More about Liz Sampey & Vital Motion

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Elizabeth Sampey, DPT

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, Specialist in Sports Medicine
  • USAC Certified Cycling Performance Coach
  • PMBIA Certified Mountain Bike Skills Coach
  • Professional Endurance Athlete

Who am I?

I am a movement addict. Physical, intellectual, and creative movement have been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember. I get my best (and craziest) ideas while in motion. I am an avid recreational trail runner, backcountry skier, and yogi. I have been racing road and mountain bikes since 2007 and have competed at the elite level since 2010, winning three Colorado state titles and one US national championship. I compete in ultraendurance and stage races in multiple countries, where it is just as much about the adventure and cultural experience as it is about the event itself.

Most recently I have moved into multisport expedition, which is currently my most creative way to challenge myself and explore moving through mountains — and it gives me something to write about. You can read about my personal athletic projects here. 

I love to see as much of the world as I can take in, which means I move my physical location often in order to explore new environments by foot, bicycle, and skis. Someday I will settle down into one place. Maybe.

I am a movement expert. In 2008 I completed my doctoral education in Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado at Denver in order to educate, inspire, empower, and heal people through movement. Through ten years of training and practice I grew to develop a specialty in orthopedic sports medicine and manual therapy.

I have been fortunate enough to be involved with dynamic teams in a positive, progressive, and effective clinic setting. Still, I felt the limitations of the healthcare system were increasingly hindering rather than helping my clients and the way that I practice. When I think about my most enjoyable and fulfilling aspect of being a health and wellness professional, it always comes back to education. I love to heal, but even more, I love to teach — because teaching is empowering.

I do not want to see people at the whim of doctors and medicines, churning through the system. I want to help people understand their own bodies, and how they can become and stay healthy through conscious movement. I am passionate about teaching people a holistic and sustainable approach to fitness, wellness, and performance, and inspiring people to incorporate more movement of all types into their lives.

What is Vital Motion?

My mission is to empower people through movement. In 2013, alongside my physical therapy practice, I had started coaching both recreational and competitive athletes in strength, fitness, and sports performance. My client base was made up in large part of people who were dealing with an overuse injury or the nagging effects of an old traumatic injury. Many of them had been cut off from healthcare before they were ready and able to fully return to their active lifestyles or their sport. They felt frustrated and left behind.

I could relate. I had my own experience with a major injury which needed surgery and rehab, and had I not been so well-connected and educated in the healthcare community, I would not have received the care that I needed. Having had the perspective of both the patient and the provider, I knew I needed to do things differently. I can’t change the system, but I can provide people with an alternative.

Using a combination of my expertise in functional movement and rehabilitation and my experience as a competitive athlete, I started to coach clients virtually and in-person to help them reach THEIR goals. Most importantly, I was able to educate people in the techniques needed to keep themselves strong and injury-free.

I started seeking education and mentorship in coaching theory and techniques, and gained certifications in performance coaching and mountain bike skills coaching. I blended my worlds and integrated my knowledge of physical therapy into my coaching, and my coaching techniques into physical therapy. The two disciplines plus my experience as an athlete complimented each other well, and my practice began to evolve. I “retired” from full-time traditional physical therapy practice in 2015.  

Working with movement training techniques including injury prevention and rehabilitation in a coaching format has proven effective and fulfilling to my clients and myself. Wellness can be attained without handfuls of medications. It is possible for healing to be done without the healthcare system. Our bodies want to be strong and healthy — it is up to our minds to help them get there. Knowledge is power. 

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Movement is vital to our growth, our health, and our well-being. This website, my educational courses, my writing, speaking, and coaching services are all meant to educate, inspire, and celebrate the effects of movement on our bodies and our lives. Vital Motion is the product of ten years of my expertise and experience on both sides of the table: as a movement expert, and as an athlete.
Most importantly, Vital Motion is about you: a resource for your own movement journey. I welcome your feedback and requests on what you would like to learn from me and others in my community. I look forward to getting to know you and maybe even sharing a hike or a bike ride some day — and finding out what moves you.