Kendall Lou Schmidt didn't grow up dreaming about a career in fitness. She says it all happened by chance, while she was paying more attention to school and sports. But in a short time, she has blossomed into a fitness model, personal trainer, and athlete, all while working during the day as a group-fitness instructor.

Schmidt started out following Tae Bo videos in her bedroom at age 12, dancing and kicking along with Billy Blanks. Then everything changed when she threw herself into a prep water polo team as a teenager. She started lifting weights and doing off-season conditioning to prepare for the season, and loved how it paid off the more seriously she—and everyone around her—took it.



"We devoted hours of our days to this team environment," Schmidt says. "I became conditioned with this group-exercise feeling."

Many have felt that initial athletic thrill in their teen years like she did, only to watch it flicker and die. Not Schmidt. She just had to find for a new way to light the fire.

Finding Her Community

When an activity fills as much time as water polo did for Schmidt, it's hard to say goodbye to it when graduation day comes. "When I finished high school sports, I kind of had this hole in my life, and doing the stepmill or the treadmill wasn't filling it," she recalls.

Vital Stats

  • Name: Kendall Lou Schmidt
  • Height: 5'9"
  • Weight: 155 lbs., 145 lbs. contest
  • Occupation: Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Author, Model
  • Education: BS in biological science
  • Certifications: ACE Certified Personal Trainer, AFAA Certified Instructor
  • Website: kendalllouschmidt.com
  • Contest History: 2013 WBFF Northern California; third place 2014 Bodyuilding.com BodySpace spokesmodel finalist

On a whim, she stepped up to teach a spin class one day, and instantly knew she had found a niche. "I find my job to be incredibly rewarding and feel great satisfaction in helping my clients live healthier lives," she says.

On any given day, Schmidt will teach 1-3 classes. "Everything from yoga, pilates, Zumba, total body toning, boot camp, and silver sneakers—which is a chair-based class for elderly people," she says. "It gets me excited. Even on days I don't want to work out, I still know that as soon as I get there and see my members, I am going to be ready to rock, and I love it."

This schedule demands plenty of energy, but also takes a willingness to be flexible. If another trainer can't teach a class, she'll jump in. Sometimes Schmidt has to skip her own training, or bump it back a day, to make room for the people in the spin room or group studio.

"On a positive note, it's really helpful for me to get my cardio in a fun way," Schmidt says. "I mix up my training schedule frequently. I have a short attention span, and I get really bored. But it's good for your body to constantly do different things."



The Other Kendall Lou Schmidt

Finding time to train and teach other people to train is one thing. Finding the time, motivation, and discipline to prep for a bikini competition? That's another world entirely. It's no surprise that Schmidt sometimes talks about the two projects as if they are happening to two different people.

"People who know me really well, like the people who go to my gym, my clients and my friends, are always surprised to see my bikini-model alter-ego," she says. "At the gym, I have no makeup on and my hair is always up. They'll see a picture of me by chance, posed in a bikini on stage or in a photo shoot that's maybe a little sexy or whatever, and they're like, 'Oh my god!' It's kind of like my alter ego."

The opposite happens when she encounters people from the online community who only know her from the bikini pics on her Instagram feed. "They're a little bit surprised that I'm a bit of a tomboy, that I have no shame, that I am kind of a dork," Schmidt says. And make no mistake: She's not one of those bikini models who holds back in the gym in the name of maintaining the illusion.

"No, I'm not the sort of girl who says, 'I don't sweat, I sparkle,'" says Schmidt. "I do not sparkle. I sweat!"

Nutritional Regimen

Schmidt has done a number of bikini competitions, but says she "cheats" on her diet unapologetically. With the amount of calories she's burning in her day job, how could she not? Her desire to occasionally eat something naughty recently helped her unearth a serious health concern.

"Every time I ate outside of my strict diet, it made me sick," she says. "For a long time, I thought I was allergic to certain foods, because I would get a sore throat or inflammation, diarrhea, and skin irritation. It was hard to pinpoint the problem."

Fitness 360: Kendall Lou Schmidt,  Model Instructor

After undergoing a series of tests, Schmidt learned that she suffers from celiac disease, which affects the lining of the small intestine and makes you very ill if you ingest foods which contain gluten. This gave her a new level of awareness and sympathy for the people she knows who—whether or not they've been tested—say that eating a gluten-free diet makes them feel better.



"It's hard to diagnose, but there are a lot of people who say that gluten upsets them. It does upset me!" she says. "If not eating gluten makes somebody feel better, more power to them. Being gluten-free isn't going to hurt anyone, so if you like it, why not?"

Since her diagnosis, Schmidt has had to test piles of recipes to find a lineup that fits with her regimen and her palate. "I'll be honest and say that I've had a lot of flops!" she says. "Luckily a lot of manufacturers are coming out with all-purpose flour that is gluten-free, and it cooks just like regular run-of-the-mill wheat flour. You can make pretty much anything you can make with flour."

Breakfast: 7 A.M.
Egg Whites (scrambled with sriracha)
6
Oat Bran (cup)
1/3
Snack: 10 A.M.
Protein Powder (scoop)
1
Almonds
10
Lunch: 12:30 P.M.
Chicken (oz)
4
Corn Tortillas
2
Brussels Sprouts (cup)
1/2
Bell Pepper (mini)
4
Snack: 3:30 P.M.
Turkey (oz)
4
Yams (oz)
3
Snack: 6:00 P.M.
Pork (oz)
4
Apple
1
Cashews (oz)
.5
Dinner: 8:30 P.M.
Steak (oz)
5
Kale (cups)
2
Cabbage (cup)
1
Red Onion (cup)
1/4
Cilantro (pinch)
1
Dressing (tbsp)
1
Snack: 10:00 P.M.
Greek Yogurt (cup)
1
Stevia
to taste
Salt
to taste

Training Regimen

Schmidt is in the gym almost every day, for work and play. As a group fitness instructor she gets a lot of exercise while teaching classes, but she still strength trains 4-5 days a week at home or at the gym.

"I do days specific to muscle groups, like a day for my back and my core, or a day for my legs and my shoulders," Schmidt says. "I have to save time and keep the flow. I don't waste my life sitting still, watching the clock count down for my rest period to end"

Fitness 360: Kendall Lou Schmidt,  Model Instructor

Running man

Along with her bikini ambitions, she stays open to new athletic goals. She's currently training for her first half marathon, so running has become a big part of her cardio routine, although those runs are not included in the regimen below. She's mixing up intervals, short and intermediate runs, and of course those long prep runs.

Day 1: Shoulders
1
Teaching
Bicycling, Stationary
Spin Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Downward Dog To Left Leg Extension To Warrior Pose
Vinyasa Yoga, full session
1 set, 60 mins
2
Training
Single-Arm Linear Jammer
6 sets per arm
12 sets, 10 reps
Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise
5 sets per arm
10 sets, 12 reps
3
Giant Set
Standing Palms-In Dumbbell Press
5 sets, 12 reps
Cable Rear Delt Fly
Use TRX suspension cables, if available
5 sets, 10 reps
Front Plate Raise
5 sets, 15 reps
Leverage Shoulder Press
6 sets, 8 reps
Day 2: Back, Biceps and Abs
1
Teaching
Step-up with Knee Raise
HIIT-Format Boot Camp Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Bicycling, Stationary
Spin Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
2
Training
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
Wide-Grip or Parallel-Grip Lat Pulldowns
4 sets, 12 reps (use the straight bar with end handles attached to the lat cable, if available)
Exercise Ball Crunch
Slow Pace
4 sets, 30 reps
3
Superset
Straight-Arm Pulldown
Wide Grip Cable Straight-Arm Pulldown
4 sets, 12 reps
Exercise Ball Pull-In
Exercise Ball Straight-Leg Pull-In
4 sets, 12 reps (plank with legs on ball, pike up with straight legs)
4
Superset
High Angle Cable Row
Use wide grip
4 sets, 12 reps
Dumbbell Bicep Curl
4 sets, 15 reps
5
Kneeling Single-Arm High Pulley Row
Seated Single-Arm High-Pulley Row (shown kneeling)
4 sets, 10 reps (alternating arms)
6
Superset
Seated Cable Rows
3 sets, 15 reps (pause 2 seconds at full contraction)
Air Bike
Slow Air Bike
3 sets, 50 reps
7
3-Way Single-Arm Rear Delt Cable Fly
Standing Single-Arm Cable Rear-Delt Fly
4 sets, 15 reps
Day 3: Legs and Shoulders
1
Teaching
Bicycling, Stationary
Spin Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
2
Training
Split Squat with Dumbbells
6 sets, 20 reps (3 sets per side)
Push-Ups With Feet Elevated
3 sets, 20 reps
3
Superset
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
Use wide stance
5 sets, 15 reps
Side Lateral Raise
5 sets, 10 reps
4
Superset
Barbell Lunge
10 sets, 8 reps (5 sets per leg)
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row
5 sets, 12 reps
5
Superset
Front Barbell Squat
4 sets, 12 reps
Standing Military Press
4 sets, 12 reps
6
Smith Machine Stiff-Legged Deadlift
Single-Leg Smith Machine Stiff-Legged Deadlift
6 sets, 15 reps (3 sets per leg)
7
Superset
Leg Press
Hip-width stance
4 sets, 10 reps
Wide-Stance Leg Press
4 sets, 10 reps
8
Arnold Dumbbell Press
4 sets, 12 reps
Day 4: Chest, Triceps and Abs
1
Teaching
Downward Dog To Right Leg Extension To Warrior Pose
Vinyasa Yoga, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Boxer Shuffle
Zumba, full session
1 set, 60 mins
2
Training
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
4 sets, 12 reps
Dumbbell Fly
4 sets, 12 reps
Bent-Knee Hip Raise
4 sets, 20 reps
3
Giant Set
Dumbbell Bench Press
4 sets, 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Fly
4 sets, 12 reps
Cocoons
4 sets, 20 reps
4
High-To-Low Cable Fly
Standing Single-Arm Cable Chest Fly (shown with 2 arms)
4 sets, 15 reps
5
Superset
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
4 sets, 15 reps
Reverse-grip cable triceps push-down
4 sets, 15 reps
Day 5: Rest Day
1
Teaching
Seated Biceps Curl
Silver Sneakers Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Hovering Panther Core Stabilizer
Pilates Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Step-up with Knee Raise
HIIT-format Boot Camp Class, full session
1 set, 60 mins
Day 6: Total-Body Movements and Plyometrics
1
Training
Dumbbell Burpee
Use fixed barbell, if available
3 sets, 12 reps
Pop Squat
3 sets, 30 sec
2
Superset
Running Man Crunch
6 sets, 15 reps (3 sets per side)
Twist
Twister; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-IVnPC3rNA
3 sets, 1 mins
3
Superset
Overhead Squat
3 sets, 10 reps
Alternating Renegade Row
3 sets, 24 reps
4
Double Lunge
3 sets of 1 min., 1 min rest between sets
3 sets, 1 mins
5
Superset
Turkish Get-Up
6 sets, 5 reps (3 sets per side)
Cable Rear Delt Fly
3 sets, 15 reps

Supplementation Regimen

Schmidt uses protein powder in a lot of her recipes, but still makes room for the occasional shake as well. She keeps protein a top priority on most days, in every meal or snack. "If I can use protein powder in something I can bite and chew and eat, I get a lot more satisfaction out of it versus drinking a protein shake," she explains.

Fitness 360: Kendall Lou Schmidt,  Model Instructor

Rehydration and replenishing electrolytes are crucial to allowing her to thrive in her demanding fitness schedule. She needs to feel great after a workout, because she always has another coming! This is just one reason uses an intraworkout regularly to keep her body in the game.



About the Author

Dustin Lapray

Dustin Lapray

Dustin Lapray is a writer, journalist, and editor living in Boise, Idaho.

View all articles by this author