The start for me at Catalyst PT

The story of how and why I moved all the way across the country.

So a little less than 3 months ago, I moved out here to sunny San Diego from what was at that point the frozen wasteland of northern New York. I moved out to California to work at Catalyst PT and Wellness as an Aide, as well as a personal trainer and endurance coach and occasionally Arts and Crafts Director.

How did this move come about? Well I decided most of the way through my Masters that I was pretty serious about pursuing a career as a physical therapist. I put finishing my Masters degree on hold for a bit to come out and get some experience with physical therapy. While I have changed my mind a few times about what I want to be when I grow up (I’m 26 and nowhere near grown up). I was more sure about it this time though than any other before, but just in case, I wanted to get some experience in a clinic. So I asked around, talked with Brian Wilson on the phone and was offered the job. I packed up the car, said goodbye to friends, family, and the -35 degree temperature and left four days later across the country with only my co-pilot, Jarebear (aka Bearbo Baggins), as company. He was stubborn and not the least bit helpful. Jarebear has since been to rehab and is doing much better.

JarebearThe drive out was only a little short of crazy. After a very short stint to Cleveland and getting forced off the road because of a snowstorm, I made up time by cranking out 24 hours straight (through more snow) to get to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit a couple friends for the day. After arriving there at 7am, I slept for a few hours and had a great sunny day up there, although the attempt at a run at that altitude after sitting in the car that long was particularly humbling. Woke up the next morning and drove to Phoenix, Arizona. In the process, I also drove over every mountain in Colorado that was getting snow that day and basically used my car as a fancy toboggan until I made it into Utah. The drive from Fort Collins to Phoenix only took 16 hours. I spent two whole days in Phoenix with another friend from home and had a great couple days hiking around and eating and pre-birthday celebrating.


On my birthday, January 10th, the Jarebear and I left Phoenix and made the last leg of the trip to San Diego. It was one of the cooler legs of the trip. The desert that approaches the mountains and boulder fields on the way into California are amazing, and if you’ve never been out that way, I highly recommend it. Maybe its just because I come from a place where there is a tree every six inches, but that much open space is kinda nuts. ANYWAY, I made it to San Diego around lunchtime and met my cousin Andy and his wife Ray out for some birthday/arrival celebrations. They had beaten me to San Diego by one day (but left two weeks before me) so we had alot to celebrate. I woke up the next day and was taken surfing by the one and only John Voychick, newly minted husband of my cousin Ashleigh. All in all a great way to start my time here in San Diego.

Once the week actually started, it was time to get to work. I got over to Catalyst (or the space with piles of wood and insulation that would be Catalyst) and started working with Brian. Saying we ‘worked’ on that place that first month would be an understatement. With the help of a few friends, family, and small children we cranked out a level construction, painting, insulating, and cleaning that would have impressed the Amish. We’d get there early, sometime around 7, and stay until 8 or 9pm. Or on a couple occasions 1:30am if we were particularly productive and had a little too much coffee that day. We all did a ton of work we had never done before, and never have I seen a group of people become so resourceful and Macguyver the creation of an entire facility. While I am glad the projects are over and we have gotten down to the business that Catalyst PT and Wellness intended to do, I kinda miss crazy construction projects where we’d finish, step back and say “wow, that actually worked. Cool!”

Here are just a few of the pictures and memories from that crazyhouse


Brian may have needed more sleep towards the end of construction.

table_startThe beginning of the therapy tables that consumed my life for a few days.


The middle

table_endAnd the end product.

laurel_kristenLaurel and Kristen sharing what was the “office” at that point. They may have been just trying to avoid the 4th straight week of Zac Brown Band.


Ben being Ben.

So that is a little bit of the story of how I got out here and how Catalyst came to be. Now onto the real reason I’m writing this post, coaching and personal training!

While I am an Aide at Catalyst, another part of my job that we’re just beginning is being a personal trainer and endurance coach. A kick ass personal trainer and coach. I have been a personal trainer before, and I have also coached before. I’ve actually been those two things in a wide variety of settings for a wide level of athletes across a few different sports. While I have coached and worked with cyclists, swimmers, nordic skiers, and field athletes, my expertise is in running. I was a part of the cross-country and track team since 7th grade, but I didn’t begin to get a little more serious about it until my senior year of high school. I began to get interested, doing some reading and research, and continued my running into college where I started out as an exercise science major. After a rough first couple years, I landed at the State University of New York at Cortland. They were a Division III team, but if you ever ran against them back then, you wouldn’t have known it. The team was known for, especially in cross-country for going out in races to collect “scholarship scalps” from DI teams. While at that point I was nowhere near the level as the top guys, that team taught me the real definition of hard work and definitely started a fire in me to educate myself about my sport. I was enrolled in an Exercise Physiology program at that point, but I wasn’t happy with the curriculum as far as how it fit into what I wanted to do. I wanted to coach, and a purely science based education is not the best basis for coaching unique people in the real world, so I started researching and talking to people. I wanted to try and balance the scientific and theoretical coaching philosophies. I wanted to use workouts, progressions, micro and macrocycles that had been shown to work, but I wanted to know WHY they worked. I also knew that once you figured out how things work, you can trim the fat off programs and get creative to become a more effective coach. So teammates and I talked and debated about philosophies and physiology the rest of the time I was on the team there. During this time, I also coached at the high school level with a couple great coaches and was able to help some college and post-collegiate athletes at the same time. All of these experiences culminated with the summer I spent in Corvallis, Oregon with some of the best people I have ever met. The team was based out of Corvallis and I was able to spend an entire summer running with them and learning as much as I could. While I was out there I also went out of my way to corner any of the great coaches based in Oregon and pick their brains, often at coffee shops or mexican restaurants.

I always started each interview with the coaches the same. I’d ask for a general overview of their coaching philosophy. Each one of them had a great answer, but by far the best answer was “My coaching philosophy is that I don’t have a philosophy. Everyone is different, and I’d be an idiot if I thought that one philosophy would fit every athlete I coached.” That answer kind of opened my eyes and forced me to look at training and coaching differently. Not just for running, but for every sport. In order to be the most effective coach you can be, you need to be absolutely open minded and learn as much as you can. You may run into people who have ideas that are pretty crazy and out there, but you may eventually have an abnormal athlete that fits into that kind of training. So my approach to coaching all sports and personal training for clients has come to reflect that mentality. You try to open minded, learn something, validate it with the science and physiology aspects, and tie in the right training for the right people.

So if you’re looking for a new direction to your training, whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned vet who is looking to eek out just a little bit more from your body, come on into Catalyst and we’ll work together on a plan that will get you to where you want to go.

Jared Newell

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Stay in the know.

You are now officially one of the cool kids! 

Check your email!