Hi, I'm Dan Pope,

I'm a physical therapist, coach and self proclaimed meathead.  I'm the owner and operator of fitnesspainfree.com.  Welcome to my site.

My goal is really simple.  I'm the guy to help get you out of pain and back to training.  


I help people through a variety of ways:

  • Working as a physical therapist to help get people out of pain, and creating plans to help them get back to training
  • Helping to teach people how to perform movements safely and efficiently
  • Writing training programs to keep people progressing in the gym and out of the physical therapy clinic
  • Sharing my ideas about rehabilitation, injury prevention and performance through my writing online and speaking

So Dan, what's your story?  Why are you so into helping people with fitness and rehabilitation?

Good Question! I developed a passion for fitness at a very early age.  This led me to start reading and applying everything I could get my hands on in terms of weight lifting and nutrition as a teenager.  I honestly tried pretty much every dietary and training protocol I read about.  Some of the more outlandish things were...

  • Tuna and canned salmon shakes (Big mistake)
  • Taking rusty chains from my father's farm to the gym to attempt dynamic effort "Westside" training protocols
  • Eating 5,000 - 8,000 calories per day for years to gain strength
  • Double sessions of 10 sets of 10 German Volume Training (because 1 session wasn't enough)

When I was initially trying to gain muscle-mass I'd set an alarm in the middle of the night so I could eat a full plate of food to help me grow. Without knowing it I'd usually wake up, turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, only to wake in the morning frustrated with a pile of cold food staring at me.

I eventually had to start hiding the alarm clock under my dresser so when the alarm went off I'd literally stand in the middle of my room confused about where the alarm was coming from until I was alert enough to realize what was going on. Then I'd sleepily slam down way too much food and go back to sleep dreaming of bigger biceps.  

Long story short, I literally ate, slept and breathed this stuff.  I love it.

​After college I began working as a personal trainer and sports performance coach. I loved it. The only problem was that I was always working with people that were injured or dealing with pain somehow. It bothered me that I didn't fully understand their injuries and the communication between doctor, therapist and coach was usually abysmal or non-existent. I decided I wanted to know more about this rehabilitation stuff.

This led me to pursue my doctorate in physical therapy.  I wanted to be able to help the clients I was working with and stop referring out to other physical therapists.  What I found once I started practicing was that there is an absolute boatload of misinformation out there when it comes to rehabilitation for people that like to train hard.  Since I had such a large background in strength and conditioning it was natural for me to start helping these folks.

You do Crossfit?  You did Strongman? Isn't that dangerous?

Like any other sport, crossfit, weightlifting or strongman can be dangerous for sure. I firmly believe that if people train, eat and recover properly they can achieve top levels of performance and avoid most injuries.  I've made some stupid training decisions in the past leading to injury that I've been able to turn around with smarter training decisions and better lifestyle choices. Since then I've prioritized technique and injury prevention in my training and I urge everyone else to do so as well.

Crossfit, strongman and other high intensity sports get a bad rap for being dangerous. The potential risk of injury in crossfit is the most common reason I hear people bash the sport. I firmly believe that it's possible to compete and succeed in these sports in a safer manner. I also really believe that people are smart. I've been troubleshooting my own health, fitness and performance since I started. I know others can do the same if they are just given the right resources. I wanted to provide that resource so that people can excel in sport and fitness and avoid injury. Hopefully I can help them get back on the right track after they've gotten hurt. People have done the same for me in the past, now it's time to pay it forward.

I've been doing this my entire life. I'm not out to tell you that there is a single best way to do things or what I'm doing is best. I've been blessed to use exercise as a tool to become the best person I can be and really just want to help people do the same. This site was developed to help other meatheads achieve their goals with less pain and better health along the way.

So what sets your apart from the other guys out there?

I have been practicing what I preach since I started as a young teenager.  The biggest take-away I want to share with you is that I'm on your side.  I still train like an animal every day of the week and understand your goals as an athlete.

There is a lot of information out there but its not all coming from someone who lives and breathes what they speak. Many people have great information to give but very little discipline and dedication to follow their own advice. I've been an athlete my whole life and I still am. I don't just do it because it keeps me fit and its fun. I feel that it gives me invaluable insight beyond what other trainers and therapists will have and that makes a huge difference. It helps to keep me honest and to hopefully motivate and inspire others to do the same.

I also believe there is currently a large disconnect between health care professionals (Doctors, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors) and athletes. In many cases they don't understand the nuances behind their patient's fitness goals or sports in order to give their patients the best care. On top of that many healthcare professionals don't understand their patient's passion and desire for their sport simply because they've never shared the passion that is associated with high levels of athletic competition.

These sports drive you and me and give us a strong sense of identity and pride. I'm an athlete and I'm on your side. I'm here to link the gap between knowledge and application from healthcare professional to athlete. Instead of telling people to stop doing what they love, let's try and learn how to get you back into the game and keep healthy. Sound like a plan?

Some of Dan's Athletic Achievements:

  • Division 1 Collegiate Polevaulter Rutgers University
  • 2009 - 175lb National Champion Strongman
  • 2009 - 200lb New Jersey State Champion Strongman
  • 2010 Crossfit Individual Regionals Competitor
  • 2014 Crossfit Team (CF Verve) Regionals Competitor

Some of Dan's Professional Achievements:

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Crossfit L1 Certified (coached for 7 years)
  • Currently work alongside world renowned physical therapists Mike Reinold, Lenny Macrina and Dave Tilley at Champion PT and Performance in Boston MA
  • Currently work and collaborate alongside world class gymnastics and olympic lifting coaches Dave Durante, Chad Vaughn and the rest of Power Monkey Fitness
  • Work with athletes at the collegiate, professional and crossfit games levels
  • Serve as a mentor and coach to athletes and students around the world through continuing education and performance training programs

I've written for a lot of websites and magazines and have been on a bunch of podcasts.  Here are a couple:

  • www.mikereinold.com
  • The Ask Mike Reinold Show
  • www.physioanswers.com
  • www.themanualtherapist.com
  • www.shiftmovementscience.com
  • The Crossfit Journal
  • Power Monkey Fitness Camp
  • Barbell Shrugged Podcast
  • The Mind Muscle Project Podcast
  • www.WODtalk.com
  • American Society of Hand Therapists
  • The Vaughn Weightlifting Podcast

Although I've pretty much devoted my entire life to my profession I still enjoy hanging out with my wife, metal music, camping and holding baby pigs as shown in the photo to the left.  

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