The world is full of sadness, hardships, broken hearts and tears. The worl is full of people believing in limitations and never daring to reach their full potential! The world, though, is full of beauty, opportunities,dreams and people who trust that limitations don’t exist! Тoday I have the great opportunity to introduce you Zach Moore! One of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the chance to talk to! Zach is a strength and conditioning coach, helping people discover their endless strength and live the life they’ve imagined. He was born missing the lower part of his arm, but he never let that become his limitation or his excuse! Read the great interview with Zach and take away some of the hope, the desire and the determination that this guy will give you!
Ines Subashka: Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Zach Moore: First, I just want to say thank you Ines for giving me this opportunity. You have a great website, and I feel privileged to have been asked to be on here.
My name is Zach Moore. I am 26 years old and work as a full-time strength coach at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training , named one of the top 10 gyms in the U.S. by Men’s Health magazine in 2009 and 2010 and co-owned by two of the smartest guys in the industry – Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson.
At IFAST, I work with a wide variety of clients ranging from athletes (middle school age all the way to college age) looking to improve performance or rehab an injury, to general population clients looking to improve body composition, get out of pain, or just get into better shape.
I also have a blog where I write about topics related to health, fitness, and other ways to improve and enjoy life. I offer online nutrition and training coaching on my site as well.
Outside of work, I love lifting weights, playing pretty much any sport you can name, reading (mostly textbooks and geeky stuff), and hanging with my awesome girlfriend Emme Whiteman (she also lifts weights and just competed in her first powerlifting meet).
IS:Did you have an active childhood? Were you involved in some sports?
ZM:Yes, I was very active as a child. I am pretty sure I played every sport that was offered at my school growing up – basketball, baseball, tennis, football, and golf. I think the only sports I did not compete in were cross-country and track – I have never been a big fan of running. 🙂
I was also fortunate to grow up in a town in southern Indiana that had a small ski resort. It made its own snow in the winter, and I was really big into snowboarding. In fact, during high school I worked as a snowboard instructor there. Snowboarding is something I hope to do more of again in the future.
IS: What were the biggest obstacles you had to face in your childhood and what gave you strength to overcome them?
ZM: Well, I was actually born missing the lower part of my right arm just at the elbow. Therefore, I guess you could say that was the biggest obstacle. Obviously, when I was really little I never knew I was “different”, but as I started getting older it began bothering me a little more when I noticed people staring or other kids pointing.
The kids I grew up with were so used to it that it was never a big deal, but when I was around kids that I did not know it was often awkward.
The way I got over this “obstacle” was by realizing that people were not staring at me because they thought I was “weird or “different” – they were primarily doing it out of curiosity. I realized that if I saw someone missing a limb it would be hard for me not to look.
So what I began doing was explaining to people up front what had happened, which made the situation less awkward for me and for them. They could ask questions and not feel uncomfortable with the situation either.
I also just started feeling comfortable and confident with myself. I realized there were not many things that I could not do if I set my mind to it.
I never felt like it was much of an obstacle in sports. I always seemed to find a way to adapt. It also made it fun when people assumed I was going to be terrible and then I dominated them. 🙂
IS: How did you become a coach? Have you always known that this is what you want to do or does it have a special story behind it?
ZM: Well, I always loved athletics and even played college tennis for two years. But I was forced to quit because of two knee surgeries on the same knee.
The surgeries ended up doing very little to relieve the pain and the doctors eventually told me that it would be best if I stayed away from running and tennis.
I was devastated, but I eventually decided that I was not going to accept that answer. Therefore, I decided to read as much as possible on the knee and ways to improve my knee function.
I eventually stumbled onto Mike Robertson’s Bulletproof Knees (my affiliate link) and found it a great resource. I then later found out that Mike owned a gym in Indianapolis where I was going to grad school at the time.
I decided to go and check out the gym, and I eventually became a client for about a year. In that year, my knee pain improved tremendously. I was having less pain than I had in years and could run and play tennis again. This made me very interested in what IFAST was doing.
I wanted to learn more. So I decided to apply for an internship after I graduated from my Masters program. It was an awesome experience, and I learned a ton! I was also very fortunate because IFAST brought me on full-time after I finished the internship.
So no, I did not always know I was going to be a coach. In fact, I had just graduated with my Masters Degree in Economics a couple of days before I started the internship at IFAST – weird, right?
I was pretty scared to intern because I was not sure where I would end up and I did not have a formal background in an exercise science related field, but I was so passionate about it that I went for it and I am so glad that I did! I love what I do!
IS:What do your workouts look like? Do you encounter some obstacles due to the fact that you were born without a lower right arm?
ZM:I typically train 4 days a week on an upper/lower split or 2 full body days and one upper and one lower. I focus on big, compound movements (squat, bench, deadlift, rows, etc.).
My main goals at the time are to get big and strong – and to be healthy, I guess. 🙂 Therefore, I am constantly trying to add weight to the bar while paying attention to good form and mechanics.
For anyone interested, you can check out my training log HERE . I haven’t been great about updating it lately, but if I get some interest then I will begin doing so again.
As far as obstacles, there were quite a few things I had to rig up to be able to train since I am missing my lower right arm. In high school, I lifted weights, but it was mainly just with my left arm. I never squatted or deadlifted because the coaches just assumed I would not be able to.
When I became a client at IFAST, I began using the safety squat bar for my back squats and realized that I could front squat just fine.
Front Squat video
To train my right arm I bought a wrist strap with a hook on it that is supposed to assist people in holding onto the bar. However, I strap it around the lower part of my right arm and use the hook to hold onto dumbbells, cable attachments, and straps.
KB Swing video
DB Bench video
Power Clean video
I also really wanted to deadlift so I bought a truck strap from a hardware store and just wrap that around my shoulder and the bar. It actually works pretty well.
Conventional DL video
Therefore, it is challenging to make some things work, but I like trying to find a solution and overcome it.
IS: What would be your advice to people that have severe injuries or some kind of “disability” and think they are cursed to never workout again?
ZM: Never think that you are not capable of doing something. There are always ways to work around a limitation so if you are passionate about it then do not give up – find a way!
Also, never compare yourself to other people. Always try to achieve YOUR best. Never try to live up to someone else’s expectations.
IS: What gives you such a drive to live, to learn, to teach? Where do you find your motivation?
ZM: My dad has been a huge inspiration on me in this regard. He has always stressed to me the importance of learning and enjoying life. Unfortunately, he grew up very poor and worked extremely hard to become a very successful business owner.
He gave up on a lot of opportunities to enjoy life because he always felt like he was having to play catch-up and always wanted his family to be secure and have everything that would allow them to be happy.
I am so grateful for all that my dad sacrificed for me, and I hope to get the most out of life as a thanks to him.
I am also lucky to have found a job that I am extremely passionate about. Therefore, any “work” that I do does not feel like work to me. I love reading and educating others on topics related to health and fitness.
Lastly, I greatly believe in the power of fitness and nutrition to change a person’s life. And I want to help as many people as I can find a way to optimize these things to improve their lives.
IS: Do you follow a nutrition plan and if yes, would you share a little bit more about it?
ZM: I don’t know if I would call it a plan, but I do try to focus my diet around whole foods – meats, veggies, fruits, tubers, and seeds. To be honest, it is very similar to a “Paleo” style of eating, but I do not like to call it that because the haters will automatically accuse me of being dogmatic, which I am not. I have just found that I feel better on these foods, and I feel like I can better support the environment and my economy by purchasing them over other foods.
I am also big on trying to support locally grown foods. I always try to determine the source of my food. Therefore, I buy meat in bulk from a local farmer and shop at farmers markets as often as possible.
I pretty much stick to a moderate protein, low carb, and high fat diet. I have much more energy and just love what I eat. I mean who doesn’t love a big plate of grass-fed beef and avocado smothered with coconut oil? 🙂
However, I have found out that I do need some carbohydrates in my diet. I have been dealing with some thyroid issues (hypothyroidism) and have found that if I go too low carb my symptoms get worse.
I also skip breakfast most of the time, so I guess you could say I intermittently fast. However, I am not very strict with the fasting and eating window. Some days I go 18 hours without eating, but some days it is only 13 or 14 hours. I mainly do it because it is convenient, and there is some good research behind its health benefits.
IS: How would you sum up your training philosophy in one sentence?
ZM: Choose something that you have fun with and that will help you achieve your goals and keep you healthy.
IS: Who is your inspiration as a coach? Where did you learn all the things you know, because from your website it is obvious that you have a ton of knowledge!
ZM: I would say my biggest inspiration is Mike Robertson. I am very fortunate to work with and talk with him on a day-to-day basis.
I am a pretty big nerd so I read a lot – like, a lot a lot! I just love learning and do not look at it as work at all. I am so passionate about helping others achieve their fitness, health, and lifestyle goals that it keeps me going.
When I first started out as a coach, I focused mainly on anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, etc. I wanted to really improve my technical knowledge. Nowadays, I still have one or two of those books that I am reading, but I am reading more into behavior change and nutrition.
Nutrition is something that I greatly enjoy and behavior change is something that every coach needs to read more about. It is great to have a lot of technical knowledge, but it will only do so much in getting your clients results. They must listen to and follow your advice to see the results they want and that is where behavior change comes in.
P.S. If you liked the interview with Zach, please share it with your friends!
Don’t forget to visit his website!