At the end of each year, I love to reflect back on the year. I look through my calendar and tasks lists to see all the things that I accomplished and then plan the upcoming year accordingly. But in addition to this, one of the things I do each year is look back at what I have learned and what I am doing differently.
This is something I recommend everyone also perform. If you can’t think of anything you are doing different, you aren’t growing. Make that your priority for the upcoming year.
This year, I want to share a little bit about what I am doing differently, but more importantly, I decided to ask a bunch of my friends in the fitness and rehab industries the same question.
Notice the underlying themes below. Plus, notice how many of the people you look up to and would consider “experts” have done so much growing this year. If they are always pushing to learn and grow, you should be too.
Before we get into what they are doing, I have personally put a lot of emphasis on personal productivity. We are putting together systems at Champion for almost every aspect of the company. From the behind the scenes admin work to our actual clinical techniques.
There are two books that I read this year that I thought were outstanding and impactful:
But more importantly, let’s hear from everyone else. I simply emailed all these people with one easy question: “What are you doing differently this year?” Their answers were outstanding.
Thanks to everyone that participated!
What the Top Fitness and Rehab Experts are Doing Differently This Year
On the training front, I am spending a lot more time having youth athletes build up a work capacity before writing more traditional programming for them. I have found that 3/4 kids I assess would most benefit from 30-40 min of glorified manual labor 3-4x per week.
With more specialization, more technology, more home work, etc., they never move. Every day is the same. The kids are vastly ill prepared day 1 to see progress with basic weight lifting.
Furthermore, the last thing I want to introduce is more black and white structure. Move it, drag it, carry it, throw it, have fun.
Strength Coach, Cressey Sports Performance
More semi-private training options compared to a couple of years ago. Many people don’t need me counting or correcting every single rep for them, especially if they’ve worked with me for a couple of years, plus the group dynamic tends to push people more than I ever could. Everyone is still working on their own individual program, but just in a group with me running the show.
Strength Coach, DeanSomerset.com
Now that I’m on my own and officially a business owner, I’ve become more aware of what it really means to be client-centered and not coaching-centered. I’ve become better at not defaulting to my own biases.
It’s never about me. It’s about the client/athlete. What are their goals? And, does my programming reflect that? To be specific, something I have always been cognizant of, but am now much more aware of is the notion of respecting people’s differences; namely their anatomy.
No one has to deadlift with a straight bar from the floor. No one has to back squat or use a low-bar position or maintain a symmetrical stance. Everyone is different, with acetabulums pointing this way and that, femoral necks with different lengths and angulation, not to mention other things like femur and torso lengths.
Being more aware of not marrying myself to ONE way of doing anything because a textbook told me so has been a nice revelation on my end.
Strength Coach, CORE
Here is what I’m doing different lately:
In the clinic
- Using more isometrics and PNF to enhance movement patterns and in many cases restore pain free end range without the need for more complicated manual therapies. Also messing around with blood flow restriction training
- Posting regularly to instagram, one of the last social networks where all of your followers see all of your posts, very different than facebook’s “curated” timeline. Facebook’s reach is at an all time low and bottom line, it’s great for advertising, but not so great for organic reach. Also started a media company with some podcasts, Therapy Insiders, and short form Podcast, Untold Physio Stories. Lastly, my blog posts are A LOT shorter, mostly shorter videos, instead of 5-7 minute videos.
- Listening to more podcasts, Health Fit Biz, #AskMikeReinold. Still using feedly to keep up with my regularly read blogs.
Physical Therapist, TheManualTherapist.com
Once described as “A Google Guy trapped in a Sports Medicine Body” by a fellow Major League Baseball Athletic Trainer, I’ve now added the word “Spiritual” to that phrase, as I began my third year in the NBA.
I’m grateful everyday for the opportunity to run my truly “whole-listic” platform here in New York, thanks to the unwavering support of my idol, my guru, and my team’s president, The Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson.
As an organization, we’ve been at the forefront of innovation in realm of Sports Science in the US for almost a decade, without needing public accolades or press to validate what we do. With that being a status quo for us, we’ve added other elements to our sports performance algorithm, this time enhancing more than just the 5 senses of each of our athletes, allowing them to truly be the best versions of themselves, Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Director of Training and Conditioning, New York Knicks
I don’t know if I’d call it different, per se, but I’m getting back to my roots a little bit and scheduling routine “fitness tourism” so that I can have an ongoing feel for what’s working elsewhere. I tell almost every consulting client I work with to get out and see other facilities in action, but tend to forget that this information applies to me as well.
Just because CSP is attracting a ton of observational guests doesn’t mean that I can stop taking my own advice and seeing others do their thing.
Co-Owner, Cressey Sports Performance
We have continued to evolve our understanding of PRI / DNS / FRC methods for muscle activation / inhibition based off individual assessment. We have added in manual therapy options (FDM-Fascial Distortion Method and FM-Fascial Manipulation per Stecco) to aide in finding balanced posture and movement.
We have been using Blood Flow Restriction units in extremity rehab which seems to have some good promise.
Tim Brown has given us some really nice options for using kinesiotaping to help function.
Our Performance staff has had the luxury of being in association with the ALTIS training center in Phoenix, this has given us some great movement training.
One of our biggest pushes has been personal development / team development / communication. The Landmark Seminars for personal development have helped several of our staff members. Leadership development is always one of our foundations and the article link below may give some insight on our philosophy behind it.
Head Athletic Trainer, Arizona Diamondbacks
This year what I’ve done differently…
- I’ve spent my first full year in my ‘new’ business after selling my stake in a number of other ventures. During this time I’ve really narrowed my focus to ‘helping entrepreneurs build their ideal business’ rather than just helping people grow businesses. While it may not sound like much of a difference – it’s given me a lot of clarity on who I’m trying to serve and how I’m trying to serve them. From my perspective (and hopefully from the outside) it feels much more like being a specialist versus a generalist.
- I’ve also enforced pretty rigid guardrails as far as my business is concerned, saying ‘no’ to more things that ever before. What I’ve come to find is that the more things that are a wrong fit that I say ‘no’ to, the more opportunities that seem ‘right’ tend to come my way. Whether it’s the length / amount of travel or the type of client I take on, selecting the right fit has actually caused me to be more creative in how I reach my professional goals – yielding really good results.
- Along those same lines – I’ve narrow what I do to: coaching, connecting, creating, strategic planning and idea creation. Everything else gets outsourced to people who are better at those respective things. By rough estimate, I’ve spent about 85-90% of my professional time doing things I really enjoy – a much higher percentage than in any year previous.
- From a tactical perspective, I’ve worked a lot on growing my platform. I’ve written one book and have two others that should be complete by March at the latest. I launched a podcast. I (continue to) email my audience daily. I’ve spoken at a few new events this year and done more varied ‘list building stuff’ than in any year previous.
- I added another layer to my coaching offerings – which grow the enrollment by about 75 clients while being a real success by any measure.
- Finally – after kind of mailing it in from late March – mid July as far as work goes (working about 15 hours a week most weeks), I created what I called a 100 Day Sprint where I mapped out about a dozen pretty aggressive goals spanning every fact of my business from revenue growth to writing progress. I just wrapped it up on 11/4 and hit 11 of 12 goals…with many being exceeded by a significant margin. Now I’m going to turn the whole process into a course.
Business Consultant, PatRigsby.com
Here is what I have been doing a lot differently
- On the clinical side, one thing I have been doing is playing devils advocate with myself a lot in regards to newer concepts/research. I saw in myself that that my pendulum was shining way too far between topics and just like many others I don’t want to get carried away. Finding the mid ground in contrasting areas like include “functional” approaches vs importance of isolation/basics, neurological vs biomechanical/histological approaches, set movement patterns vs motor variability, and so on. I find it really helps me map out my approach but also keeps me on my toes when reading new research. I’m spending a ton of time in hip micro instability research and treatment, so having this opposing sides view is really interesting to develop new ideas.
- I have really been trying to build up my strength and conditioning knowledge and apply to my whole rehab approach. I have always felt decent in this area, but in working more with high level gymnasts/Olympic Weightlifters, I found that I was dropping the ball a bit for advanced rehab. I’ve been reading a ton of newer strength books and energy systems training research to get up to speed, but also approaching my rehabilitation through more formal strength and periodization models, even with the acute or post op patients.
- More for myself, a lot more reading in personal development this year. Reading books like Ego is The Enemy, Legacy, and Extreme Leadership we eye opening to some personality flaws I didn’t even pick up in myself. Swallowing some tough pills was necessary, but ultimately I think it’s helping make my job and life better. Also has allowed me to make some really large positive changes in trying to change a sport so stubborn as gymnastics. Another personal note, I’ve also been way more disciplined about following my calendar weekly to stay on track.
- Definitely writing a lot shorter, more concise blog posts for my company SHIFT Movement Science I put out more content based articles less often, but make them full of relevant points and get right to the point. It’s been really helpful for me to deload but readers enjoy it much more. Moving more to educational products and items people can utilize to learn on their own vs my pumping out regular articles.
Physical Therapist, Champion PT and Performance
Things I’m Doing Differently:
- Been inviting local physicians to our monthly journal clubs and “co-author” blogs on my website. Has been a great addition and really surprised how many have expressed interest. I had not done that previously.
- Inviting more local physicians in to do inservices for my staff. Surprised how many actually pull themselves away and want to do it. Been great for education and interaction.
- I meet once a week w/ my clinicians that are 0-2 years out of PT school to review their cases. Fridays, noon over lunch. They go over struggles, the others put in their two cents, then I swoop in at the end and tell ’em they’re all full of s**t. Lol. Just kidding, just help them round out their plans. They rave about it and I know in the end, I “lose to win.”
- Clinically – using BFR more, but I find I have more questions than answers. Also using dry needling as an adjunct.
- I have tried really hard to stop arguing with idiots on social media. After a while, it’s hard to tell the difference.
- I have decided that I’m not that important. My clinics will be fine. So will my patients and they’ll find a way to see me. I go in to work a little later to take my son to school and leave two days early to pick him up. That matters way more than an extra visit or two.
- Agree w/ Pat Rigsby big time – taking stuff off my plate and saying “no” a little more often. It’s a struggle because I have a tremendous passion for my profession, but have to make sure everything else doesn’t suffer.
Things I Wish I Did Differently:
- Now that I’m not involved formally in pro and college sports like I used to, although I still see elite athletes, I don’t have all the cool toys so many of you get to use. Sigh…maybe someday. Love to tinker with innovative tech products.
Things I Haven’t Changed a Bit:
- Read a ton. Research guides practice. I can’t get enough. I love this stuff.
- Engage with people that are on lists like this. Seek people that have earned trust, Seek people who walk the walk.
- Be an expert at the basics. For all the fluff and different approaches, I make sure stuff is mobile, stable, and strong like freaking bull. Everything else – power, reactive strength and speed – follows nicely.
Physical Therapist, SSOR
My first thought was ” I haven’t done much different”. However, after reading everyone’s responses I was moved to write.
Most of what I’m changing has already been alluded too
- Giving more responsibility to my staff. My goal is to make myself non essential.
- Putting more thought and energy into staff development. I have established this as my ” one thing” from a business standpoint.
- Trying to work less and be a better dad and husband. This is a never ending battle.
- Also learning to say no. I coach who I want to, when I want too. I refer a lot of speaking options to staff members.
- Taking advice from Alistair McCaw and focusing on 20 minutes of thoughtfulness every day. Also a 20 min nap.
Strength Coach, Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
Prioritizing things. As a coach and business owner things can get out of whack.
For me the ranking is 1) family, 2) business, 3) coaching.
Family: Making sure I am raising my son the way I want to. He’s only 18 months old, but getting out everyday to play with him for at least an hour of completely undirected free play (per good LTAD guidelines), keeping the TV off at all times, and making sure that I spend each morning with him before hitting the gym. It also means being a better husband and spending equal time on developing that relationship as I do my business and coaching.
Business: Re-vamped our core values this year to reflect what I truly believe (they were outdated when my former business partner left). We are in the relationship business and I wanted the core values to reflect as much. Just updating these has been so impactful to my business.
Coaching: Getting better at programming, I am good at seeing complex movements and breaking them down. The question I asked myself this year was “am I applying these stresses in the most optimal way?” When the answer came up, maybe, then I decided I needed to look again at what we have been doing.
On that note, I have been trying to look at different sources for more knowledge on programming, less to the traditional guru’s and more towards people that are putting up results with similar populations. Do you have the best collegiate weightlifters? Then I’m going to look at what you’re doing. Do you produce really good high school baseball players? Then I’m going to look at what you’re doing. Surprise, surprise, these people don’t have the most instagram followers, because they are out there actually coaching people.
Strength Coach, Force Fitness
As previously stated amongst the group, balancing being a father/husband with a successful career has been something to continue to work on. As a father of 3, it has been somewhat challenging for me to do so in the past but I have made it a priority this past year to do so. I will continue to work on it. One of this funniest activities I enjoy getting my kids into is rock climbing and tae kwon do. I have found great motor development patterns develop from the rock climbing and great kinesthetic awareness/balance/proprioception in all my kids…especially in my middle son who is deaf in one year and was just “clumsy” as toddler. Great to see the confidence and single limb balance develop from his martial arts.
At work, I have identified and trained 2 staff clinicians to take on more managerial roles so that I didn’t have to feel like I had to be in the place 12 hours a day and be afraid the clinic would fall apart. Working on implementing the culture and systems in place to have the business run while the head guy wasn’t on the floor was a strategy to allow professional growth amongst select staff and allow me more time to spend with family etc. It also allows us to identify leaders in our clinic to eventually open and run satellite clinics when we are ready to do so from a business prospective.
I have taken the time professionally to learn the ins/outs of running a Motion Analysis lab for our pitcher biomechanical analysis to give me more of an understanding of the whole process, interpretation of the data, and provide feedback to the pitchers and coaches. Baseball medicine is always evolving as we try to tackle and decrease the pitcher injuries of the elbow/shoulder. I am currently doing research between simple balance and core tests using the LevelBelt app and comparing to the biomechanical data of the lab on pitchers that have come through the lab.
I have used the KAATSU blood flow restriction training and have seen some pretty good results with regaining quad strength and hypertrophy in post-op conditions that were limited weight bearing for initial 6 weeks post-op. Seems to be promising.
Physical Therapist, TMI
My business has achieved monumental growth this year and it came as the result of an unlikely reason: I relinquished control. This year I became more comfortable establishing systems, operations, and guidelines for operating aspects of my business and handing off those elements to skilled members of the team in full trust. Instead of working in my business every day, I spend all of my time visualizing how I want it to grow and finding the people, developing the systems, and setting the wheels in motion to make it happen. As a business, my team and I have grown faster, built better stuff, made more, impacted more, and had more fun all at the same time.
I think what I have been trying to do differently — mainly over the past several years, really — is attempting to use mathematics and statistics to understand some of the processes that we go through with our athletes. This could from a training, rehabilitation, or performance standpoint.
There are lots of approaches out there that people take but understanding how they work, what is meaningful, what types of changes/improvements are actually real versus random biological variation, etc. That is really the challenging part. At the end of the day, we deal with people’s health and my thoughts over the past several years have been towards trying to understand if what we are doing is truly making an impact and what the magnitude of that impact is.
Strength Coach, Optimum Sports Performance
I’m working on time management…calendar reminders to plan my life have helped guide my ‘to do’ list despite a 9 month old that has little routine
Learning the basics of powerlifting and olympic lifting. It’s a new world but an important one to understand for the clients that we see.
Trying to enjoy family life and dedicate time to baby/wife.
Continue to improve my stock buying/selling strategies and not always going for the ‘big one’ that will give a big pop… being slightly more conservative despite the fun of the big hit!
Easy to get complacent after 12+ years of being a PT…trying to fight that complacency and stay engaged.
Co-Owner, Champion PT and Performance
Things I am doing differently:
- Always trying to understand the psychology of “what motivates a man” and understanding why others do what they do, particularly using methods and techniques that are incomplete and inferior to best practice.
- Reconciling buckets of techniques based on their earnest physiology and neurology.
- Reverse engineering thought process of successful individuals.
- Continuing to find common targets of physiology and neurology that link the methods that are typically classified as training and/or rehabilitation.
- Developing scalability of methodology allowing clinicians to maintain their individuality using models that have already proven to be successful
- Studying links of the 5 W’s of athletic performance across long-term time frame
Physical Therapist, Drive 495
One thing I’ve been trying to do is take as much time with my kids as possible. They are getting older fast (or so it seems) and so am I.
Trying to make sure that I spend time with my wife in what she wants to do.
From a professional standpoint, we’ve been increasing our knowledge about the neuro aspects of the body and the best ways to effect it. Affecting fascia, Parasymp/symp, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system.
Using blood flow restriction training (KAATSU), US imaging, cryochamber, hyperbaric chamber. Looking into neuro “priming” for our rehab (Halo Neuroscience).
Trying to make a concerted effort to really start to grasp volume for our players. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress, hydration, and its cumulative effects.
Every once in awhile, just pulling back and making sure we are still looking at the basics and not getting to wrapped up in the “new” gadgets. Making sure we are looking at how the whole body is moving, if the joint is supposed to be more mobility or stability, fascial lines and how they are moving, etc…
Director of Rehabilitation, Kansas City Royals
What Are You Doing Differently?
Lets keep it rolling, reply below and comment on what you are doing differently. I’d love to hear, I’m always looking for new ways to grow!