THE FACE BEHIND THE BUSINESS: Evan Shy

Evan Shy Workout

A competitive perfectionist – two words have never been more true to describe both my strengths and weaknesses. In all ways of life, these words are what make me so “Heather”. They are woven into my very existence and every fiber of my body. It’s these very two words that drove Evan Shy into my life.

It was Summer of 2012 and I was looking for something that would give me a challenge. Coming from a competitive cheerleading background, I hadn’t found anything to replace that fire since I graduated college. I tried yoga, spin, running – everything was so muted in comparison. That’s when I decided to hire a personal trainer to literally kick my ass. I had known Evan for years due to mutual friends – but it wasn’t until a specific pool day that I knew I needed to work with him. I mean… look at his picture above (you’re welcome).

Most people would be scared to workout with Evan upon first glance – especially women. He has definition of muscles that I didn’t know even existed. But for me – I saw an intense drive and passion – something I was so desperately seeking. Evan owns a personal training business (ShyTown Fitness) and at first he suggested I work with one of his other trainers. I was hooked up with my first trainer in fall 2012 but I still couldn’t put out of my mind that I wanted to work with Evan specifically. He told me he only took on select clients… yaddy yaddy yadda – the more pushback I got the more I wanted to train. Fast forward to January 2013 and Evan agreed to help me with my first bodybuilding show. He was very straight forward with me – I had 4 months to get into the best shape of my life and all of my energy would be needed to reach that goal.

We worked out together 3x a week – most of the times I left in tears and all the while I was so thankful to have Evan as a trainer and a friend. He helped build up my confidence and pushed me past limits I never knew existed. I can 100% say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had never spent those 4 months working with him. It’s thanks to Evan that I ever started competing and even more true of the impact he had on my life to transition to personal training.

So today, feel free to soak in his pictures – but get prepared to learn something as Evan always has something impactful to say.

Dumbbell Blonde: How did you first get into fitness? 
Evan: It’s impossible to separate “fitness” from my life as far back as my conscious mind allows.  An emphasis on physical growth and athletic capacity was always a priority in my household growing up.   Likely a consequence of having  uncles on both sides and my Father playing professional sports (NFL & MLB); aspiring to achieve competitive prowess was an intrinsic quality that dominated the motivational framework of my upbringing.  In hindsight it appears the appropriate question wasn’t “if” I would find my way into this field, but when.

DBB: Why did you decide to open your own independent personal training business? 
E: I recognized the potential of approaching fitness differently by taking a much more personalized, dynamic and flexible approach to coaching – fortunately the market responded.

DBB: How did you expand to start hiring other trainers? 
E: Within a year my increasing volume required I start brokering out business to other trainers in an effort to manage the influx of referrals I was receiving monthly.  Consistent with my proclivity for entrepreneurship, or perhaps just a deep distaste for being an employee in someone else’s dream, I decided to begin consolidating my network of trainers under the ShyTown brand.   This provided me the capability to manage the quality of service being provided to our growing community of clients, additionally and perhaps more important, I was empowered to create a professional environment that was conducive to personal growth, cognitive stimulation and collective collaboration.

{SIDE NOTE:} Evan’s business is run like a well oiled machine. I’ve seen first hand that all the trainers are extremely experienced and professional. Emails are answered right away, programming is customized to a T, and there’s so many resources for nutrition. 

DBB: It’s so refreshing to see young entrepreneurs trying to change the face of something that has been around forever. Where do you find your motivation?
E: I can tell you this, although things can get incredibly challenging on the climb to achieving professional and personal goals, particularly as an entrepreneur, the progressive merging of passion and profession make every precarious step worthwhile. In fact, the degree of difficulty faced along the way is directly correlated with the proposed value of the journey itself.  Faced with the undeniable reality that it is not about some perceived destination, but rather the perpetual pursuit of something better, offering fulfillment in ways previously unimaginable.

DBB: Let’s switch gears – I get asked this question ALL the time – so I figured I would toss it your way, too. What’s more important, nutrition or working out? 
E: That’s like asking which of your children is most important.  Both are equally, yet uniquely, valuable.  Placing emphasis exclusively on one will lead you down a path to suboptimal results, at a glacial pace, having a permanent leakage in the machinery proposed to get you there. It’s all about context, context and context.   Both are immensely valuable when leveraged in a synergistic effect to transformative health.   My primary goal as a coach is to educate and guide individuals on this journey, ultimately leaving them with the tools to progress independently empowered.

DBB: Speaking of nutrition – there is SO much information about what diet people should follow. What diet works best? 
E: All of them.  Perhaps more accurately, the one that works best for you.   To suggest highly specific protocols are completely ineffective and would be misleading, however, when evaluatingg health in its’ entirety, varying dieting approaches are relatively less impactful than the fundamentals. One could even argue they’re irrelevant (ex: Keto, IIFYM, carb loading) without the appropriate management of the basics first. The number one factor contributing to the success or failure of any “regiment” is adherence to the framework it defines. Consistency is king. Without it, no matter the scientific support of a method, it will result in fickle bouts of improvement followed by larger swings in the direction seeking to be avoided.

DBB: Ok, last take away?
E: Ask yourself if the plan you are on is consistent with the lifestyle you intend to lead long into the future. Not necessarily what is scientifically optimal, but rather what is optimally sustainable for you.

DBB: Thanks Evan!

Evan is currently a MS/PhD Student at University of Illinois (Champaign),  studying kinesiology & exercise physiology. He’s also an aspiring scientist (he starts working in the Exercise Physiology Lab at UIUC in August), NPC physique competitor and one of Optimum Nutrition’s newest sponsored athletes. 

You can learn more about him on his website, Facebook page, or stalk him on Instagram 🙂

Evan Shy Chicago