The first installment in this series detailed where we are now as a profession with regards to exercise expertise.  This post will detail where I think we are going as physical therapists, and outlines where I think our opportunities are within health and fitness.

Americans are more sick, more overworked, and more unfit than we have ever been.  We suck at being heathy.  However, there is also an exploding scene of those dedicated to marathoning, Crossfitting, paddle boarding and anything else that makes us more awesome at life.  It’s an interesting dichotomy.  So where will we fit in as experts in charge of helping folks on each side of that spectrum?

I am going to focus specifically on how I see physical therapists running the game with the fitness-crazed.  The same approach will eventually fit in with the sicker, more sedentary crowd as well.  But we have to find our target audience first and adapt from there.  

Someone on Twitter recently commented that physical therapists will eventually become strength coaches as well.  I completely agree, and want to expand on the hybrid role we must take on.  Other coaches have laid the groundwork already.  Check out Charlie Weingroff, Kelly Starrett, The Movement Fix and the FMS crew.  The model seems to be in place.  So how do we get there as a profession?  What would that look like?

Currently I run an outpatient clinic full-time with a focus on orthopedics.  This is a traditional model and we do a nice job delivering great care to patients.  My personal business, Adams Performance, continues to be the vehicle that fits the model I am describing above.  This is how we can expand as physical therapists to deliver better, faster, more affordable care to an active population.  It is also how we can utilize our expanding skill set to broaden our autonomy, see patients we want to see, and improve income potential that is not based on “reimbursment.”

So here is how it works for me.  I coach everyone from athletes to weekend warriors in a semi-private environment.  I am lucky to work with an awesome gym, Phoenix Fitness and Martial Arts, who also offers a semi-private training environment and mixed martial arts.  I provide assessments to members at no cost.  They can access care quickly without spending their life savings on medical bills.  I can teach them how to self-treat when appropriate, and how to modify their strength and conditioning program.  This is communicated to their personal trainer.  If their complaints require treatment in a more clinical sense, they will be referred to the rehab professional (me in this case) or the appropriate healthcare provider.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.  This model incorporates everything we want as physical therapists.  It is what the client/patient wants as well.  Some call this type of system a high performance team, and this can certainly be simplified and scaled for the everyday fitness user.  

We have to actively participate in creating our future reality as healthcare professionals .  The hybrid fitness coach and rehab pro is who I want to continue to become.  The next posts in the series will be a few case studies demonstrating how I utilize this system in the real world.  Thanks for reading, stay tuned!