I had the pleasure this morning of speaking with a young trainer about our Medical Exercise Specialist and Post Rehab Conditioning Specialist programs. As I explained the programs I realized his questions weren't just about the MES or PRCS…his questions were really about his career path and stabilizing his income. One of the biggest issues for fitness trainers is the fluctuation of income on a monthly and even a weekly basis. This instability obviously makes it hard to complete the education and training to improve your skills and even harder to build a practice.
I have been amazingly surprised at the success many of our MES' and PRCS' have achieved since our first course in 1994. As a result, I am a firm believer for any trainer looking to stabilize his or her income and lay the foundation for a strong, profitable and stable practice…you must begin offering post rehab services. The post rehab client realizes your services are vital to his or her function and overall health. These clients buy into the idea 'Exercise is Medicine" but you have to deliver the goods in a manner that will help them maintain their level of function and health. The question is….can you, the post rehab professional, fill this need? YES!! But you have to communicate your outcomes and success stories to the medical community. Do you think they will come looking for you…..wrong answer!! You have to seek them out!!
Your client success stories are your best introduction to the medical community. Answer this question for me. Have you worked with obese clients, arthritics, diabetics, total joint replacements and/or other medical conditions and the client demonstrated improvement in function or lost weight or maybe his blood glucose levels started to stabilize? If you are nodding your head yes…….THEN DID YOU CONTACT THE CLIENT'S PHYSICIAN TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF? If you answered…no….why not? You already have a living testimonial in the form of the client….your exercise program helped manage their medical condition but you never contacted their physician. I bet there are plenty more clients in that physician's office with similar conditions. If you really want to fill in those gaps in your income and stop living from month to month…then get started sharing your success stories with your local medical community.
There is no fitness certification on planet earth that will guarantee access to medical professionals or that is universally recognized by the medical community. IT DOESNT EXIST YET!! But medical professionals do universally understand the positive results or 'functional outcomes' they see when their patients exercise. You need to step in and take the credit for the results your exercise programs produce. Stop looking for a short cut to the medical community. The best path is a client that functions better, feels better and sings your praises. You need to contact the physician and take a bow. From this point on every new client you work requires an introductory letter be mailed to the client's physician. A simple one-page letter noting the client has started the exercise program, any modifications you have implemented in the program based on the client's medical needs and provide a contact number if the physician has any questions. Even if the physician never reads the letter it ends up in the most important place in the doctor's office…..the client's file. If you send enough letters I guarantee you as some point you will receive a referral from that doc. It might take awhile but understand…..medicine moves slowly and methodically. The real gold for the post rehab professional is in the introductory letter.
I bet 90% of your new clients have a personal or family physician. And I bet they provide the physician's name on your facility's demographic intake form. If your facility is near a residential area, if you look through your client files you will find the majority of your clients are treated by just a few physicians in the community. These are the medical professionals you need to target for your marketing. They know about the positive results of exercise……your clients demonstrate that every time they go back to the doctor for a follow up visit. Your programs are improving their strength, function, lowering blood pressures and allowing them to move again…..but the physician doesn't know you. Take the first step and start sending those introductory letters. You might end up with more referrals then you can manage just by investing 10 minutes to type a letter and a 44 cent stamp. Folks….it works!!
My recommendation to trainers is stop looking for the magic bullet to get you in front of physicians. Look for the proper training and education so you can understand how to manage post rehab clients and produce strong, functional and mobile clients. Positive client outcomes and sending those introductory letters are the start to developing referral relationships. Referral relationships aren't built overnight. They require time and effective communication. Simply holding a certification can't give you that. Referral relationships are the result of applying the education from the Medical Exercise Specialist and/or Post Rehab Conditioning Specialist workshops to produce results!! Results…..not certifications will build referral relationships. These relationships will bring in clients and income to stabilize your financial situation.
I challenge to start sending introductory letters and taking credit for your client success stories. What do you have to lose…..44 cents? If you need assistance with writing that first letter, email your draft to me at DrMike@postrehab.medicalfitnesspros.com. There is no charge but if I review or edit the letter I want your promise you will mail the first one and keep mailing them thereafter. Take a chance. Post rehab fitness is the best kept secret in health care. Let everyone know about your success stories. The medical community needs your help managing chronic disease and enhancing health and wellness.
Best wishes building your post rehab practice,