Interview: Scott Schutte, Columbia Strength & Conditoning [Tips + Fundamentals]
Breaking a bad habit can be a seemingly insurmountable task, can’t it? Though it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its contrary counterpart, forming healthy habits can be just as difficult.
Today, we’re talking to Scott Schutte who started his own fitness business and focuses on coaching his clients to build life-changing habits to improve their health and happiness. This unique approach and emphasis has helped Scott and his business partner, Nate Kesterson, to run a thriving fitness business.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Scott Schutte, Entrepreneurial Strength Coach
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness experts. Today, we are blessed to have Scott Schutte, who is the co-owner of Columbia Strength And Conditioning in Columbia, Missouri. Also, the owner of RedEfit, whose purpose is to redefine fitness and training up in these experts themselves.
So, thank you again for agreeing to join with us, Scott.
Scott Schutte: Yeah, thanks for having me. Excited to be on here.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, so let’s just jump into it. Let’s not waste any time, huh? How did you become passionate about health and fitness?
Scott Schutte: So, I would say the beginning’s a very similar background to a lot of people that get into this industry. It’s just a background in sports. You play sports in high school and I even went out in the college, and then there’s that, kind of, “What am I going to do afterward?”
I enjoy the athletic. I enjoy the team and there’s a lot of time in the weight room, and then figuring out that path after that. So I really started working at a YMCA training people.
That’s what I really learned that I can take this passion I have for improving yourselves, changing the body and really seeing that you can make a big impact on people’s lives. So really that passion for the weight room and sports, and then moving into really being able to make a big impact on people’s lives.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. You mentioned playing sports growing up. What were some of your favorites or which ones did you excel at?
Scott Schutte: So I went to a very small high school. I graduated with 36 kids. We had two sports in our high school. We had baseball and basketball and I played them both.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What positions did you play?
Scott Schutte: So, really, in basketball, I was more of a forward. Then, when I got to college, I found out I was too small to be a forward. When I was in baseball, pitching was my main deal. But when you’re in a small school, you’re playing anything and everything. But pitching is what kind of took most of my time.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, so now you’re in Columbia. Have you been to a Missouri Tigers tailgate at all?
Scott Schutte: I do. That’s the advantage of being a trainer and having clients, is you get some good hookups on some seats and some parking. It’s a big college town, so it definitely is fun to go to.
Schimri Yoyo: What’s been your favorite experience or one that you could share with us from your time at one of the Mizzou football games?
Scott Schutte: So, my drinking days I would say are behind me, and then there’s a lot of that going on in the tailgates. But it’s really just fun and going and seeing and feeling the energy. I’m not big into watching sports, really, anymore, but I love the experience of going to stadiums and really seeing that go on.
One of my best experiences was actually a basketball game, where it was like Mizzou versus KU, big rival. I mean just the energy off of a packed stadium and a good game, it’s exciting to be at.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, it’s awesome. You have that community all pulling for each other and pulling in one direction. Yeah, that’s a great buzz.
So, who are some of your mentors as you entered the fitness industry?
Scott Schutte: So, I’ve developed a really good network of mentors and some that I’ve tried to spend some time with each year. I’ll kind of run through the list. There’s Dusten Nelson, he’s out of Chicago, he’s a Chinese med doc. I mean, he’s really doing this East meets West kind of deal, taking that philosophy and really kind of applying it.
Ben House, who actually has a retreat place down in Costa Rica. I would consider him a very practical researcher and he’s got a great thing going on there. There’s Dr. Eric Serrano in Columbus, Ohio who is amazing at using the research and also, just his experience in working with people. I mean he’ll let me shadow on him seeing clients.
J. L. Holdsworth who’s out in Columbus, Ohio as well. He does some of the RPR stuff if you’re familiar with that. And like just me lifting with him. I learn a lot because he was one of the strongest guys in the world for a little bit. So just technique there.
On the business side, there’s this guy named Travis Jones over in Australia who’s one of the best, I would say, in the business of fitness. And even when I—one guy that I don’t know out of this list of my next guys is John Berardi. Just Precision Nutrition—on the direction I’m looking to go with RedEfit—and seeing what he did in the training space with nutrition is amazing.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, those are some great names and definitely ones that I recommend our audience follow up on—all those people.
Now, what do you do for fun when you’re not training and when you’re not running your businesses?
Scott Schutte: Yeah, this is something I push my clients a lot into because one of my first questions is like, what do you do for fun? I think it’s super important that people are doing that. Now granted, I love learning. I love the business side, so I consider that fun.
But I think there’s also good to do things outside of that so you can have that balance. Really, I go to jujitsu classes a couple of times a week. I like to go shooting guns. I go to yoga. I’ll do Acroyoga if you’re familiar with that. I’m big into like a handstand and gymnastic practice now.
You know, what I consider like really good, fun activities are, when you’re doing them, you’re not thinking about other things. And so, almost all those activities I listed off, when I’m doing, I am fully present and so that just gives me the break from the work or any kind of life stressors or anything like that. So I really push a lot of people to find stuff like that.
Schimri Yoyo: It seems like all the activities you mentioned seems to have an emphasis on mindfulness and like you said, being aware.
Scott Schutte: One hundred percent.
Schimri Yoyo: And let’s talk a little bit about your philosophy of your practice and your methodology as you train. What one word would best describe your philosophy of strength training?
Scott Schutte: If I had to pick one word, it would be consistency because I work with a lot of different types of people. I have an 80-year-old woman to a 25-year-old male in this. The strength training and the exercises that we choose and the intensity are going to be greatly different. But the biggest thing everyone needs is just consistent strength training.
Schimri Yoyo: So, Lean. Happy. Healthy. That’s sort of a mantra. I see it on all the t-shirts there for CSC. What does that mantra mean to you and how does that play out in your facility day-to-day?
Health & Fitness as a Bridge to Happiness
Scott Schutte: I like to go Lean. Healthy. Happy. In that order. In the sense of—I look at it in two ways. One is it was almost my kind of path and becoming a trainer. When I was a young trainer, I thought my only goal was to get people lean. And then as I get a little bit more age and experience, I was like, “Okay, lean and healthy,” because we don’t want to forget about people being healthy in that pursuit of leanness.
And now where I’m at today is happiness is key in there too. Because a lot of people come and they’re like, “I want to lose weight,” which is fine and we can set that as a goal, but ultimately people want to be happier. They want to feel better in their skin, they want to be able to do more things.
And so when I talk to my staff and we talk to people coming in here, our number one is: “Just increase the happiness.” And you could see a lot of people that do fitness activities. They’re actually doing things that decrease their happiness. They’re being so restrictive on the food that they can’t have any real social interactions with friends or family. They’re training so hard, but they don’t have times for these fun activities that we talked about earlier.
I love training. I love changing the nutrition so you can be healthier, but I like to look at all these different aspects, too, so that we can still have a happy life.
Schimri Yoyo: No, that makes sense. Because like you said, there’s only so much weight you can lose. You know there are diminishing returns, but you can always pursue that happiness and making yourself feel good. So the physical results to a certain point can’t just be the only means or else it’s not sustainable like you said.
Because you can only get so strong; you can only lose so much weight. But that pursuit of being healthy and happy, I think captures that, so that makes total sense.
What would you say is the relationship that you see between your strength and conditioning training, injury prevention and then also helping people rehab from injury?
Scott Schutte: Yeah, so it’s interesting with our name. We’re coming up on 10 years. I think it’s a horrible name just because like we mainly work with females. The majority of the females are looking for weight loss, or health, or even, you know, we’ve talked about happiness. Strength and conditioning, I think, people think more of like high school athletes.
That being said, with everything I do, when I talk about this physical aspect of training, I like to balance out strength, stamina, and flexibility. And a lot of what you talk about with this fluff of this kind of prevention of injuries, stuff like that. I think a lot of people need more flexibility work in their life.
That’s a very broad statement because I get some yogis that come in here—which I love yoga—and they need some strength training because they’re doing tons of flexibility stuff. But a lot of people that I see that come in here, already like the gym, are already doing some weight stuff, and they need some more flexibility.
This is something I actually got from Ian King. He’s out of Australia. I just loved how he put it. An adult should have a one to one ratio of strength training to flexibility. And I was big into flexibility before that. I just didn’t have a good way to phrase that because me telling you to stretch more, I mean that could be another 10 seconds. At the end of your workout. Does that really do much good?
Versus if I tell people, “Hey, if you strength-train for two hours a week, you need to stretch or do something equivalent to that for another two hours because we’re not trying to get you the biggest and strongest and best athlete anymore. We’re trying to make you a very well rounded, highly functioning individual.”
Schimri Yoyo: So that sort of leads to my next question, too. In regards to strength, speed, mobility or flexibility as you mentioned, how are they all related as far as the order in which you emphasize it with your clients and training?
Scott Schutte: So actually, with the RedEfit model, we actually have a self-assessment of where you’re at, where you want to be at 12 weeks. And under the physical one, they will get one priority. And a lot of practice is based on where they are and what their goals are. So, I think those three are very important. But it’s like most of this in this industry, it needs to be individual.
Schimri Yoyo: Makes sense. And talk about your involvement or your past involvement with Pure Fit Meals. What are they exactly and how do they impact the culture of your gym?
Scott Schutte: So Pure Fit Meals was a meal delivery company that I owned for about five years. And it was really a great setup when it was going. I found a kitchen here in town did catering and they had a restaurant and they prepared all my food. I had a great chef that I work with. I’m like, “Okay, here are the calories and ingredients and macros I’m going to work with,” and she created an amazing menu.
And then, I already had a list of clients that this is something they needed. And then we had a going for that almost five years. And then the business that was cooking all the food, they decided to change up their business structure and they were opening up a bar. They’re changing the catering, they’re doing some analysis. So like we just don’t have the capacity right now to do that.
And at that point, there were several other meal prep companies coming up. And that’s really the only reason I started it. It wasn’t—I didn’t really have a passion for food. I just had a need for clients to get meals instead. So, something else that I could find. And then I was also starting another company, the ready Fit, the gym was running. More business activities isn’t something I really needed. It was just a good time to kind of close it down.
But nutrition is hugely important as almost everyone would agree with. But it’s that, if you can find someone to do some of the craft for you, if you find a business to buy from, if the financial means are there, it really helps people out.
Healthy Habits = Healthy Lifestyle & Healthy Business
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And now would you say that from now you’re more teaching habits when it comes to nutrition rather than the actual meal plan?
Scott Schutte: Yes. A part of this, the RedEfit model and the self-assessment we take, nutrition is definitely key in that. But sometimes we need to dig a little bit deeper. If people are super stressed, we might need to do some stress management stuff first, or do some relationship stuff for money, and do some mindset stuff. That, to me, is the more the foundation.
And then when it comes to nutrition, I think Precision Nutrition did an amazing job with this. We do more habit-based stuff. I’m never like, “You can’t eat this.” It’s more of like, “Hey, can we find a replacement? And if it’s something that you really enjoy, we’ll just have it every once in a while.”
I talk to clients in the sense that food and drink can enhance an experience. When I’m traveling to a different city, I love to enjoy the local food. When there’s an event going on, I love to have a few drinks with friends. I’m all for that and I’m pushing my clients to do that too. But today lunch is not an experience. Like the rest of the time, you need to have more dialogue that’s more just habit.
Schimri Yoyo: That makes sense. Like you said, attacking the roots that caused some of the nutrition issues rather than just some of the symptoms.
Now, how do you find the right mix of pushing your clients to their physical peak or their physical and mental peaks while they’re training with you without burning them out?
Scott Schutte: Yeah, I would say with my clientele, there’s very few I push to their physical peaks because I’m really more working for this well-rounded individual. And so, I’m doing a little bit of flexibility work during their stuff. I do, of course, push them, but you know, I don’t need the world-class athletes. And that’s not my clientele.
So I think as a young trainer I wanted to crush everybody in a sense of, like, I wanted to make sure that they have a great workout. And I still want them to have a great new workout but it’s more about the value of the workout. Some people that are super tight, even though they don’t want to, they might need more stretching than they do a hard workout.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, speaking of the businesses that you run, how do you budget your time between being that trainer and coach and then also being an entrepreneur?
Scott Schutte: Luckily, we’ve gotten to a size that I could get off the floor. My main time on the floor, it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday morning. So that gives me a lot of other time that I can work on the business. Really, that’s the key. If you want to be in this and you want to run a business, you can’t be on the floor for 40 hours.
And it’s really, it’s a weekly task in a sense of, like, it’s not easy. I mean, budgeting the time, it’s easy to have that sneak away. It’s easy to, kind of, just do busywork. For me, it’s more of prioritizing what are my big rocks? What do I need to take care of?
And I have a good team, too. That’s the other thing that’s super important. I had a business partner on the gym side. I have two partners on the RedEfit side and then I have a staff that really helps me with support in a sense of we have two assistant managers. We have trainers. It really… The team is where it’s at.
Schimri Yoyo: Seems that you’ve learned the skill of delegation.
Scott Schutte: Yeah. 100 percent.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, brag about yourself and your team a little bit at Columbia Strength And Conditioning. What makes you guys unique?
Scott Schutte: So I talked to my team a lot about this. I want to match the expertise and the experience. So a lot of trainers are, early on—and I was this way too—it’s like all about learning exercise, teaching program design, all these X’s and O’s of training. Which, first of all, is a foundation and needs to be there.
But it’s also kind of mashing it up with the client—their first day in—to each workup, to the follow-up, and really kind of taking that holistic approach with people. That’s why I love when the clients are doing this lifestyle because I’m not only looking at the hour that they’re in the gym, I’m also assessing the rest of the day. The other 23 hours that they’re not in the gym.
Schimri Yoyo: There are a couple more questions here before we end because I know that your time is precious and I appreciate that you’re taking your time out of your day to participate with us.
What do you know now that you wish you would’ve known about business when you first started own business?
Scott Schutte: This one’s a tough one for me because all of me is—the longterm goal for me is to get into the the the business consulting route and I like whenever anything goes wrong I’m like this is going to be a good experience. It’s going to make me a better coach when I make that endeavor. That being said, I think there’s more to be said, and this is the same with people on their fitness journey, I don’t think you ever get there.
I think with a business you’re like, “Oh, once I’ve had this many clients or I had this many employees or I hit this revenue, I’m there.” There’s always more. Same thing with people. Like, “Once I hit this PR (personal record),” or “Once I get through this body fat, or lose weight,” they’ll always want more, which is good.
It’s just more about enjoying the process, being happy with where you’re at even though you’re trying to work forward, and just understand, like, always going to want to continue to get more, which is fine.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, you guys offer lifestyle coaching services. What are some of the key features of that particular service?
Scott Schutte: So, what I like about that is we’ll set it up so we meet weekly. It’s only for 15 minutes. After we have your initial [consult]: Where you’re at, what your goals are, we just break it down. Each week, what is the one thing that you’re going to really focus on? And we have that assessment and it’s like, “Okay, this week nutrition is the goal. Looking at your past food, you’re really low on protein.”
So you’re going to add collagen to your coffee and breakfast, you’re going to have some protein, your post-workout shake, you’re going to add a little bit more meat for lunch. You’re going to focus that on for a week. You do that this week. Well, next week when we meet, we’ll focus on the next thing.
Like, “Oh, your water’s a little low. That’s going to be yours.” And so we build on it each week. Doing replacements, like we said before. It’s a lot of habit-based stuff, and also just building it on top of each other and just taking it step-by-step.
The other thing, too, is—and what we talked about earlier is like: “Okay, maybe it is more than stress management. Maybe my goal from you this week is to find one thing to have fun.”
Which is a completely different approach and most of these people are like, “Oh, I’m going to go to fitness, that means that I need to do more cardio and, you know, Keto. I need to fast.”
All people want to jump to the extremes and any of those things in the right context—they’re all tools—they could be appropriate. But [for most people], at first, [we take the approach]: “Let’s build a good foundation. Let’s take care of the big rocks, and then we can see where that takes us.”
Schimri Yoyo: In what ways are you using social media or technology to promote or leverage your services?
Scott Schutte: So, I have two part-time marketing women that help out. That’s the advantage of being in a college town. I have a lot of students going through different journalism programs that I can use on a consistent basis. But I’ve done that. I have done some Facebook ads in the past. But as of now, we’re mainly just focused on consistently putting content out. Like more showing the clients. I think that’s what people really want to see.
They don’t want to see pictures of me. They want to see the clients. They want to see themselves, who we’re working with. More information in that regards. Even how my personal social media, it’s more about just street education. Can I provide value? I think if you’re consistently providing value and people think that their values line up with yours, when they’re ready to make that leap into fitness, health, wellness, they will choose you 100 percent.
Schimri Yoyo: And lastly, Scott, what resources would you recommend to our audience? They could be books, podcasts, magazines and they don’t necessarily have to be straight fitness topics either.
Scott Schutte: Yeah. With this kind of recommendation, I usually keep it more broad and fundamental. Because there’s a ton of books I can recommend if we’re just talking marketing if we’re talking time management or something like that. But my number one is the Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends & Influence People. That’s something that I think everybody can read and have a positive impact.
Now, my others are more philosophical like Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. And then I really like a lot of Ryan Holiday’s work because it’s kind of modern-day to its philosophy and he does a lot of American history stuff in there too. His Daily Stoic is something I do almost on a daily, and I’ve done for the last few years. His two books, Ego Is The Enemy and Obstacle Is The Way, both just phenomenal books.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Those are some great recommendations. So again, thank you for your time. We wish you and RedEfit and Columbia Strength And Conditioning all the best success and I definitely want to follow up with you in the future.
Scott Schutte: Awesome. I appreciate your time.
Schimri Yoyo: Thank you, Scott.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.