Working with me is very different than what most people expect from a manual therapist and strength coach. Answering the question “what do you do? (For work)” when conversing with new people has always been a very loaded question for me to answer. This is in part because everyone I meet has a different mental idea of what a strength coach does, what a physical therapist/chiropractor does, what a massage therapist does, what a nutritionist does, etc. In a nut-shell I help people reach goals that help them bring a better balance to their body, mind, and spirit. This is a highly individualized process, and that current process is what I wanted to touch on quickly in this post.
It is challenging to explain to someone that when I first start working with them I’m not going to create a plan based off of symptoms. Whether the goal is improved body composition, strength goals, improved mobility, eliminating pain, etc. the plan needs to be able to change with the individual as they change. Those changes should all be made through a blend of data. Some of that data is going to be objective, like how the person feels, but the majority of that data (in my humble opinion) should rely on objective data. That means if someone wants to eliminate jaw pain then any biomechanical restriction we find (limited range of motion at various joints/tissues) can potentially relate to that issue. To make matters more complicated environmental factors (mold, light exposure, etc.), dietary factors, lifestyle factors, and mental/emotional factors can all be involved in resolving some kind of pain as well.
This applies to any goal whether it's losing weight, gaining strength, improving mobility, and most other goals you can think of. So in order to navigate through all this data there needs to be a system that dictates a hierarchy of importance for everything we find, and we need to have a multitude of tools to help treat the various issues found through assessment.
All of this information hopefully helps you understand why it is important to have some kind of system that allows us to navigate someone through their programs to their goals. My current system starts with talking to someone for as long as necessary to understand their background, chief complaints, training history, activities they enjoy doing, activities they don’t enjoy doing, lifestyle, general diet, and anything else we find necessary to know about each other. We then transition to movement assessments. The goal of these assessments is two fold. The first thing we want to do is find any major postural/movement issues that we can begin having the person working on daily to bring them back to better balance more quickly. Secondly we want to use all this information to write the most efficient and safe training program that the person can follow in conjunction with their daily movement improvement to speed up adaptations as quickly as possible.
After the assessment we can sit and discuss all the relevant information, what are the most important findings (usually top 1-3 things), how much time and motivation does the person have to work on these things daily, how many hours per week does the person have to train, and when should we re-assess these top issues to track progress and determine changes to the plan. At this point the in-person sessions with this client would become focused on one of three things: treatment for any postural/movement limitations, learning/progressing through the person’s daily movement routine (which is modified as the findings change), or coaching the person through their training routine. Throughout this time we can discuss the nutrition/environment/lifestyle factors that are of significance over the phone or in-person, and we can use further metrics to determine if those strategies are helping the situation.
I hope this overview helps you understand that the process of working with me is designed to be different than what most expect out of someone with my working titles. I want to help you re-Kinect with yourself and find balance in your life. Whatever that looks like for you. Move well, feel well, be well!