We all have measures of success, one of mine has long been attending San Diego Comic-Con for a week and attending a Train with Zane Experience. 20 minutes outside Downtown, tucked away in La Mesa is Zane's private residence and gym. A fixture of bodybuilding and fitness, Zane won the sports most prestigious title, Mr. Olympia, three years straight in 1977-1979 and was part of the "Golden Age" of body builders who trained and helped each other like Arnold, Franco Columbu, Dave Draper and many other California based luminaries. Zane has long been an inspiration as first, he was closer to my size at 5'9" and under 200 pounds, his symmetrical and defined physique coupled with a quiet yet confident and educated attitude was just easier to relate to on a personal level.
Zane welcomed me to his densely packed gym that's adorned with photos of his dogs, himself and magazine covers he and wife Christine have graced over the decades. His three Eugene Sandow Mr. Olympia trophies sat unpretentiously on a small shelf. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from my 3-hour Quick Zane Experience besides a rundown of nutrition and exercise advice mixed with Zane's philosophical approach. At first we sat and just talked, about my background, the path to La Mesa for the Zane's, the good old days, current competitive bodybuilding, on and on. In his 70's, Zane was a man more or less at peace with himself, never the show or sales man that Arnold was in their youth, he sure wasn't trying to be now. He's just a man who's gained experience and education through the years and is now passing it on to others if they can use it. It was a bit of a shock after getting to spend time with another idol, the younger and much more erratically energetic Jean-Claude Van Damme just a couple weeks prior. While JCVD was everything you'd hoped to be and more, up, down, over here, over there, hilarious and inspiring, Zane was more level and without even realizing, dropped heavy doses of knowledge that will stick with me for years to come.
When we stepped into the gym, Zane assessed my current physique, asking my routines and eating plans. Shockingly, drinking whiskey and eating happy hour food is not conducive to getting in optimum shape. When asked about my goals and motivations, I honestly came up blank with only short term items like shirts fitting too tight or just feeling a little dumpy. Zane shared that he peaked every September for 23 years and from there just tried to stay injury free and feel energized. I've long been a user of opposing muscle group supersets like Chest to Biceps or Back to Triceps but Zane had me try doing movements for one body part in a row like Incline DB Press to Decline Flys to Dumbbell Pullovers. That way you were keeping blood in the same general area without overly taxing your shoulders and joints. I must say that I felt the difference immediately. Zane had me slow down and really focus on the movement versus just trying to lift the weight. My arms started cramping up after just one tri-set of biceps, guess I should have warmed up...
With the afternoon winding down and needing to get back to town for Preview Night, Zane and I said our goodbyes with me purchasing a Train with Zane DVD to take home. While it was an educational if not all out 90's style adrenaline pumping workout video experience, I walked away with some heady issues to confront that influenced my Comic-Con week for better or worse. Using Zane's training techniques in the weeks and months after, I've noticed solid changes to troublesome body parts and feel slimmer as well. I'd definitely go back next time I'm in San Diego and would surely appreciate it more now that I know what to expect.