For this blog, I’m honored to bring on our special guest to talk about cash physical therapy with, Lynne Virant. This blog will apply to you if you’re an athlete, especially if you’re a runner, a yogi – there’s so much practical information that you can pick up and apply to the sport you love so you can practice, you can be part of it for your life. You will also learn tips for creating your cash based physical therapy business plan.
And you will also love this blog if you’re a wellness practitioner, if you’re a yoga teacher, especially if you’re a physical therapist and wanting to focus on a cash only physical therapy. You’ll hear the stories of what Lynne has worked with, some of the challenges she’s overcome and specifically, read until the end if you’re having trouble moving from selling one-off session, so one session at a time, to packages. You can read about Lynn’s journey on starting to sell packages and how that’s benefited not only her and her business, but her patients as well.
Question to Lynne: Can You Please Tell Us A Little Bit About Your Cash Physical Therapy Practice?
I’m Dr. Lynne Virant, I am a physical therapist and I am a running movement specialist. I do some running coaching but what I really enjoy is helping everybody that wants to run to discover the best way that they can run for themselves. So, I love working with runners.
Question to Lynne: What’s The Common Complaint You See About People Coming To Your Physical Therapy Clinic Or To Your Office?
Some sort of pain that they’ve been dealing with for some time. A lot of times, there’s obviously a premise that everybody can run, I totally believe in that. But, not everybody runs well. And people think that just because they can run and when they have pain, it’s something that’s unusual. They then wait too long to try to resolve it on their own and that usually tends to make it worse.
So, the hardest thing to do is sometimes to tell runners who love to run that they need to not run. And so, the biggest challenge is figuring out a way to keep them active and running if they can, but within the confines that allows them to heal and get better. I help them deal with the pain that is limiting something that they love to do. And we look into what happens when they’re not able to do it the way that they’re used to doing it and get them to change it a little bit.
My Take On Taking A Break And Healing
Alison: What you said is so true. And there are a lot of yogis listening as well. The same is true for them. Sometimes you need to take a break from the Chaturangas to allow your shoulder to heal. And it’s thinking big picture because I know often you say to your runners, let’s get a plan so you can run through your life. So, it’s thinking about the big picture. You can read more in this blog post.
Question to Lynne: What Does “Running Well” Look Like?
I think it’s almost more like what does it feel like in that sense. I think the best way to put it that I can explain is from my own experience regarding a few years ago when I was struggling with running and ended up injuring myself.
At first it hurt so I couldn’t run. But then when the pain was gone, I started to run again. And the amount of effort that it took to feel like I was running felt like 10 times the amount that I did before I was hurt. So, it’s almost like running is a really simple task and it’s probably one of the smaller amount of movements that people will do in a sport. It’s really like just bending your hips, knees, and ankles a little bit, just a lot over and over again. And you’re moving in one direction, generally speaking. So, it’s not a lot of movement, it’s just a lot of repetition. So, generally speaking, it feels pretty good to start with. And of course, as you fatigue, it starts to get more challenging. But when it’s hard at the beginning, and it doesn’t ever seem to feel better, then you’re probably not running well. The hard part is people don’t address it until it becomes painful. That’s the challenge.
Question to Lynne: So If A Runner Doesn’t Have Pain Right Now, Could They Still Benefit To See And Work With You Then?
Oh, that’s a great question. I definitely would say yes, and here’s why. There’s some schools of thought out there as far as changing your running form. And I used to subscribe to those, too. Running feels natural, but the problem is, we assumed that by running naturally, that all parts of our body are moving really well exactly. And we know – I know – from my experience as a physical therapist, that a lot of injuries or pain that people experience come from poor movement habits. And so, when somebody has a pain, that habit has already become to the point such that it hurts to put that part of the body. And so, the benefit of coming in early on is to try to address those movement patterns before they come painful.
So, you might have to adjust the way that you move a little bit, but you probably won’t have to stop running. Whereas if you wait until it’s painful, you’re probably going to have to start running, you’re going to have to start changing the way that you move, which is going to change the way that you run. And by that point, it’s become so ingrained in your movement and in your habit, that you just want to run, and the last thing you want to do is change something. And then finally, now you have to change something and the way that you do it, it’s really a challenge.
So, the bottom line is, people focus a lot on the shoes and on my program. And the number one piece of equipment that you have to run with is your body. So you should tweak that and make that the most efficient part of your running machine. Before you even think about what are the shoes, what are the gears, what about your watch, and those kinds of things. You always have your body and if that gets hurt, you can’t replace it, while your shoes and your watch, any of that stuff can be replaced. But your body and the way that you move, it can’t be replaced.
The other great thing too is it’s something that you have control of. You can decide how you move and stuff and so if you’re with the right guidance, you and your body can learn to move in a way that will make your running a lot more efficient, a lot more enjoyable, and something that you can do not just to prevent injury, but to run so that you can run for as long as you want to.
You are only as good as your weakest movement. Anytime there’s a deficiency in your body affects something that you do repetitively. The challenge with running is that – the simplicity of running, it’s the same thing over and over. The challenge in running is it’s the same thing over and over. So, if you do something poorly at the beginning, you probably are going to make it worse by doing it over and over and over again. So, if you can get it moving better to start with, then that weakest link is no longer going to impact you later on down the road.
Question to Lynne: So It’s Not Just The Problem Of Getting Older, Right?
Yes. It’s doing the same thing over and over and doing it poorly I think is the hard part and recognizing it, and knowing that you’re not doing something well.
Question to Lynne: When Someone Comes To Your Clinic, And They Start Working With You, What Are Some Of The Results That You See With Patients And Clients That Have Progressed Through Your Programs?
The number one thing people learn when they work with me is they learn what they look like. So, the first thing we’ll do is we’ll video them, and they’ll see how they move. And first of all, they don’t look as bad as they feel. Running can be really challenging so people always feel like they know if they’re really tired or they’re struggling. They feel like they look miserable. But really what it is, is like “Oh, it’s not as bad as I thought.” But what they see are the parts of their body that aren’t moving well. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize my knee did that,” or “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize that’s the way that I landed.” So they become aware of how they’re moving and how it can impact why they may have an injury or why they’re currently having an injury. That’s the biggest thing that they’ll experience.
Question to Lynne: Often, Do You See That Movement Patterns Can Be Different As To The Right Versus The Left Side? Can That Contribute To Problems?
Yes, definitely. So earlier we said, the assumption when we say just run what feels natural, is we feel like the whole body moves well. But because running requires both the left and the right side of your body, ideally, for a machine that has two parts, you want both of them to work the same, symmetrically, and as efficiently as possible. Because when they don’t, one side will either break down because it’s doing too much, or it’s not as strong and so it’s not doing its job. So, yes, we’re looking for symmetry for sure.
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Question to Lynne: Just To Reiterate, There’s A Lot You Can Do To Address Someone No Matter Where They Are In Their Running Career Or How They’re Feeling Physically?
Definitely. And I think beginner runners are probably my favorite group of people to run with, because they’re so open to learning and they don’t have those set patterns ingrained. The biggest challenge with them is teaching them that the discomfort that they’re having is completely normal. So, they’re learning something new, they’re doing something new so the discomfort that they’re having with regard to not really having pain, but not feeling right, is the body’s way of telling you it is learning something new and getting used to doing something that they’re not used to doing and doesn’t feel great.
But then with an experienced runner, those movement patterns are ingrained in them. And so, they’ve always run that way, they’ve always worn their shoes, they’ve always done that exercise. Teaching them that the problem with that mindset is those always done is what’s gotten them to where they are right now. And so it’s like, “Oh, I never thought of it that way.” But if all those things work, you wouldn’t be hurting right now. So we have to recognize what are those things that aren’t working, be willing to change them.
So for the short-term game, it’s like you’re being a beginner. And nobody likes the discomfort of being a beginner, especially the experts. So, it’s very humbling if you teach them and they can take on the mindset that like, “Hey, this new beginning is a way to get better.” Then you start to see those switch come on, and the light bulb come on, and they start to recognize like, “Hey, if I can get through the discomfort of doing something new, then I can actually do something better.”
There’s a challenge from both the beginner and the experienced one for sure.
Question to Lynne: You Brought Up A Great Point. I Get Asked This Question All The Time From Yogis As We Go Through This Similar Conversation. The Question Is What Is The Difference Between Or How Do You Distinguish Or Discern The Difference Between Discomfort Of Establishing A New Movement Pattern Or The Discomfort Of Improving Flexibility And Strength? Also Regarding Increasing Running Mileage And Endurance Versus Discomfort Of Pain that’s Progressing Towards An Injury
A lot of this stuff translates well to all activities especially sports and activities that we love to do, because we don’t want to stop doing them. So actually, that’s one of the topics we teach a lot of our runners, especially our earlier 5k marathon type programs, is, if you’re doing something you haven’t done before, it’s going to feel uncomfortable. And a lot of that is you kind of just ask yourself, “Does this really hurt?,” “Does it feel like I can’t move well?,” or “Is just doesn’t feel like my body is doing something I’m used to?” When you answer these questions, and you can kind of keep going and it subsides for a little bit, that’s a good indication that it’s mostly just the discomfort of doing something new or for a different duration or a different speed.
But when something is painful, you start changing the way that you move. So I use as a great example, think about like if you’ve ever sprained an ankle, how you kind of limp off that foot. So, you start changing the way that you move because you’re trying not to use that side that hurts. But probably the simplest way is if you’re having pain, usually you’ll have swelling, so there’ll be a lot of tenderness to a certain area like it hurts to touch or hurt to just barely move it or it gets progressively worse.
Where if it’s something that’s sore or uncomfortable, you’re moving and the more you move, especially if you add it more progressively or gradually it starts to feel better, that’s a good sign that it’s more of a discomfort. It usually doesn’t happen at the joints. The discomfort you might feel is more on the muscles like between the joints. You’re like, “Okay, now that muscle feels like it’s a little bit uncomfortable or a little bit sore or tired,” then that’s normal. I always tell people, that’s kind of where you want to feel it. We’re kind of in the middle of the muscles. Those are the big things. And later on the next day, again, it feels better to move. Those are all good signs that you experience more discomfort than limiting pain.
Usually, with runners, I always say, wait, before you start to feel that pain or discomfort, if you can walk a little bit, and it starts to subside, that’s usually a good sign that it’s more of a discomfort thing. But if you walk and then you run again, and it doesn’t get better, that’s usually not a good sign, it’s not usually a good type of pain. I always tell people to look for more of a pattern of things happening. If it’s just a one-time thing, note it, but then see if it happens repetitively. If it happened once, and then all of a sudden, you don’t feel it anymore, it probably was just that one time, and then you don’t have to pay attention to it. But if it continues to happen, that’s when it’s a good time to reach out to a specialist to ask those questions. And then the key thing is, don’t wait. Normally a pain or that soreness will subside after a couple of days. But something that persists after three to five days, and it doesn’t get better, will just continue, generally speaking, to get worse. And then the longer you wait to address it, the longer it will take to get better. You can learn more here.
Question to Lynne: We’re Going To Switch Gears A Little Bit Because We Have A Lot Of Entrepreneurs Reading As Well. Let’s talk About Your Experience As An Entrepreneur – Owning Your Own Clinic And Being A Mom. Let’s Start With Some Balance. How Do You Bring That Ideal Lifestyle Of Being A Business Owner And Learning How To Spend Time With Your Family?
I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that you try to have an idea in your mind of what you want. And then you talk with your family – if you have a team, or if it’s just yourself, obviously, just you and your family, but really sit down, like what’s important to you, and what’s important to them, and try to decide what that looks like for everybody. Because you might think, “Oh, everybody wants to do this,” and then you plan for it. And then you realize, nobody wants that.
And that’s okay. And so, first of all, sit down with everybody and figure out what is ideal and what’s going to make everybody happy.
Even when you have that plan, and you try to execute it, just recognize that it’s not always going to work out that way and that’s okay, that’s totally normal. And sometimes it actually works out better than you thought, like you set aside a plan and you realize, “Hey, this is actually a much better outcome than we anticipated.” And so being open to the fact that there’s probably going to be changes to your ideals, and just being able to flex to it as well. Which also applies to business.
Question to Lynne: A Lot Of The Challenges Come With The Implementation. Can You Speak About Working With The Challenges And How Do You Personally Solve And Overcome Them?
The number one thing that I still struggle with, to be honest with you is having the plan written down and then putting it on paper, and then just trusting it for a while. So, the biggest thing I’ve been trying to do recently is take my life, whether it’s a month at a time, six weeks at a time, or even if it feels overwhelming, a week at a time, or even a day at a time. If I want to do something that’s totally new, just like the runners, it’s going to take me a little while for that to become a habit.
So, if I feel like I want to spend every day with my daughter, at least 15 minutes, like sitting down and talking to her, and I have not been doing that. Being okay with the fact that I’m not going to do it every day and not feeling guilty about it. Just recognizing that, “Hey, this is my goal, checking with her to make sure that’s okay.” And then if we don’t do it, like, hey, just checking in recognizing – even if it’s just a check-in five minutes, how are you doing? How was your day while I’m at work, even if it’s just a phone call. Being okay, with just that small change and then recognizing that habits going to become more ingrained as I practice it.
So, scheduling it, and then knowing that if it’s something new, I’m going to have to adjust to it and grow to it. And then when I stumble, I give myself some grace when it doesn’t work out exactly the way that I had planned out for it. Speaking of tomorrow is just another day to make it better.
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Question to Lynne: We Are Working Together, You Are Part Of The Six Months One-To-One Program. Why Did You Decide To Finally Work With Me?
I met you through another coaching program that I had. And we always just had a really easy connection, just really easy to listen to and to talk to. And I had been in the program for a while, and I just honestly felt stuck. I’d been on it for a while and just hadn’t been growing. And that’s not because of the program. What I’ve learned is, what do I need personally, to succeed.
I had been reaching out to all these other groups to find just another group training. And then when I got your information that it was one-on-one coaching, I just felt like, when we had our initial consultation, you hit all the right points was what I needed. You just felt like somebody I could talk to where I felt like it’d be honest about where I was struggling.
Whereas in a group, it was too easy for me personally, to hide my struggles, because they only spend a few minutes with you. And so you’re not really getting that one-on-one. And even when I was working one-on-one with somebody, it would be like once a month. Recognizing for me, knowing that I had to read with you and be accountable to me, has been better for keeping me on track. So I think the key for me is recognizing, “Hey, if you’re in a program, and it’s not working, it’s not you, per se, it’s just that program doesn’t work for you.” And so really getting in tune with what is it that you need to be successful and being willing to invest in that was really the key.
And honestly, I knew you so there was already that trust factor. You knew where I was coming from, and you knew the struggles that I had, and what wouldn’t work in the previous program and why it would work differently with you.
Question to Lynne: Maybe We Could Speak To The People Who Don’t Know Me Quite As Well. Now That You’ve Experienced Working With Me, What Would You Tell Me Or Anyone Else That Might Be On The Fence Or Just Kind of Going Back And Forth? What Do You Think Would Be The Benefits For Them To Take Action, Even If It’s Not With Me, But To Just Get Into A Coaching Program To Be Supported? How That Could Benefit Them?
I think the biggest thing is that you have to know what it is that you – at least have an idea – of what it is that you need to be successful in working with a coach. And that takes some introspection. As far as where you are struggling and what you do really well. And part of that could be also, when you do talk to a coach, potentially, do they offer a consultation where you feel comfortable being yourself. I know that takes time.
I think the best thing I’m trying to get to is think of it like a date. So, when you meet somebody for the first time, do you feel like they’re trying to get you to fly to Paris at the beginning? And that’s like, “Whoa, that’s way too much.” Or did they go, did they try to get to know you in ways that you feel comfortable? And that’s just different for everybody.
But if you’re thinking, if you’re talking to them, and you start to sit in your chair and relax, that’s usually a good sign that you feel comfortable. If you feel like you’re clenching and you know that in your brain, you’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to talk about that.” It might just be that person’s way of connecting with you for that time being isn’t right.
So, I think the biggest thing is be open to the fact that whoever you talk to much like a lifetime partner, initially, might not be the first person that you talk to. Feel comfortable asking and shopping around, either through references.
What I see in a lot of programs is people go, “Who’s the best coach for this and who’s the best coach for that.” And really, the interesting thing is the best coach for you will ask you questions that help you feel open to answering them where you’re being honest with yourself.
Alison: The container and the person it doesn’t matter so much. But the point is, the whole point of coaching in my mind is to help you get to know yourself better so you have that increased trust of following your gut, your intuition, the ability to make decisions. Because ultimately that’s going to give you the most empowerment outside of the sessions and go further faster.
Question to Lynne: We’ve Also Been Working A Little Bit On Your Discovery Sessions Or Consultations. How Do You Think That Work Has Helped You So Far?
The number one thing that I’ve learned in working with you and when I do my discovery visit is taking them out of it in the sense that it’s not about me wondering if I’m the right fit for this person. So when I’m talking with somebody, it’s just asking them questions. And it really is like your standard for our relationship with you or any coaches, you’re there as a guide, to help them figure out what it is that’s wrong with why they can’t do the activity that they want. And a lot of times, they just don’t know that it’s something that they’re doing. And you’re there to help guide them towards that.
Lynne: My Runners In Pain – How I Talk To Them About My Program
As I said earlier, to my runners who are in pain, but they insist on doing the same thing over and over, it’s not going to fix their pain no matter what. But when I make them comfortable and open to the fact that, “Hey, this person gets why I’m struggling, gets why I need their support,” it’s almost seamless for them to say yes to what I’m offering. This is what I’m learning and not out there wondering if they are going to buy it? No. Are the questions that I’m asking you striking a chord with what you need? And if so, then this is the program that will work for you to get you back to what you want to do.
If it doesn’t, and you feel uncomfortable, being open to the fact that what you want some of the things that you taught me out is maybe some of the ways that I’m asking questions, maybe some of the ways I’m pushing without realizing. So being more attuned to the way I’m trying to get them to understand what it is that they need. And that might not be me. What do they need in that conversation? In that consultation? What is it that they need to get back to what they want to do, and being open and honest with myself and with them as program that I provide going to be what they need to get back to running.
I haven’t had this before, but I recognize it with some clients. What I tell them is within three weeks, from a healing standpoint, if you’re not getting better, and we’ve done everything that we can, then it’s probably time to move in a different direction. And I think I’ve learned that that tends to give them the trust that I’m not here just to get you to work with me for 12 weeks no matter what. I’m here to help figure out that what you need to do to run again. And if in three weeks, we’re not moving in that direction, you can trust me that I’m going to give you the right advice. I’ve learned from you is that’s my approach and being comfortable with that.
Our Take On The Benefits Of Having A Business Coach And Giving Back To The Community In A Way
Alison: I think exactly the benefit of having a coach is to uncover the blocks, the limiting blocks, whether they be mindset that are holding you back. And so in consults, we are worried about appearing or acting a certain way. Or maybe you might be worried about your business like not you, but in the general sense, making the bills and getting revenue. And instead to help release some of that pressure, it can be a simple thing of shifting that focus from you to them. And then when we’re focusing on the client, in reality, I find that that’s the whole reason why a lot of us got into being a healthcare provider or the wellness industry, in the first place, is because we want to help people. So it is in a way for me, consults are a way, I feel like I give back to the community. Whether someone works with me or not, because it is focused on them.
Lynne: It gives them an opportunity to spend the time. When I was in PT school, every time after we had a big project or when you’re working with an instructor, we always had to do these weekly reflections and how we’re doing, and I hated doing that mostly because it was just one new task that I had to do. But, I always learn something new from what I did well, and what I could learn from and so one of the key things you had me to implement when we started working together was do the quick reflection, either on a spreadsheet or even on a journal. How did that discovery visit go? And again, that was hard for me to do, to start with, but now it’s becoming more of okay because I realize what went really well during that, what could I have done better and how do I move forward.
So now I’m looking at – even when a discovery visit or a console or anything doesn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world in the sense that it just was a learning opportunity for me to get better. So that’s the biggest thing that I’ve taken.
One of the other key things I’ve taken away from working with you and what the discovery visit needs, it’s not to make a sale. It’s to help the other person learn what is it that they need and what can I do for that person, and the next person to continue to be a better coach and to get them where they want to go.
Question to Lynne: The Other Thing That I’ve Noticed For You Is You’ve Been Shifting From One-Of Sessions To More Packages And We Keep Working On Upping The Number Of Packages. How Is The Shift To Selling More Packages From One-Offs? Because I Think This Is A Huge Shift For A Lot Of People, A Lot Of Entrepreneurs. How Does Selling Cash Physical Therapy Programs Benefit You, Your Physical Therapy Business And The Client?
I think the biggest benefit for all of us is recognizing that when they’re coming in too steamy, they’re coming in to buy an outcome, and when I try to sell it, it’s like, “Oh it’s going to take four sessions,” the key is to be realistic. Is it really going to take four times for them to get better? What I’m recognizing is what I’m providing is a program that includes four sessions, that includes weekly consults via phone or via texts, that includes some exercise program. So when they’re purchasing a package, it’s not just the sessions. Because essentially, if that’s all it is, they’re just buying time and they’re not buying time, they are buying the way to get them to run again. All of that is included in a package.
Even though we quantify by the number of sessions, what I’ve learned to talk about it is in terms of giving them a time frame based on how the body feels and the amount of changes that they need to take. So that’s something that I’m starting to work through a little bit better but that comes from recognizing why it is important to sell a package, rather than session by session. It’s the outcome that they’re purchasing and that comes from the package, rather than from one hour at a time for the next six weeks.
We quantify it that way so it’s interesting. If I hadn’t been working with you, I’ll still would be selling sessions by sessions instead of starting to switch my mindset to the identity of, “I’m selling you getting back to running and this is what it will take.” And quantifying it for them not just as a session but the consult that we’ll spend throughout the week like, “Hey, if you’re struggling with an exercise and you’re going to go through this.” It’s getting them to see that there is a guide and the guide is not just the time spent together.
For me, I’m not taking much advantage to you but I know that if I have a question during the weekend I can email it to you and I can either say, “Hey this is a quick question that I have,” and you’ll get back to me or “This is a quick question and I need your answer right away, but let’s consider it for our next opportunity when we talk.” So I’m using what I’m learning with you to apply to my client. It’s a model for how I want to engage with my clients.
Alison: There is no reason why you should have to recreate the wheel. Save yourself time. Lynne: If it’s working for me, it’s going to work for them.
Parting Words Of Wisdom From Lynne
From a runner’s standpoint, if you are a beginner, be okay with pushing yourself, to be a little bit uncomfortable. To be fair, it applies to even the more experienced athletes whether they are doing something new for the first time or pushing themselves to run farther and faster. That discomfort is part of the growth and that’s how we get stronger and better.
But at the same time, on the flip side, when we’re talking about pain and if you feel a different discomfort, listen to your body. I have a good friend who was struggling with what we thought was back pain but it never really subsided. It turned out that she was having some pancreatic issues.
So, pain from a musculoskeletal standpoint should subside within a three-week period. If it’s not, you know your body more than I do or more than any other health practitioner. So, be okay with when something is not feeling right over a short amount of time but if it is persisting, tell us and let us know. The right folks will honor that and help you solve that problem for sure. That’s the difficult part – knowing when to push and knowing when pushing is not the right answer. Working with the right person to help you figure that out will help you overcome those challenges as well.
For any of the runners listening, Lynne is located in Pensacola, Florida which is in the panhandles, really close to Alabama. Her website is getmovingpt.com so you can get to know who she is and how she works with her clients. You can find her on Instagram at @lynne_virant. Her Facebook page is Lynne Virant, and although this is her personal Facebook account, you can still reach her there if you have questions for her. Her business page is The Movement Clinic Pensacola.
If you wish to connect with Alison McLean, Business Coach to Wellness Entrepreneurs Book.