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Context: I live in the USA. I have a primary care physician assigned by my HMO who is versed in family medicine.

I would like to figure out what sort of medical service (specialist? concierge doctor?) I can employ who will be able to help me obtain and maintain my long term health goals inclusive of those in the physical fitness domain. It seems to me that when I look for physical fitness expertise that I can find:

  • help recovering from physical disability/injury (physical therapy)
  • dietary advice (dietician)
  • workout advice/coaching (personal trainers)
  • sport focused training (sports medicine practitioners?)

I think what I am looking for differs from all of these. I am not a professional athlete, but I have fitness goals that I wish to obtain and maintain that are beyond what is considered "normally healthy". As such my primary care physician doesn't seem to believe it is their purview or expertise to help me in this domain.

I could hire a trainer, a dietician, etc, but I would rather find one person who can provide expertise (or organize the help of other experts they recommend) in multiple domains. Most importantly I would like this person to be a medical doctor who is capable of ordering medical tests and writing prescriptions as necessary to ensure that I am working towards my goals in a healthy and optimal way.

I think my query is similar to the one in this 8 year old question, but I believe it is distinct. The questioner there wanted a sports medicine doctor specifically. I am curious if there are other options available to me beyond that. Is there something like a comprehensive (of physical fitness goals) medical professional that I can hire as a non-professional who will help me obtain and maintain my fitness goals?

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  • Doctors tend to take a deficit model of human health. If you are healthy, and just want to be fitter, a doctor is not the person you want. I am not sure what you are trying to get prescribed here ... A dietician should be able to work with an MD to get tests ordered if necessary. Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 0:22

2 Answers 2

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I could hire a trainer, a dietician, etc, but I would rather find one person who can provide expertise (or organize the help of other experts they recommend) in multiple domains.

You can't possibly find someone who can competently provide expertise in all those areas. You already have someone who should be able to organize the help of other experts where necessary, and that's your primary care physician. For cases where a patient has complex health needs, their role would be to assemble a multi-disciplinary team. For example, a person with cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes secondary to obesity may have a team consisting of their primary care physician, an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, an obesity medicine specialist or bariatric surgeon, a dietician, and a personal trainer.

In your case though, you apparently don't have complex health needs, you just want to be as healthy as possible. In that case it's understandable that the primary care physician may not see all these specialists as being necessary for you, and would be content to just advise you to follow the national physical activity and healthy eating guidelines. If you feel like you need additional help with that, it may just be up to you to find your own personal trainer and dietician.

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Barbell Medicine

Disclaimer, I am not affiliated with Barbell Medicine in any way. I just use their training and wear their tee shirts.

The scope of what you are looking for is, as David Scarlett mentions in his answer, something a primary care physician can organize for you, and should be your first choice. However, I wanted to mention Barbell Medicine because the scope of practice of their services is exactly what you describe. They have a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers, and most of them are successful strength athletes.

They offer injury and rehab consultations, as well as group or personal nutrition and training coaching. If yoy can afford it, one of their coaching options may be exactly what you’re looking for. And if not, their articles and podcasts are a fantastic source of information.

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    Please note, and I stress this highly, that they have a TEAM of people. As stated in the other answer, one person that can do all of it is somewhat of a unicorn.
    – JohnP
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 14:43

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