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Part 2—From Humble Beginnings by Zach Even-Esh - CrossFit Journal

In Affiliation, Equipment, Videos

November 30, 2009

Video Article

“Low overhead” has a special meaning to Zach Even-Esh of Underground Strength Coach/CrossFit Underground. The trainer from New Jersey keeps his expenses down with a no-frills approach to outfitting his box, but his first gym—in his father’s garage—actually had a ceiling just over six feet high.

Even-Esh still gets emotional when visiting the old garage in Edison, N.J. After outfitting the small space with equipment purchased on the cheap from bankrupt Globo Gyms, Zach started training people for $5 a workout. Many of the sessions involved lifting heavy stones in his old man’s back yard or pulling 20 minutes of deadlifts with a single bar purchased at Costco.

After a lot of hard work, the Underground Strength Coach was able to eventually open a larger facility that’s still characterized by low overhead.

4min 23sec

Video by Again Faster.

Additional reading: The Garage Gym by Greg Glassman, published Sept. 1, 2002.

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14 Comments on “Part 2—From Humble Beginnings”


wrote …

I would love to be trained by this guy. The enthusiasm and motivational skills are so apparent and he clearly has a huge passion for training his clients.

Good on you Zach & best wishes for the future


Frank DiMeo wrote …

You made it happen, using whatever you could get your hands on.
Your diligence & hard work really have paid off.
You "paid it forward"!


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Thnx for the props Frank and Nick.

Nick, lemme tell ya bruddah, those days are sorely missed.

From my parents I ran the biz in my own 2 car garage after I bought my own house.

I used the backyard, my garage and down the street the playground at the elementary school.

Those workouts go down in history, they were insane and brutally intense.

A workout would be trap bar deadlifts in the garage, then 20 minutes of rope climbs, log carries (we cut down an old cherry tree into 5' pieces), sledge hammer swings on the tree stump.

Then at the school, 20 minutes of truck pushing, kettlebell farmer walks up a hill, sled drags, then sprint to the money bars for pull ups

Every wrestler I trained in that group went to states that year, those workouts were not scientific, but man did they produce some sick results!



wrote …

Brings back a lot of memories of training in my parents basement in Jersey. Good times. Too bad we dont have basements in Florida where I live now.
Nice work Z.
You are a class act.


wrote …

You are a bad ass! thats living the dream right there.



wrote …

If you guys are not familiar with Zach Even-Esch and his website, check him out. He is the real deal...this guy believes in what he does and he is a leader in strength and conditioning.


wrote …

Good video, brought back a lot of memories, training in my parents basement while in HS with my first plastic coated cement plate barbell set from Sears, using an old coffee table as a bench, until I could buy a cheap bench from Buyers Mart. More than anything what this video brings out is the passion for training and training others. It is clear that Zach has that passion. I'd send my two HS teenagers to Zach in a minute to train.


wrote …

Thanks for sharing your story it will inspire many. I currently work out in my garage with my kids and I love it. Keep up the great work my friend.


wrote …

I admire and share your same passion. Thank you for sharing your experiences on the CF Journal. I am working really hard to get where you are now (and where you will be going in the future). Stories like yours make me want to work harder. The very best to you and to all those training at the Underground.


wrote …

Zach, love your attitude. Your success is inspirational. Great vid. All the best to you.


wrote …

Zack how long ago did you move out the garage and what was the time line for your success?


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Andrew, hey bro

here is the exact time line: (I always have trouble remember the years but it's like this) ==>

1) 2002: Spent summer training 2 dudes at parents garage / back yard. I did this right after ACL surgery, mainly b/c I needed summer money as I was a teacher and had summer off, did NOT plan on doing this as a living at the time, bro.

2) November 03' bought a new house, it was a fixer upper, BUT, my wife's Uncles fixed up the 2 car garage for me, new sheet rock, paint, flooring, etc and I collected equipment and snagged a few kettlebells.

- all the while I was aggressively studying training methods: bodyweight, kettlebells, powerlifting, speed training, strongman, etc.

3) Spring 04' - Connected w/ 2 wrestling clubs and did FREE training clinic for them w/bodyweight

Picked up 4 clients between the 2 clubs and word of mouth began to spread with the crazy shit I did w/them.

That summer I had about 22 or so wrestlers training with me.

4) June 2006 - Snagged small garage warehouse ( as seen in videos ) and have been there ever since



wrote …

Thats great Zach!

I've had some of my best workouts with the most basic of stuff. I'm currently looking at getting my own "box" and would run things exactly the same way. Good basic, hard workouts. Use some basic strong man stuff, powerlifting and minimal or basic equipment.

Keep up the good work!


wrote …

I love these videos! So inspiring!

Check it out it is a work in progress.

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