Hi, I’m Zach – also known as Chodi – but that is a story for a different time.
Growing up in Minnesota, I developed a borderline toxic relationship with the Vikings and I will convince you they will go 13-3 every year (or 14-3 moving forward).
After spending the first 22 years of my life in MN, I have bounced around the country, living in Los Angeles for a year before I decided to settle down in Chicago.
After winning my first bodybuilding show in May of 2021, I decided to explore the world of bodybuilding and see where my career as a bodybuilder will take me.
How I Got Involved In Fitness
Growing up, I was involved in sports year round, and I loved going out and exploring everything this world has to offer.
I was your typical high school football player that you see in movies. I was the kid who worked his ass off – did whatever it took to be better on the field. I wasn’t being recruited by any big schools, drawing any attention to my name, hell, I wasn’t even the best player on our team.
I started lifting weights, after my sophomore season. Our coach gave us some exercises to do every day; nothing too crazy – just your simple bench press, squats, deadlifts, and some shoulder work.
I got stronger, but nothing impressive. I remember one of the varsity coaches said to me after one workout, “you haven’t gotten any bigger and you’ve been coming in for the past three months”. That stung.
I tried researching ways on how to build muscle and I found myself on bodybuilding.com almost every day. Nothing seemed to be working.
It wasn’t until the summer leading up to my junior season, our high school hired a strength and conditioning coach – Tommy Miller. Little did I know that would lead me to where I am today.
After three months of working with him, ALL of my lifts improved significantly. I started to fill out my shirts better, my speed went up, and all of the sudden I was starting to get playing time.
By the end of my senior year, I was the strongest player on the team. I wasn’t the best player, but what I lacked in size and speed, I made up in strength.
I sat down with Coach Tommy one day after my workout and he asked me if I wanted to intern for him. After a little hesitation, he asked what my dreams and aspirations were and I told him I wanted to be an engineer because I enjoyed learning how things worked. He told me that with my passion for becoming a better football player, I would make an excellent coach.
He sat me down and said “I think you should consider kinesiology”.
I responded – “What the fuck is kinesiology?”
“It’s the study of how the human body works.”
It didn’t take much convincing for me to consider that as an option.
As soon as I started taking some college courses, I knew 100% this was what I was meant to do. I would take what I was learning and apply that to my training and I realized when you know what you’re doing – that’s more than watching two youtube videos or reading an article on bodybuilding.com – you can make A LOT of progress.
It is one thing for me to do it to myself, but once I started training people AND they started seeing results, I realized this was something I was good at.
When it comes to training, I always thought building muscle was easy. I have the discipline, the work ethic, but more importantly – the genetics.
It wasn’t until I started training other people, for me to realize people don’t necessarily want to put on a bunch of muscle. They aren’t chasing the six-pack abs; they don’t need to be the strongest person in the gym.
More times than not, it’s about filling out their clothes better, off-setting all the bullshit you do on the weekends, or building up some confidence.
How I Got To Chicago
Growing up 15 minutes outside of downtown Minneapolis, the city life fascinated me. After high school, I got to experience more of the “city life” when I attended the University of Minnesota. Being around all the action was almost addicting – by the way, I have an extremely addictive personality. I figured Minneapolis is so great, let’s try LA. What could go wrong?
Well, for those of you that don’t know, Los Angeles is MUCH bigger and MUCH more crowded than Minneapolis. You can be warned at how bad the traffic is, but until you experience it, you have no idea what you are getting into. I lived 4.8 miles away from my work – when I left my house at 4:30 in the morning it took me 8 minutes. When I left at any point after 6am, it would take AN HOUR.
I realized LA wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle for me – I moved to Chicago. Although there are parts of LA I miss – like being able to go on a hike whenever I wanted, or not waking up in January for it to be negative 10 degrees outside, I couldn’t feel more at home in Chicago.
National Academy of Sports Medicine
Precision Nutrition Level I
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