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Once filling his life with alcohol and poor choices, Zak Taylor-Kleckin decided to transform his headspace and body to become the man and fitness model he is today. 

WORDS Kirstin Cuthbert | IMAGES Dallas Olsen 


Name:  Zak Taylor-Kleckin
Balmain, NSW
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Age: 24
Instagram: zaktaylorfitness

Before finding his passion for health and fitness, Zak Taylor-Kleckin’s life was filled with poor choices and lacked purpose. After seeing Greg Plitt gracing the cover of a magazine and reading about his philosophy, Zak was inspired me to do more and be more. And so began his fitness transformation.

As a young man, Zak consumed alcohol and unhealthy food regularly, he would make bad choices and wasn’t in a good headspace. To get where he wanted to be, he had to start making better choices and that’s exactly what he did.

“I was reckless and ended up getting into a bit of trouble. I had to change a lot about myself, my headspace, my way of thinking and how I cope with things to better myself and become the man I am today. Fitness helped me do this through discipline, focus, a healthy way to de-stress and obtain self-worth,” he says.

With his father going through a transformation of his own, this inspired Zak to step up and undergo one too.

“My father has gone through an amazing body transformation and after seeing how much happier, healthier and stronger he is, and the way he not only talks about but encourages training, I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” he says.

With the initial goal of going from 70kg to 75kg and being under 10 per cent body fat, Zak began training. He achieved this goal in six or seven months. His ultimate goal was to be lean and 80kg and along the way he found other goals he wanted to achieve too.

“I had a lot of different goals over the past few years and at first it definitely wasn't to compete because I never thought I would get to a point where that was possible. I believe you must have a big, scary goal that provokes serious action and then break it down into smaller milestones,” he says.

Since achieving his first goal, he delved into setting fitness goals such as running a half marathon, then running a full marathon then focusing on muscle gain, going from 75kg to 80kg.

“The transformation took me about four years of off-and-on muscle-gain training. I've now set the bar higher after proving to myself that I could do it and am aiming to be 88kg at 10 per cent body fat. I'm currently sitting at 84kg,” he says.

Since beginning his health and fitness journey, Zak says he feels so much more motivated, driven and focused.

I feel extremely proud of how I've changed. At one point, I was embarrassed of who I was. People talk about the ‘journey’ that they go though and to some, it might sound a bit cliché but that's exactly how it feels. You have to commit yourself everyday towards making the right choices, avoiding the bad ones and staying strong through adversity,” he says.

Though the journey has not been an easy one, Zak has remained motivated by his progress and by the people around him.

 “I'm surrounded by very inspiring and motivational people who continue to raise the bar with their own successes; this makes me want to strive for greatness,” he says.

“I want to inspire others like I have been inspired. I also want to honour my Grandpa who passed away a few years ago. I remember being a toddler and watching him train in the gym. He was a body builder and I wanted to make him proud by following in his footsteps.

For those of you looking to undergo your own transformation, Zak has some advice for you.

“There's definitely no doubt that it is a lot of work but I can guarantee you it’s all worth it. My advice is to get your mind in the right place. Once your mind is there, your body will follow. Don't focus so much on the physical transformation but rather the process,” he says. 

“For example, your goal might be to gain or lose 10kg. I recommend you focus on doing the little, everyday tasks that will lead to that. Create somewhat of a daily/weekly checklist such as 'train four days this week', 'only one takeaway meal this week', 'track and be within 10g of my macronutrient goals'. By breaking down your big goal into smaller, more-achievable ones, you will get a lot more wins to feel happy and stay motivated. This will also lead to a boost in your confidence so you may tackle the harder, scarier goals with more ferocity and self-belief.” 

Recently Zak won the Australian Natural Bodybuilding South Australia Overall Male Fitness Model. He has strived for years to place first at a competition and has been training a minimum of six times a week for the past few years.

Zak is planning on competing in the ANB Universe in Manillaand aims to take out first place, returning to Australia with a Pro card in his hand. He hopes his determination and drive will inspire you to never give up on your dreams.

“Set goals. Create a plan and stick to it. Don't sacrifice what you want right now for what you want most,” he says. 

Zak’s meal plan

Meal 1: ½ carton of egg whites, 1 whole egg, salt-reduced tomato sauce and 4 thin original rice cakes.

Meal 2: 150g sweet potato, 175g chicken breast and 100g broccoli.

Meal 3: 4 rice cakes, 2 cans of spring water tuna and 35g avocado with cracked pepper and lemon juice.

Meal 4: 200g sweet potato, 175g kangaroo sausages and 1 cup of kale.

Meal 5: Musashi Bulk Extreme Protein Powder with water.

Meal 6: 180g barramundi and grilled asparagus with garlic and chilli. 

Zak’s training week

Monday: Abs in the morning; quads, glutes and calves at night.

Tuesday: Chest and triceps.

Wednesday: Abs in the morning; back and biceps at night.

Thursday: Hamstrings and calves.

Friday: Abs in the morning; shoulders at night.

Saturday: Arms.

Sunday: Rest.

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