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Troop Movement with SoldierFit

Dr. Josh Funk was recently featured on the Troop Movement with SoldierFit CEO and good friend Danny Farrar. Check out the video, or read the transcript below! 

Troop Movement EP. 1. - Josh Funk (Rehab 2 Perform)


Danny Farrar: Hey, everybody, this is Danny Farrar CEO of SoldierFit. I want to welcome you to the first ever and this is going to be an annual thing, Troop Movement where we take out and bring in industry experts, we bring in members, we bring in people from the staff that you know and love. And we let them impart some wisdom on you so we can make sure that you achieve your goals in 2019 and beyond. And when I first had decided to do this, the very first person that came to my mind that I knew we had to get on an interview was Dr. Josh Funk. So, we appreciate him coming on. Let me tell you why I brought the doc on, not just because he's a doctor and doctors are naturally smarter than me, even if they pass with only 70%. But I brought him on because he's a young guy that I look up to, I admire, I respect for a multitude of reasons. One, I think he does business the right way. But more importantly, he changed my perception of what physical therapy is. And when I first started going back and seeing him a couple of years ago, I was in a place between my knees and my back, where if I'm being honest, I’d just kind of given up on being able to work out again. And as a guy that used to be 300 pounds and gets fat easy, that weight started to pile on. While I went out there, saw his amazing staff at Rehab 2 Perform, and they got me back to move it and now I'm loving life again. So, tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us a little about Rehab 2 Perform and what makes you guys so different that you got to get a knucklehead like me back to working out?


Josh Funk: Absolutely, I appreciate that. I'm a local product. For those of you out there, I grew up in Germantown, Maryland, grew up in a traditional American household, parents were divorced when I was one. I have four siblings. All played a ton of sports growing up. We lived in the world of different season different sports and physical activity was always something that mattered to us and to our family. I'm a big believer that culture is physical activity and I think that goes hand in hand with Rehab 2 Perform and we're SoldierFit fits into community nowadays, but went off played lacrosse at Ohio State. And that was actually where I found physical therapy, I hurt my shoulder. So, I tore my labrum my tore my rotator cuff, a lot of things that people normally have with needing surgery. And fortunately, I was able to avoid surgery after a second opinion. I had somebody say, “Hey, I've seen shoulders that look like this, but they typically do okay with PT.” And that was where I learned that just because something happened to me structurally, and that I was having some kind of pain and limitation, that I was still able to do a lot with my body. And that that wasn't necessarily a death wish. Did not take me off the field, I didn't miss any games throughout college.


Then I went to Maryland for physical therapy school, graduated, worked on my own for a couple of years at a variety different places, learning from other private practice owners, and then started up Rehab 2 Perform. And for those of you who aren't familiar with Rehab 2 Perform, Rehab 2 Perform is more of a hybrid between traditional physical therapy and personal training world. Our place looks a little bit more like a gym, it's less medicalized. When you walk in right from the get-go, you're probably going to think more about fitness and your overall physical activity level as opposed to walking into a white wall private room, very, very quiet where you're expecting to do a lot of table exercises. And I think the biggest thing that we focus on is more physical competency and developing people's capacity, ideally, putting them in a situation where they're better prepared. We won't necessarily focus on pain as much or somebody’s picture in terms of what that looks like on imaging. And we'll more focus on limitations and being a big believer in this myself control the controllable, right. I can't control the picture, in terms of what it might look like from an MRI or X-ray standpoint, but there's a lot of things that I am in control of. And oftentimes, by putting my body in a better position to do certain things, certain competencies, I'm going to find myself having less pain and ideally, being in a situation where my body's more resilient in the long run.


Danny Farrar: You talked about competency and you talked about pain, and really when I think about people and we see it here when people walk through the door, either they've never been in shape in their life or they got in shape. And life caught up and a lot of times that life is pain, right, that came into it. And what happens is you get that injury and then it's just such a mental block. Like I don't want to say you're being kind of a pansy, but you don't want to try that lunch because you don't want you knee to buckle and you don't want to find yourself if you're a mom or a dad, you don't want to find yourself unable to go to work because you were trying to actually improve your life, right? So, how do you guys help, and that's what physical fitness is, right, the ability to adapt to a workload? How do you help your patients when they come through the door, do you have any advice for anybody that's out there that, you know, maybe they're watching this in Texas and they don't have the ability to make it to a Rehab 2 Perform; how do you help? What is your advice for people to get past that mental block to be able to, “You know what, I know I'm not going to be able to do what I want to do, what I used to be able to do, but I can do something.” So, how do you help them get there and feel confident?


Josh Funk: Right. I mean, I think that goes hand in hand, just, you know, I’m a big quote guy, aggregation of marginal gains, right. So, I could go into a workout and automatically shut myself down because I had pain with one particular movement or I can focus on small wins. So, I could find activities that maybe are a light ache, or more of like a mild sensation instead of something that's say, stronger, sharper stabbing, those are more red light type symptoms as we'd like to describe them. But finding things that you can actually do, that's going to probably take you in a direction where you're feeling like you're actually doing something. So, instead of full shutdown, we don't typically tell people to rest. We try to find some of those activities that people can do either completely pain-free or with a little bit of mild discomfort. And ideally, that becomes a foundational block for what they'll build their fitness off of. So, instead of staying at zero or being in a deconditioned state, which a lot of people come to us with, especially given the fact that we're going through resolutions this year. But we want to make sure that we're focusing on things that we can do with either no discomfort or some level of discomfort.


Danny Farrar: And you talked about aches and then your red line, you sharp pain, what is your defining, let's say somebody’s out there and they’re watching this like, you know, “Ah, I didn't tear my labrum and my rotator cuff, but I had this impingement on my shoulder.” How do you know, what would be your advice for someone to know, okay, I can work through this or I should probably go see a professional like yourself?


Josh Funk: Right, yeah. I mean, that's where we kind of get into like our lighting system. Red light, symptoms are typically things that are stronger, people would describe them a little bit more as sharpened, stabbing. And let me be clear, I think the most beneficial thing for a lot of people is to have a full appreciation for how they would describe pain. Pain and hurt are very subjective in nature, they're very, very multifactorial. What you might view as pain and describe as painful might not necessarily be something that somebody else would be describing as painful. But things that we can agree on sharp stabbing, pulling, achy, throbbing sensation, some kind of tingling. So, being more descriptive, often allows us to be a little bit more in control and have a better dialogue in terms of things that might be perceived as being completely negative or things that actually might be a little bit therapeutic. Sometimes people start out with something that might be a little bit achy and by the third, fourth rep or a certain amount of time, it actually starts to dissipate or go away. Or if we have something that's a little bit achy and it just kind of maintained throughout that exercise, that might end up being something that we're okay with.


So, those achy, pulling, maybe a little bit of a throbbing sensation, as long as it’d be described as mild, those are typically things that we would describe being more of like a yellow light symptom, something that we might be able to push on It's like you're kind of proceeding with caution, it's not something that you're going to necessarily pull back from. But it's something that we feel comfortable saying you know what, this is something, we're going to kind of test the water on a little bit, knowing that we need some strain or stress to the system, we need to appreciate the fact that physical activity is a physical stress, and that there should be some kind of sensations with certain activities, especially if we want to build a better baseline. And at the end of the day, like you mentioned, physical activity allows us to build a better baseline, it allows us to be more prepared for activities of daily living and ideally, make the world that we are living in, either easier to live in, it makes us more efficient with those daily tasks. And I'm a big believer that physical activities is an engagement for us, it keeps our world big and allows us to interact with the world around us.


Danny Farrar: Well, you know, one of the things you talked about is and this is I think the part that shocked me the most and I think this is why a lot of people end up getting on opioids or they end up going under the knife and you talked about your experience with the rotator cuff, but when I came to see you guys, it was my back, my back and my knees. There was a point in time, you know, I don't consider myself the baddest dude on the planet, but I consider myself decently tough. There was a point in time that if you touched my back, I would literally scream. And I knew I had actual structural damage to the spine but what I ended up learning from you guys is it wasn't the same thing with my knees. It wasn't the join, it wasn't the structure that was hurt, it was soft tissue injury, or the soft tissue was compromised, right? I've been sitting in those positions that so many people in America set in, which is sitting like we are right now. And I had the [??? 9:04] it was so, so, so tight. So, y'all do a myriad of different techniques to actually address the soft tissue issue and I think that's kind of separate, I think that’s kind of physical therapy is headed towards now. You want to talk about some of those things that you do and how they help?


Josh Funk: So, I think the thing that's very, very important for us to have a conversation about is the structural issue that you brought up. So, too often, and this is something that hopefully we get better as a healthcare industry is educating people on the fact that your picture does not have a real correlation with regards to any kind of symptoms. People could get imaging of their back, they could be very, very similar between you and I and we could be feeling very, very different things; we could have an entirely different set of limitations. So, just because your picture looks like X does not necessarily mean that there is something that we're directly expecting to happen as a result. I would also say that for anybody over the age of about 25 or 30, you're going to have abnormalities on an image, you're going to have abnormalities in ankles, knees, hips back, whatever joint that you pick. So, I think that's something that people need to have a much better appreciation for. We're not expecting perfection, we are actually expecting abnormalities to occur. So, getting back to what I was talking about earlier, let's make sure that we're controlling the factors that we can control. Soft tissue is definitely a part of that. For one reason or the other, sometimes with these pain patterns, we could potentially have muscles what we would call are toned up. So, not necessarily a tight in terms of always creating a limitation. But if you think about your muscular activity as being like a dimmer switch, when the dimmer switch goes up, we're probably going to do something more with regards to contracting. When the dimmer switch goes down, that muscle is relaxing more. Through one reason or the other, it could be a wide variety, and most likely it is a collection of reasons, we end up with these situations where people, such as yourself, say we have our back and muscles have found themselves in that dimmer switch up position for an extended period of time. That's where we might potentially give you self strategies, might potentially work on the muscles of the lower back, do something like dry needling, anything we can do to serve as a catalyst. At the end of the day, we shouldn't necessarily have those muscular related issues for an extended period of time. If we are finding ourselves constantly having to roll or constantly having to do something like needling or constantly needing to have a massage to decrease some of that tone that we were talking about, then we need to start looking more at what are the prerequisites that you don't have that are not allowing you to do the activities that you're asking yourself in a sustainable fashion, right. For some reason, there's compensation going on here, we're using a little bit more muscular activity here, your body's not adapting to that physical stress the way that it should.


Danny Farrar: And one of the things you talked about and it segues perfectly into this is that I'll be 40, I'm not old but I'll feel like I'm getting there, right. I’ve spent eight years as infantry paratrooper jumping out of planes, carrying heavy loads, being a firefighter. And so by the time I'd actually come to see you, I had kind of relegated myself to, I'm just getting old, I've led a full life, I'm just going to be miserable and I'm going to be limited for the rest of my life. And I was so happy about it, you know, I'm back to lifting weights again now. That's not true and it doesn't have to be. So, you talked about at one point in time, age doesn't need to be a limiting factor outside the external, right, like 40 years old, you're not going to be the physical specimen you were in 20. But you can still get in absolutely ridiculously great shape and change the way you look and the way you feel much, much later in life. So, how do you help people make sure they get on that right track and then, do you have any words of advice for somebody that might be a little bit older or a little bit more broken coming in?


Josh Funk: Yeah, I think, if I can remember the quote, I think it had to do a lot with the fact that we can either allow aging to happen to us or we can be an active participant or controlling the aging process.


Danny Farrar: Active age, right?


Josh Funk: Yes. So, a couple of small things I always think of, especially for people who have not been active for an extended period of time. First, we're going to start with mindset, we are going to be completion oriented and not competitive. So, the more that we go into a workout and we just focus on completing whatever it is that's put in front of us, just keep moving. You don't need to win the workout that day, you actually winning the workout is going through whatever, 45, 50, 55 minutes workout at probably a less intensity, intense fashion than other people in the class, probably with less weight, probably with a little bit more rest as well, and that's fine. When we get through that workout, we have some success there, then we find ourselves being able to actually accumulate fitness qualities. But I think and it goes hand in hand with a lot of new year's resolutions is sometimes people's ego gets in the way or they get so externally focused on other people, what are the other people in the class doing? What is this person doing that I'm not able to do? And they just start benchmarking themselves on other people, as opposed to just focusing on themselves. And the more they can just have that completion mindset, the more that they're able to accumulate fitness qualities, and then they're going to find themselves actually being able to compete at some point. And ideally, that still is largely an internal competition instead of a situation where they're focusing on other people.


Outside of that, accumulating fitness through a base or an aerobic base is very, very essential for a lot of people. I appreciate the fact that we've shifted to a lot of high-intensity interval training. I think it's great, it has a ton of, a ton of value. But I think for a lot of people, if they go into a situation where they don't have a baseline of aerobic fitness, a good general marker for that is a resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute, that would be something I would do to supplement the HIIT that I might be potentially doing, say through SoldierFit, or CrossFit or whatever bootcamp fitness that somebody might be involving themselves with; that allows you to have a better recovery system. So, for you doing whatever intense bout that they might be doing and SoldierFit for the first round, their bodies actually able to recover back to baseline, get the necessary resources to then go have a very, very good second round. But if I don't have a good aerobic base, that first round might be good and I might be on a steady decline with regards to my output. If I'm continually on that steady decline and I'm having fatigue accumulate, fatigue makes a liar out of all of us. So, we might be able to do something very, very well with the first round, but things are going to compensate, things are going to potentially be strained and stressed closer to a threshold point where our body might perceive it to be a negative. So, I think that's very, very important as well.


And then outside of that, making sure that people aren't focused too much on weights, that they also remember the fact that they are human beings and then moving their body through space is a great foundational activity. When I think a young people and kids that are in a good situation to kids that are, say in the fort, doing stuff like martial arts, in gymnastics, they have a lot of body weight competency, right, they move themselves well. The more efficient I am with my myself, the more likely I am to probably handle daily activities where the only thing that I'm moving is myself, and they're probably actually going to do better on some of those weight room oriented activities that we value. So, just to summarize, mindset, completion over competitive in the beginning, focusing on building an overall aerobic base, right, just slowing-- can I actually tolerate 30 to 45 minutes on a bike, can I actually go for a 45 minutes walk? And then working on some body weight competency exercises, push ups, pull ups, things that involve say, our hands on the ground, some of these transitional positions, animal flow; some of the things that I know you're a little bit familiar with, and some of our single leg squatting and lunging patterns.


Danny Farrar: Awesome. All right guys, you've got your marching orders on how you're going to go out there. Either get back in the game or start the game for the first time. Always remember, when you doubt yourself, that doing what you could beats what you didn't every day of the week. Again, thank you so much, tune in again soon. Before you leave, make sure you hit that like and subscribe button so that you can get caught up on all of the Troop Movement that's happening. Again, guys, thanks for everything, we’ll see you on the field.