Tag Archives: chiropractor

Doctor Interview – Tim Simansky

The CrossFit community is strong and connected, so I love it when one interview (Kurt Perkins) leads to another (Scott Mills), which leads to another!

Dr. Tim Simanksy – the WOD DOC – comes at CrossFit as an athlete and a chiropractor. And I think he has some things to share with us…

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a chiropractor by trade and I specialize in sports injuries. My additional training includes a Diplomate from the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and various CrossFit Certifications. Beyond that, I am a master instructor for Rocktape and instruct for FAKTR and FST as well. Over the last year I became most known for my blog WODdoc. It’s a daily vlog that discusses technique, mobility, and nutritional as it pertains to the CrossFit community.

Dr Scott Simansky - The WOD DOC

Q: What is your main focus or goal as a medical practitioner?

Honestly, my goal is just to help people do whatever they want to do. Too many people allow injury and disease to limit their lives. Before they know it they’re living in a bubble. I know people that haven’t crossed state lines or been on day trips for years because of physical limitations. My goal is to eliminate that.

Q: What brought you to CrossFit?

I was a wrestler pretty much my entire life. After college I went to grad school and dropped all competitive sports. I was actually exposed to CrossFit then. I remember doing my first WOD and was like nope, this is not for me. This is wrestling practice, just no mats.

Following grad school I moved to a new town away from everyone I knew. Somehow I wandered back into a CrossFit box. It still reminded me of wrestling, but wresting reminded me of home. I did my first competition shortly thereafter and the rest was history.

Dr Scott Simansky - The WOD DOC

Q: As someone in the medical profession, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of the CrossFit experience? And how would you correct that misunderstanding?

By far it’s the notion that all CrossFit gyms are devilish cults where people perform dangerous activities mindless until they fall to the ground in their own sweat and vomit.

Like all stereotypes they come from somewhere so I am not about to jump on my soapbox and say that every box is perfect. But I will say CrossFit is no more dangerous than any other sport I know. What is dangerous is ignorance.

Ignorant boxes tend to hurt people. Educated boxes tend to improve people’s lives. Ignorance is not isolated to the CrossFit side either. Medical professionals are also expected to educate themselves to properly treat their patients. If your doctor tells you to watch your mouth when you say you hurt yourself in the bottom of a snatch, you’re probably in the wrong place.

Q: Where do you train? And where do you practice medicine?

I train all over but concentrate my time at CrossFit GSP. I practice in Hackensack and Cliffiside Park, NJ at Bergen Chiropractic & Sport Rehabilitation.

It’s easiest to get in touch with me through the thewoddoc.com by clinking “contact”.

Q: If you could start over as a crossfitter, what would medical-you tell athlete-you?

Two words…. Graded exposure. You “only” have the rest of your life to get stronger.

Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment at the box? And least favorite?

The sled. People can become so unbelievably fit by pushing and pulling that thing. It’s a real total body fitness device.

Rings are my least favorite; all boxes should have criteria for allowing athletes on rings… actually wait… with graded exposure they’re OK too.

Dr Scott Simansky - The WOD DOC

Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?

It’s FUN… It made fitness cool again. People use the word cult. That’s derogative; CrossFit is no more a cult then a football team. The only difference is anyone can be a part of team CrossFit.

Q: What’s your favorite story from your time with CrossFit so far?

That’s a really tough one. There are so many great stories and I have made so many great friends that it’s hard to name just one. Recently I just worked the CrossFit Games in Carson California. During my time there I was fortunate enough to work with Stephanie Hammerman. Steph “The Hammer” is an adaptive CrossFit Athlete who suffers from cerebral palsy, a condition characterized by abnormal muscle tone, reflexes, and/or motor development and coordination. Steph uses to crutches to walk everywhere since she has limited control over her lower extremities… but, despite all this, she completed a 1 mile run in under 60 minutes. Being personally involved with that has to be one of my favorite CrossFit stories to date.

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A huge thank you goes out to Dr. Simanksy for sharing his point of view! Learning more about Steph “The Hammer” Hammerman was fantastic and I definitely encourage you to check out www.thewoddoc.com when you get the opportunity!

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Are you interested in being featured as a box owner, trainer/coach, or athlete? I’d love to hear from you! Click “Contact Us” at the top of the WOD Tales page (or in the right-hand column) and I’ll get in touch!

Doctor Interview – Scott Mills

When I had a chance to learn more about Dr. Kurt last week, he reached out to a doctor friend of his – Dr. Scott Mills – to possibly do an interview as well. As a result, Dr. Scott was nice enough to answer a few questions about his perspectives on CrossFit, medicine, and more! (Thanks Kurt!)

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a sports focused chiropractor currently at Plexus Performance Care in New Jersey, but relocating soon to San Francisco with my bride, Diane Sanfilippo (known from Balanced Bites and Practical Paleo). In addition to my Doctor of Chiropractic degree, I hold a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and worked as a collegiate Certified Athletic Trainer for 6 years prior to my chiropractic career.

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Q: What is your main focus or goal as a medical practitioner?

Any sound treatment plan must be applied knowing the root cause of the problem. I find that a lot of practitioners learn and use a whole host of treatment options, but overlook a thorough analysis. Therefore, my goal is to find out what is really causing the current complaint. The misconception is that if the patient’s shoulder hurts, the problem is somewhere in the shoulder. This is often not the case. I use a three-prong approach when assessing conditions and determining an appropriate care plan: Is there a movement fault? Is there a soft tissue adhesion/lesion? Is there underlying neuromotor imbalance? The answers to these questions dictate the treatment. This is what I call Performance Care. It’s quick, effective and for my athletes it means resuming the activity they love.

The other part of my practice is equipping people with knowledge to help themselves. That’s why I started the “2 Minute Fix” video series on my YouTube channel. These short videos act a reference for people who want to participate in their recovery at home. I cover everything from sciatica, to carpal tunnel syndrome and plantar fasciitis with new videos going up every month.

Q: What brought you to CrossFit?

I remember in 2007 I was in my first year of Chiropractic College and I saw a few people in our gym doing some bizarre looking workouts. They said it was CrossFit, but I just kept doing my same old lame lifting routine. (As an aside, one of those people is now in the CrossFit games on team OPEX Red heading to Carson City.)

Fast forward to 2012 when Diane introduced me to her box, Brazen Athletics CrossFit Link in Fairfield, NJ. I remember the first workout I did with a class I finished dead last. I couldn’t even overhead squat a PVC pipe with good form. I guess that pretty much proved to me that even as a lifelong athlete, I had a lot to learn and had hit a stale spot in my fitness life. So I jumped in and have never been stronger, fitter, happier or healthier.

dr scott deadlift

Q: As a medical practitioner, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of the CrossFit experience? And how would you correct that misunderstanding?

Of course the obvious answer is the misunderstanding of injury risk. Truthfully, I don’t care to change the perception. People will always engage in confirmation bias when it comes to this topic. That goes for both sides of the argument. We see what supports our beliefs and are blind to whatever doesn’t fit our narrative. Since I see it from both sides as an athlete and a practitioner caring for these athletes, I will say that when applied correctly, CrossFit can help people be healthier and overall reduce their risk of lifestyle disease. When applied incorrectly, it can lead to injury – just like every other training modality. Take running for example: long distance runners have a very high injury incidence, and yet when proper running mechanics are teamed up with good programming, running can have an overall positive healthful impact. Especially when compared to sitting on a couch.

In CrossFit, appropriate application means a longer, slower introductory phase for many people. You can’t take a desk jockey with a 25% reduction in shoulder abduction and expect them to overhead squat or full snatch on day 1, or day 21 for that matter. It also means smart programming, solid coaching that covers points of performance at the beginning of every WOD, and coaches skilled enough to recognize when an athlete needs a modification.

And finally, you need providers that understand an athlete’s body and mindset. If a practitioner’s best advice is “if it hurts, don’t do it,” they are missing the big picture. People in this realm want to continue to train and progress, and simply removing activity isn’t good enough.

This is the kind of model I’ve been a part of at Brazen. This is the kind of model that can lower injury risk, and improve the reputation of CrossFit.

Q: If you could start over as a crossfitter, what would medical-you tell athlete-you?

Don’t let your ego dictate your weight on a given day. Listen to your body. Ignore what everyone else is doing. Going back to the discussion on safety, many injuries occur when ego dictates intensity and load.

dr scott jump rope

Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment at the box? And least favorite?

Favorite – barbell. I’ve really fallen for the Olympic lifts.

Least favorite – GHD (Glute Ham Developer). I don’t care which way you lay on that thing, I’d like to see it vanish from all programming… and the earth for that matter.

Q: Where do you train? And where do you practice medicine?

Brazen Athletics CrossFit Link / CrossFit Willow. Fairfield and Hoboken, NJ. My current practice is actually in both of these boxes. The San Francisco answer is TBD.

Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?

I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. One of the ideas behind Greg Glassman’s methodology was getting better results in less time. People these days believe they have less time, so of course they will gravitate toward something like this. The irony of course, is that once you get hooked you spend more time training!

But also, people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are in the midst of a total health care calamity. We’re living modern lives that are completely incongruent with what our genetics expect from us. We need to eat, move and think in ways that help our genes express health. CrossFit is a good solution for part of this. This is attracting a tribe of passionate people who inherently know something is drastically wrong and something different needs to be done.

Q: What’s your favorite story (or stories) from your time with CrossFit so far?

I’ll share with your audience a final thought, which was the subject of a recent blog post I wrote, “CrossFit is For Every Body, But Not Everyone.” I’ve traveled a lot and seen a lot of boxes. Diane has seen even more with all of the seminars she used to teach. The reality is that most people doing CrossFit are not games athletes. They are people battling physical and mental demons of all kinds. Diane’s parents are 67 and 70 years old and they train weekly with one of our coaches. Her dad and I golf together and I’ve seen the improvement in strength made at CrossFit translate to his enjoyment on the course. I’ve seen her mom be proud of the things she’s able to do at the gym. I’ve also seen people who’ve lost limbs, or survived a cancer diagnosis continue to come to the gym and crush workouts.

CrossFit is a mentality, maybe more than a fitness modality. It’s a way to approach life in an unapologetically bold and fierce way. So it makes total sense to me that some folks don’t “get it.” Because a lot of people are comfortable with their lives. But for those of us who dread complacency, CrossFit means access to a life of progress, health and camaraderie not commonly found in today’s world.

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A huge thank you goes out to Dr. Scott for sharing his point of view with us. If you want to learn more, you can find him at http://drscottamills.com, on Instagram and Twitter and on YouTube with his channel for 2 Minute Fix videos.

Hopefully we can chat with Diane Sanfilippo at some point down the line as well – I’d love her thoughts on the Paleo Diet/CrossFit connection!

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Are you interested in being featured as a box owner, trainer/coach, or athlete? I’d love to hear from you! Click “Contact Us” at the top of the WOD Tales page (or in the right-hand column) and I’ll get in touch!

Doctor Interview – Kurt Perkins

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the honor of working out with folks from every walk of life… Teachers, plumbers, police, military, firemen, and even a few doctors! Dr. Kurt is a quiet, friendly, and dedicated crossfitter at our box. He makes running and burpees look easy and seems to fly through any workout he participates in.

Plus, he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his experience with CrossFit so far!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I think what has shaped my life the most is my childhood. I was the sick kid. I had chronic ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis, and eczema so bad that when I opened my hand it would bleed. I was also an obese kid. I grew up the son of a preacher and a nurse. My dad was pastor to a small, geriatric congregation. We did potluck meals quite often. I remember in front of most place setting was a Dixie cup filled with colorful looking things. As a child I thought these were candy and was pretty miffed that everyone got candy except me. It was quickly explained that those weren’t candies but were medications to make the people ‘get better.’

dixie-cup

The problem is that as I aged along with the congregation, no one was getting better. All I saw were the Dixie cups get more full and more prayer requests for healing. As I entered undergrad, I made it my mission to help these people with the faulty logic that they probably weren’t getting the right medicine or that the right one hadn’t been developed yet. I declared my major as pre-pharmacy and I was going to be the ‘pharmacist for the people.’

I got a semester into my college career and my advisor said I should change majors. She said, “I’ve seen kids like you before, you won’t succeed in this field.” I had no idea what that meant. I wasn’t a partier. I wasn’t disrespectful… until that moment. I took the break between semesters to find a new major. Being a quiet, competitive kid, I set out to pick a major out of spite more than any love of a future career path. I opened our course manual and saw biochemistry. It looked hard, it was in the science department, and it gave me full opportunity to rub my diploma in this adviser’s face as I walked across the stage in 3 1/2 years.

Joke was on me. That adviser retired a year later and I never had the satisfaction of rubbing it in her face. I was assigned a new adviser. Since I declared biochemistry as my college career path, I was put under our PhD biochemist with grants from the NIH to do genetic sequencing. I become a lab rat. I would spent the majority of my weeks in a lab, making batches of cells in petri dishes and then doing experiments to see if we could sequence the DNA.

The basic premise, I was told, was that the DNA of these bacteria cells would dictate the health of the cell. Therefore, if we could alter the DNA or create an intervention, we could stop these cells from replicating. But I also received a conflicting message. When I was creating petri dishes, they had to be perfect. They had to have the right medium, the right nutrient content, the right temperature, the right oxygen levels, and be sterile. In other words, they needed a pure and sufficient environment.

So was it the DNA or the environment that has the greatest influence on our health expression? I became, ‘that kid’ and started messing with petri dishes. Anytime I changed something with the petri dish the cells that I transplanted on it would not thrive and often die off early. If I changed the temperature, nutrients, or cleanliness, the cells would not thrive.

This altered my career course. Instead of being groomed to go into bio tech research or pharmaceuticals, I went in search of a profession that could give the greatest tools and platform to work with environmental factors of the individual. In other words, I wanted to change people’s lifestyle (how they eat, move, and think). I wanted to help them create a sufficient and pure personal petri dish so their DNA would receive what it required and allow them to thrive.

That led me to New York Chiropractic College after undergrad and my continual post grad studies in functional and lifestyle medicine.

Q: What is your main focus or goal as a medical practitioner?

Dr Kurts Place LogoMy main goal and focus is to help people create health. We have a massive healthcare system that boasts the worst health outcomes in the history of the world. We apply emergency interventions to chronic lifestyle problems and expect people to get well. The tools and practices you use to put out a fire are different than the tools and practices you use to build a house. Our healthcare system is the fire department — great at putting out fires. The problem is that those interventions are now used for any and all problems. What I do through functional chiropractic, functional medicine, and lifestyle medicine is build the house. We figure out what is deficient and toxic and create an action plan of sufficiency and purity.

As a result, I work with people of all ages. 30% of my clinic is kids. It’s a lot of fun and much like the CrossFit community, we have a tight community within our clinic.

Q: What brought you to CrossFit?

Drea and Jimmy Tapia brought me to CrossFit, the owners of CrossFit Continuum. Before formally doing CrossFit, I was prescribing a short duration, high intensity type fitness routine to many of clients. We met through a mutual connection and realized how similar our messages were and the working relationship grew. They invited me to do a couple of events at the box like the Murph and I started falling in love with it. I went through On Ramp  and never looked back. That was September 2013.

What keeps me going is the community, but also the results. At 36 years old I’m stronger, faster, and the best shape of my life… and still see huge potential for improvement.

kurt-perkins-2

Q: As someone in the medical profession, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of the CrossFit experience? And how would you correct that misunderstanding?

I think the most misunderstood aspect of CrossFit from an outsider, especially in the healthcare industry, is that they think the risk of injury is too high. They think it’s dangerous. My friend and colleague, Dr. Scott Mills answers this best with, ‘Does your doctor even lift?’ I remember having a debate with a fellow colleague. He continually told his patients to stop doing CrossFit because it is dangerous. Mind you at the time, he had just blown out his back doing yoga and a couple weeks later broke his ankle cycling.

Any sport has a risk of injury, but to say CrossFit has a risk higher than running, soccer, basketball, and even ultimate Frisbee is mythology. How many runners do you know that get injured or have to stop running because they say their knees can’t take it anymore? Ridiculous amounts. People fear what they don’t know… especially doctors who think they know it all.

if you have a doctor that tells you to stop doing CrossFit because you might get injured, just ask him ‘when was the last time you did CrossFit?’

Q: Where do you train? And where do you practice medicine?

I train at CrossFit Continuum in Colorado Springs. My practice is also in Colorado Springs and simply called, ‘Dr. Kurt’s Place: Functional Chiropractic and Lifestyle Medicine.’ My website for the office, blog, podcast, and anything ‘More Health, Less HealthCare’ related is www.MoreHealthLessHealthCare.com.

Q:If you could start over as a crossfitter, what would medical-you tell athlete-you?

I think I would tell the athlete me to create an ‘off season.’ CrossFit is not working out. CrossFit is training. When you look at any professional sports, they all have an off season. For the every day Joe CrossFitter like me, it could be taking a week off every quarter. This is what I shoot for. In fact, right now, I’m doing that. I’m on day 6 of no CrossFit and it has refreshed both my body and my mind to get back into the box. I’m wanting to do this for the next 50 years. When I’m a grandparent, I want to do a hand stand walk down the aisle at my grandkid’s weddings.

I think another piece of advice would be to slow movements down. Neurologically, we use speed to cheat. Decrease speed and load when learning new movements until everything is firing well before increasing load and speed.

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Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment at the box? And least favorite?

My favorite piece of equipment is ME. I love any and all body weight movements (except burpees – nobody likes burpees). My least favorite is deadlifts. Deadlifts are my nemesis. I have some mental block against them when going heavy. I would rather squat snatch and struggle any day than attempt heavy deadlifts.

Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?

It’s the experience. This experience will depend on the specific box but the with the rise in popularity, the majority of boxes provide a great experience. And if you’ve been to one and didn’t like it, there’s one that fits you. We live in a post-modern society where experience is valued more than information. My parents’ generation was a modern society where information was valued over experience. In other words, if our parents were told not to touch a stove because they will burn their hand, they wouldn’t do it. My generation has to experience that hot stove or have someone else experience that hot stove to believe the information.

CrossFit is one of those experiences you can’t describe until you’ve done it. But once you do, you have that experience ingrained in their your system. It leaves you wanting more.

Q: What’s your favorite story from your time with CrossFit so far?

At our 6 am class, there’s a running joke from a dream that I had. There are 2 other female members (you know who you are if you’re reading this) that have strong personalities. I had a dream that our box was putting on an in-house team competition. Teams would be made up of the class time you traditionally attend. They were also requiring that we dress alike to differentiate our teams. When it came to creating our team uniforms, they took it literally and wouldn’t budge at all, so I ended up wearing the traditional female attire of cropped compression pants, a spaghetti strap tank top, and a head band. If I didn’t wear it, we were disqualified.

What happens at 6am, stays at 6am!

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A huge thank you goes out to Dr. Kurt for sharing his story with us. Now I know why he likes running and all those body weight movements! And I definitely encourage you to check out his website – www.MoreHealthLessHealthCare.com – when you get the opportunity!

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Are you interested in being featured as a box owner, trainer/coach, or athlete? I’d love to hear from you! Click “Contact Us” at the top of the WOD Tales page (or in the right-hand column) and I’ll get in touch!