Hi and thanks for stopping by.
I’m Zach Even – Esh, owner of The Underground Strength Gym and a once upon a time broke Dude
First, I want to say I am humbled and honored that you are reading this story and I am even able to tell it like it is.
Because not too long ago, the only thing I recall people telling me was that I was “crazy”.
I became infatuated with strength training and the physical body since age 13. I loved the gym and I could spend all day in the gym if allowed. It wasn’t rare to find me doing my homework in the gym while sitting at the juice bar enjoying my favorite protein shake.
My dream was to open a hard core gym. A gym for bodybuilders, very much like Gold’s Gym Venice from the Golden Era back when guys like Arnold, Franco, Ken Waller, Robby Robinson and Frank Zane trained together.
I was obsessed with intense training and camraderie.
I had been to countless gyms where the atmosphere was dead and the members didn’t seem much more alive than walking zombies. I HATED this with a passion and I hated the shitty music that came along with it.
I vowed to find a way to open something that brought in those who wanted a great atmosphere blended with great training.
After 12 years of bodybuilding training I hit a wall. I was frustrated with my lack of high level performance in athletics compared to the effort I put forward with my workouts.
I had experienced too many injuries by age 25 to keep me following the programs that I was finding through the newsstands. At age 26, I tore my ACL while training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that set me over the top.
It was time to make a change and find a new way to train myself. I had plans on sharing all my information with other serious fitness enthusiasts and athletes.
So my journey began training athletes when I still lived at home under my parents roof.
I used the garage, the back yard and a few busted up local playgrounds.
I was too poor to use fancy equipment or even a barbell, I began using stones, axes, sledge hammers and bodyweight movements derived from Gymnastics.
The results blew me away and shocked me beyond words. I thought it was luck.
I studied my ass off and contacted any strength coach who was willing to share his methods.
Guys like Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Alwyn Cosgrove, Joe DeFranco and Pavel Tsatsouline helped shape my methods as I blended them with my own experinces and in the trenches methods.
The journey expanded from 1 garage to the next. I bought my first house and made sure it had a 2 car garage, primed and ready to help more athletes, I knew that I was going to have to build my dream gym with the little finances I had.
For several years I trained athletes in my garage, my back yard and more playgrounds.
At age 30 it was time to move out and take my gym to a local warehouse space in my hometown of Edison, NJ.
I tightened my training system more and more as more people began training using my methods which were a unique blend of powerlifting, strongman training, gymnastics based movements, Russian Kettlebells and golden era type bodybuilding training.
Youth athletes and senior citizens took to the training and loved it. The results bred more success and countless ordinary athletes went from losing records to all state. Others won national titles, state titles and several competes and trained at the olympic level in Judo and Wrestling.
I began holding seminars at The Underground Strength Gym based on the system I implemented for our athletes.
As coaches and athletes flew in from around the world, and countless e mails poured through asking me if there were other “Underground Strength Gyms” in their area I was encouraged by all to turn this into something bigger.
A certification wasn’t enough as I was sharing systems for our training and business methods. Those who took action and ran with our Underground methods achieved greater success than ever before.
Coaches wanted me to license my gym rather than just offering my training systems, they also wanted the business systems so they could simply “plug n’ play” these methods with their own fitness business.
And what was once a little idea that began from the garage and back yard of my parents home has now evolved into a international strength and fitness phenomena.
My goal? Simple yet aggressive: To help fitness enthusiasts do what they love and make a great living doing so. For the athletes, it is to transform them physically and mentally from ordinary into extraordinary in ways that they will always remember and will always give them the extra edge in all areas of their life.
Let the journey continue!
Dedicated to your success,
Zach Even – Esh
Renegade Bodybuilder Secrets from The Golden Era, Part I
Robby Robinson is what I call a Renegade Underground Bodybuilder.
His favorite upper body workouts were endless supersets of the bench press and pull ups / chins ups. […]