10 Questions with Daniel Zukich

Social Media Man Dan interviews Team Myology athlete Daniel Zukich.

Introduce yourself!
My name is Daniel Zukich and I’m a 25 year old certified personal trainer and part time model. I was born in the small town of Tuzla, Bosnia, and I moved with my family to another small town called Owego in Upstate New York when I was 8.

How did you get into the fitness industry?
I wasn’t into fitness at all when I was young. I loved playing video games, and the only sports I played were basketball and football with friends.  I discovered fitness in my teens and was obsessed by age 19.  At 21, I did my first photo shoot with a local photographer, and a year later as a senior in college, I got my Personal Training Certification and started working as a trainer.

You’re 6’6”.  Did developing your physique require any special training techniques that may not apply to a shorter person?
My height put me at a major disadvantage when it comes to building muscle quickly. Building longer muscle fibers takes significantly more work and food. I had trouble gaining weight in the beginning and had to eat close to 7000-8000 calories daily to achieve any growth at all.  Like many guys, I focused too much on my upper body for the first 2 years; I was so obsessed with having a massive upper body that my legs quickly fell behind. Now I focus on all muscle groups evenly, though my arms seem to grow the fastest.

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Speaking of which, what does a guy like me have to do to get guns like yours?
People ask me this all the time.   Arm size does have a lot to do with genetics, but hard work and diet play a major role in their development, too. There are no shortcuts; your arms are just like any other muscle group and they will only grow if you put in the necessary amount of work.

I heard that you just moved from upstate New York to New York City.  What brought about this change?
I decided to move to NYC because several of my regular personal training clients live there; before the move I’d been making the 4-hour trip to the city frequently to meet with clients.  My modeling agency is also based in the city so it will be much easier for me to attend casting calls, and of course I wanted to move to the best city in the world!

You’ve had the opportunity to shoot with some elite fitness photographers.  What does it feel like to be in a photo shoot?  
At first it was very stressful because I wanted to do my best and show the photographers that I knew what I was doing. Eventually I learned that being relaxed and having fun with the experience makes the photos much better. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment after every shoot because it forces me to reflect on all of the work that led up to it.

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You took 4th in your very first physique competition – the Arnold Classic in 2013.  Will we see you compete again anytime soon?
I don’t think I’ll be competing anytime soon.  Unlike the other sports that I’ve been involved in, physique and bodybuilding competitions are extremely subjective, and I don’t care for this.  Preparing for a competition means months of brutal training and hard work, diet, dedication, sacrifice, and in the end it all comes down to someone else’s opinion of you.

Can anybody achieve a physique like yours if they put the work in?  Be honest.
Yes and no. I am well aware of the work that it takes to transform ones’ body, and with hard work anything is possible.  That being said, your genetics has a major influence over the shape of your muscles and their ability to grow.  You’ll never realize your true potential until you’ve put the work in and dedicated yourself to the lifestyle the way that I have.

Let’s get down to business.  What nutritional supplements do you use yourself, and what do you recommend to your personal training clients?
The supplements that I use myself daily and recommend to clients are:

Dan, I’m in a slump.  The results are coming, but it’s slow-going.  I’m up to 2 hours/day in the gym, but it never feels like enough.  Motivate me!
PATIENCE is the name of this game; we all want abs after the first crunch, but you have to realize that anything good takes time– especially when it comes to our bodies. Think about how long it took to get to the height you are now.

That being said, if you are at the gym for 2 hours a day and not getting the results that you want, I would suggest changing up your routine.  Muscles need new challenges; they will not grow if you keep doing the same workouts over and over again. Consider teaming up with a trainer or workout buddy; you can push one another, learn from each other and the results will come.

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