Physical therapist Dan Giordano has a chic office in Midtown, but when he’s really working hard, you’ll find him on spin bikes, treadmills, or swinging kettlebells next to his patients at fitness studios all over New York City.
“I’m there for modifications, and I’m also there to see how the class goes, so in the future I know what it is and can advise,” he says. “Tonight I’m doing Fhitting Room, last night I was at Swerve, the night before we went to Kira Stokes, Saturday I went to Tone House with a patient. Yeah, it keeps me busy, but also it’s a way of working hands on with those patients and saying ‘you can still do this.’ I don’t want you to stop what you’re doing in your life, I want you to keep improving your quality of life.”
The approach has made the Staten Island-native NYC’s go-to physical therapist for personal trainers, fitness instructors, and workout buffs, and that’s in addition to the work he does with professional athletes (like at the upcoming Olympic trials for USA Track & Field).
Giordano’s passion for PT started with a series of football and wrestling injuries that led to years of surgeries and rehabilitation. After getting his doctorate from NYU, he worked at the US Athletic Training Center and then at a hedgefund, where he provided physical therapy, personal training, and nutrition services for employees.
The idea for his own outfit, and a new approach to PT, came while on a hike in Breckenridge with friend (and now Bespoke co-founder) Philippos Kyriacou.
“For the most part with PT, you come in for treatment and you work with a therapist for 10–15 minutes and then you work with an aid, assistant, or trainer for the next 15 minutes, and that’s your treatment. We said, ‘that’s not optimizing treatment, and people are not getting better,’” he explains. “So we developed a business plan that we can do with each patient, no aids, no assistants. Everyone has their privacy, you’re not out in the open like in most places, and everyone has their own customized, one-on-one treatment programs, so we’re treating not just the injury but we think of the body as the whole. We wanted a team, customized approach, hence the name.”
Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy opened in February 2015 and then moved to a bigger space just a few months later, in June. New locations are now about to open in Seattle and San Francisco, and Giordano says the results are more than encouraging.
“Healing rates are insane compared to what it was when I was working at a clinic,” he says. “I joke that it’s bad for business, because people are healing so fast.”
Of course, while Giordano is passionate about getting people back to their active lives as quickly as possible, he’s also constantly emphasizing the importance of recovery time when it comes to staying fit and healthy, and he’s in the process of launching a line of forward-thinking mobility tools, including a portable foam roller.
“Recovery is just as important, if not more important, sometimes, than working out,” he says. People need time to rest. You need to work on your strength, but you also need to work on the mobility of your tissue. If you don’t create that balance with mobility and stability...if you’re doing one way more than the other, something’s going to contract or shorten the wrong way and cause an issue. Also, your nutrition levels help optimize recovery. You’re going to slow your recovery time if you’re not eating well.”
Which is where WellWell comes in. “I love it because I’m a big research person. If there’s no research on it, I’m not doing it,” Giordando says. “The mixture of ingredients and levels in the mixture are perfect. I’ve been doing the watermelon juice thing for a while, and I’ve been doing the tart cherry juice thing for a while, and now you’re mixing these things together and you’re creating this product that’s optimal for recovery.”
Giordano now lives in Hoboken with his wife, a former Broadway actress, and dog, a fluffy Havanese named Oliver, and he loves to travel, golf, and explore good food.
But even when a patient doesn’t need his assistance modifying a TRX push-up, he’s often out flexing his group fitness muscles alongside a workout crew.
“Tonight there are six of us going to the Fhitting Room,” he tells me, “and if I don’t go, I feel like I’m letting them down. So by creating that group of people, now you’re taking more time to spend on your health and that’s going to impact your longevity as a person. Also, it creates that balance. For me, going to these classes is like therapy. Stress is a big factor in life, and these classes are a time when you can shut down and just get that workout high. And if you have strength in numbers, those people are going to push you, you’re going to push them. And then you wind up getting closer. You sweat with these people, you see people at these states where they can’t move and look like they’re going to pass out, and then you help each other up.”
My heart rate’s up because...I get to help empower people to continue doing what makes them the happiest—they LOVE to move. When patients come into Bespoke, I feel so honored that they are trusting me with their bodies.
Endorphins make me want to...eat and hang with friends! I don’t know if it’s due to the time of day that I get my workouts in, but I am hungry ALL the time and always want to hang with the crew I just worked out with over a good meal or juice.
My recovery protocol: Eating, de-stressing with the group ,and foam rolling.
Follow Dan @dangiordanodpt