If a great workout is what you’re after, Tyler Lees-Schmut’s job is to sure you get the butt-kicking — and the results — you deserve.
As a strength and conditioning coach at the Dynamic Conditioning Centre in Toronto, Lees-Schmut, 24, teaches clients to find fitness and confidence in themselves by helping them conquer workouts designed for their unique bodies.
“It’s all about noticing imbalances in a person’s body and paying attention to them and being able to modify an exercise to suit each person,” he said.
Whether it’s helping hockey players beef up their quads or pushing office workers to strengthen their slouching backs, Lees-Schmut doesn’t mess around — he wants to push your body to its limits so you can learn to go beyond them.
He says some of his most rewarding work has been with clients who don’t think they can handle vigorous exercise or truly achieve meaningful results because with the right coaching, they can. Just because a buff hardbody in the corner of the gym can pull a truck tire across the floor or dead-lift a full keg over their head doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged.
“A lot of people come in and see someone doing something tough and they say, ‘Oh, I could never do that.’ Well you’d be surprised at what you can do,” Lees-Schmut said.
Lees-Schmut says his father was his biggest influence growing up, motivating him to play sports and enjoy physical activity.
“I owe my dad a lot for sure — he got me into sports as a kid. There’s just an innate passion for moving in me and seeing what the human body can do,” he said.
The biggest challenge for Lees-Schmut is not actually related to his expertise or work with clients but rather with public perceptions of what his job entails.
“Some people have a misconception that strength trainers are, to use a single word, ‘meatheads’ — the misconception is that it doesn’t take a lot of smarts to be a trainer. That’s not true at all. We have to know a lot, we have to have those smarts to do our job correctly,” Lees-Schmut said.
Lees-Schmut finished a four-year program at George Brown College in Toronto where his studies were split between physiology and practical experience. He credits the practical focus of his college education with giving him the preparation to succeed in his field.
“What’s great about the city colleges is that they’re known for giving you plenty of practical experience before your graduation that really gets you ready for employment,” he said.
Lees-Schmut loves a challenge and finds satisfaction in being acknowledged by the people he helps get fit.
“It’s a huge reward, to hear an athlete say your training was a big reason for their success.”