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Meet Coach Pablo Schmidt-Escobar

We asked. He answered. Get to know Coach Pablo in his own words.

Tonal Coach Pablo Schmidt-Escobar

Where did you grow up and how did you get into fitness?

I grew up in Modesto, CA. As a child I was pretty active, and my parents, in an attempt to harness my energy and help form me into a productive member of society, signed me up for various sports. So growing up, I knew the benefits of fitness and sport, though I did not always fit in with my teammates. As I got older, I found myself battling intense depression, anxiety, and other issues, and in an attempt to help myself, I threw myself into health and wellness. Fitness was an integral part of my journey. Once I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, my therapist and I found that exercise and sports helped me in regulating my emotions and improve my relationship to myself.

I found fitness to be more than just something to help out my physical body, it helped me become a person that could emotionally function in society. In graduate school, I studied psychology with the intention of being a therapist. I worked as a clinician for a few years and used my experience with exercise and fitness to help my clients. However, I eventually made the transition to coaching, seeing a need for exercise and sport in holistic health, advocating for fitness as a means to help build better mental health.

What is your coaching style?

I like to think I’m a fun trainer. I believe in enjoying what we do. I want to impress upon anyone I work with that exercise can be fun. It is as much about the experience as it is about the outcome. If it’s enjoyable, then people are more likely to be motivated. For me, I like to be humorous when I coach, because at the end of the day, I’m still making people work hard. I expect people to give 100% and I don’t let up. I don’t like excuses, I don’t like whining, and I don’t like people giving up. So, I don’t yell and punish. I just make someone laugh and we have fun, then they realize “What the crap?! I did all this?!”

What do you do to stay motivated?

Staying motivated is hard. It’s challenging to keep that energy up at all times. Like anyone else, it comes in waves. I have my moments where I feel defeated. I have my moments where I want to stay home and binge on Wendy Williams and eat bags and bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos. I guess what keeps me motivated are the moments where I allow myself to trip up. I allow myself to falter on my schedule, because I’m only human. I use it as rest and then tell myself “you had one day, now get back to [boxing] [lifting]” It always works for me and it always keeps me going strong.

What is your favorite music to sweat to?

It depends on the day. Sometimes I want to sweat to hardcore rap, I just love raw energy in rap. Other days I love my teenage pop divas or 90’s house music. Gothic and punk rock is always fun for me. And I always fall back on my favorite comedy podcasts. I just like to have fun and laugh. And tune people out so people don’t talk to me when I work out.

Tell us a client success story that inspires you.

I had a client who came to me after overcoming cancer. A wonderful man with a lot of spunk and an abundance of sweetness who felt lost with what he needed to do to work out. He was worried about the toll the chemo had on his body and wanted to be the fittest and strongest he could be and look the best he ever had in his life. We began working together and he learned how to properly strength train and how to work in a manner that helped him move. We started boxing with his weight training and he told me he felt he could walk down the street and stand up for himself, really beat someone up and still “look good doing it”. Now, he’s a kitten of a man who wouldn’t even hurt a fly, but after everything he’s been through, and at his age, for him to feel confident enough to stand up for himself really made me appreciate the journey he and I went on. It keeps me wanting to learn more, to do better, and keep helping people.

What is your favorite quote?

“There’s a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough.” — Alain de Botton

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