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Movement by Logan: The Evolution of Performance Physical Therapy and Fitness Training

I wanted to take the time to wrap up 2014 as the new year approaches. It has been quite a whirlwind of a year for me, professionally and personally. It first started with me continuing to be unhappy in the traditional physical therapy setting in a company where there was no room to grow and with which I had differing views on the profession, growth, and business. The year before, 2013, I had applied and interviewed at several other jobs that I thought had potential to be what I was looking for, however they were not. Initially I wanted a job where I was working with people with more experience than me and in a structure that had a career ladder and a clear progression. But none of these jobs seemed to work for one reason or another. For me, they were just not the right fit. I would have had to move to pursue a job in this profession of sports/orthopedic physical therapy and fitness performance to find that job for which I was looking. However, that was not in the cards at the time as my then girlfriend just moved to Philadelphia to open and manage a store for her company (shout-out to Theory…visit them in Philadelphia for an awesome experience and great clothes!). So I really had to figure out what it was that I truly wanted to do.

In the start of 2014, I went to a continuing education course that brought all of my thoughts and ideas together rather nicely. It is, for the most part, the way that I approach physical therapy and training…through movement. Analyzing and breaking down the movement of the body to identify issues or potential issues with movement, then addressing those issues first no matter what. The goal: Movement quality and improved movement and muscle activation patterns over all. Of course, still using other physical therapy skills, such as manual therapy, when appropriate to help improve the movement patterns.

At this course, Movement System Impairment Syndromes: Introduction to Concepts and Applications, things just clicked for me. I saw my vision and my treatment style much more clearly. One of the things that Shirley Sahrmann said at this course was that her methods where being adapted and used by more personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches in the fitness world than physical therapists.

I think people in the profession of physical therapy get caught up in the “traditional” world of physical therapy and separate it from the rest of the fitness and wellness world. There is a lack of true vision, in my opinion, for what physical therapy should be. I’ve written about all of this before at some point this year; but there is an overlap of physical therapy, fitness training, nutrition, manual therapy, etc. that has always been present but has been ignored for years. They are, and should be approached all as part of the same continuum. One is not necessarily more important than the other, though at certain times and under certain circumstances one will become more important than the others. For example, if there is an injury then physical therapy and manual therapy will become a little more important than fitness training. However fitness training should not be ignored and nutrition should never be ignored. And if someone is “healthy” and focusing more on fitness training, the quality of their movement – more of the physical therapy side of breaking down the movement patterns and addressing any issues that arise with training and play can not be ignored.

I do not like using the word prevention, because we can’t prevent all injuries and pain, things happen. If humans are active, and especially playing sports, there are going to be pain and there is going to be injuries. There are factors in the world for which we cannot account. However, I prefer the word avoidance. By addressing potentially problematic soft tissue restrictions and movement patterns first, while creating solid, fast, and quality motor plans we can help people avoid some pains and injuries. Just as important, we can teach the body good movement and muscle activation patterns that will help them recover more quickly when they do have pain or injury.

So then, why in most areas, are all of these “disciplines” of physical therapy, athletic training, fitness training, strength and conditioning, manual therapies, nutrition, acupuncture…. so separated. Some people try to combine the services, but do so poorly (often their efforts come up short). For example, where I used to work has physical therapy, fitness/strengthening and conditioning training, and massage therapy in the same building. They even offer nutrition and sports psychology. However, there is such a separation of each. The systems and processes are completely separate. There is minimal to no overlap between any of the disciplines. In my 4 years there, I don’t think I ever saw the nutritionist and I maybe saw the sports psychologist a handful of times. I would observe people in the training facility performing exercises with terrible movement patterns not being addressed by the fitness coaches, just biding time until the onset of pain or injury.

This should all be one entity. Everyone on the same page. A better system in place from the intake process, to assessments, to physical therapy, fitness training, and play.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How Can this be Changes for the Better?

Why weren’t the physical therapy clients training, and the training clients being assessed by physical therapists? Why was the therapy room cut off from the rest of the gym? Why is it acceptable to be treating 2-4 people at once in physical therapy, when it is an extremely detailed oriented process that requires a lot of attention, cuing, and education? Why were we only seeing people after they are injured and not before? Why where people just leaving physical therapy and the training not being followed by the physical therapist?

Why is there so much time and focus on the documentation process in physical therapy, that it takes away from treatment time? Why are there completely unwarranted pressure, stress, and stiffness in physical therapy clinics? Why is there not as much of an overlap between everything! Why can’t I work on the whole body? Why do I feel like I’m forced to work on sections of the body, only addressing the injury or pain they came in to physical therapy for because the insurance company probably won’t pay for the treatment? Why is what I am doing being dictated by an insurance company? Why is physical therapy viewed so poorly among the population? Why is it only associated with injuries, pain, crappy treatment that doesn’t work and why is it often associated with only passive treatments?

Why does the media constantly get to talk about segments on fitness, orthopedic pain and injuries, and why are the ones giving training tips always personal trainers, medical doctors, and magazine editors…why are they not physical therapists? Why is the information being fed to the public about these things so poor and incorrect? Why do people think its ok to tell people to perform 20 burpees, for example, when they have no clue how the person moves or if they are ready to perform such as strenuous movement?

What can I do to change this? What can I do to put all of this together? What can I do to be happier in life and better enjoy what I do? What can I do to better impact other people’s lives in a positive manor? What can I do and how can I do it?

These, and many more, were and are the questions I continue to ask myself on a daily basis. These thoughts are what drive me. All of these things make me disgusted and frustrated. I was very hesitant to branch off and do something completely different, on my own because of many reasons. But in the words of Mike Reinold, “stop thinking like a PT. that’s your problem. …think like you are a personal trainer but can also do manual therapy. Start learning from the fitness industry…” (Mike was kind enough to take the time to have a long email discussion with me about these things. Which when I read it back now is even more helpful and insightful. Thanks for the help and advice Mike!)

It was the confidence and clear vision from the Shirley Sahrmann course and discussion with Mike, over which I decided to start working on my own company. Where I could answer all of my questions and make a real difference. Change the way things are done. Focus on the whole person. In the end, isn’t the ultimate goal happiness? Happiness for ourselves, our friends, family, and, in my case, my clients, and hopefully in the future, employees. If you have read any of my blogs throughout this past year, you know this is a big focus of how I think and what I do.

The Start of Movement by Logan

All of this led me to starting my company, Movement by Logan a completely out-of-network performance and physical therapy service that is starting to answer some of the questions above and blur the lines between disciplines. It led me to starting this website, this blog, and getting my business on social media. I did all of this while still working full time at a job in which I was not happy. I did it in a way that would not conflict with that business and did not compete, at all. However, things went south with the company in which I was employed. Opinions were formed prior to discussing anything with me. Needless to say we parted ways, sooner than I had envisioned, but I was instantly happier. I knew it was for the better. I only had one consistent paying client at this time in October, I still work with my Mom but she’s paid in too many ways already. But I wasn’t worried. I was invigorated and excited. I had more time to work on what I needed, but I still had to find another job that would give me more immediate income.

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Short Aside

Shaun and Kait

Oh, I didn’t mention, I started working on my company and website in February. Didn’t really launch anything until June and didn’t get any clients until September. During this time I went on some amazing vacations to New Orleans (read more here), Universal/Disney World (Harry Potter world is awesome), and Cape Cod. Saw some amazing concerts – Band of HorsesChromeoAvett BrothersAllen Stone, and Bleachers, to name a few. Some of my best friends had great weddings. Lots of great meals at awesome restaurants and others we made on our own. I designed a ring in June and on August 1 I proposed to my girlfriend, Kait, and we are engaged! And currently planning our wedding for 2015.

The only Grandfather I have ever known.

The only Grandfather I have ever known.

We lost a great man, Lou Teti, who treated us as his own grandchildren though we were not. He left a lasting impression on us of kindness, a reminder to always stay moving, and an affinity for life. His impact on my life inspires me to live up to what I was in his eyes. With the loss of such a great guy, I am on the verge of becoming a 1st time uncle as my sister is going to give birth any day now (not including Kait’s niece and nephew). During this time, Kait has been an amazing supporter and inspiration to me as well. Her confidence in me has helped immensely.

Back to finding an immediate job. After really figuring out what would work best for me,I reached out to one personal trainer in Philadelphia, as I read an article that I found somewhat interesting. Proposed the idea of working together, or at least out of his studio. Communication started out well, then just ceased. Then I finally saw an ad for a personal training position at Philly Personal Training with Brian Maher. I reached out to Brian and explained my story. Brian saw me as an asset and sees the potential. He has allowed me to work at his studio, finding me clients, but giving me complete autonomy to do something completely different with my clients. All while still allowing me to work on my business, and us both working to get more physical therapy specific clients in as well.

I took a job at a personal training studio because it is the only setting, outside of Movement by Logan, where I felt I could really get to people and help them before they had real issues. And guess what…7 out of my first 10 clients could have and probably should have been in physical therapy. But I wasn’t going to see them in physical therapy; I got to see them in a personal training studio. Though I can’t perform physical therapy specific skills while personal training, I can provide a hands-off thorough assessment and break-down their movements to build them back up, from the ground up. Starting at the level where they should.

All of this has started to help me understand even more so about developing systems and a program for what I envision Movement by Logan to become. I have also been developing more with Movement by Logan, have had some more clients and inquiries of late. All very exciting. Looking forward to the future of building my business. Trying to find the right people with whom to build it, forging relationships. Continuing to build my future and my life with Kait. I have much more learn, to grow and a lot of hard work ahead, but I am less confused and more excited then I may have ever been before.

Thank You

Thank you to all of those who have visited my website, read my blog postings, and the amazing clients who support me and believe in what I do. Especially Kait, my parents and family, Maggie, and Clare.  I have a long road ahead and it’s not always going to be easy, but I believe it will be worth it.

Please continue to stay up to date with me on my website and blog. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as I am frequently posting things on those that I do not always do on my website. If you are interested in working with me or have any questions or inquiries, please reach out.

Help spread the word and be part of the evolution of physical therapy and fitness.

If you aren’t happy about something, try to do something about it.

Lets be more than just about the body, but also about the mind. Lets do it right. Lets be better.

In the words of Bob Marley, “love the life you live. Live the life you love.”

Thank you!

– Shaun

Every movement matters.

More than just the physical.