From the beaches of Miami to the streets of NYC and LA, this celebrity trainer and popular group fitness instructor brings his fun energy and prolific range of expertise to every class he teaches. From the early days at 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox, to his current line up at Chelsea Piers Sports Center, Mercedes Club, Mile High Run Club, and New York Health & Racquet Club, Zack’s enthusiasm follows him, and so do his fans.
The Texas born triathlete, well known for his Central Park Boot Camp classes and his SoHo House and Thompson Hotel pop ups, Zack Schares shares with FIT+LOVE how he has transformed his talent and passion for everyday fitness into a bigger mission with his ongoing work with Parkinson’s and his next big adventure – ZAXFIT CAMP.
When I moved to New York I began with teaching indoor cycling classes at 24 Hour Fitness. At the time, Kristi Molinaro had just started teaching 30-60-90, a high intensity interval class, at Equinox. That kind of got me started in the “boot camp group” of the fitness world. This was before the boutique fitness movement began and a lot of people didn’t have access to the gyms where I was teaching, so I thought, “Why don’t I just create a fun boot camp in Central Park?” So every Saturday in the summer 80-100 people would just come and it would be a crazy party on Saturday mornings.
While at 24 Hour Fitness, I was contacted by one of the founders, Derek Jeter to pitch in and get involved with his foundation called the “Turn 2 Foundation.” It’s mission is to turn kids away from drugs and alcohol and more toward sports and activities. Every Friday I would go to the Bronx and work with 75 kids, teaching kickball, fitness and dance classes. Derek is really the one who got me into really enjoying kids.
Where it all began…
Growing up, my mom was a special needs teacher. She did a lot of work with the Special Olympics, and I grew up volunteering and helping out. I loved it. I’ve always had this passion for helping people through movement and exercise.
My career has afforded me the opportunity to teach a wide variety of classes at some of the city’s best gyms and studios. I love working with the seasoned athletes in my Masters Swim class at Chelsea Piers, training runners at Mile High Run Club, and cycling at Aqua Studio. These experiences have also led me back to my roots, working with people with special needs.
Through one of my boutique studio class members, I was introduced to “The Connection,” an organization that provides programming to people of all ages with special needs. They asked me to start creating fitness programs for kids with Down syndrome, Autism and Asperger’s.
When a researcher at NYU found out about the program, they asked if I could develop something similar, catering to people with Parkinson’s disease. Working with the JCC at 72nd and Amsterdam, I developed a bi-weekly program for people with Parkinson’s in the pool, which has this amazing walk-in floor that makes it easy for my students to get in and out of the water. Swimming is incredible. A lot of my clients can’t physically move by themselves without a wheelchair or help, but in the water they are free and buoyant.
On “No One Ever Drowned in Sweat”
It’s been kind of my thing since Austin. I used to say it all the time and then I tagged it along to my emails. “People complain and they complain and you know what, you can do it!” Out of all of these people I work with, it’s like we’re all sweating together and no one is drowning in sweat. It’s all good.
His latest adventure…
Athlete, instructor, humanitarian, innovator, and now entrepreneur, Zack is now taking his fitness movement on the road with his latest project, ZAXFIT CAMP. Hosting an all-inclusive fitness and wellness packed weekend at Cedar Lake Estates, Zack has brought together a band of instructors from NYC’s uber-popular fitness studios including Throwback Fitness, Mile High Run Club, 305 Fitness, Core Rhythm Fitness, Pact Park, Kat Fowler Yoga and tons of great wellness brands, healthy farm to table food and more. In one glorious weekend, you might not drowned in sweat, but you just might drowned in all the goodness Zack Schares brings to everything he touches!