Each year, thousands of bodybuilders, martial artists, and fitness enthusiasts from around the world converge upon Columbus, Ohio for a weekend exposition bearing the name of bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Arnold Sports Festival began in Columbus as the Arnold Classic in 1989 and has evolved into one of the premiere bodybuilding events in the world. Zhizhuo Zhang, a rising star in the bodybuilding industry, has taken the first place at the 2020 Arnold Classic Amateur Class C.
Born and raised in China, Zhang had never thought about getting into this industry at first. After coming to New York University for his master studies in 2017, Zhang was amazed when he noticed that all the Americans around him work out regularly to keep their bodies in great shape and was thus inspired to do the same.
"My training was unexpectedly effective and I progressed quickly," Zhang said, "I took part in the NPC Garden State Championships in New Jersey and took fourth place in Class C. This was the first fitness competition I attended and I thought I had some talent for it."
However, the pleasure soon turned into frustration and sorrow when Zhang signed up for the 2019 Arnold Classic and ranked last. He has come to hit his plateau since then. But instead of giving up and drowning in sadness, Zhang encouraged himself to maintain this consistency of training to be fully prepared for the future challenges.
In 2020, Zhang took first place at the Arnold Classic Amateur Class C. This astonishing result had not just proved his accomplishments in bodybuilding, but successfully helped Zhang to start his new career as a professional to help others to achieve their goals.
"After the 2019 Arnold Classic, I was at my lowest. And it's not just about the competition, I lost someone important in my life," Zhang explained, "but I still chose to stick to it because I did not want to have any regrets in the future. And luckily, my family has been really supportive this whole time."
Zhang believes that the secret to success is confidence and consistency. It is extremely important to be confident. Having faith in oneself is essential in order to get closer to what one aims to achieve. Additionally, Be consistent and focus on the ultimate goal regardless of what the obstacles may be and the problems one's encountering in life. Only one day or two will not change anything especially when it comes to bodybuilding.
As an award-winning coach, Zhang portrays bodybuilding as the combination of both exercise and art since what one can learn from the process is more than just a satisfying result. It doesn't just take time and effort, but also requires the trainer to build better willpower. The patience and perseverance developed would be beneficial to anyone in any industry.
For those who are new in this field, Zhang has offered several useful tips such as Improving basal metabolism level by getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water, gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of exercise by starting going to the gym twice a week, eating properly rather than eating less, etc. But most importantly, make a plan and carry on.