When you look at the sport of motocross and how fit and strong you have to be, having some sort of trainer helping you out is a must these days. Every top rider has a trainer that they trust to keep them on the right track with their fitness. One of best in the business is Todd Schumlick, a man who has trained Canadian Motocross champions like JSR, Blair Morgan, and most recently Colton Facciotti. Todd is an articulate and no-nonsense trainer who demands that his athletes are either all in or not at all. With Colton announcing his retirement last month, we caught up with Todd to see what he is up to these days and what might be next for this passionate trainer.
Words By Claudie Lissimore
FIRST OF ALL, CAN YOU TELL ME WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOUR LINK IS WITH CANADIAN MOTOCROSS?
I am a 51-year-old “trainer” who for the past 25+ years has specialized in motocross, mountain bike, and action sports physical fitness, sports nutrition, and sports psychology/mental development. My education includes a Kinesiology degree and various post graduate fitness certifications (NSCA, ISSA, etc.). My link to motocross started with Blair Morgan in 1998, then included many other top Canadian MX athletes including Jean-Sebastian Roy, Doug DeHaan, Marco Dube, Heide Cooke, Mitch Cooke, Sean Hamblin, Kyle McGlynn, Kris Foster, Colton Facciotti, Cole Siebler, Dusty Klatt, Shawn Maffenbeier and more. At a peak period, I was assisting 10 – 15 top motocross athletes throughout the season. I guess my link to motocross would also include our California winter motocross camps (2007 – 2014), which grew in popularity each year in existence. I also managed a privateer/development motocross team (2008 – 2013), which included both Kyler McGlynn, Cole Siebler, and Shawn Maffenbeier.
HOW & WHEN DID YOUR COMPANY “PERFORMX” GET STARTED?
I basically started working with athletes (hockey, track, bodybuilders, etc.) in 1990 once I finished my Kinesiology degree in Santa Monica, California. At one point, a friend of mine called me Mr. PerformX, as I often mentioned, “If an athlete can perform X, shouldn’t they be able to perform Y,” referring to the balance between movements/muscle groups. My interests always centred around athletic training with a personal interest in action sports, mostly due to my BMX racing background. It’s funny, because many thought PerformX was a reference to ‘Perform (MX).’ Motocross interests didn’t come along until approximately nine years later, in 1998 with Blair Morgan. Prior to that I was primarily assisting WHL/NHL players.
WHICH ATHLETES (MOTO OR NON-MOTO) HAVE YOU BEEN OR ARE STILL WORKING WITH?
Well, I believe I’ve outlined the top motocross athletes I’ve assisted over the years earlier, but other top non-motocross action sport athletes would include: Jonaven Moore (snowboard), Scott Gaffeny (snowboard), Brett Turcotte (snocross), Stevie Smith (mountain bike), Remi Gauvin (mountain bike), Miranda Miller (mountain bike), Brooke MacDonald (mountain bike), Sam Blenkinsop (mountain bike), Aaron Gwin (mountain bike), Richie Rude (mountain bike), Emmeline Ragot (mountain bike), Finn Iles (mountain bike), Josh Carlson (mountain bike), Marcelo Gutierrez (mountain bike), Catharine Pendrel (mountain bike), Tim Trembaly (snocross), Mark Abma (freeskier), and more. At the moment I am also assisting Factory Honda off-road motorcycle competitor Tallon Lafountaine. Wow, that’s some solid name dropping right there!
YOU HAVE PLAYED A BIG PART IN COLTON FACCIOTTI’S CAREER, WHAT WERE YOUR HIGHLIGHTS TOGETHER?
Highlights…wow! So many. Maybe our first meeting…when (uncle) Blair (Morgan) and JSR sat him down and told him he should be working with me. It was a very inspiring chat. From there, it would probably be Colt’s shoulder injury (I believe ’09). He crashed in Moto 1 and didn’t believe he could ride a second moto, which could have affected the overall championship. I performed some therapeutic exercise/physiotherapy after Moto 1 and he was able to go out and win Moto 2. Another highlight would have been our EPIC golf match in Vancouver when we were tied going into the last hole, tons of trash-talking, and then he drains an eagle from about 90 yards out. That might be one of the last golf games I ever played. It ruined me. HaHa!
DID COLTON’S RETIREMENT COME AS A SURPRISE OR WERE YOU AWARE FROM THE BEGINNING? WHAT WAS YOUR PERSONAL OPINION ON THE TIMING?
No surprise at all! Colt couldn’t continue working that hard, he’s way too soft! Ha! Kidding aside, I knew it was coming. Colt let me in on his plans in late 2017, after we decided to work together again for 2018 and possibly 2019 (prior to that, I assisted Colton 2008 – 2014). I think the timing was good. More importantly, I don’t think it matters what I or anyone thinks., it only matters what Colt thinks. He understands better than anyone the effort, risks and time commitment it takes, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to be at his best. Colt is a highly committed and competitive athlete and the level of effort required to remain competitive is very taxing on many levels. To go 10+ years at the level he competed is amazing. He’s not much of a half-ass’er. Like most top athletes, for him it’s all-in or nothing.
IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT COLTON HAS LEARNED A LOT FROM YOU BUT WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR LEARNED FROM WORKING WITH A 6-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPION?
First, I would say being surrounded by some of the best athletes in the world is incredible., the best education I could receive. This includes Colt. After nine years of working together, you can’t help but learn from the athlete. The average duration I have assisted professional athletes has been eight years. This is probably my proudest achievement. From Colt, I learned to be patient and humble. Maybe you can also call it “silent but deadly.” At this, he is second to none of the athletes I’ve assisted. Colt downplays many of his abilities. At the same time, he is scary focused and determined once the helmet goes on.
OVER THE YEARS YOU’VE WORN A FEW HATS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AND WHERE YOU ARE AT TODAY?
Yes, it’s been a fun journey! First, to earn the trust of these world class athletes for so many years has been very humbling to me. I NEVER take this for granted. I assisted Blair (Morgan) for 10+ years and continue assisting him today. I talk to JSR often, and a few of the others as well. My athletes are more than clients, they are my extended family. I swear I don’t have children due to them! Ha! The championships are great for business and ego, but the trust that is earned is the real reward. As for moving PerformX primarily from motocross to mountain bike training, I guess most was due to Red Bull. After my success with Colt (when he was supported by Red Bull), they contacted me about working with Stevie Smith (Red Bull / mountain bike). Stevie and I had great success during our six years (who passed away in 2016 from a motorcycle accident), and we went on to win the UCI World Cup series together., a first for a Canadian rider. From there, the interest from other mountain bike athletes grew very quickly. Hopefully this doesn’t come across negatively, but I was assisting primarily Canada’s top motocross athletes, not necessarily the top athletes in the sport. In addition, the budgets of both teams and riders were starting to see the crunch. On the other hand, I was working with the top mountain bike athletes in the world, and there was less limitations to my support level. When I started with Stevie and we were taking on the best in the world, it was really exciting. It was also a new challenge. Since entering the sport (mountain biking) in 2008, it has grown tremendously. I’ve also been fortunate to have toured the globe for the past 10+ years as well. What a reward! In addition to the training, in 2008 I had a chance to start a small PerformX downhill team, which was one of the top semi-privateer World Cup teams 2010 – 2014, then moved on to owner/manager of the Norco Factory Racing downhill/enduro mountain bike team 2015 – 2018, and now the manager of the Intense Factory Racing downhill team, including 5-time World Cup Downhill Champion rider Aaron Gwin / 7 year PerformX athlete. At this moment, I am in pretty deep!
YOU ARE TRAINING SOME OF THE FASTEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDERS IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. WHAT IS SIMILAR AND WHAT IS DIFFERENT BETWEEN MTB AND MX?
The similarities would be in the injury prevented training, as well as a majority of the strength and conditioning work, primarily due to rider position, physical demands, and similarities in biomechanics (movements). Nutritionally and mentally, they are very similar. How I assist athletes mentally is a bit complex, as well as not being generic. There are some basic mental fundamentals, but there’s also some very individual differences and needs for each athlete. As for the differences between mountain biking and motocross training, obviously there is a greater short-term power demand for downhill MTB (average runs are 3 – 5 minutes in length) and Enduro MTB (average runs are 5 – 10 minutes in length) versus longer motocross races. But both downhill and enduro MTB events also have multiple days and repetitions of practice, so it can be up near the same amount of seat time as a motocross event. Genetics and body type still play a big role in determining training protocol for motocross and mountain biking (downhill and enduro) as well. I would say there are more similarities in physical demands between motocross and enduro mountain biking (riders are required to pedal to each race stage, which can total 6 – 8 stages over 1 – 2 days). I also recommend motocross riding to my mountain bike athletes for training purposes. In fact, soon I head to California to ride motocross (and train) with Richie Rude (Downhill Junior World Cup Champion / 2-time Enduro World Series Champion / 7-year PerformX athlete) and Aaron Gwin.
WHAT WOULD YOUR TOP-3 PIECES OF ADVICE FOR WORKING OUT BE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE TO AN AMATEUR RIDER THAT WANTS TO TAKE IT MORE SERIOUSLY?
1) DO THE BASICS, including traditional strength exercises (Power/Olympic lifting), cardiovascular (mountain biking, road cycling, rowing, and possibly running), and stretching/yoga. In my opinion, I see way too many athletes in the gym performing ‘circus training’ (bouncing balls, balancing boards, etc). Maybe to entertain themselves and not get bored? Possibly to avoid hard work? I think it’s mainly whatever the latest trend is. Training often needs to be a grind, and not be comfortable, just like competing. There’s no way around it.
2) Be sure your training has a strategic protocol that ends with maximum power. Way too often I hear athletes/training discussing strength, endurance, ‘bulk’, etc, with limited or no understanding of physiology. Greater strength can equal greater endurance. Greater endurance can equal greater strength. Power is key in all sports. In simple terms, Power = Work (strength) over Time (endurance). Developing your power requires the right combination of strength and endurance.
3) Your best fitness regiment should include developing your mind. Again, this is not simple or easy by any means. You need to find ways to challenge yourself mentally and emotionally, and whether you succeed or fail, there should be a positive outcome from it. But before any of the above, I always remind athletes there must be a WILL and a WANT. Without it either, all development is limited.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR TODD SCHUMLICK?
For 2020, I will continue assisting various mountain bike and action sports athletes. At the moment, I am just getting all athletes’ training started for the 2020 season. This means athletes travelling to me in Squamish, BC, or I travel to their locations throughout the globe. Typically, an athlete spends 2-3 days with me for assessment, testing, and training instruction. Then I set time aside with athletes throughout the off-season, either getting together one-on-one, at a training camp, and/or electronically (email, phone, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.). I am also putting everything in place for the Intense Factory Racing team, including off-season testing, a rider roster change, European team shop, overseeing mechanics, and generally preparing for the 2020 UCI World Cup season, which kicks off in Portugal in March. For 2021, there’s also some really exciting stuff coming, as we’re expanding PerformX to online training, more camps (mountain bike, and possibly motocross again!), sports specific fitness testing, and more. My staff is expanding as well. All to come at www.performxracing.com.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD?
Yeah, if anyone wants any fitness tips or ideas, just check out my Instagram @performx_training. You can also email me at email@example.com and I’ll do my best to provide some advice or suggestions. Otherwise, thanks to all my athletes, as well as Canadian motocross for all that you’ve provided! Life is good!