First of all – I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported my site over its first year of existence. I really appreciate all the feedback, likes, shares and other benefits you have given me. Thank you.
I sometimes get asked how I’ve gotten into the role that I have – writing for two sites, having contributed to two books and having contributed to multiple university courses. Also, given the amount of outdated & questionable material out there in health & fitness, I’m sometimes asked how I stay sane and keep a level, positive attitude. This article, which I feel is an appropriate “1 year anniversary” article, delves into that….
Back in 2013, as I was preparing for physio school application interviews, Stu McGill was gracious enough to take some time out of his insane schedule to let me work with him. When I asked him about some of the schools he told me that some of them do teach a lot of outdated materials.
Alo and behold - during my first term of PT school I was getting taught, what I knew was outdated, information and was angry, bitter, frustrated, and depressed about it. Sometimes I felt like I took my anger out on my fellow classmates which, along with my lack of taking care of my physical and mental health, sits as my biggest regret from PT school. This is why I’ve always appreciated when someone sends me a message or posts a comment complimenting me for having a positive, balanced attitude as I wasn’t always that way and have tried to work in that direction. Due to these issues I almost quit PT school more than once along the way and have known many people who have struggled through similar journies.
Side note: so many people comment on my successes but they don’t see the hardships, failures, or low points along the way. Such is true with a lot of people’s stories on social media.
Those frustrations, to be honest, were the biggest spark for me to want to make change in the educational system for both rehab & fitness professionals.
In 2014, during a casual phone call, my old professor and great friend Lora Giangregorio asked me if I would help her design a course on exercise for people with chronic health conditions for the University of Waterloo KInesiology program - to which I said hell yes. I’ve been involved with UW ever since.
In 2014/15 I got asked by Brian Carroll, James Cerbie, and Alexander Cortes to write for PowerRack Strength, Rebel Performance, and EliteFTS respectively. For a 24 year old, still in grad school, the opportunity to write for those high level sites was nothing short of amazing.
Fast forward a couple years – I got asked to be part of a review panel for Western University, contributed to two books, started my own website, and am currently a writer for Mash Elite Performance.
Even though I’ve had the opportunity to reach people from Alaska to Australia … I felt something was missing in my work and my attitude up until a few months ago. The event that tipped that off was the passing of my former physio school instructor Deb Lucy. Deb was one of the main masterminds behind the way the Western University physiotherapy program runs today. She always had a lot of energy and cared a lot about her students. When you’re in the same classes Monday-Friday with the same 50 or so people for months on end … you become a family.
That made me realize – it was time for me to let go of the anger and bitterness that I harboured towards the education system. It wasn’t helping me and, if anything, it was bringing me down and negatively affecting my relationships with colleagues.
I’m not saying that every piece of material out there in rehab or fitness is peachy or perfect. Far from it. What I do believe though is this - "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" to quote Wayne Dyerr.
When I first learned about pain science & the biopsychosocial model in 2014, near the end of first year physio school, it really shook me and made me question a lot of things I thought I knew. It created some cognitive dissonance and it took me a while to rewire my thought pattern.
That, and the desire to be diplomatic in order to get my knowledge across, are the two main reasons I try to be patient with other professionals who I educate & deal with. I operate under the premise that most professionals mean well and want to help patients – and that belief change is tough especially when you’ve emotionally invested yourself into your methods & the results you get with your clients.
As such – my attitude has shifted. We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do in improving rehab & fitness education for professionals & students. But I look at the positives – we have a lot of great rehab & fitness professionals who care a lot and want to learn and get better and we have great opportunities and educational methods through schooling, courses, and social media to get the information out there. We can’t change the world – but we can make a little part of the world, a little bit better.
Thank you for your support for the past year, and as always, thanks for reading.
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