop the bleeding. He’s still very much alive and still very much afraid of needles. I reminisced with him about this event a few weeks ago when he and his family visited my family in Atlanta. Yes, I’m not the best person to call if you need and IV put in but the real question is why is this person so afraid of needles/blood and I can watch blood be drawn or even stick needles in myself without a similar response?
The answer is directly related to the opening quote: The fear of pain is worse than pain itself. Maybe this person had a memorable traumatic experience with a shot when he was a kid. Maybe his mom or dad were really afraid of giving blood/needles. Maybe he had a sibling that told him how terrible it would be to get a shot just to mess with him. Either way it eventually leads to a pain experience.
After a pain experience, we start catastrophizing the event, in this case shots or needles. That leads to more pain related fear and eventually avoidance of the painful event again. All of this leads to more and more perception of pain with the activity.
So why am I putting this on a blog that typically talks about performance improvement and injury treatment? Because, for people that have had pain for more than a few months they have to stay away from falling into this vicious cycle.
I had a patient recently that came in to see me for pain in the front of his knee. He had no explained onset except that he had tried to take up running and had to stop because his knee hurt whenever he would run. It also hurt to go up/down stairs if he led with the injured leg. He resorted to only going up stairs with his non-injured side one step at a time. This is an incredibly slow way of going up/down stairs and I’m sure he aggravated countless people that were behind him in stairwells.
What’s the first thing we did? Talked about how his leg was healthy and had him start going up stairs with what he perceived to be his injured leg. We also had him start box squatting the first week. When I told him we were going to squat his face looked like I had just told him we were going to fight a grizzly bear. We had to expose him to those activities he was avoiding and afraid of. Sure he gained some strength back and that is obviously a contributing factor to him getting better. However, the biggest factor was the realization that his leg wasn’t broken, it was functional and he needed to start using it correctly again.
With chronic injuries we can become very sensitized and aware of any little thing that happens in a painful area. Sometimes the best treatments are the ones that prove to our own mind that we are still functional!
June 2014 July 2015
Testosterone- 802 Testosterone- 421
HbA1c- 5.3 HbA1c- 5.7
HS CRP- 0.9 HS CRP- 2.6
Let’s face it: we live in the information age. You can find out pretty much anything by searching for it on the internet. There has also been a massive shift toward data driven decisions. I see it first hand in my business when I look at our website analytics. We even see it with things like Wodify as athletes start tracking all their workouts, strength numbers, training sessions and making training changes based off actionable data.
Think of this blood panel like a snapshot of what’s happening internally. As part of the initial testing phase to work out the kinks, my wife and I both went through the process to get blood drawn and see how long it would take to get our results back. When I got my results back, I was shocked!
Last June, as part of my transition out of Army, I requested some blood panel work from my Physician Assistant. I wanted to start doing a more in-depth panel of blood tests yearly just to see where I stood and to gauge my nutrition/training based off that. For me, I used that as my initial data to compare this lastest to. Here are the tests that were grossly different:
A good number more tests were performed besides these three but these were the ones that had the most noticeable changes. What does this even mean? In the past year my testosterone production had decreased by 50%. Testosterone is very important for recovery, building muscle, maintaining a lean body and many more very important tasks. According to a 1996 study by Vermeluen et. al, the average testosterone levels for someone my age (30 years old) is 617. To make matters worse, in the same study he found that the average testosterone levels of males age 75-84 was 471. Talk about kicking me while I was down! This basically shows me that there’s a decent chance my 90 year old grandfather and I have the same testosterone production at this time.
Next is the change in HbA1c. This is a marker of average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. Most of you have probably heard of diabetes. It’s basically a disorder of high blood sugar levels in the body. It can either be genetic type I or developed type II. The range for HbA1c is pretty clear. Anything below 5.7 is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4 is prediabetic and over 6.4 is full blown diabetes. My number is elevated quite a bit and it technically puts me in the prediabetic range.
Lastly, was the change in my HS CRP. This is a marker of global inflammation in the body. To be clear, inflammation is not a great thing to have in the body. Increased values on this test in particular have been drawn to increased risks for cancer, heart attacks, neurologic disorders and type II diabetes. My HS CRP was elevated compared to where it was a year ago going from 0.9 to 2.6.
Now, when you see these big changes in values your physician should ask you a few things. First, did you do some crazy workout that day or the day before? Did you go out with your friends the night before, end up at the Clermont Lounge and down PBRs all night? Have you had a week of really bad sleep before this test cluster? All of these things are important to know because it can give us false values. By the way, my answer to all these questions was no.
Here’s what all this means. In the past year my health, internally at least, has slowly been trending in the wrong direction. So how did all this start to go wrong? I would have to attribute it to a number of factors. First, I started a business. For any of you that have ever started a business I probably need no further explanation. For those of you that haven’t, it’s the most difficult and stress-inducing thing anyone could ever do. Not only that, but I teach for another group (MobilityWOD) and in the past 12 months, I’ve accumulated about 70,000 miles on an airplane. I also have two small kids under the age of 4 and I typically sleep an average of 5-6 hours a night.
It’s not all bad news though. Mom, if you’re reading this don’t freak out and call an ambulance for me! I’m glad I did these tests because I had been feeling fatigued and like I was recovering poorly from my training sessions for about the past 6 months. Now I have some quantifiable data to help me make changes and retest to see what’s working. Changes will be made and I will retest in about 1-3 months. All of these markers are reversible with some supplementation changes and behavior modification. I’ll write up a follow up post once I’ve done my blood testing again. It’s time to make some changes!
It’s 5am, you’re up and getting ready for work. You got 6 maybe 7 hours of sleep last night and you’re off to crush the day at the office! Coffee in hand and listening to your favorite podcast on the drive (most likely the Doc and Jock podcast). You get through your normal day and then sit in traffic for 45 minutes on the drive home (Atlanta traffic can be rough). Once you’re home it’s family time. You haven’t seen your kids or wife all day and all you want to do is hang out with them. Before you know it, it’s 7pm. Your kids are acting crazy because they don’t want to go to bed and you’re starting to get hungry. Once the kids get to bed you have a couple choices:
I know to many of you this example may or may not resonate. This is basically my schedule 3-4 days a week. For many people lacking time is a common frustration. For me, it happens to be dictated by owning a business, having kids, enjoying spending time with my wife and creating online content like this blog post.
Of all the options above I typically go with option 4 on a day like I explained. Hitting a short but intense workout before I eat dinner is an easy way for me to keep some regular training in my schedule on busy days like this. My preference for these late evening workouts after a hectic day- the kettlebell!
I feel everyone should have at least one kettlebell at their house. We have two at mine, a 24kg bell and a 16kg bell. They don’t take up much room, are pretty inexpensive and they give you a ton of options when doing a training session at home.
Here are a few examples training sessions I like to do that just involve one kettlebell.
As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. 24kg bell for men and 16kb bell for women.
-10 overhead swings
-run 200 m
-5 power clean and jerk each arm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjKGrZ7-pWQ
-run 200 m
-10 goblet squats
-run 200 m
Perform 5 rounds of
3 Turkish Get Ups each side
20 russian swings
10 head cutters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJA07NpN7pM
Rest 1 min
Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes
5 single arm KB snatches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3c73NahdjU
Complete each round as fast as possible.
Throw in some midline stability work at the beginning or end and you have yourself a respectable little training session. Not only that, but in the time it would take you to drive to the gym and back, you completed a training session.
You may not be headed to the CrossFit Games doing just these type of workouts alone. Chances are, if you’re reading this you aren’t going to the CrossFit Games regardless! Staying committed to regular training sessions is important for moving well, staying fit and being able to keep up with two crazy kids.
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.