Home Posts tagged "Pat Rigsby" (Page 3)

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/2/11

Here's this week's list of recommended reading: If You're Not Growing Your Fitness Business, Here Are Some Fixes... - This was an awesome "choose your own adventure" type of post from Pat Rigsby, as he provides options for fitness professionals facing challenges on the business side of things.  Pat's ability to find opportunity in any fitness is unparalleled, and one reason why I was stoked to collaborate with him on the Fitness Business Blueprint.

Get Strong Using the Stage System - This was a guest blog I just wrote last week for Men's Health.  In it, I highlight one of my favorite strength and conditioning program strategies, the stage system. The Importance of Hip Flexion Strength - This was a great guest contribution from Chris Johnson at Mike Reinold's blog. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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Feedback on The Fitness Business Blueprint

Since we released it two months ago, The Fitness Business Blueprint has received some excellent reviews from fitness professionals who have been enable to effectively employ the strategies Mike Robertson, Pat Rigsby, and I outline in the product.  Here's one such individual: “The thing I love about Mike, Eric and Pat is the consistently high quality of all of their products.  I’ve been following Mike and Eric’s work for years now, and as a direct result, I was already a great coach with a solid assessment procedure in place.  After Eric’s presentation in the FBB, I was able to streamline this procedure, and make it run that much more smoothly – for me, this alone was worth the price of the product.  But it didn’t stop there.  Mike and Pat followed up Eric’s presentation with some great back end business ideas and systems advice that have had an immediate effect on my bottom line.  You won’t be disappointed with this product”. James Garland Strength and Conditioning Coach - New South Wales, Australia Click here for more information on The Fitness Business Blueprint.

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Strength and Conditioning Programs: Think “The Opposite”

September 6 might seem like just another Tuesday to most folks.  Many people probably despise it because the day after Labor Day serves as an unofficial end to summer.  Kids go back to school, teachers go back to work, and many seasonal businesses lose customers and employees as the season winds down.

Not me, though.  Today, the madness begins for me – and I love it.

You see, today is the start of the professional baseball off-season, as some minor leaguers played their last games yesterday.  Between now and the start of spring training in February/March, Cressey Performance will likely see over 50 guys either in the big leagues or trying to make the big leagues.

We get a special type of ballplayer, too. Trekking to Hudson, MA in the winter isn’t for everyone – and certainly not for guys who want to be coddled.  Our guys love to work smart and hard – and that makes my job incredibly fun.

People are often surprised to learn that I never even played baseball in high school.  Being an “outsider” to the game would seemingly make it harder to enter the world of baseball strength and conditioning, but I actually used it to my advantage.  To put it bluntly, I had no preconceived notions of what people think works, so it made it easy for me to “buck” stupid baseball traditions and focus on what I know works.  In short, as some of the world’s smartest marketing advisors have recommended, I did the opposite of what others do, and the Cressey Performance Elite Baseball Development Program thrived.

Given that baseball players are among the most often-injured athletes in sports, many “experts” in the industry baby them with “do no harm, but do no good” strength training programs.  We show guys that it’s possible to get strong in an intelligent way while decreasing the risk of injury – both acutely and chronically.

Conversely, many strength and conditioning coaches alienate players by looking, acting, and programming like football coaches.  We don’t Olympic lift, back squat, or bench press with our baseball players – and we’ve gone to great lengths to bring in equipment that enables us to modify traditional strength exercises and make them safer for a baseball population.

Many coaches who have played the game before rely exclusively on their experiences playing the game to dictate how players prepare nowadays.  What they fail to appreciate is that the modern game is far different: more off-field distractions (e.g., heavier media attention, social networking), heavier travel schedules (more teams = more travel), more competing demands (e.g., strength and conditioning), and more pressure to succeed (larger organizations = more levels of minor leaguers pushing to take your job).  As a result, I do a lot more listening to my athletes than I do talking - and much less assuming than other coaches do.

Loads of coaches run their pitchers into the ground, thereby ruining guys’ mobility, sapping their power, and abusing their endocrine systems in an ignorant attempt to improve recovery.  Our guys never run more than 60 yards – and they get healthier and more athletic in the process.

Many organizations hand out the same strength and conditioning programs to all their players – regardless age, training experience, dominant hand, and position on the field.  A lot of facilities are no better; one training program on the dry erase board dictates what everyone in the gym does on a given day.  In a sport where each body (and injury) is unique – and asymmetry is overwhelmingly problematic – we give our guys a competitive advantage with a strength and conditioning program that is individualized to each player.

While some facilities were aligning themselves with companies who were trying to be “everything to everybody” by catering to loads of different sports, we allied with New Balance, a Boston-based and not only has a heavy baseball focus (225+ MLB players under contract), but a strong commitment to various charitable causes, American workers, and the education of up-and-coming players.

Walk into any professional baseball clubhouse, and you’ll see a lot of different “cliques.”  Guys of a wide-variety of ages come from different states and countries, speak different languages or have different accents, and play different positions.   On a 25-30 man roster, a player might only hang out with 2-3 teammates off the field at most during the season.  We’ve made camaraderie an insanely important piece of the CP professional baseball approach, introducing guys to each other, setting up out-of-the-gym events for our guys, and creating a culture where everyone roots for everyone else.  I’ve had guys at my house for Thanksgiving and at my wedding – and guys have held back on referring other players because they didn’t feel that their work ethics or attitudes would be a good fit for CP.  In short, we’ve created a family and an experience – and given our athletes an ownership stake in it – while others just  “worked guys out.”

Although it is a point Pat Rigsby, Mike Robertson, and I heavily emphasize in our Fitness Business Blueprint product, the concept of “doing the opposite” to succeed isn’t just applicable to business.

Go to any gym, and look at how many people are on the treadmills year-after-year, none of them getting any leaner.  Get some of them to head across the gym to a weight room and they’ll transform their bodies in a matter of a few months.  Switch someone from a high-carb, low-protein, low-fat diet to a high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet, and they’ll often drop a lot of fat in a short amount of time.

With all that said, the answers for me will never be the right answers for you.  Look at what you’re doing – whether it’s in training, business, or life – and think about how doing the exact opposite may, in fact, be the best way to improve your outcomes.

For those of you interested in taking a peek inside what goes on with the Cressey Performance Elite Baseball Development Program on a daily basis – from training videos to footage of guys goofing off in the office – I’d encourage you to follow @CresseyPerf on Twitter.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/12/11 (Fitness Business Blueprint Edition)

With today being the last day of the early-bird $100 off discount on The Fitness Business Blueprint, I wanted to take a quick second to direct you to a few reads that might be of interest along these lines: Bret Contreras Interviews Cressey, Robertson, and Rigsby - Here, Bret asks not just about our new resource, but a lot of how our businesses came to be. Your Fitness Business Blueprint Questions Answered - Have a question about The Fitness Business Blueprint?  Chances are that it's answered here. EC on The Fitcast - I went on the Fitcast with Kevin Larrabee the other day to discuss the new product as well as the overall concept of running a fitness business.  If you'd rather listen than read, here's the one for you! Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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Strength and Conditioning Programs: How to Make Change Easier

Yesterday was a busy (but fun) day at Cressey Performance, and when I got home around 7pm, I was beat. Luckily, it doesn’t take much energy to check emails, so that’s what I did.  This one made my night: Hey Eric, Just wanted to thank you for helping me out this summer. I've weighed in at 197 the last few days, a 19 pound increase in about 3 months. My fastball has gone up 7-8 mph and I still feel like I haven't thrown the ball near my best yet. Because of the work I put in this summer I now have a legitimate shot to pitch a lot this year after not seeing an inning and getting redshirted last season. Thanks again, John Pretty cool, huh?  These are the kind of emails that make the long days all worthwhile and remind me why I have the coolest job in the world.  It gets better, though – as there is a lot to be learned from this specific story. John – a college pitcher coming off two surgeries in two years on his throwing shoulder, plus a few hamstrings pulls – drove seven hours for his one-time consultation/evaluation at Cressey Performance back in May and then took a program home with him.  Then, he drove back to CP at the start of his June and July programs to learn the exercises and check in with us to make sure everything was progressing nicely.  That’s some serious dedication (and gas money!).

Just as significant, though, was his ability to embrace change, as our programs were a huge deviation from his previous experiences.  His original email to us included this line: “I run 6 days a week, one of my goals between the end of this season and the beginning of next one is to run 1,000 miles.”  He didn’t do a single “run” over 50 yards in the entire three month program with us.  He also did far more (and longer) long toss in his throwing program than he had previously.  So, you could say that he not only embraced a change, but thrived with it. Change is tough, though.  Lots of people read my blogs, hear me speak at seminars, and interact with me on short-term observational visits to Cressey Performance – but only a small percentage of them actually put things into action.  Loads of people acquire knowledge, but never act on it. However, interestingly, when a new client starts up at CP, they stand a much better chance of succeeding with change.  Starting (and staying consistent with) a strength and conditioning program is a big undertaking; in fact, for many, it’s as significant as taking on a new job, opening a new business, or learning to play a new sport or instrument.  And, when that program is a complete deviation from what you’re expecting, it’s even tougher. Why, then, do some people succeed with change more than others?  I think it has to do with a lot of factors, but these five stand out the most to me: 1. They get those around them involved – John’s dad came along for the ride for his first day at CP – and this is often the case for the parents of our high school athletes.  While you don’t want overbearing parents, you do want a support system that’s aware of new goals and can be there to help keep one accountable in the quest for change.

2. They find good training partners and a quality training environment – I had a quick video blog about this yesterday, but I’m convinced that training partners and environment are just as important as an effective program.  There are always people to pick you up when you’re dragging, and the energy is contagious.  It makes change fun while making it seem like it is actually a “norm,” as training partners are constantly reaffirming what you’re doing and providing encouragement and feedback. 3. They don’t get overwhelmed by changing everything – Sometimes, the easiest way to create massive change is to take baby steps and break the overhaul into smaller components.  As I wrote recently, small hinges swing big doors.  This has never been my “cup of tea,” but there have been times when we’ve had to slowly change around a program for a client that was accustomed to a completely different school of thought.  “One of mine and one of yours” can work for the initial period and help you to gain an individual’s trust before a more thorough transition. 4. They incorporate this change into an existing schema – This is one I originally read in the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath.

To illustrate things, I’ll call upon my own personal experience.  Back in 2006 or so, I didn’t think that there was any possible way that semi-private training could work. How could you have clients of all different ages, experience levels, and goals training at the same time without having chaos?  My buddy, Alwyn Cosgrove (who, at the time, had just beaten stage 4 cancer for the second time), had some great advice: Physical therapy is done in group settings. Cardiac and pulmonary rehab are done in group settings.  I did pulmonary rehab post-chemo.  Seventeen of us in the group and one nurse. That's called semi-private! Chemotherapy is done in a semi-private setting for most cancers, too. My first time through there were ten of us in a room with two nurses. Actually, when I was in the hospital getting chemo it was still semi-private. I had one nurse who covered six rooms. Now I'm even more convinced. If life saving (and potentially deadly chemotherapy) is done in a small group setting, you're really stretching to tell me that an exercise program has to be one-on-one. We now do almost exclusively semi-private training, and it’s amazing.  Middle school athletes get to watch how the high school guys train.  The pro guys get to mentor the high school guys.  The adult clients get to know athletes they see on TV on a personal level.  Experienced clients introduce themselves to new clients when they start training.  Just the other day, one of our local families had two of out-of-town athletes (Colorado and Virginia) over for dinner on Saturday night, and then brought them to church with them on Sunday morning.  There is insane camaraderie among folks from all different walks of life.

None of it would have been possible if I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around the idea of semi-private training – and it would have been tough to get to that point if Alwyn hadn’t put the concept into my existing schemas (physical therapy, cardiac/pulmonary rehab/chemotherapy) for me. 5. They spend money – Taking a leap of faith and increasing the stakes can sometimes motivate people to make change happen.  Whether it’s a payment for training, or just a bet with friends about exercise consistency or some training goal, separating people from their money always seems to magically increase adherence.  People don’t like getting ripped off – and it’s even worse when you rip yourself off because there is nobody else to blame except yourself! In a recent example, Pat Rigsby, Mike Robertson, and I outline many assessment, training, and business strategies that one can effectively employ in a fitness business in The Fitness Business Blueprint.  One of our primary goals in making it the way that we did was to make sure that we made it easier for buyers to apply the changes we recommended; we discussed how to incorporate our ideas seamlessly in their current business strategy.  Still, none of these tactics will work is someone isn’t willing to change – and that means putting in some leg work to both set the stage for change and then follow through on it.

This resource is on sale for $100 off through Friday at midnight.  If you’re looking to make positive changes in your fitness business – or get one off the ground in the first place – it’s an outstanding way to get the ball rolling.  You can learn more about The Fitness Business Blueprint HERE. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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The Fitness Business Blueprint is LIVE!

I'm psyched to announce that The Fitness Business Blueprint, a collaborative project among Mike Robertson, Pat Rigsby, and me, is now available for sale.

A ton of work went in to making this product the most comprehensive resource available to fitness professionals looking to start a successful training business.  And, even if you're already in business, there are business, relationship-building, assessment, program design, and training strategies you'll learn to instantly help take your business to the next level.

Mike, Pat, and I all have unique skill sets, and by combining them, I feel strongly that we've put together a comprehensive approach to attacking fitness business development from all angles.  Rather than list all the details here, I'll encourage you to check out The Fitness Business Blueprint sales page.

The product is on sale at an introductory $100 off price through this Friday (August 12) at midnight.  It's 100% online, and you'll be able to access (and put into action) all the information immediately.

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Why the Gym’s Out-of-Business and the Porn Store’s Thriving

A while back, while up in central Maine visiting my wife's family for the weekend, I couldn't help but notice that the local gym in the center of town had gone out of business since the last time I'd visited.  When I commented on it, my wife's response was: "No surprise; there have been three gyms there before it, and they've all gone under, too."

It's not all that surprising, given how many health clubs, gyms, and fitness facilities go belly-up each day in America.  What was a bit surprising, though, was that while you'd think the other businesses in the area would be struggling in light of the recession, that really wasn't the case at all.

About 1/2 mile up the road, the parking lot at an "Adult Film" store was completely full.  I would have snapped a picture of that, too, but it probably wouldn't have made the patrons in the parking lot too happy.

Instead, I got this one of a doughnut shop not too far away.  Yes, the place was hopping at 3:30PM on a Friday afternoon - not exactly what I'd call pristine "doughnut consumption time."

Recession, huh?  Would you consider porn flicks and doughnuts necessities?  Surely, if people have the disposable income to splurge on fornication and chocolate glazed awesomeness, they can front the $20/month to get rid of the spare tire that's hiding their unmentionables from view.

Taking it a step further, this doughnut shop has over 3,000 locations, and apparently, the porn store dude has several locations in the area and has done quite well for himself.  So, why can't the gym catch a break, in spite of their noble intentions?

Very simple: they likely made some big mistakes that their more successful counterparts avoided.  Right off the top of my head, here are three:

1. They likely went too big. - This gym opened at over 6,000 square-feet, while the porn store started as a small location with lower overhead and (presumably) grew into more locations over time.

Cressey Sports Performance started at 3,300 square-feet, then moved to 6,600 square-foot facility (which was renovated to add another 1,000 square-feet). Only after five years in business did we make the jump to our larger, 15,000-square-foot dream facility. In short, we bite off off what we can chew, and nothing more.

2. They likely overpaid for commercial space on the main road. - Location is important for a business, no doubt, but too many people think they need to pay for crazy expensive commercial property just to get as many drop-ins as possible.  This isn't exactly in line with the "niche" name, either, as it implies that they're pushing to be a specific location that people seek out because they serve baby boomers better than anyone else.  The porn store was on a side street.  Why?  People seek it out; they don't just drop in to pick some up on a whim.

Cressey Sports Performance is in an industrial park in what seems like the middle of nowhere - but it works because we are in a niche and clients will travel to train with us.

3. They likely wasted money silly equipment instead of investing in their greatest assets: their people and their relationships. - This is quite possibly the biggest mistake I see upstart gyms make; they spend thousands on cardio equipment and fixed-motion resistance training equipment rather than spending conservatively in this regard, and instead investing those financial resources on their true assets: people.

For the $30,000 it costs to purchase a treadmill, elliptical, recumbent bike, and 4-5 apparatus fixed-motion resistance training circuit, those folks could have purchased more effective equipment for 1/3 the price and instead spent the remaining $20,000 on staff education and referral bonus gifts for existing clients.  They probably blew a ton of money on direct mail and newspaper advertising, too, when they should have been out hustling to network in the community and tap into their existing clientele for referrals and help spreading the good word.


In short, they probably devoted money to depreciable assets when they should have been using them to add value to existing investments.

You know what porn videos are?  Investments.  People rent them, and they pay themselves off over time.  Seated triceps extensions doohickeys don't.

Several gyms had already gone out of business there previously, and it seems readily apparent that these folks tried to improve on a flawed business model instead of just scrapping it altogether.  They changed the oil on a car with no wheels.

Unfortunately, this kind of failure is pretty rampant in the fitness industry - and there were surely a lot of other factors that contributed to the business not making it.  While I don't claim to be a true expert, I can say that we've had a thriving business for almost five years now - and I've been fortunate to communicate on a regular basis with not only fitness industry business experts, but other guys in the field who run successful businesses.

Pat Rigsby, co-founder of the Fitness Consulting Group, is among the former. Mike Robertson, co-founder of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, is among the latter.   And, the three of us have teamed up to create a product called The Fitness Business Blueprint, which is a great resource I'd encourage you to check out for more fitness business strategies like the ones I discussed in this post.  

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Four Years of Cressey Performance: Time Flies When You're Having Fun
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Robertson, Rigsby, and Cressey: A Free Fitness Business Interview You Don’t Want to Miss

Earlier this week, along with Mike Robertson and Pat Rigsby, I recorded an audio interview all about opening and growing a successful fitness business.  It's now available at absolutely no charge at the link below: --> The Truth About Building a Great Training Business <-- We cover mistakes we made along the way, things we'd do differently, and decisions we made that proved to be really "clutch."  In short, you don't want to miss it. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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The Little Black Book of Fitness Business Success

Today, I'm going to be short and to the point on a blog to which I could legitimately devote 10,000 words. If you own a fitness business, you owe it to your self to purchase this book from Pat Rigsby.

Pat sent me an advanced copy last week, and I read the entire thing cover to cover without stopping.  I view this as a resource that could improve our fitness business in so many different capacities that I immediately made it mandatory reading for our entire staff in preparation for our next meeting.  We're going to go through it page-by-page and discuss how we can improve the way that Cressey Performance is run.

I don't make a penny for recommending this book.  In fact, Pat doesn't earn a dime on the sale, either; all the proceeds go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

And, while Pat is a great friend and this is a fantastic cause, I still wouldn't recommend The Little Black Book of Fitness Business Success unless it was top-notch reading.  Frankly, though, it's the most kick-ass book I've read on the topic.

You see, success in training clients is all about finding windows of adaptation and addressing them.  As an example, some people need more mobility work, while others need to get strong above all else.  As I've learned, fitness business success is similar; you have to find the windows of opportunity.  Pat outlines dozens of these opportunities in his book.

At $19.95, you can't lose - especially when you consider that it's tax deductible as a continuing education expense investment for those in the fitness industry, and there are some cool video bonuses for those who order today.

Check it out HERE.

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Four Years of Cressey Performance: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

When I woke up this morning, it seemed just like any other Wednesday morning. I didn't even realize that it had been four years since July 13, 2007: the day we opened the doors at Cressey Performance.  I would have blown right through today if my business partner, Pete, hadn't reminded me of July 13's significance when I came in to the office today.

On our first anniversary in 2008, I was absolutely swamped, as we'd just moved into a larger facility.  I was 100% aware of the significance of the day, but literally didn't have time to enjoy it. On the second anniversary, things had settled down a bit, and I wrote up a blog to celebrate the day: The Two Year Mark. Last year, on the third anniversary, I went "all in" and wrote up this bad boy: Three Years of Cressey Performance: The Right Reasons and the Right Way. This year, I celebrating by simply forgetting. Is this my first "over 30" moment, or is there something to be said for the fact that I forgot? This has been, unarguably, our best year on a variety of fronts.  Some highlights: Tim Collins - one of our first pro guys and longest tenured clients - went to the big leagues this year.  The same goes for guys like Cory Gearrin, Steve Cishek, and Trystan Magnuson.  We also saw more professional athletes (and clients overall) than any other year before. Tyler Beede - also a long-time Cressey Performer - was drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft...and we celebrated in my living room.

Tyler was one of 12 players with CP ties taken in this year's draft.

Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School won the Division 1 State Championship, and they epitomize everything that effective strength and conditioning can do to help keep a high school team healthy and performing at high levels.

Over 30 CP athletes in the Class of 2011 signed letters of intent to play Division 1 baseball.

We expanded our staff to include some great people who complemented our existing skill sets and program offerings nicely.

We added about 1,000 square feet more office space and polished up our look with some new paint and more framed/autographed jerseys on the walls.  I even got my own office - which is shared with our new mascot, Tank, of course:

Most importantly, though, we continued to have an absolute blast each and every day we came to "work" - and that, to me, is what it's all about.  We made new friends and further developed already-existing friendships.  The CP family grew, and we offered a service to people that helped them get to where they wanted to be.

You'll notice I didn't mention financial gain - and the reason is pretty simple; I view it as secondary.  It's the destination, and I'm a lot more concerned about the process.  Cultivate relationships, deliver a quality service, and genuinely care, and the money will take care of itself.  Before the business gurus out there start crapping on me, I'll add that our business has grown by more than 30% over the past year in spite of the fact that I usually forget that I'm supposed to receive a paycheck at month's end.  Pete just surprises me with it.

Don't get me wrong; you need effective business systems to make things work.  If you're an organizational disaster and can't make your rent, it's going to be pretty hard to put on a happy face and make someone's day with your smile.  However, the overwhelming majority of "savvy business decisions" are actually a combination of common sense, courtesy, and a genuine desire to help someone.

Most of the people that ask us business questions want to know how much we charge, how much our rent is, how we schedule, what our hours are, who painted Tony's t-shirt on him, what our start-up costs were, and why we don't use electronic funds transfer (EFT).  What they should be asking us:

1. How do you remember so many people's names?

2. How can you possibly know everyone's health history who walks through your door?

3. How do you write individual strength and conditioning programs for everyone?

4. What do you do to build relationships?

5. How do you find time to get to so many baseball games?

6. How do you do to educate and retain staff?

7. How is it that all of your clients seem to be friends with each other? (As a little aside to this point, Tim Collins was at the facility the past two days while home for the all-star break, and he greeted every person who walked through the office door.  He even answered the phone for us twice.  That's big-league customer service.)

There are some brilliant business consultants out there.  Pat Rigsby and Alwyn Cosgrove, for instance, are super bright guys and great friends who have helped loads of fitness professionals increase their incomes and improve their quality of life.  They are also the first guys to tell you that if you don't know how to cultivate relationships and treat people right, then you're studying for the wrong test by looking for the perfect business plan.

Spend more time focusing on the process, and worry less about the destination.  Four years from now, you'll probably enjoy your "job" a lot more - both psychologically and monetarily - and have a lot more friends and experiences that make you smile each time you think of them.  You'll probably even forget it's your business' anniversary!

Thank you, as always, to everyone for all your support.

As a mini-celebration of this day, I'll do a little promo: if you purchase a CP hat HERE before Friday (July 15) at midnight, I'll send along a video of a 37-minute staff in-service I did on shoulder assessment that's uploaded to the 'web.

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