Nick Edwards, president of bēkn, is a nationally renowned Exercise Physiologist. For over 13 years he has worked with athletes, general wellness, and patient populations directing exercise physiology laboratories and strength programs. He has worked with 6 professional sports teams/organizations from NHL to NFL, 8 different Men’s and Women’s Division I NCAA Teams, 5 Division I national tournament level teams, 4 conference champion teams, 5 podium Olympians, and 5 World Champions.
Q&A with Nick Edwards: How bēkn is a catalyst for change in the wellness industry.
How do you define “wellness”?
When people talk about wellness, they all define it very differently. The “wellness industry” is a segmented world in which there are separate aspects that each address our wellness individually. We go to one expert to do one thing, then make an appointment with another expert to solve another problem. Nothing is connected throughout the healthcare system, but all aspects of our health must be connected for everything to work together properly.
Someone might think of wellness as an annual check-up with their doctor, and another might think of wellness as going to a dispensary for CBD oil. At bēkn we really dive in to figure out what wellness really means to each individual member.
I wanted the structure of bēkn to be a way to empower people to define wellness in their own terms. For example, when someone comes to me and says, “I really want to lose weight.”
I say, “Okay, why?”
When they respond, “Well, I’d feel better if I was 10 pounds lighter.”
I ask again, “Why?”
Then they respond, “If I was 10 pounds lighter then I could keep up with my kid.”
Now, we are truly getting somewhere. I ask again, “Why?”
Then they say, “If I can keep up with my kid, I will feel good and feel like I can be a better father to them.”
Now that is a real motivation. We explore the answers to these kinds of questions – really getting behind the WHY – to give people the tools and guidance they need to make empowered choices throughout their lives. This information is what we use to develop an all-encompassing preventative care plan for our members.
Why is preventative care so important?
It’s like putting oil in your car to keep it running smoothly. Doing physical therapy only after you’re injured is like never putting oil in your car then replacing the entire engine when something goes wrong. It’s a huge cost that is so often avoidable. We never think twice about keeping up maintenance for our belongings, but it is the first “disposable” cost for ourselves. We will always pay if we are reactive!
Instead, we provide physical therapy as a part of our full wellness plan. It’s all included in that one membership fee of $49 a month. No copays, no insurance needed. You’re paying one set cost a month to get the guidance and direction needed to strengthen your body so that injuries are less likely to happen.
What inspired you to create bēkn?
I was lucky enough to gain physiology experience working with NFL teams and professional sports players. If these players were injured or not playing, that team was out a lot of money. It was my job to keep them healthy, uninjured, and on the field doing what they do best.
I then began thinking:
Why are these tools only accessible to elite athletes?
How can I help improve people’s lives, and help them get better outcomes from their health endeavors?
I realized that everyone should be treated like athletes, and have better training around the mechanics of their body from the very beginning. EVERYONE should have the same framework and tools that athletes do to help prevent injury and have better movement, strength, and overall wellness. These principles should apply to all.
When I made the move from sports to faculty in a department of family medicine, I thought that being anchored in that role would help me make the positive change I wanted to. I thought it would help me make a better impact on patient outcomes, but I soon realized the big healthcare machine was moving in one direction, and my ideas were not.
What does bēkn do so differently when compared to other healthcare facilities?
We have a more progressive way of thinking about health. Unfortunately the healthcare system in this country is not in the best interest for patients and their ongoing recovery.
We are a proud disruptor in the health and wellness industry, because we offer:
- An all-inclusive service
(no added costs for PT, testing, or nutrition coaching)
- Everything tailored to each member
(and dialed in to their unique needs)
- Metabolic testing to find the exact window where you’re burning body fat
(and to ensure you aren’t working out too hard and burning muscle mass)
- Strengthening and exercise movement guidance
(to look at pain and joint mobility, and provide physical therapy when needed)
- Trauma-informed care
(from a team trained in communication to make you feel comfortable and cared for)
- Preventative care at a low monthly cost
(no added fees or copays)
- State-of-the-art testing technology
(usually reserved for pro athletes)
- In-house guidance and care
(not being shifted from one expert to the next, or having to tell your health history over and over)
- A community atmosphere
(where you feel supported and empowered)
- Nutrition coaching
(to debunk diet fads, strip away dogmas, and find the fit that’s right for you)
Everyone should have a professional resource in helping them reach their health goals. Our approach is without judgement – meeting people where they’re at, even if they aren’t necessarily open to change right now.
Our program is about providing people with a well-rounded scope of health that matches both the physical side of their wellness needs along with the motivational and mental side.
Where does the name bēkn come from?
At bēkn, being your guiding light is built into our name – and all of the ways we run our business. We do not believe that good health comes out of returning to your doctor over and over again when symptoms have become debilitating. We believe in true preventative health, not reactive treatment.
Anything else to add?
I really like to remind people that their life is their own unique story – it is your path to follow.
You are the hero of your own future, and throughout your journey we are here to be a beacon: a guiding light. We are not simply providing a service. We are empowering you to make your own changes to take with you throughout the rest of your life.