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Steel: Inspiring the Next Generation

Zack George is a fitness influencer from Leicester, and one of the world’s top CrossFit athletes.

However, readers may probably know him better as ‘Steel,’ the muscle bound Gladiator who’s been busy showing his mettle on prime time TV recently…

Picture: BBC

Zack is part of the new generation of Gladiators – a selection of strapping ‘superhumans’ who’ve stepped up to the plate for a reboot of the classic 90s show.

Becoming a Gladiator is a childhood dream come true for the 33-year-old, who was a huge fan of the original. However, growing up his physique was a far cry from that of the warriors he worshipped on screen.

He now wants to use his platform to inspire the next generation – helping youngsters to ditch the junk food, get into shape and become as ‘strong as Steel’.

“I feel like a lot of people will look at us Gladiators and think we’ve always been in great shape and have always had great genetics. However, my story proves that that’s not the case,” he revealed.

“As a child I was massively overweight. I used to watch Gladiators and draw abs on my stomach to try and look like them! But I loved my junk food and hated exercise. I’d moan if my mum parked too far away from the shopping centre and I had to walk. In the end I became really self conscious and unhappy with the way I looked…”

It was his father’s offer of a Playstation in exchange for losing some weight which became the catalyst for huge change in Zack’s life, and once he got the fitness bug (and lost the bulk) he never looked back.

Since then, his achievements have been mightily impressive and include being named ‘The UK’s Fittest Man’ in 2020. After qualifying for the European CrossFit Regionals in 2018 he went on to achieve first place in the 2020 UK CrossFit Open.

CrossFit Open 21.3 UK

He is currently ranked number 26 out of a whopping 126,461 on the global CrossFit leader board, and is so strong that he can lift 220kg – the equivalent of three-and-a-half washing machines!

He also runs a successful gym in Leicester called CrossFit BFG and has graced the covers of magazines like Men’s Health and GQ.However, becoming a Gladiator is the crowning accomplishment of Steel’s sterling career so far.

“If I spoke to my younger self and told him in twenty odd years you’re going to become a Gladiator, I would be like ‘no way!’
It just goes to show that you can achieve anything you want
as long as you work hard, dedicate yourself and surround yourself with positive people,” he told Pukaar.

It feels like my whole fitness journey has led me to this point – all the hard work I’ve done in the gym over the last 15 years…

“I also feel like that journey I’ve been on has really moulded the ‘Steel’ character. Now I’m the guy that really wants to inspire the next generation – get the kids healthy and get them all into exercise as much as possible.

“My aim now that I’m a Gladiator is not just to be the best Gladiator I can be, but to be the best role model to the kids.”

Picture: BBC

Zack said that having the opportunity to repay what the original Gladiators did for him as a kid, is the opportunity of a lifetime.

His plans over the summer include plenty of school visits – giving motivational talks and advice about health and nutrition to kids all over the country.

“It’s every kid’s dream to become a Gladiator and we are living that dream,” he said of his new star status.

“This is by far the pinnacle of what I’ve achieved – just an amazing, incredible experience.”

“The best moment from filming was the very first time we walked out on the stage in front of 4,000 people,” he went on to reveal.

“The crowd were going crazy and there were all these banners and people shouting your name. You could see the joy on all the kid’s faces and that was just the best feeling. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

By Louise Steel

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