25 years in the fitness industry has come to this

In all of my years of teaching and writing I’ve never shared my journey because I feel it can be perceived a self promoting, which is never my intention. But I’ve decided to share some of it with you today. This is a journey that is far from complete but one that I felt has accumulated enough academic training, research review, practical experience and business acumen to finally put together a curriculum based on what we do best.

What I am going to share with you is not to try to impress you but to impress UPON you that you too can have a profound effect on people’s lives; not just within your zip code but around the world. Furthermore, you don’t have to work at “market value” putting in 70 hour work weeks often with people that don’t ever want to change.

As I write this, I have had clients come to see me from 15 different countries and 33 states. Just last week I had a pilot/surfer fly from Puerto Rico to work with me at Function First. This week I’ll see a university Dean coming in from Los Angles and I’ll have a Skype follow up with a retired attorney in Jackson Hole, WY who saw me in San Diego two weeks ago.

Because of the mental and emotional commitment I invest in every appointment with my chronic pain clients I never see more than 20 appointments per week. The earliest I see my first client is 9:00 a.m. and the last appointment I take is at 5:00 p.m. If I work on the weekends it is to teach (workshops, conferences, consulting)-no clients. My schedule is my own. I see my kids off to school in the morning and have dinner with them at night.

Please believe me when I say that I am a life-long learner and I’m humbled by the complexity of the human body and psyche daily; and without doubt there are scores of people much smarter than me. My success rate with clients is not perfect and I would be a delusional ego-maniac if I claimed I could help everyone at any time. However, when you bring together everything that we do with a client we have very often been successful where others smarter than me have not; and that is because it is not just about knowing anatomy and biomechanics. It is what we deliver in programming and how we deliver it to meet the physical, psychological and emotional needs of each client.

Many of my clients thought they had tried everything. Clients who have come to me after visiting the world renowned Mayo and Cleveland clinics described their visit as a “last resort”. Others who have been under the care of the best medical doctors, treated by multiple physical therapists and chiropractors were to find the results they hoped for only after coming to Function First. We delivered by meeting the client where they were and walking them down a path of progress that no one us had shown them.

The clients who seek me out today are not who I thought I would be working with after completing my undergraduate degree in exercise physiology back in 1989. The personal training industry was in its infancy. My emphasis was in corporate fitness and my first job out of school was with Campbell Soup Company in Camden, New Jersey-one of the earlier pioneers in worksite wellness.

California was calling and after a year I left New Jersey to begin my graduate studies at San Diego State University. Along with my course work I completed 1800 clinical hours in the athletic training room and graduated with a Master’s degree in biomechanics and athletic training. Yet I never sat for the NATA exam for athletic trainers because to me it was most about triage and short term rehab. This is a necessary but unfortunate consequence of most athletic training environments. Instead, I was after big picture and long term solutions.

My first job out of graduate school was at Pete Egoscue’s clinic in Del Mar. The Egoscue Method was my first real introduction to looking at the human body globally and functionally. This was also my first real introduction to the chronic pain population.

Having recently completed my own research project for my Master’s thesis, my co-workers considered me a research “snob”. But I used that critical thinking during my 3 years with Egoscue to become his Director of Education and grow his training platform. I owe a debt to Pete Egoscue because he did change the way I viewed the body.

In 1994, a couple of other Egoscue disciples and I started Function First. This month marks the 20th anniversary of Function First and I am the only founder still with the company. Needless to say a great deal has changed in those twenty years. The way I work with a client today and the way I worked with clients then has evolved tremendously. We are always learning and trying to improve.

That is why I am ready to share my passion and dedication to what we do with you so that you can take it and make it your own. So that practitioners like you can take the tools in our curriculum and empower people to better their lives the way we do. The launch of this curriculum was no quick information product thrown together for a profit. This was two years in the making with no intentions of being released until it represented the quality and thoroughness of everything that we do at Function First.

You think helping someone lose weight is fulfilling? Try on a hug from a client who just a week before would have given up her entire limb to amputation if she thought it would have stopped the nerve pain she suffered with for the past 8 months.

The recent release of our Pain-Free Movement Specialist has generated a lot of interest and attention from those familiar with my work and others in the fitness, rehab and medical fields. We are grateful for all of you who have already started to benefit from my 25 years of experience.

Let’s face it; we knew that we were making a bold statement when we named our curriculum the Pain-Free Movement Specialist. But we knew that what we are offering is so much more than just corrective exercises. Therefore, it did not make sense to limit the scope of interventions for the client we wanted to serve.

Although I’ve taught principles we use for more than 17 years to trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors and medical doctors from around the world-it was always in a way for them to fit it into their paradigm.

As we prepared this curriculum, we asked ourselves a very important question: “What is it that Function First does so well that individuals would travel from all parts of the world to seek out our services?” When my Director of Education Kevin Murray and I answered that question; we realized that the only way to make this curriculum authentic is to fully expose to you everything that creates our success.

We are proud of the fact that we have created something very special and unique because it is 100% based on exercise and self-care. You owe it to yourself and the hundreds of clients whose lives you could personally change with the skills you will gain moving from Level 1 all the way through Mastery Academy Level 4.

The wave of those in need is already upon us. 1.5 BILLON people globally are in chronic pain. Movement is life and they don’t know where to turn to learn how to move better and improve their function in a way that is not damaging or threatening to them. Let us help you help them get their lives back.

Your opportunity is now. Establish yourself as an expert and build a business and lifestyle that you’ve always wanted with a curriculum based solely around working with the person in pain. The PFMS curriculum is your opportunity to serve this population that is desperately searching for a pain-free solution. Position yourself as the expert to meet their needs.

We look forward to partnering with you on this journey.


Anthony B. Carey M.A., CSCS, AHFS
CEO Function First
2011, 2012 & 2014 San Diego’s “Best of” Health and Fitness Club
2010/2011 San Diego’s “Best Of” Personal Trainers/Studio
2009 Personal Fitness Professional Magazine Personal Trainer of the Year
Author of The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain
Inventor of the Core-Tex™

P.S. We’ve broken up the Level 1 curriculum into Parts A and B allowing you to split into two payments and making it easier on you.

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