Between curating a playlist that will keep 30+ people with different musical tastes energized, to building workouts that are challenging to athletes and accessible to newbies, to finding time for their own sweat sesh, your favorite trainers hustle hard. In our new series, we catch up with some of your favourite fit pros to find out how they get it done.
Next up: He’s the instructor who fist pumps or high fives people as they enter the group fitness room. He takes the time to get to know the people in his classes so he calls you by name, or asks where you were last week for class. His voice is loud enough to not need a mic but he’s also quietly there beside you during class to give you a modification or a new challenge to improve your fitness game. John Tebbutt is one of the hardest working trainers in the city and we caught up with him to find out how this family guy manages his entrepreneurial business and why he works seven days a week.
Please introduce yourself to the Well TO Do readers.
I’m John Tebbutt, a 35 year old fitness instructor from Toronto. I instruct full time with major gyms and local studios, through corporate wellness and my own roster of personal training clients. I’ve taught everyone from Olympic athletes and NHL MVPs, to stay at home moms and armchair quarterbacks.
My first job was in my local gym at 13 or 14 years old, spraying down showers and putting away weights. After enrolling in school for kinesiology, I tore the majority of ligaments in my right knee and basically gave up the gym life. Years went by, mental and physical issues began to take their toll, and I started getting into a lot of trouble. A yoga class [I took] on a dare changed my life. I got back into fitness, fixed my knee through yoga, and have tried to expand my knowledge to hopefully help anyone living the way I was.
You are a group fitness instructor at Equinox as well as a yoga instructor, pilates instructor, personal trainer and strength and row coach. Where else do you teach and how did you come to teach such a wide range of physical disciplines?
I’m lucky enough to be a part of some wellness companies that I really believe in. Being with Equinox, they set us up and support us so well that our environment really does create the best opportunity for advancement in any gym in the city. I’m happy to use what I know to give the best to those who are willing to pay the price, but also I’m really proud that I have the chance to make an impact on corporate wellness programs.
I enjoy coming to the offices of some of the hardest working people I’ve seen, and helping them with that stress release or whatever issues come from working that 9-5. I’m happy to use my practices to help by working in schools with the teachers, in hospitals to staff, or in empty boardrooms on King Street to bankers.
Different styles of fitness help different people and whether its yoga, Pilates, or body conditioning, within each of those styles are even more specific things that people are looking for. I’m just trying to make sure I can be prepared enough to answer any question as best I can to help.
What can someone expect when they come to one of your classes? What makes your training style unique?
I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money; this stuff isn’t cheap and time is valuable, so hopefully people know that with me they’ll get the most out of our time together. I’m aware of limitations but I can also see an excuse pretty quickly; I’ve been there and heard that all ready. I just expect a lot of clients because of the holes I’ve personally dug myself out of, maybe too much too quickly, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t care. I want to help people advance in the safest ways with intelligence, and teach them why they are doing something. What’s the point or how will the affect me outside of the gym?
Your Instagram account says “7 Days a week.” What does this mean to you?
My dad taught me the old “if you love to do something, you’ll never work a day in your life” work ethic. For the last 10-plus years, I’ve been lucky enough to have my name on a gym/studio schedule every day of the week. I work Christmas, open the gyms on New Year’s, take every long weekend substitute chance I can. I taught the morning I was married, in the hospital while my wife was in labour, 12 hours after my daughter was born, and in honour of my dad, the day he passed and hours after his funeral. I love being a part of anyone’s practice and I’ll take any opportunity I can get!
What’s your go-to fitness activity outside of the gym?
My life outside of the gym is basically limited to daddy daycare now. My time of team sports, biking and rock climbing are replaced with diapers and wheels on the bus! If I’m not in the gym practicing classes, I’m doing jump squats in the living room to be prepared, though. “7 days a week!”
As an entrepreneur and trainer how do you find the time for your own workouts?
My own fitness is very important, but for the last ten years I’ve approached my personal workouts as prep for work. I practice every weekly workout I expect my classes and clients to do. Obviously that leaves less time for the life outside of the gym and in my younger days it did cause some problems with relationships, but now, being busy is such a blessing and my wife doesn’t mind.
If you’re going “7 days a week” how do you find time for yourself and balance with your busy schedule? What does self-care mean to you?
Working isn’t stressful and being in front of a class is my own personal therapy, I’m lucky enough that I work on an appointment-based schedule so I can usually come and go as I please. Lots of time with my family while still teaching a few classes a day makes life really easy. Of course I need time to rest my bones and distract myself, so if I’m not prepping for class you can usually catch me with a crossword or watching (obsessing over) sports.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
What’s next? Oh man, I spent so much of my life with my head in the clouds or being paranoid my past would haunt me, that I’ve just thought about a day at a time. I’ve got dreams and goals but really, I love my life, I love the chances I have and I’ll keep taking those baby steps until I’m ready to be in charge, whatever that means. But really, I’ll show up everyday until they ask me not to.
Follow John on Instagram to find out where he’s teaching in the city and follow along on his fitness journey.