How to Create, Own, and Operate a Functional Fitness Program for Seniors

The course is designed for fitness trainers, coaches, and health professionals looking to build a program serving older adults. This program can round out a fitness community by providing meaningful outcomes that inspire the young and old. And yes, it can be or become a freestanding gym solely for seniors.  It can provide an additional line of revenue for an existing facility. It can also fill traditionally slow hours in a gym or clinic. Serving seniors can benefit your business in almost any way you want it to.

2024 DATES

This is a half day seminar that is complimented by the Practical Functional Movement Course from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on the same day. 

Active Registration is live for all seminars

Seminar Overview

Course Features:

  • Learn why you should add a seniors program to your gym (global solution to an aging world, operations, schedule, financial)
  • Understand and communicate how fitness practitioners and health professionals (and seniors) are MISTAKENLY led to believe that  physical, neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, mental, and functional weakness is an inevitable part of again
  • Identify and implement the perfect flow of your new senior athletes from intake to scaling movements
  • Learn programming considerations for seniors that reduce risk, produce results, and enhance retention
  • Understand new functional movement guidelines and scaling to help you create a program that produces a higher level of independent living for seniors
  • Level up your coaching team by enhancing their view and library of scaling options
  • Grasp and respect generational considerations between coaches and senior athletes
  • Get informed about specific equipment and space considerations
  • And much more!

We have long backgrounds and years (and years) of experience in both health and fitness, business operations, and development, including treating (clinically) and training (in a fitness environment) seniors for OVER 40 YEARS!  Almost everything works if you can get a “senior” to move more. Seriously!  But your goal should be to create a program that:

  • helps seniors continue living independently
  • makes seniors stronger, faster, and more “athletic”
  • creates a community so that widows and widowers have the support they may otherwise miss in today’s techy, online world (lowers loneliness, depression, and anxiety)
  • lowers healthcare costs and “time” (doctor visits), which is an anti-depressant itself!
  • provides new goals at an age where many seniors are simply living out their last few decades – athletic goals are some of the best to establish later in life

Upon completing this course you’ll also have access to the presenters, and their gym as a resource! We currently serve over 100 seniors in our program – training three to five times per week. Many of them have trained with us for over 8 years – so we can teach you how to retain clients, making the current day “marketing wheel” less of a priority – more time with your athletes!

Designed for physical therapists, healthcare professionals & personal trainers & coaches who want to do more for seniors

Seminar Details

7:30 AM


8:00 AM

Welcome & Introduction

Why a Seniors’ Program @ your facility?

8:30 AM

Integration vs Segregation

Do seniors need a customized program? or Should they be integrated into a younger adult program?

9:00 AM

Blind Spots

Seniors’ training methods and priorities;

9:15 AM


What exactly IS functional exercise for seniors?

10:00 AM


Why programming specialized for seniors? The GMRx Programming Template Weekly and Annualized Periodization

10:30 AM

The Program "Vibe" or Culture

What environment keeps seniors engaged? Equipment, class times, communication styles, FB vs IG, music...

11:00 AM

Senior Health Challenges

What are the health challenges seniors face that affect your training them? Common health conditions you should have a working knowledge of: sarcopenia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, balance disorders...

11:15 PM

Developing and Pricing Your Program

12:00 PM


(on your own)

Learning Objectives

Learn why you should add a seniors program to your gym (operations, schedule, financial)

Identify and implement the perfect flow of your new senior athletes from intake to scaling movements

Programming considerations for seniors that produce results and enhance retention

Safety considerations for training seniors in groups

Equipment and space considerations

Grasp and respect generational considerations between senior athletes and younger coaches

Level up your coaching team by enhancing their viewpoint and library of scaling options.

Learn the most common senior health challenges and how to work both around and through them




Ed’s professional bio & career are extensive. His 40+ years of experience as a practicing physical therapist specializing in orthopedics, joint replacements, and sports medicine coupled with 17 years as a competitive CrossFit athlete, and a 14-year CrossFit / Mircrogym affiliate owner has uniquely prepared him to lead the charge in training the elderly. In 2012, after years of owning and operating outpatient rehabilitation clincis, and treating patients in the outpatient sector, Ed elected to sell his physical therapy practices and solely focus on the preventative and corrective care of his aging patients which he now proudly calls his “athletes”.

Ed’s educational background, numerous certifications, and comprehensive experience are listed below.

Ed’s final outpatient physical therapy private sector venture of three outpatient rehabilitation clinics from 1999 to 2012 was a product of a non-competition contract in the direct Tampa Bay Area. Ed and an exceptionally small administrative team managed all aspects (strategic, financial and operational) of the three Sarasota-based clinics that expanded to 38,000 visits and $1.0 million in annual profit. Ed brings 32 years of executive operational and financial management expertise, including holding positions at an executive level with Select Medical Systems as an Officer and Vice President from 1997 to 1999 and at RehabWorks, a subsidiary of Continental Medical Systems, Inc., as a Regional Vice President from 1993 to 1997.


In addition to his executive roles, he has also served these companies as a pioneer in the development of systems to educate, communicate, monitor and control expectations and results at both the therapist and administrative levels. These systems allowed for a lean infrastructure and generous incentive plans for the caregivers and care teams, resulting in ambitious and loyal workforces.


Ed’s business personality and philosophies have allowed him to function successfully and with mutual respect at all levels within an organization. As a hands-on, systems-based manager and executive, expectations are always realized.

  • 2020-present: Cofounder of GrandMastersRx Pro, the educational company focused on training CrossFit affiliates, micro gyms, and healthcare professionals through seminars and other resources with specific exercise training methods for ages ranging from 60 to 100 years of age
  • 2020-present: Cofounder of GrandMastersRx, the gym. Currently training over 100 members over the age of 55.
  • 2015-2020: Cofounder Legends Strength & Conditioning at CrossFit Rebels. A robust, dynamic & revolutionary training program for hundreds of aging athletes over the age of 55. In February of 2017, an educational compilation of the Legends S&C program launched its first continuing education seminar to coaches, trainers, and healthcare professionals (primarily physical therapists) on cutting edge methods to train the aging athlete
  • 2010-2020: Cofounder & Owner of CrossFit Rebels affiliate located in Clearwater, Florida
  • 1999-2012: Owner, Officer, and Administrator of (3) highly successful physical & occupational therapy centers in Bradenton & Manatee counties
  • 2000-2016: Researcher, author & Not-For-Profit work with the Arthritis Research Institute of America, involving the largest & oldest study on Osteoarthritis in the US. Coauthored 5 research papers on OA published in peer-reviewed, highly respected journals. Board Member including Chairman for 11 years
  • 1997-1999: Officer and Vice President, Outpatient Operations, Select Medical Corporation
    • Supervised growth and development of 100+ outpatient rehabilitation clinics throughout the US and Canada
    • Directly responsible for 23 outpatient rehabilitation clinics within five states realizing $3.5 million in annual profit
    • Created and implemented national computerized management and outcome-based programs to monitor fiscal and patient population goals
  • 1993-1997: Regional President and Vice President of RehabWorks, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Continental Medical Systems. Supervised growth & development of 25 outpatient rehabilitation clinics realizing $30 million in revenue. Engineered acquisitions & startups for the Outpatient Clinic Division. Instrumental in cutting-edge clinical pathways enhancing above-average patient outcomes
  • 1987-1994: Founded KneeWorks, an education-based company solidifying his professional expertise as an expert in knee rehabilitation. National & International lecturer of over 100 seminars throughout 3 countries and 25 US states including a commission by the US Government under President George H.W. Bush as a consultant to the US Trade Commission in Tokyo, Japan. Created the first Knee Fellowship program for rehabilitation professionals
  • 1985-1992: Founded, owned & operated (3) outpatient physical therapy clinics in Tampa Bay, Florida specializing in knee rehabilitation
  • 1984-present: Practicing & licensed physical therapist, PT#4162
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration, 1998, LaSalle University, Louisiana, with honors
  • Masters in Business Administration, 1997, LaSalle University, Louisiana
  • Bachelor of Health Science in Physical Therapy, 1984, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, with honors
  • CF-L2 CrossFit Trainer, 2020
  • CF-L1 Trainer Revalidation, 2015
  • CF-L1 CrossFit Trainer, 2010
  • CrossFit Football Course (currently PowerAthlete)
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Course
  • CrossFit Mobility Course
  • CrossFit Competitors Course
  • CrossFit Kids Course
  • Starting Strength, Mark Rippetoe
  • Functional Movement Systems, Gray Cook, Level 1 & 2
  • USA Weightlifting Level 1
  • OPEX Competitors Course
  • i-99 Gymnastics Level 2



  • Authored the following research papers with the Arthritis Research Institute of America, involving the largest and oldest study on Osteoarthritis in the nation.
    • Wilder FV, Barrett JP, Farina EJ. The Association of Radiographic Foot Osteoarthritis and Radiographic Osteoarthritis at Other Sites. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. 2005 Mar; 13(3): 211-5.
    • Wilder FV, Barrett JP, Farina EJ. Radiographic Progression of Foot Osteoarthritis and the Role of Regular Exercise. J Am Podiatric Med Assoc. 2005 Jul.
    • Wilder FV, Barrett JP, Farina EJ. Exercise and Osteoarthritis: Are We Stopping Too Early? Pilot Findings from the Clearwater Exercise Study. J of Aging and Phy Activity. 2005 Oct.
    • Wilder FV, Barrett JP, Farina EJ. Sex-Specific Incidence and Progression Rates of Thumb Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis: The Clearwater Osteoarthritis Study. 2005 Oct.
    • Wilder FV, Barrett JP, Farina EJ. Joint Specific Prevalence of Osteoarthritis of the Hand. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. 2006 June.
  • Published research on the advances of aquatic treatment for joint replacement patients
  • Commissioned by the US Government in 1989 as an International Consultant for the United States Trade Commission under President George W. Bush, to Tokyo, Japan



  • A founder of Select Medical Corporation in 1997, assisted with the growth and development of a startup organization, realizing $800 million in annualized revenue within three years
  • Designed and implemented numerous computerized management programs for RehabWorks



  • National Consultant for Medtronic Corporation and Chattanooga Corporation
  • Created a series of educational videos to teach healthcare professionals new and innovative protocols for the treatment of numerous knee pathologies
  • National and International lecturer for 12 years on the subject of knee rehabilitation and corporate management
  • Created the first Knee Fellowship Program for rehabilitation professionals
  • 2003 Founded Vista Therapy Center, LLC
  • 2001 Acquired Progressive Rehabilitation Agency, Inc
  • 1991 Founded Florida Bladder Control and Incontinence Specialists, Clearwater, Florida
  • 1990 Founded Sixty-Sixth Street P.T. Inc, St. Petersburg, Florida
  • 1989 Founded Florida Institute for Physical Therapy, Port Richey, Florida
  • 1989 Founded The Arthritis Spa, Clearwater, Florida
  • 1989 Founded KneeWorks, Clearwater, Florida
  • 1985 Founded Florida Institute for Physical Therapy, Clearwater, Florida


Samantha (Sam) Farina, MBA, ACSM/PT is a “retired” healthcare executive, focusing on the prevention of musculoskeletal and metabolic pathologies caused by poor lifestyle choices. From personal training to nutrition coaching to lifestyle coaching, Sam credits her success to being tenured and educated as a “mature” athlete and having some years under her belt from which to draw experience.

Sam is certified through the ACSM as a personal trainer and holds multiple strength and conditioning certifications from USAW to CrossFit.  She has studied under many of the founders of the ancestral health movement and has trained body composition under Charles Poliquin.  With a passion for improving the lives of her athletes and clients, Sam brings real-world solutions to the most common problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the Standard American Diet.

Working with younger athletes in a functional fitness environment for 14 years and currently more seniors, she boasts an ability to see and develop the athleticism and functional independence that is possible and necessary in later years.

  • LaSalle University Master’s Degree, Business Administration Concentration in Healthcare Management and Marketing – Mandeville, Louisiana
  • Eckerd College Bachelor of Arts Degree, Human Development, Concentration in Holistic Health and Wellness – St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification – Ontario, Canada
  • CrossFit Level 2, South Tampa, Fl
  • 13th Annual ISSN Sports Nutrition Conference
  • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach
  • Cross Country Education Comprehensive Approach to Aging Confidently: Geriatric Posture, Core and Balance
  • University of Tampa ISSN’s Macronutrient Manipulation and Training Strategies to Optimize Body Composition
  • Competitors Course – Reebok CrossFit One CrossFit Boston, Massachusetts
  • CrossFit Mobility Course
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer Course
  • St. Pete College Treating Runners: Running Mechanics, Common Injuries, Treatment and Training
  • Poliquin Strength Institute Certified Biosignature Practitioner
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer Course
  • i99 Gymnastics Level 2 Coach
  • CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Course
  • CrossFit Level 1 CrossFit Trainer/Coach Revalidated 2/2015
  • American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer


Cofounder and co-owner of GrandMastersRx, an educational company focused on training CrossFit affiliates, micro gyms, and healthcare professionals through seminars and other resources about a specific exercise training method for ages 60 years of age and up.



  • Legends Strength & Conditioning, now GrandMastersRx, Clearwater, FL
  • Providing exercise and nutritional coaching to athletes 65-94 years of age.
  • Coaching over 100 active athletes, three times a week in various settings.
  • Responsible for progressing their movements and recommending advancements and progressions.
  • Responsible for daily operations, events, and front-line service for the program.



  • CrossFit Rebels & RebelHealth, Clearwater, FL
    Co-founded and operated CrossFit Rebels for 10 years.  At the 6-year mark, CrossFit Rebels ranked in the top 4% of over 12,000 worldwide CrossFit affiliates.
  • CrossFit Rebels operated 5 lines of programming (CrossFit, Strength, Endurance, Competitors, Seniors and Kids) with 20 coaches and 300 total athletes including kids and seniors. Sam and Ed sold CrossFit Rebels in October of 2020.



RebelHealth, International, Clearwater, FL
General health improvement company (sole proprietorship) to provide personal training services, and nutritional coaching, including behavior modification, lifestyle coaching, basic nutritional education, meal planning, cooking lessons, and pantry “overhauls”. Sam is obsessed with using lifestyle to manage our health. From what our genetics predispose us to, to modern-day strategies for maximizing our health, she is always digging for solutions.



Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, FL

  • Responsible for all departments within the outpatient operations division, including Patient Care, Ancillary Services, Patient Services, Facilities Management and Quality Assurance.
  • Managed and coordinated the start-up of 5 in-house physical and occupational therapy clinics, the coordination of the construction and equipping of a new Surgery Center and the coordination and planning for a new 18,000 square foot Medical Office Building. Managed the implementation of MRI services including coordinating information on purchase, the structural ability of the building to support the MRI, and operational execution of services.



Kessler.RMS, Pinellas/Pasco/Hillsborough Counties, FL

  • Kessler.RMS purchased Total Wellness & Rehab in May of 2000. All functions transferred to the Lakeland Regional Office and I was retained to manage the four clinics for which I had previous responsibility, including three additional clinics locally and one in Jacksonville, NC
  • Responsibilities included all operational, budgetary, and development aspects of the 8 clinics, including an aggressive plan to turn a losing region into a 30% profiting region in 2 years.



Total Wellness & Rehab, Seminole, FL

Managed overall operations for a turnaround physical therapy organization of four clinics. Accepted the challenges of a failing billing system, Medicare compliance and review issues, and understaffing secondary to budgetary restrictions. Enhanced existing billing system, stabilized billing process and cash flow within first 90 days. Instituted a compliance plan passing HCFA survey. Organized managed care contracts and created educational billing guidelines for both the billing department and therapy staff. Normalized staffing (up-staffed) to accommodate both new and return visit volume appropriately, doubling new patient volume within the first 60 days. Began community outreach programs to market directly to consumers, using physicians as cross-referral partners.



Sarasota Therapy Center, Sarasota, FL

  • Contracted to analyze and improve point-of-service billing by therapists per payer. Increased net collections from Medicare by $25,000 per month by ensuring that therapist bills reflected all procedures performed. Enhanced Workers’ Comp and Managed Care billing by outlining contracts per payer for therapist education. Established weekly procedure detail report for ongoing assessment of per-payer statistics. Assessed community outreach and marketing strategies for improved return on investment. Established electronic tracking mechanisms for tracking and evaluating return on investments for marketing efforts. Lastly, began working with a programming consultant to automate report writing and decrease double-data entry for management by statistics.
  • Business Development programs included the development and implementation of, and participation in community outreach programs for osteoarthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis in conjunction with aquatic therapy services. Developed seminar outline and structure, performed community seminars, and trained personnel to continue the seminar series. Developed print media and tracked reservations and conversions from seminars.



Select Medical Corporation, Inc, Clearwater, FL

  • Managed daily operations of local subsidiary (Sports & Orthopedic Rehabilitation Services) and held growth responsibilities for 22 freestanding outpatient clinic sites in five states, as well as a resource role for the entire outpatient division, consisting of over 150 outpatient sites. Responsible for initial corporate policy and procedure initiation, as well as streamlining inefficiencies within individual sites. Responsible for field staff (therapists) as well as other departments within the corporate infrastructure. Established the first turnkey Key Performance Indicator Program, built into the billing system, to train clinician-managers regarding business vitals. Responsibilities also included purchasing, cost containment, staffing and new facility development. As of 8/99, the locally run division grossed $1.9 million, netting $1.0 million monthly
  • Developed and implemented community outreach programs for clinics to provide education on orthopedic-related topics.



RehabWorks, Inc./Florida Institute for P.T., Clearwater, FL

  • Oversaw daily operations and marketing for 16 Florida-based outpatient rehab clinics. Successfully competed and dominated a market with a strong HealthSouth presence. Grew and branded dozens of local niches, including women’s health services through rehab, aggressive aquatic therapy programming, seminar programs with high conversion rates, and enterprising marketing campaigns including the sponsorship of an orthopedic surgeon-driven professional race car. Traveled nationally implementing community outreach programs and seminar programs, including performing seminars and training staff.
  • RehabWorks was sold to HealthSouth in November of 1997.
  • Initially employed by Florida Institute for Physical Therapy (FIPT) in May of 1991 as an Exercise Physiologist/Program Coordinator. Carried out specific aspects of patient care plans for outpatient orthopedic-based patients. Performed regular marketing to local physicians. FIPT was purchased in 1993 by RehabWorks/Continental Medical Systems. My employment status remained and advanced as outlined above.


Please wear comfortable clothes that will allow you to move around well, as the afternoon sessions will require us to break out into some practical sessions.

Bring lunch or we will provide you with restaurants close by. Bring snacks, water, etc.


2029 Weaver Park Drive
Clearwater, F 33765


If you are having difficulty registering online, or need help, please email us at

Our goal is that the successful completion of this seminar will yield a high level of both confidence and satisfaction that the participants better understand the challenges of training “grand-masters” aged athletes and see the benefit of running this type of a program at their facility. While we strive to be perfect, we know we’re human and will treat any and all complaints seriously with the intent of resolving the issue and bettering our policies to prevent if from recurring.

With 30 days’ written notice to  a credit or transfer may be requested towards future seminar

No refunds are available post-course completion.

Provided to each participant at completion of course.