Who are you?
Hey there! My name is Leon Zgonjanin, I was born in Serbia and moved to Canada with my family when I was 12 years old. Before becoming a personal trainer I completed a history degree at Carleton University and then worked at Shopify for 5 years. I've always been a 'sporty' person and enjoyed working with my hands, I grew tired of working behind a desk and this led me to pursue my passion of fitness and embark on a new journey, shifting careers towards helping others lead a healthier lifestyle.
What makes you a good personal trainer?
I believe the key to being a good teacher is the ability to relate to others. I'm constantly hungry to make gains, something that stems from being the smallest kid in class since the first day of preschool. I fell in love with the process of becoming healthier. I believe in a bottom-up approach when it comes to fitness, teaching someone the reason behind each exercise, each stretch, each rep, is what's going to give them the tools to mindfully improve their body. The thing that's going to help you find success is investing in yourself and taking responsibility for what you can and cannot change. If you sign up to work with me, I'll use my own experiences to help you find that mental edge that will help you take your first steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
What is your athletic background?
I've always been an agile person, learning how to do headstands at 5 years old and doing summersaults across the living room floor all day drove my parents nuts. Since I was about 6 years old I tried my luck at all sorts of sports: gymnastics, soccer, swimming, shooting, ice-hockey - that one stuck. I played hockey for about 15 years, playing on various competitive teams. I also played competitive soccer for a few years as summer training while hockey season was on ice (ha, get it?). I started lifting in high school, when most of the guys on the team outweighed me by about 20lbs, and found a new love. As my hockey career dwindled I focused on making gains in the gym, slowly I learned what it took to gain the body I was hoping for.
What types of clients do you train?
I'm open to training anyone! I love working with people and finding solutions to making gains. My specialty are men who are looking put on mass. Personally that's where most of my experience has come from. I started at about 130lbs and currently sit at a lean 170lbs. I have a passion for athletic-style workouts that will make you a stronger, better, and healthier athlete. I am also always looking for new challenges and to help people of different backgrounds than my own to achieve their goals.
Why do people need a personal trainer?
There is so much to learn in the world of weightlifting. The amount of information available to us all is overwhelming and a lot of times contradictory. Much of the time success boils down to experience. A personal trainer is someone who has gone through the trenches of trial and error to better understand how to help others so that they don't have to start from a deficit of knowledge. Bad habits can be not only hard to unlearn, but hard to notice in the first place. A lot of us will only learn we were doing something wrong in the gym once we've gotten hurt. A personal trainer will help you get off on the right foot and build proper habits that will last a lifetime.
Any final remarks?
Fitness is fun! Living a healthy lifestyle is truly addictive. If you asked me whether I'd consider myself a health nut when I started this journey I'd say you're mistaken. Being fit is, at the bottom of it, investing in yourself and respecting your body and mind. That doesn't mean it's the same for everyone, but physical fitness most certainly helps you be physically and mentally healthier. Think about it this way, if you had a dog, you would certainly take it for a walk every day because you know it would get antsy, anxious, and give you all sorts of trouble if you didn't. Yet most folks forget to take themselves for 'a walk' every day, their bodies become stale, they get anxious, and project their problems in all sorts of ways. No, fitness is not the be all end all solution to your problems, but it will help lead to a healthier mindset and lifestyle. Personally, the discipline that I learned from bodybuilding has translated in all sorts of ways, and every time I start something new and feel like giving up, it's a solid reminder that trusting the process will get me to where I'd like to be.