Are you Full?

Earlier this week I listened to a sermon online from Pastor Jeremy Morton of Family Worship Center. The sermon spoke to me personally because it incorporated a lot of talk about fitness, which if you read this blog, you are probably interested in! The just of the sermon was talking about in life we can be overweight, overfull, or under weight, under full or healthy! Now he connected that spiritually where it is great to be overweight and so full of the spirit and knowledge but if we do not put that back out into the world and spread the gospel that is where we go wrong! Now the flip side we don’t want to be malnourished in the spirit that would be terrible, we have to fill our cup up and then spread that and fill others! It made me think about personal trainers and coaches, they take their knowledge and spread it to their clients and players so that they can reap the benefits! We don’t have to be pastors and third world missionaries to spread the spirit! Personally, I want to be able to impact people with the things I’ve learned about health and fitness and be around this industry, but we are all ultimately called to be fishers of men, and our number one priority should be filling our spirit, and then going out and filling others! This week take a look at what you are sharing with others in your day to day life? What do you need to share more of?


Zach’s Story

Zach Kotecki – @ZachKoteckiFitness

My passion for fitness and impacting others ignited after a life threatening injury that should have left him paralyzed. At 16 years old I suffered a broken neck (C3 fracture) after losing my footing while running sprints and hitting the wall headfirst at full speed. I heard 2 cracks when I made impact with the wall and when I opened my eyes I was lying on the gym floor unable to move. I was taken to the school office to lie down and take in what had just happened. Everyone thought that I had just suffered a stinger and would be fine. I was asked if I wanted to go home or go to the hospital and, like every 16 year old kid would do, I opted to go home. My mom, who works at the school, was there and pulled the car around to the front for me. I leaned forward off the bed and set my feet on the ground, took one step and my legs couldn’t hold up my body. I couldn’t walk. An ambulance was called and I was transported to the local hospital for X-rays. When I got them back I was lying on the stretcher still strapped in tight. The next words I had heard changed my life forever. The doctor says that I have severely fractured my c3 vertebrae in my neck into several pieces. Immediately tears started rolling down my face. What does this mean? Am I going to die? Am I going to have surgery or be paralyzed? The only thing on my mind was that this would not stop me from stepping onto the baseball field one last time. As silly as that sounds, it’s true. I wasn’t ready to accept that I had played my last game. This is the game that I love and has helped mold me into the person I am today. Baseball taught me how to interact, respect and, most of all, it built character. I was sent to the ICU at the University of Chicago, downtown Chicago, where I would spend the next couple days having tests and treatments done. I still get emotional today thinking back at just how lucky I was in the grand scheme of things. After the time in the ICU I was sent down to the main floor for 2 days before being released.

While at the hospital I was fitted for my neck brace, otherwise known as a Miami J, and I wasn’t allowed to move until they had physical therapists come help and show me how to walk all over again like I had forgotten. Even though I knew in my mind how to walk, they had to make sure I could relay it to my movements. I spent 4 straight months in the neck brace, 24 hours a day, meaning I couldn’t shower so I had to adapt to baby wipes, which my amazing parents had to help me with. I was pretty much a pity case which I did not like one bit. I wanted to do everything myself. I was very stubborn and wanted to feed myself or change myself but I couldn’t. I had one of my friends at school help carry my books for me from class to  class. I hated the fact that I had to let this “incident” define my abilities. I couldn’t be in the halls at the same time as everyone else either so I was always the last one out and the last one there. This was kind of cool because I got to come to class late and for lunch I was always the first. After those 4 months I was able to take the brace off while I was sleeping as long as I was on a big enough surface where I wouldn’t roll off and fall in the middle of the night, risking the healing process. Later, I was given a special brace to wear so I could ditch the baby wipes and shower again, something I was very happy about for obvious reasons.

After a long time of healing and getting my body back to normal, I was able to recover to my fullest ability and fulfilled my goal of playing baseball again. This adversity in my life has shaped me into the person I am today. From this unfortunate event I’ve found my true passion in life, to impact lives and train others in all areas of fitness and sports. I’ve learned to not take daily abilities for granted such as walking, being able to exercise or playing a sport you love, because you never know when that can be taken from you.

Fast forward 7 years and I’ve obtained my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science from Concordia University and my national certified personal training certificate through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I have coached both Varsity basketball and baseball at the high school I attended, Illinois Lutheran High School, and worked with several of the athletes there. I am now the head trainer at Iron Valley Barbell, a worldwide destination gym. The reason I am telling my story like this is to show you that truly anything is possible. You can be at the lowest moment in your life, which for me was this injury, and turn it into one of the biggest blessings in life. For years I was asking myself why had this happened? Praying to God for an answer believing that everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t until years later I found out what my purpose in life was for, why this exact incident had happened to me. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for what I still can physically do, and I hope I can use this experience and adversity I’ve felt with to help impact, motivate, train and get the most out of my clients.

For training inquires email:

Importance of a Team

This week I didn’t know what I was going to write about it and then it came to me last night I was watching the show “The Hunt” on Netflix. Its about predator vs prey in the wild and the struggle for a successful hunt in the wild. After watching a few episodes I realized something, the animals that hunted alone, for instance the leopard and the polar bear. They failed at catching their prey over 80% of the time while they used tactics that worked their success rate was super low. On the other hand the animals that hunted together in packs, like the wild dogs and killer whales, had a success rate of over 50%. As well as they were bringing down prey much larger themselves. I bring all of this up because it opened my eyes to importance of having a team and support system around you. If you are trying to reach your goals alone, you may succeed but it will take longer and the results may not be as big! If you surround yourself with people that align with your goals and help you to achieve what you want in the gym, at work, and life in general, then you have a better chance of accomplishing them alone! Every great person has a great team behind them. I challenge you this week to look at who is on your team are they helping you go above and beyond your goals or just watching you go alone?


Let your Ego Go!

Most people try to work hard, exceed expectations of ones self and sometimes have a big ego when it comes to what you can and cannot do. I for one and guilty of all three of these things. I work extremely hard at everything I do, I’m always trying to do better than I can, being that I’m my hardest critic and you can’t get past that everyone has an ego. Try telling me that I can’t do something, I dare you. I will do everything in my power to accomplish that goal. I don’t even like people helping me carry things or help out with groceries sometimes because I can physically handle that. But what have to do is leave our egos at the door, and lucky enough for us everyplace we walk into has a door! Haha never be afraid to ask for guidance or help no matter how much it may bother you at first or make you feel uncomfortable. Never feel afraid to listen to yourself, listen to your body. For instance this morning I had plans to get up at 6:45 and do my 3 miles of running for the Chicago Marathon training. Well being yesterday was leg day and I still wasn’t recovered from the long run I decided to listen to what my body was telling me and get that extra hour of sleep because I simply needed it. I still have plans to run those 3 today but I need to allow my body to warm up and get going first. Same concept applies for a diet/nutrition program. If you have all these events and competitions coming up but you can only say (x) amount of food during training, you may run out of energy to even start those tasks. Simply put if your hungry or need energy then EAT! Eat healthy and nutritious don’t eat that big greasy burger. Same applies if you’re beyond sore and fatigued in the weight room. It’s okay to take a rest day or go a little lighter to give your body that rest or break it needs. Never let your head get to big for your shoulders, stay humbled and leave your ego at the door. 
IG: @zachkoteckifitness

Facebook: zachkoteckifitness

The Importance of Family Time

This last week I got the chance to go home for my sisters graduation and graduation party, I really tried to enjoy my time at home and relax. My aunt and cousin from Florida came to visit too as well as other friends of the family. After heading back out to Ohio after getting to spend time with them, I realized how easy it is to take for granted quality time spent with family. I don’t know when I will go home again and it could be a few months before we are all together again. As I grow up and move out, I see what a blessing everyone in my life has been to me. They helped mold me into who I am today. This past week I went golfing with my dad, shopping with my mom, had a family cookout, and more. These things all seem so small while they are taking place, but looking back on it after the fact I see how important these moments are to remind yourself who you are and where you came from. I challenge you guys this week to take time out of your day to call your family or shoot a text to some of your close friends and just let them know how thankful you are for them! Family helps keep you balanced. 

Colton Anderson 

@c_andersonfitness on IG

Testing your Limits 

Are you invincible? No you’re not unfortunately, but chances are is that you are a lot stronger mentally and physically than you think you are. How do you find out just how much more you can do or take? You surround yourself with others who expect you to be perfect every time. With others who don’t let you take the easy way out or let you walk those last couple feet to the finish line when you’re supposed to give it your all until the end. The way I found out just how much more I can do was yesterday. I was deadlifting and I was doing reps of 5 thinking that was just about the most I can do at the given weight. I upped the weight to just about what my max was and set out to hit those 5 reps (hopefully) but the guys at the gym didn’t let me stop at 5. Everyone started yelling and pushing me past my 5 reps until I failed and couldn’t do any more. I ended the set hitting 15 reps… now this is by no means the best at the gym or even too good for most experienced lifters but this was huge for me. I realized just how much more my body can do even when my mind was telling me to stop, to let go of that bar because my body hurt, my shins are bleeding from the bar path and my head is lighter than a balloon because I did 10 of those reps on my first breath. Once I gave it my all and I couldn’t hit one more rep I dropped that bar and felt on top of the world. The crew came and congratulated me on my efforts and because of them pushing me I got better. I tested my limits and got stronger and gained more confidence in what was my worst lift and now I cannot wait for the next deadlift session. As is often said here at Iron Valley I raised my expectations. You will never get to that next level whether it be in school, sports or the weight room if you never test your limits. Who knows, maybe you too will be surprised by yourself and be one step closer to becoming invincible. “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

-Bruce Lee

IG: @zachkoteckifitness

Daily Defining Moments

This week I wanted to talk about how we can let little negatives have an impact on what could be a positive day. For instance, these little negatives could be forgetting to pay a bill, getting in a fender bender, getting a speeding ticket, a bad hair cut, etc. All of these things would typically define someones day, most would say “I had a bad day” the reason why would be because of any of the things I just mentioned. Why though? Why let one moment of your day take a toll on how the rest of the day could go. That bad moment has passed theres no changing it, move on, and make the rest of the day that much better to make up for it. The goal for each day should be to have your positives outweigh the negatives. This is hard to do if you dwell on the negative all day. It is hard to create positive momentum when dwelling on the negative. Stuff happens, sometimes we mess up other times it is out of our control, but don’t let one situation rob you of your joy and take a toll on the rest of your day. Stay off the emotional roller coaster and take the highs in stride and take the lows in stride.
What moments will you let define your day??


Colton Anderson

Long Stressful Week

It’s only Wednesday and it’s already been one of the most stressful and taxing weeks not only on my body but also my mind. Event planning, creating newsletters, clothing designs, workout programming, managing social media accounts then doing my own workouts, meal prepping and trying to grow my own brand is challenging to say the least. I’m not complaining about any of this because I’m grateful to be given all of this. It’s a sign that it’s known I can handle it, I can manage time and be successful and help others be successful. Time managing is something that everyone struggles with now and then. This week is just a scratch to the surface as to how my next few months are going to be and I am beyond excited to see what’s in store. At the end of the day no matter how stressful or rough the day may get it is always so satisfying seeing a job get done and it be done right because you know you killed it! I know I am crafted to handle a heavy workload and I am determined to succeed and make the best life for myself imaginable. If you would’ve asked me last year when I graduated college where I would be or what I would be doing in a year I would’ve never in my wildest dreams have even thought to tell you I’d be here at Iron Valley Barbell working under Zach Homol.. The plans that are being worked on here are very profitable and special to say the least. To think I’m apart of all of this is crazy. Push yourself, dream and make it happen. 
-Zach Kotecki

IG: @zachkoteckifitness

Biggest Struggle! 

Time to get real and open up about what I struggle with the most. My biggest weakness that has set me back from my goals multiple times is binge eating. Especially this past month I have struggled with this for many reasons. The first is the ease of it, it was my sisters birthday so I was home and there was tons of cake and food. Instead of just having a cheat meal I had cheat night, eating everything in sight until I felt sick. I felt awful and guilty the next day for slipping up and letting myself go that bad. Then a few weeks later it was easter break and that weekend being home and having easter sweets all around set up another binge and the cycle happened again, then I went back to school for my last few weeks of college ever, I was set to be dialed back in and focus on my diet. Now through all of this my training was still consistent, I didn’t skip workouts or training and that helped with not gaining a ton of weight. I was dialed back into the diet for the next couple weeks at school, but then graduation weekend set up another chance to binge eat, I went crazy on ice cream, drinks, and fried foods. 
 I think the biggest reason it was so easy to let myself binge like this, this past month is because of the unknown. I have always been an emotional eater and its been something that has been a real struggle in trying to lose weight and keep weight off. I was anxious about passing all my classes, leaving school, graduating, and the stress of getting all packed up and moving to Ohio. I had a lot of emotions and it was easy to turn to food. 

 Now the damage is done, I gained about 5 pounds, that doesn’t seem like that much, but its a wake up call. If I continue to go on this way and not recognize what is happening. Weight gain can spiral out of control. Luckily I am going to be surrounded by like minded people in the fitness industry out here in Ohio and I am excited to make the most of this opportunity. I’m not looking for pity or making excuses about the slip ups in my diet the past month, but I want you all to know that when you mess up on your diet or miss a workout, that its how you bounce back that defines you. I have set myself up a plan to be consistent with my diet, planning my meals ahead of time, and focusing on food as fuel! Eat to live, don’t live to eat! If you are struggling with diet, training or motivation develop a plan, reset your lifestyle and don’t lose sight of the big picture and your goals! 

Colton Anderson

IG- @c_andersonfitness 

How do you separate yourself? 

   What do you do when you’re off from work? What do you do before work? What about when 5pm hits on a Friday night and all your friends go out the local bar for some drinks and hangout. I recently discovered a very powerful and successful man on YouTube by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vaynerchuk is an American serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and internationally recognized Internet personality. Gary’s net worth is 50 million dollars and rapidly growing. All from a man who worked at his family wine store when he was in his mid 20’s. How did he manage to become this great entrepreneur? Simple, he kept his head down, his mouth shut and simply worked his ass off to get everything he has. He didn’t focus on the instant success rather embraced the process it would take to get to the end, the end of which he says is still 30+ years away. How did Gary set himself apart from the pack? He gave up those times out with friends, gave up those times when he could sleep in or take the day off. He grinded day in and day out because he knew how bad he wanted it and didn’t take no for an answer. I look up to Gary in this way especially having the dreams and aspirations of owning my own gym one day with my business partner Colton. We’re 23 and 22 years old.. what’s the hurry? Embrace the process, work hard, SACRIFICE and most importantly don’t let anybody tell you no and bring you down. Those people are the types of people who know you’re going be successful and don’t want to be left alone at the bottom working the same job they did in highschool. So if you truly want to be successful, be an entrepreneur or set yourself apart from others study and learn from those such as Gary Vee. 


YouTube @GaryVaynerchuk 
“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life…do that.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
“Time – the one asset none of us are ever gonna get more of.” – Gary Vaynerchuk