Who is Zach MacDonald?
Who am I? Why should you even listen to me in the first place?
Hi there, my name is Zach MacDonald, I’m currently a graduate student at The University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida, in pursuit of my degree in a Master’s of Exercise & Nutrition Science. I’m a bodybuilder in the National Physique Committee (NPC), the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the world, as a Classic Physique competitor. I’m a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, as well as spending many hours in the Human Performance Laboratory at my university working on various study designs and upcoming projects.
Again, this brings up the question…
Why should you listen to the insights I have to offer? What makes what I say matter to you?
Well…that’s a tough question to answer. However, just here me out.
Born and raised in a very small town in Massachusetts, 45 minutes away from Boston, I only had a select group of people who I could call my friends. Getting into high school, this all changed. This was the point where my friends and I would separate from one another; being the first time we could choose from the various high schools to go to in the surrounding towns. I chose to go to a school that supported 13 of the neighboring towns. This left me with an even fewer amount of people that I knew.
Unfortunately, I got verbally bullied by those higher up on the social ladder. I was a small, skinny kid; 5’5″ (which is how tall I am now even to this day 😂) and 110 lbs as a runner on my high schools’ cross country team.
So people would make all sorts of short and skinny jokes to me. I know, I know, another typical bullying “sob-story”, I get it, you’ve heard it a million times before. Trust me, it gets better.
I got so unmotivated that I decided not to do cross country the next year and, shortly after getting my driver’s license, visited fast food joints nearly every day. This got me all the way up to 170 lbs. I was only playing baseball at the time, not nearly as calorie demanding as cross country, that’s for sure. Fortunately, that’s when my inspiration to get into bodybuilding really kicked into high gear.
I was so dissatisfied with my body to the point in which I was willing to do anything possible to lose the excessive amount of fat that I had gained, despite still not having any appreciable amount of muscle, the dreaded “skinny-fat” phenomenon. I bought my first gym membership and educated myself on anything and everything possible about proper exercise technique. I was that annoying “newb” asking the big, muscular “bros” questions about their training and diet plans. I would also spend countless hours online researching these topics. With my newfound education, I dropped all the way down to 140 lbs in a matter of about 8 months.
By this time, I felt better in terms of my general health, but I was still unsatisfied with my current physique. Now I just looked like some short and skinny kid. I educated myself more on weight training, switching from machines to free weights, still asking tons of questions and performing massive amounts of research. I took it a step further, dedicating the next four years of my life to studying Exercise Physiology during college.
That certainly paid off. I implemented what I learned in the classroom and the lab to my own life, experimenting on myself to see what worked and what didn’t. I learned so much about my own body that I was able to build an appreciable amount of muscle to this short and stocky frame of mine, while remaining respectably lean. This built the desire in me to compete on the bodybuilding stage in order to continue building my best-self, as well as help others on their journey as well.
So what’s my goal in all of this?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of B.S information out there, both online and in the real world. Yes, everybody has different perspectives and everybody is their own, unique individual, I respect that. However, some people misguide others with unproven and outright outlandish information that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. The fitness industry can be a daunting place, filled with misinformation and those simply looking to make a quick buck off of the uneducated and misguided.
What I hope to accomplish here is to help you sift through the garbage and get to the good stuff. What ACTUALLY works. What will help you to make significant changes in YOUR life, not in the life of somebody else. I want you to achieve optimal results in your health both physiologically (physically) and psychologically (mentally/emotionally). Both my academic, professional, and personal experiences are here to help you do just that.
Let’s get to it.