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Episode 12: Bridging Your Skillset Between Rehab & Fitness


Nate Reynolds 0:05

Welcome to this week's episode, I'm talking with Tyler Kallasy. He is a travel physical therapist that is currently working in home health in California. And he's also a coach for Prime Movement Performance. So welcome.

Tyler Kallasy 0:41

Thanks. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Nate Reynolds 0:44

So Tyler, tell me a little bit more about your background kind of where you're from, where you went to PT school and kind of how you got into travel PT.

Tyler Kallasy 0:52

And so I was born and raised in upstate New York, big, big old city called Utica. I lived there my whole life. When it came time for college, you know, looked all over the place, but Utica College was just ultimately the best fit. I did play college football there. After I finished my undergraduate and playing college football, I moved on to the doctor physical therapy program at Utica College. I graduated from that program in 2018. Right as soon as I finished PT, school, my girlfriend and I started working as travel physical therapists, which simply means we we practice physical therapy, but we are contracted employees, we work three to six months somewhere and move on to another place who, who needs some pts. So it's it's been good as a travel physical therapist because it gives me the opportunity to meet people all over the country, create relationships all over the country and learn from you know, other clinics, other gyms, people, maybe how I may want to run my own business someday when we're done doing this travel thing. And so you're also coached at prime movement performance.

Nate Reynolds 2:04

What do you do with prime movement performance? How are you coach? How does physical therapy kind of translate into your coaching aspect?

Tyler Kallasy 2:12

So when I was in college, I was a coach at prime movement performance, which used to be CrossFit Utica. So I was a CrossFit coach teaching group Class A few days, few times a day, multiple days a week, which really kind of got me through college financially, not really paying for college, but let me you know, live a normal life while I was in college, and, you know, it kickstarted my, my life as a coach. And as a fitness professional. I learned so much when I started coaching there, that when I finished school, I just continued. So anywhere we moved, I would get in, we would go to a CrossFit gym, I would start coaching there and meet the people. And eventually, it turned into me not just coaching, but I started treating as a physical therapist on the side. So I would take on a few clients outside of my 40 hour week, and just learn and experience how, you know, private cash based physical therapy works. Eventually, that became a little bit too much recently, I started my own coaching and remote training company called prospect rehab and performance, where I would like I said, train folks remotely from, I guess, all over the country. You know, anywhere that I had done a contract, I met a few folks that maybe wanted some training. So I reached out and started picking up clients like that. Eventually, I saw that there were some holes in how I ran my business and some things that I could do better, I reached out to Anthony metiria with prime movement performance and said, Hey, man, you know, I think I'm ready to come back. So I basically took my own company prospects rehab and performance and instilled it within the hierarchy of prime mood and performance. I am now a essentially a full time coach with prime moving performance, but everything I do is is remote, virtual. So in conjunction with Anthony, I run our flagship prime Connect program, which is essentially a subscription based kind of general program. We've used, you know, some of my knowledge from PT, some of his knowledge from strength conditioning, you know, high school, physical education and his multiple, you know, decades of, of training. And then as well as my recent experience with strength conditioning to create a well rounded program that that cycles through every about four to six weeks, people can jump on and start wherever they start. And then in addition to that, we we do individualized programming where we pick someone up, someone reaches out to us, we put them through a well rounded assessment based on that assessment and what we talked about with them, we take them through some individualized training where they can receive coaching from us virtually whether it is a one on one meeting or A few cues for them. So in addition to my 40 hours a week of working as a travel physical therapist, I come home and hustle hard as a as a remote coach and fitness professional with the hopes of being a fitness professional slash physical therapist full time one day.

Nate Reynolds 5:17

That's pretty impressive. I mean, to go from just doing travel contracts, we don't really know anyone to now having being a coach in new areas, having those connections throughout the country. And then circling back to working back with the guys that you started with in Utica. Right. That's, that's where it started, right? Yep. I think that's probably one of the best ways that I've, or one of the best stories that I've heard of someone combining those two fields, because I think in physical therapy school, I think it'll be I think you'll agree with me is that we don't learn a lot of like movement assessments, like you just learn, it's more textbook, and then it's like, you don't know how to coach a movement. And so for you to be a CrossFit coach, learn that, kind of see where the flaws are in physical therapy school, develop that skill set, and then take this throughout the country. It's pretty, pretty remarkable.

Tyler Kallasy 6:12

Yeah, I agree, I think, and I don't regret being a physical therapist, I don't regret going to physical therapy school. But I think that physical therapy pool, right, the doctor program of physical therapy is meant to make you the safest, most knowledgeable physical therapist that you can be understanding how to use evidence based practice and be really safe, well rounded clinician, I just think that there are some holes in physical therapy education, that don't give us as students, you know, maybe the best understanding of actual movement, you know, actual functional, I guess you could say, quote, unquote, functional movement, and structured programming, right strength and conditioning programming. And I think that's something that when physical therapists get out of school, and they tried to get into maybe just like that standard outpatient setting where they think that they're going to jump into some sort of sports setting, they're kind of shocked, I think that there should be more focus, maybe even a specific class or a specific, few classes focused on movement proficiency for the actual student, and programming proficiency. So teaching people how to actually create periodized programs that span over the course of a month or a year. Um, so they can have a better understanding and immerse themselves into, you know, that fitness or that strength conditioning world.

Nate Reynolds 7:43

I think the biggest problem with physical therapy school is that, you know, I think there should be tracks like if you if you know, you want to go the ortho route, or if you want to go to the neuro route, or like acute care that you should be able to like specialize kind of what electives you take. And so you can get that experience, because I think the problem with PT school is that there's so much that you have to learn through like the whole spectrum of PT, when I was talking to chiropractors, I don't know, if you like a few months ago, they were just talking about how everything they learn is ortho. And so it's just three years of ortho, whereas, you know, we had to learn the neuro like, like, you know, acute care stuff is completely different than outpatient. Yeah. But that, that brings me to like our next topic, and this is how I met met you, Tyler is through active life, we took that seminar together, what role do you think active life played in kind of bridging that gap for you, between the rehab and performance fitness realm.

Tyler Kallasy 8:44

So I think my biggest struggle as a coach now, or a fitness professional now is understanding how to combine my brain as a physical therapist in my brain as a coach and taking the active life seminar really gave me an understanding of kind of what to what to really focus on from my physical therapist, part of my brain, and, and what to really focus on from the coach part of my brain, you know, leading up to the seminar, when I would take on a new client, as a coach, and try to put them through an assessment and understand what they needed. I think I was looking maybe too deep, for lack of a better way of saying it, you know, I was really focusing sometimes on actual physiology, actual structures, and not just kind of stepping back and saying, like, hey, they can't do this, they can do this. They do, don't move well, this way. And they do move well, this way. Let's go from there. I was trying to be very diagnostic about it. Right? And taking the active life seminar really showed me, you know, how to step back how to kind of get that maybe not 20,000 foot view, but 10,000 foot view of the individual, their movement, proficiency, you know, their training history, and just start program, just start getting them moving. Instead of kind of that, having that paralysis by analysis, as you know, if you may, you know being, like trying to look so deeply into how they move and what's causing these movement limitations or, or giving them the strengths that I just couldn't go anywhere.

Nate Reynolds 10:19

What I've realized with the internet ortho PT for, like the last three years, is that the more I've simplified, the better my treatments got. So now I, when I tell patients is, it can be three things, if it's truly a musculo skeletal issue, it's either muscle, joint or nerve, those are the three tissues, quite frankly, I don't really care what specific tissue it is, like, if it's, if it's a muscle that now they're gonna have pain with active motion, or like when you palpate that area, or if its joints gonna be like, kind of restricted, or if it's inflamed, any movements going to bother it. Or if it's nerve, it's gonna be like that numbness tingling. And so just like simplifying it, instead of being like, Oh, it's definitely you know, your semi tendinosis. Or like, it's like, not just the hamstring. Is it insertion is in mid, mid muscle belly, you know, the more I've just kind of taken like that broader, like the broader scope, I think, the better my treatments got. So I think you're completely right, where sometimes, we're so analytical. And we have so much knowledge that we just don't know how to focus and know exactly what we want to do. Or if you look at a squat pattern, you're like, you know, that could be XYZ, and then just be like, not just this one cue. Good fix it. And we were just trying to over cue. So I think you're not alone, though. I think a lot of people are over analytical.

Tyler Kallasy 11:37

Yeah, I think, as a physical therapist, you know, I have over 20 special tests just for one joint joint, right, I have 20 special tests just for the shoulder. You know, as a coach, you don't know 20, special tests for movement proficiency when you first start. So you just watch them move based on what you know, you see the limitations, or you see what you think or limitations you address them. And as I've grown as a coach, I've learned how to be more complex as a coach for my own benefit. And I think as I'm growing as a physical therapist, I'm learning how to be more simple as a physical therapist, are all those assessments super valuable? Yeah, at times. But I think once we apply a name to something, it becomes, in our brains even more important, and we think we have to use it, you know, not everybody needs seven different assessments for the shoulder to understand maybe what's creating the limit in their lifestyle, or in their, you know, movement practice. And I think that's where the active life seminar really made me look at all of those things and be like, I don't need those all the time. I just need maybe it doesn't even have to be that move, active, life's specific movement assessments, but I just need a few. As long as I get good with those assessments, and they're well rounded. And I understand where they need to take me, which is the big part where they need to take me with this, this athlete or this client, then then they're good enough.

Nate Reynolds 13:04

Yeah, I think kind of talking about like bridging that gap. I really do think like, we struggle to apply those strength and conditioning principles from like the, let's say, the illness to wellness to fitness, like spectrum. And we kind of think that, if you're in rehab, it's like physical therapy, if you're in fitness, like it's your coach, but really like, your principles should carry over that whole spectrum. And and absolutely, and I think that's kind of, like when you talk about like having like the two sides of your brain working, we just need to simplify the PT round of it. Because we've probably overcomplicate everything, like you're talking about like you don't, you know, the special tests really aren't that accurate. You know, there's a few that are good, but you know, they just need to get stronger and move better and help them with that, instead of being like, Oh, it's this exact tissue, we kind of know from research that we can't confirm or deny what tissue we're working on. My, you know, post your cough palpation could be way different than yours, like what I think is Terry's minor or infraspinatus. I mean, it will probably be really close to the same spot. Like we're not it's not that far. But we're always just a little off with our techniques. You know, it's hard to reproduce between clinicians from a clinical standpoint. You know, I think we overcomplicate a lot.

Tyler Kallasy 14:21

Yeah, for sure. I would agree.

Nate Reynolds 14:24

So now, you kind of talked about those assessments that you're going to use into into your side hustle. What is your next step with using those assessments?

Tyler Kallasy 14:35

I think I'm going to mainly take the concepts that I've learned and apply them to the assessment that we already have. Right? You know, I think that every school is of thought has its gems, and it has its flaws. And I think that solid combination of all of them are the best combination that suits you and your mindset is what's going to work so As much as I valued the assessments that we learned during the seminar, I think that some combination of what I already have, and what I learned at the active life seminar is going to be the best for me, because that's ultimately what I'm going to be comfortable and confident using. So I have already implemented multiple new, I guess, you could say, movements or aspects of an assessment that has made me even more effective in understanding, you know, some how someone expresses themselves through movement, and through, you know, resistance training. And I think that, from here on out, it's going to be a matter of just understanding deeper if one specific movement or one piece of my assessment is even more or even less effective, as I have more and more clients move through that, you know, I think it's tough to say, if an assessment is effective, until you see what the athlete looks like, on the back end, and you see which pieces of the assessment still matter. I think there's a lot of value in an assessment if it can tell you what to do with the athlete. But I think there's just as much value in an assessment if it tells you how the athlete has changed, since you started with them. And I think there's a combination of both that needs to be used.

Nate Reynolds 16:12

The biggest thing that I see, like what you're talking about is like that, that test, retest, I think that kind of sells itself when you do it the first time with them, and then they notice that there's a substantial improvement. And the biggest one I can think of is just from the assessments that we learned is, you know, the clothing and like dorsiflexion test, I think it's like a noticeable improvement, if they actually, you know, instead of going from like five and a half inches, maybe they started at two and a half, three, and now they're doing five and a half and like, oh, wow, you know, your talocrural joint is moving better, because you've mobilized it, or you improve the tissue length of the gastroc and the Soyuz. And like people can, like, that's the one test that people can see, easily, but also improving ankle dorsiflexion. You know, there's some people I like to like their whole life, like, they're just not gonna get it, like, overnight, it's gonna be like, minimal improvement. But if their movement improves, because you can change some things, then I think that's huge.

Tyler Kallasy 17:13

I would say, and this goes back to my opinion on how it's maybe less important than what you actually you are assessing. And more important that as a coach, you are confident in this specific aspects of your movement assessment, and you understand how to, once again, look at them at the back end of someone's program, or apply those those flaws or strengths throughout the program, so that you can get that buy in that you're talking about from a patient, you have a patient do that ankle dorsiflexion test, or something else, like a superman test, right, a pro and Superman test, and they have this significant improvement. And then you can take that in verbally apply it to something in their lifestyle, or in their athletic or movement, you know, practice. Now you're giving them an understanding of what you do, which is crazy by you know, you want to talk about keeping clients or retaining clients, if you can give them some autonomy, in, you know, not only assessing themselves, but applying what they know, to how they move, you're gonna have that person forever, you're giving that person so much more independence, which is the ultimate goal. We don't ultimately want them to be working with us as a PT, or as a coach for the rest of their lives. We want to give them the tools, the knowledge and the independence to become great movers for the rest of their lives on their own.

Nate Reynolds 18:42

And the confidence to I think that goes hand in hand. You know, I think a lot of the people that I've worked with, they're just not confident their bodies anymore. And then you know, they've keep breaking down breaking down. I have one patient that I'm working with, or a client that I'm working with that. She told me when she started that she had, she would get muscle spasm just like playing with our kids on the floor. She started developing like this fear of movement, give them a simple movement patterns, because there's always that doubt in their head like this is going to be painful. Even in the clinic, like I think a lot of what we do is questions is and the coaches is just improving people's confidence. So then, the last topic is we're just gonna do a little hotseat or I'm just gonna ask you a few questions.

Tyler Kallasy 19:32

Okay, here we go.

Nate Reynolds 19:33

So what advice would you give to a physical therapist that is looking to bridge the gap between PT and fitness?

Tyler Kallasy 19:42

So, I would say if this is someone who has like a training age of zero, right, they've never really gotten into organized fitness or anything like that, I would say, find a specific program, a specific school of thought, maybe even a specific niche. trainer and, and just go all in, do that program, do that style of fitness for a while multiple months, learn everything you can about the methodology, why you're doing the specific things, how the progressions work, how the regressions work, understand as much as you can about that training program, apply it to yourself, try to apply it to maybe even your caseload or your clientele at the moment, and then move on, take what you think is valuable. And in, jump into another methodology or another school of thought, and work that as you go down the road, trying to apply those things as you learn that, right, but my biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to get into the fitness world, is you need to do it yourself. Anything you program for someone else, anything you learn, whether it's an assessment, or an exercise, and you think you're going to give it to another client or another person, you need to understand how it feels and how it affects you. First.

Nate Reynolds 21:02

Yeah, I think that's a great point for the healthcare system. And I'm not gonna pick on nurses, people don't have nurses in our family. But you know, sometimes, like, if you see a nurse that's, you know, working on the cart in the cardiac ICU, and then she goes out and she's smoking. You just lost all credibility as a nurse, in my opinion. And I feel like the same way in the fitness industry, like if you're, I feel like that's a huge part of giving yourself credibility to your patients is if you look the part and you come off confident, and you're doing the movements yourself, then they're going to buy in.

Tyler Kallasy 21:38

I don't think, you know, I don't think every single physical therapist needs to be doing CrossFit or every single physical therapist needs to look like they, you know, workout seven days a week, but I think there's some value in having your own specific movement practice, that you can understand the concepts of that movement, movement, practice, right, having a consistent, regimented schedule, understanding, you know how your body works through progressions, regressions, and lateralization and movement. Understanding how your own body responds to all the different aspects of physical fitness. Understanding how your body responds to all the different aspects of fitness just gives you a better perspective when you are trying to apply those concepts to another individual.

Nate Reynolds 22:24

So the next question is, what is one course that you have taken that has helped you the most in your job? This is kind of a tough question. Because you're being a travel therapist, you know, you're bouncing between different types of jobs, maybe what is one course or one thing that you've learned that has helped you as a coach?

Tyler Kallasy 22:41

Okay, so I think it you know, it wasn't a formal court course. But my experience, as I guess, first an intern, and then a coach with CrossFit Utica, which is now prime movement and performance was extremely valuable for me as both a physical therapist and a coach because it gave me experience of working with people on a day to day level, face to face multiple individuals at one time learning how to not only modify the actual movement, but explain movement and talk about movement in terms that multiple people can understand at the same time. Right. So that was a huge jump for me as a fitness professional and as a physical therapist. But I think, in addition to that was my experience in the rocktape course with shantay Cofield Dr. Shanti Caulfield, the movement Maestro, not necessarily maybe the things that I learned about the application of rock tape, but some of the concepts that she introduced during that course, really got me to think somewhat outside the box, but got me to learn how to kind of apply what I learned during PT school in a different way in a more effective way.

Nate Reynolds 23:51

I think that's one of the I think the hardest transition, at least for me, and maybe some other pts is going from, you know that one on one to like, coaching class, because you do have to look at multiple people. And so I feel like from your perspective, coaching many people, and then knowing how to like, okay, I can fix this person, real quick, I can go there and like knowing how to fix those movements, and like a few simple cues is huge. And I feel like that's probably an experience I wish I had in PT school made sure we were just made life outside or after PT school much easier. And so the last question, and this is one that I normally ask all my guests, if you're gonna have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Tyler Kallasy 24:38

So I took a lot of time to think about this. I asked my girlfriend I asked a friend who they would ask and I don't have like this super famous or infamous celebrity or or someone like that, but if I could have dinner with one person that are alive, it would be my father. He passed away about Six or seven months ago, and he was, you know, a massive influence and how I lived my life. And I guess in terms of coaching and being a physical therapist, he was a massive influence on how I worked to become me who I am today and who I feel like I'm going to work to become down the road. And there's just a lot of questions I have for him about who I am now. And maybe what I should do down the road, you know, just just a little bit of guidance, Father Son guidance that I would love to have, maybe not this moment, you know, maybe a few years down the road when I build up some more questions and have similar life experiences. But, you know, it'd be awesome to just have one more chance to be like, Alright, man, first of all, how am I doing? Second of all, I got these questions. And third of all, man, you know, I love you. You know, it's good to see you.

Nate Reynolds 25:51

That's awesome. Yeah, I asked, this was two weeks ago to someone, and they said Notorious B.I.G. And then he like, flipped the question on me.

Yeah. And I was like, Well, what my grandma grandparents are, well, my grandpa's passed away before I was born. So it's like, I love to just sit down with them have a beer, you know, maybe play around a golf with them. And just pick their brain because like, you know, there's that Father, Son, grandfather, grand son, wisdom that you just kind of want to learn. And so I totally understand that aspect. And that's probably one of the best answers I've heard so far. Or probably the best answer I've heard so far. Thanks. And so totally, I just wanna say thank you for coming on. I learned a lot from you today. And I think you're gonna do really well.

Tyler Kallasy 26:37

Thanks for having me. Man. I really value anyone who is trying to connect fitness professionals and connect physical therapists so we can make both professions even better.

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