At age 15, most of us have no idea what kind of career or job we would have — or even want — as an adult.
But Lipan resident Traci Ross knew immediately.
After a tragic accident left one of her friends as a quadriplegic, Ross spent her time assisting him with his physical therapy — not knowing that one simple and kind gesture would end up changing her life forever.
“Since 15, physical therapy is all I’ve wanted to do, and this is the only thing I’ve ever done,” Ross said. “And I still love it just as much today, 24 years later, as when I graduated (college).”
Ross turned her passion into a longtime career by obtaining her master’s degree in physical therapy and then working at a clinic in Mineral Wells for 12 years.
But something was still missing.
“For eight years, I’ve had a burning desire and have always told my friends, ‘Someday I want to own a gym,’ and so, for eight years, I’ve kind of spoke that,” Ross explained. “But finally, this past year, I was like, ‘You know what? I tell my kids to go after their dreams, their goals, and what their vision is that God’s put in their heart, and that is my burning desire.’”
In January, Ross opened her own 3,000 square foot fitness center in Lipan. It doubles as her private physical therapy practice.
“I no longer work for anybody,” she said. “I work for myself here and have the benefits of the gym and physical therapy together.”
Her business, Ross Physical Therapy & Wellness, located at 215 W. Lipan Drive, offers 24-hour access to the gym for members, with Ross’s own private physical therapy practice located inside its own room in the facility.
All of Ross’s treatment plans in her physical therapy practice are individualized and based upon patients’ needs to reach their goals. When a patient first comes in, Ross performs a comprehensive evaluation and listens to the patient to develop the plan of care that will lead them toward success.
“I offer that assessment, and then we develop a plan of care that reaches their goals because I care about what my goals and the physician’s goals are, but the ultimate priority is the patient’s goal, and that’s what drives my plan of care,” Ross said.
She offers treatment in everything from sports injuries and joint replacements to neurological conditions.
“I treat any and every diagnosis, because with my history of work in outpatient, I’ve seen about anything and everything,” she explained.
What sets Ross apart from other physical therapy practices is her personal attention to each individual patient.
“Sports rehab is my love and my heart’s desire, so when they come here to the clinic, they get one-on-one with me the entire time,” she said. “Sometimes when you go into bigger clinics or facilities, you might get 15-20 minutes with a physical therapist and the assistant or a technician takes over to finish their care, but every treatment of mine is a one-on-one hour with me directly.”
For patients who need additional hands-on therapy, Ross also offers soft tissue and joint mobilizations, along with dry needling and cupping to help decrease tension and relieve muscle pain.
“The main focus is mobility and strengthening, get them moving, get them strong, and work in those functional patterns to help them with their daily life,” she said.
The fitness center offers treadmills, ellipticals, row machines, recumbent steppers and bikes, spin bikes, squat racks, bench press machines, Swiss balls, yoga mats, dumbbells ranging from five to 70 pounds, and bumpers and steel plates for heavy deadlifting and weightlifting.
Ross said her big goal is to encourage her members to lift at the gym, rather than always stick to cardio.
“I’m a firm believer that everybody should be lifting,” she said. “It improves our longevity of life, helps our bone health, our physique, and just overall mental wellness. So, my goal is for them to get in and get to lifting because cardio, you can do that (anywhere), so my big goal is for people to lift.”
For people who might be intimidated by the equipment and need some assistance, Ross has provided educational materials at every station.
“If they want to, they can actually sign up with me,” she said. “I’m not a personal trainer, but I can get them a fitness routine going. I do a one-on-one session with them to just at least get a baseline fitness program set up for them so they know where to start, and then we can advance that at a later time. The last thing I want is for people to get hurt, or to get intimidated and walk out, so that’s been very successful getting them started on a foundational program.”
Single gym memberships are $40 a month, a couple’s membership is $70, and a student membership is discounted at $25 a month.
Each gym membership comes with a FOB key, so members can access the gym at any time.
“As long as your membership is in good standing, you swipe it and it unlocks the door,” Ross explained. “For safety reasons, I keep the door locked at all times, and I’ve got cameras inside and outside for security.”
When Ross first opened her facility, she created a vision board to keep herself on track with her goals. Her first goal was to obtain 60 members in six weeks — a goal that was met in three days.
“I’ve been open seven weeks now, and I’m at 148 members. On my vision board for the end of 2023, my goal was 150 members, so I’m going to have to update my vision board,” she said, adding that she should have set her goal higher.
With the growing interest that Ross Physical Therapy & Wellness has already experienced, Ross is grateful that she designed her facility with an opportunity to build and grow in the future.
“We are a big facility, and I still have plenty of room to grow, so that’s something we’re willing to do as the gym membership keeps growing and physical therapy keeps growing,” she said. “I just want to help people — that’s my whole goal in life.”
Ross is thankful for her husband, Tim, and her children, Faith, 21, and Zach, 18, for being her biggest supporters.
“I tell (my kids) to always go after their goals and shoot for the stars, and that they can do anything that God put in their heart and go for it,” she said. “So, if I can’t set the example, then why do I expect them to be able to go for their goals? It was kind of that last little nudge that I needed (to open my facility and set an) example for my kids and show them that it’s never too late.”
“I’ve been a therapist for 24 years,” she added. “It’s the only thing I know, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be. It’s been such a blessing (these last few months). I’m just very grateful and thankful. I’m getting to live my best life right now.”