The Team

Ilan Cumberbirch

Ilan Cumberbirch

Ilan Cumberbirch
BKIN, CSCS – Founder/Director of The Yard Athletics

Ilan's love for sport and fitness started early. As a former professional athlete, he has experienced the rigors of sport from both an athlete’s and a coach’s perspective, enabling him to understand the commitment and dedication necessary to attain one’s full potential.

Training Experience:

  • 10+ years strength and conditioning training
  • Owner/Director of Strength & Conditioning for Factory Hockey Player Development
  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association
  • Bachelor of Kinesiology, UBC
  • Dual-sport athlete (hockey & rugby)
Ilan Cumberbirch

Who's in the gym with Ilan?

  • NHL, Minor Pro, Collegiate, Junior & youth hockey players
  • Professional athletes – rowing, rugby, soccer, football
  • Business executives and entrepreneurs

What to expect with Ilan:
Ilan's continuous thirst for knowledge and current knowledge base allow him to program and coach his clients to the same level he would a professional athlete.His scientifically based training philosophy coupled with his genuine passion and contagious energy make training sessions a desirable component of everybody's lifestyle. Designing and implementing periodized training systems with focuses on mobility, strength, power, speed and/or endurance training utilizing a broad range of training methodologies, Ilan is able to meet and exceed your training objectives.

Sam Shaw

Sam Shaw

Sam Shaw
BKIN, CSCS – Head Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Sam has been working as an athlete and coach in the strength and conditioning industry since 2008. As an athlete Sam has participated at both the collegiate and university level, representing his country on the international stage during that time.

Training Experience:

  • Bachelor of Kinesiology, UBC
  • Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach for Factory Hockey Player Development
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Varsity Athlete (volleyball)
Sam Shaw

Who's in the gym with Sam?

  • Professional, Collegiate and youth athletes
  • Business professionals
  • Average Joe's to all-time Pros

What to expect with Sam:

During his years at UBC completing a Bachelor of Health Science Degree, Sam had the opportunity to work, as well as train, with the varsity strength and conditioning program. It was through this experience that Sam found his passion for exercise prescription and athletic development. Sam places great value on continuing education and is constantly improving his own knowledge base in order to maximize individualized programming.

Torin Nikiforuk

Torin Nikiforuk

Torin Nikiforuk

BS, PTS - Personal Training Specialist

Torin's passion for fitness is celebrated in all forms of movement. Whether it’s a multi-day hike, or a group fitness class, he loves to find new ways to challenge both his body and mind. Torin's academic interests lie within the role exercise plays as a form of therapy; specifically in neurodegenerative diseases.

Training Experience:

  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • TRX suspension certification
  • Kondi Fitness Instructor
  • bachelor of Science, Quest University
Torin Nikiforuk

Who's in the gym with Torin?

  • Anyone and everyone! From fitness professionals to your average Joe (or Jill).
  • If you're looking for good vibes and sweaty times then strength training with Torin is perfect for you.

What to expect with Torin:

Whether you're an avid gym goer, or just starting your fitness journey, Torin will make you feel right at home. His workouts are rooted in the fundamentals but he loves to put his own spin on things. Think full body workout with a balance between strength training and intensive conditioning. Torin’s supportive attitude is sure to help you excel in your own personal fitness endeavours.

Luke Williams

Luke Williams

Luke Williams

CanFit Pro - Personal Training Specialist

An active lifestyle and athletics have always been a part of Luke’s life. A former collegiate quarterback, Luke was forced to end his football career due to injury. This setback became his catalyst for change and Luke became focused on maximizing his physical potential through training. His understanding of the human body and the power of the mind became the focal point in his training regimen and daily life.

Training Experience:

  • BA, Health Sciences, SFU
  • Collegiate Athlete (Football)
  • Certified Personal Training Specialist through CanFit
Luke Williams

Who's in the gym with Luke?

Anyone who wants to improve their health, fitness and mental edge.

What to expect with Luke:

An empowering, inclusive and supportive workout. Luke has had the opportunity to work with athletes at all levels ranging from high school to the pros. Working with 2 NFL teams (Raiders & Steelers), Luke has gained a wealth of knowledge and an understanding of the dedication and training required to reach peak performance and mental focus. Luke’s passion is helping everyone achieve their individual potential-body & mind.

Outside the gym you can find Luke cycling, hiking, paddle boarding and practicing yoga.

Lauren O'Sullivan

Lauren O'Sullivan

Lauren O'Sullivan

CanFit Pro PTS - Personal Training Specialist

Lauren's dedication to an active lifestyle came out of a need to step away from the academic and subsequent 9-5 desk. The opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded, active people, be it while back-country hiking, at spin, or strength training, is what drove Lauren's interest in Personal Training. The mind-body shift as a result of consistent and progressive exercise gives Lauren the balance needed to tackle all facets of daily life.

Training Experience:

  • CanFit Pro PTS - Personal Training Specialist
Lauren O'Sullivan

Who's in the gym with Lauren?

  • If you're looking to fine-tune your movements or learn new ones, let's go!
  • Ladies! Let's build a program that works for you!.

What to expect with Lauren:

It's important to Lauren to give others what she sought after - an inclusive, dynamic, and motivating fitness environment and community. Finding balance across daily life can be a challenge, however, there has never been a challenge more worth tackling. Lauren provides a supportive yet challenging environment to improve movement, fitness and the impact this has on daily life all while blasting killer tunes and having a laugh.

Melis Papila

Melis Papila

Melis Papila

As a competitive powerlifter and coach, Melis’ mission is to help people see how much a barbell can change their lives. She works relentlessly to share information on health, mental health, strength training, and cultivating an athlete mindset, even for the everyday gym-goer.

Outside of the gym you can find Melis obsessively talking about her dog Duke, eating her weight in pizza, blogging about beer, hiking, miserably failing at snowboarding and traveling (pre-pandemic).

Training Experience:

  • B.A, University of Ottawa
  • USPL certified coach
  • USPL competitor
Melis Papila

Who’s in the gym with Melis:

  • Anyone who wants to invest in their health and fitness.
    Strength athletes.
  • Anyone looking to get strong AF and improve their body composition.

What to expect with Melis:

Melis is your personal cheerleader who will keep you accountable and push you to nurture your inner competitor. Whether you’re picking up a barbell for the first time in your life or getting ready for a competition, Melis will help finetune your movements and provide you with a fun yet challenging workout. Her supportive attitude and contagious energy will help you crush your fitness goals.

Gabe Grzybowski

Gabe Grzybowski

Gabe Grzybowski

As a lifelong athlete, Gabe has been involved in skiing, basketball, and rugby from an early age. By nurturing a competitive spirit, Gabe has driven himself and others to build on their athletic performance with the mantra 'harder, faster, stronger'

Training Experience:

  • BA - CFPT
  • Personal Training and Group Classes since 2017.
  • Varsity Athlete (UBC Rugby)
Gabe Grzybowski

Who's in the gym with Gabe:

Athletes, families, weekend warriors rehabbing injuries. Gabe will train anybody willing to listen, especially those with an attitude!

What to expect from Gabe:

Gabe loves 'the try'. In the gym, he will push you outside your comfort zone to ultimately become a better version of yourself. Whether you're an endurance specialist, power and speed monster or someone who has never been under the bar before, Gabelooks forward to sharing his knowledge and passion with you in the gym.

Nick Tataryn

Nick Tataryn

Nick Tataryn
DPT, CSCS – Strength and Conditioning Coach and Physiotherapist

Having been in sport since the age of 4 till present day, Nick understands the love of being active while staying healthy, no matter what that may look like to each individual.

Training Experience:

  • 10+ years strength and conditioning training
  • Doctor of Physiotherapy, Bond University
  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association
  • Bachelor of Exercise Science, University of Winnipeg
  • Diverse personal sporting background (dance, swimming, water polo, rugby, squash, alpine skiing, mountain biking, and others)
  • Clientele ranging from Professional/Olympic athlete's through to those with chronic diseases or rehab requirements
Nick Tataryn

Who's in the gym with Nick:

  • Professional, Collegiate, Junior, and Youth hockey players
  • Professional athletes – football, baseball, mountain biking, alpine skiing
  • Business executives, weekend warriors, and everyone in-between
  • Anyone requiring injury rehabilitation and "return to sport" conditioning

What to expect with Nick

Nick combines his clinical knowledge as a physiotherapist with his programming and experience as a strength coach to provide a well-rounded, wholistic approach to each individual's training. Using the most up-to-date scientific evidence and the most tried-and-true methods in both the clinical and sporting industry, client expectations can be high as long as the work ethic is brought to match it. Whether you're looking to continue your sporting journey, take the next step in your career, or just stay in shape while having fun, Nick can help you achieve your goals. All injuries or "nagging" physical issues welcome.

Matt Roland

Matt Roland

Matt Roland
Strength & Conditioning Coach, NCCP Weightlifting Coach

As an individual with a passion for strength training, Matt always knew he wanted to help others achieve their fitness goals and set them up with the tools to live a healthier life.

Matt ran track and field all through grade school until grade 9 where hockey became his main focus. He played until junior year in high school at an AAA level. After graduation, Matt went right into working in the tool and die industry where his athletic pursuits were put on hold. After 6 years in the industry, he realized that this lifestyle wasn’t the right fit for him. Matt always knew that he wanted some level of physical activity and health in his life.

Training Experience:

  • 8+ years of strength and conditioning training
  • Health & Fitness College Diploma
  • NCCP Weightlifting Coaching Certification
  • Varied personal sporting background (AAA Hockey, Track & Field, Weightlifting)
Matt Roland

Who's in the gym with Matt:

  • Strength athletes (amateur to elite)
  • Average Joe’s that love a good barbell workout
  • Anyone that’s looking to prioritize building strength

What to expect with Matt

Today, Matt's training focus is geared towards becoming as strong as possible, exceeding his own expectations every time he steps into the gym. He is keen on testing methods and theories in his own training programs to truly understand the benefits and results which he can apply to his clients' sessions. Matt believes we, as humans, are all capable of so much more than what we convince ourselves. He embraces discomfort and fear to keep growing as a person—and athlete—in hopes to become the best version of himself.