A LIFE IN THE DAY: Zackary Scott

As well as teaching four Les Mills programs, Zackary Scott also manages to find time for his “other” job: helping to develop vaccines. He shares a typical 24 hours…

I wake up around 7 am to get my twins ready for school. I make them breakfast, make sure they're packed for the day, and get myself a coffee. When it's time, I walk my kids out to the school bus before returning inside to switch into "professional" mode.

I’m currently working from home due to the pandemic, so I'll log onto my laptop around 830am. My day usually starts with at least one meeting, but sometimes I'm "lucky" enough to have various meetings that carry me right through to lunch. If I'm teaching that night, I'll have my playlist music on low (I only teach each of my formats once per week, so sometimes even I forget what's on my playlist!).

I LOVE what I do! Vaccines are such an important part of the scientific world and knowing that my work helps protect others across the world is so amazing. I went to school for Immunology, so I find vaccinology incredibly fascinating! Knowing what we do about the immune system and how we can stimulate an immune response for life (usually) is just an incredible feat! And thanks to the pandemic, I've gotten to be on projects directly working towards a COVID vaccine… It usually takes 2-3 years to develop a vaccine, and a huge amount of validation, qualification, and analysis is required. It's my job to coordinate all of these tasks to ensure we're staying on track with the timelines. I'm currently working on a vaccine that's still in the early phases of development. My biggest challenge is ensuring the product can be made at our CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organizations) for upcoming clinical trial enrolment. It's fast-paced and very intense.

My fitness journey started after college. I used to be morbidly obese. From a toddler all the way up until the age of 23, I was always dangerously overweight. At my heaviest, I weighed 312 pounds. In my last year of college I was put on phentermine, which honestly saved my life: in my first 6 months I dropped 60 pounds. When I moved home from college, I was absolutely terrified of regaining the weight so I joined the gym and started taking BODYCOMBAT™ and BODYPUMP™. However, it wasn't until BODYJAM™ was added to the schedule that I fell in love with group exercise and had that "I MUST teach this" moment! I’ve now been an Instructor for 9 years and I'm so thankful to say that I've kept the weight off and continued to make improvements to my overall health.

Around 5pm I'll log off for the day and start making dinner before my wife gets home around 6-6:30. If I'm teaching it'll be something quick, but if I'm not teaching I'll make something more elaborate. Teaching is my "fun" job – it's something I get to look forward to when I have a bad, stressful, or busy day at work. If it's a slow day, I'll actually have the Masterclass playing while I watch and work on other things in the background – there's something oddly satisfying about watching Gandalf smash a back-half of BODYJAM while writing a memo related to the stability of a chemical used in manufacturing…

Once the kids are asleep, I will do some last-minute cleaning, make sure everyone has meals/snacks packed for the next day, then head upstairs to my game room. I'm a huge Nintendo fan, so if I don't feel like watching TV I'll play my Switch for an hour or so before bed. I'm also currently working on my Masters in Immunology – so if I have study to do I’ll head right back into the office.

Most of the long-time members of my gym know what I do for a living, as they typically follow me on social media. However, due to a lot of controversy in the industry and an uptick in the anti-vaccine movement throughout the US, I don't really speak about it unless it's specifically brought up. Amazingly, this has led to a lot of great conversations with some members on how vaccines work and why they're important, especially in today's world. Unfortunately, a few members have refused to take my classes because they're more vaccine averse. I just take that in my stride.


Best teaching advice I was given

Not to focus on the external, aesthetic benefits of the class, but rather on how the training will make people feel. As someone with a lot of body positivity issues stemming from being obese, I've really tried to take this to heart. For example, instead of mentioning to people how we should work out heavy now so we can "earn that extra hot dog" at a picnic or "make it okay to drink that second beer", I completely avoid these types of cues and instead speak to how our bodies will be stronger, more resilient, etc…

Teaching has taught me this about myself

I'm an extremely introverted individual, to the point of being painfully shy. However, my desire to teach and inspire others has brought me into the spotlight (figuratively and literally) and showed me that it's okay to open myself up and be vulnerable in front of others. This definitely carries over into my professional life. I'm much more confident and comfortable with leading meetings and actively participating in projects than I used to be.

Advice I’d give to other Instructors

Check your personal baggage at the door! It's essential for us to be fully committed to the class and 100 per cent present. The members are there to work out, they look to us for motivation to get through the class and feel accomplished. If we're moaning about something while leading a class, that's not going to inspire people. No matter what’s going on "outside", once we enter the studio it’s got to be about the class and nothing else.

Zackary Scott is a BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYJAM and BODYATTACK Instructor based in the US.

Would you like to share your "life in the day" with fellow Instructors? Drop a note to sarah.shortt@lesmills.com!