On the show this week, I have Zach Kayne, a good friend and former college teammate of mine, and also former Chicago White Sox player. Zach currently trains with Rebel Performance on our new training team that was launched this month. He is a dedicated, hardworking and competitive human who knows results and success do not come easy.
We dive into today’s episode by giving a background on who Zach is and where his athletic journey has led him. Zach’s whole life consisted of sports, competitions, having teammates, etc., so he always used sports training as an outlet. Zach was born with natural athletic abilities; however, he did not have that natural strength ability, which meant he had to put in the extra work to get where he is today. Zach unpacks the challenges he faced in searching for a new training outlet as he transitioned from playing ball every day to working in the real world from 9-5. Whether you played sports in high school, college or professionally, most people can relate to the mental and physical obstacles you face when transitioning out of your sports career.
Listen in as Zach shares what the process was like in reclaiming his athleticism as he gives insight on his experience training with Rebel Performance. We talk all things progress, personal records, growing functional strength, and maintaining athletic ability. To close us out, Zach gives his parting advice on the hard work and dedication that goes into training with the Rebel Performance team while expressing how rewarding the results are.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- [03:59] An introduction to Zach Kayne
- [10:12] Zach’s transition from playing sports to “entering the real world”
- [15:05] A look into Zach’s numbers training with Rebel Performance
- [19:30] Growing functional strength and increasing athletic ability
- [22:00] Differences in working with Rebel Performance versus other training outlets
- [24:45] Satan’s Beep Test
- [25:55] Zach’s closing piece of advice
James Cerbie: Thanks for tuning in. Hey there, team, what is going on? Welcome back to Rebel-Performance Radio, really excited to have a good friend of mine, Zach Kayne, on the show today. Zach and I go way back. We played ball together in college at Davidson, and then Zach went on to play in the White Sox organization for a few years. But the show today is really about going into depth of what happened when Zach’s playing days ended, because like pretty much everyone listening to this podcast, Zach has been an athlete his entire life.
He’s always been on a team. He’s always been training. He’s always been competing. He’s always had that outlet. But then one day it all disappears. And so, he had a lot of obstacles and hurdles to overcome in this process, because once he stopped playing baseball, he spun his wheels for a pretty long time trying to figure out and find the right fit for him because he knew he still wanted to be strong. He still wanted to be jacked.
He still wanted to be athletic. He wanted to be able to perform and do the things that he loved doing, but had a really hard time finding a solution that actually gave him the outcomes that he was chasing for. And that was when we brought him on board at Rebel in August of 2020. And the results thus far have been nothing short of amazing, hitting 80 plus pound pr’s and the big lifts adding 14 inches to his broad jump, getting his physique on point, building up his conditioning, giving him that community, that team, that competitive outlet he so wanted.
So, a really cool case study episode today where we get to dive deep into Zach, his background and this transformation that he went through. Right from having a team and a sport to kind of just feeling totally in the dark there for a long time to then reclaiming everything that he had lost when he came on board with us here, rebel-performance. So, we unpack all of that for you and get into how he made that happen for him. And then we have seven free program samples for you to check out.
If you want to actually see the type of programs and workouts Zach has been doing with us, all you need to do is go to rebel-performance.com/freeresources, and you’ll see the free training samples there that you can snag and check out. You’ll be able to take a look at free training samples from seven of our program pathways to see what we have our athletes doing on a daily and weekly basis. Anyways, let’s jump into the episode today with Zach Kayne.
OK, despite enormous technological problems, we’re back for think this is a number for potentially if my notes serve me correctly because we had some Internet problems and then my computer just totally pooped itself. But we have solved these problems. Zach Cain, welcome to the show, man.
Zach Kayne: Thank you. Round four. Yeah, glad to be here.
James Cerbie: Fourth time’s the charm. Little did everyone realized it’s the fourth time. That’s the charm. Just as quick back story of people who are listening. So, Zach and I go pretty far back. So, he was a senior at Davidson College my freshman year. So, we played ball together there. And then Zach went on to play in the White Sox organization for a little while. And then you came on board at Rebel? I think we said August 2020.
Zach Kayne: Yeah, right.
James Cerbie: First time in training. And I’ve had some really awesome results that I think a lot of people listening to this will be able to relate to. So excited to have you on kind of chat a little bit about your background, your history, your journey, and then to dive into a little bit of what your experience has been like working with us and some of the results that you’ve seen.
An Introduction to Zach Kayne
Zach Kayne: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We’re glad to be on. Thanks for having me, James. So fun to get back and talking with you again. I think that I see your parents like four years ago or something at a game and they were like, oh, no, James is that you know, he’s out on the West Coast doing his workout stuff. And I knew what you were doing from afar and saw everything. But I’m glad now that I can be a part of it.
And it’s been awesome. But yeah, background wise grew up in Atlanta. I was always into sports my whole life, all different kinds of sports, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, football, you name it. You know, baseball was my one true passion, I’d say, and so pursued that with everything that I could. I was always a little really small guy had to work extra hard to get everything that I got. I only played two games in my high school career.
Yet, as James mentioned, I made it to the Chicago White Sox. So, a lot of hard work and determination. Nothing came easy and really had to hit the gym hard. You know, natural as you call athletic abilities were really high, but natural strength was about as low as you can get. And so, I had to dedicate a lot of time and effort to that. You know, it paid off. Davidson was awesome.
I think I gained like fifteen pounds my freshman year after being 5’2 as a freshman in high school to 5’10 is a senior but real thin. Was able to put on some pounds and you made a big difference my time at Davidson and you know, I worked really hard on the physical stuff while I was playing baseball because I knew I’d just show up and play and be the best guy on the field. So that kind of background and mantra for me is just you get out what you put into it. I Didn’t start my freshman year, didn’t play at all except for coming in to pitch a little bit, which was kind of fun because I had pitched since I was 13 years old.
But Davidson, as James is laughing about it, we like to turn our position players into pitchers because we don’t have enough scholarships in order to pay for pitchers that are very good. And so, I got up on the bum from sophomore year to senior year. I started every game and had a great time, awesome team, a lot of fun with games, great team bonding and all that kind of stuff. I think James out of everybody was probably the only guy in the team who could hang with me on squats in the weight room.
We had some pretty good squat battles. He’ll probably argue that I didn’t go deep enough. I’ll say I hit 90 degrees and that’s fine with me.
James Cerbie: We’ll bring Timmy in as a third-party observer.
Zach Kayne: Yeah, yeah. Good old Timmy. But now had had a lot of fun with that. And James has always been in the left. And even back then, you know, I was going to him to ask for tips and help and stuff like that because is a passion of yours and then got drafted, played minor league baseball or a couple of years for the White Sox, which is kind of the pinnacle of my athletic career. I had a great time.
Got to see some really cool parts of the country, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Idaho Falls, Arizona, and all up and down the East Coast. Playing with the team is actually pretty cool. I was right outside of Dayton up in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Thanks for the White Sox and then played for the Winston-Salem team a little bit. So, it’s good to be able to shoot back and forth season Davis and games. You see the guys and then go back up and play.
And yeah, there are a couple of years I decided that the life of minor league baseball player was not for me by any stretch of the imagination. All the bus rides and eating crap food and being told where to go and when to be and getting paid nothing for it is worth it if you can make it, but get making it is just so damn difficult. And so, I wasn’t willing at that point once I had a couple of years and to basically say, all right, screw everything else, I’m going all in and whatever happens to the rest in life, like, you know, family, all that kind of stuff.
No, not care about it. And so, I decided to hang up the cleats and go back the nine to five, the real world, as they call it. This is a pretty rude awakening for me, never having done really internships because I was playing baseball every summer, lifting every summer, one of the two to be sit behind a desk from nine to five or more like eight to six. Nowadays, I don’t think nine five really exists much anymore.
Yeah. And so, I had to, you know, adjust both mental aspects and headspace and like, where did I get my competitive edge out? Like what did I need to do to, like, go and do? Just I could not stare at a screen all day and then go home and like eat and sleep and then do it all over again. Like, I had to do something physically active to keep my energy levels up besides just lifting and stuff. And now that I didn’t have a reason to lift, other than just like lifting to lift, it was a lot more difficult to be motivated to get in as much and work as hard.
Zach’s Transition Into the “Real World”
James Cerbie: I was going to ask, what were some of the big reflections in that transition time? We hear that a lot from our people because we attract people that were high school athletes, college athletes, maybe professional athletes. And then there’s always this transition period where it’s like, OK, well, I lifted for this outcome and I had this team and I had a sport and I had a locker room and had a community in competition. We had this whole package that came together.
And then you have this like a moment of like one day it’s there, the next day it’s not. And it’s like, so this is a new landscape. So, what was one of the biggest transitions for you then? Kind of like not having that sport anymore as an outlet.
Zach Kayne: Yeah. I mean, you know, not having the sport, I like to say it’s like, yeah, I miss the sport. But at the end of the day, what I think I really missed was the team camaraderie and like working together towards a common goal, being the best or whatever. And like, I love all kind of sports, but like the team aspect is what I really missed afterwards.
James Cerbie: I could agree more with that statement.
Zach Kayne: Having people next to you drive you to shoot the shit with to have fun with it, to celebrate the wins and whatever the loss is also. And that part about it was the biggest component that was missing for me that I had to try and like find elsewhere.
James Cerbie: So, what did you turn to first then? Because you had a good background in terms of exposure in a weight room, lifting training. So, what were some of the things that you turn to first and to try to fill that void? Essentially, that was. I was left behind because, like knowing you, like, I know there’s no way that you were just going to ride off into the sunset and let yourself just become like a dad. Bod is no longer athletic.
Like you hold these things too dear, like we all do. So, like, what were some of the first couple of things that you tried or avenues you went down to try to, like, hold on to this thing?
Zach Kayne: So, I was this funny. I had like a strength coach that I worked-in in the off seasons and I could not afford to pay him anymore for his services because it was very expensive when I was playing. But there was an angle. So, I reached out to him and I was like, hey, can you just like I don’t need these balls to the wall plan. I just need to kind of like be an athletic human being still. And like, you have the strength to be able to do the things I want to do and, you know, go and play tennis or go and play softball or something like that.
So, I started there. It was fine. But again, it’s like just going and lifting on my own, having that not really having done that a ton in the past four or five, six years, it was harder to just have that motivation like I still had. He’d send me workouts and plans and stuff, but there was no progression in my mind with it. There was no tracking of what I was doing. It was just things to just go and just almost just to be active, really, at the end of the day, like I was still getting stronger and stuff.
But it was not I couldn’t tell you what one day it was like to lift in the next day or three months later it was why like I had no idea. And so, I just kind of lost track of that. I just didn’t it was just like I’d get in the gym, whatever, I could make time, and it wasn’t as much of a priority. And then not having something that I was looking for is really that part of it.
For me, it was just like I had to change my mindset. And it took a while. Like at first it was just like I didn’t have as much motivation. I want to look good, right? Like who doesn’t? But it wasn’t like I wanted to really get in there and did after it because I didn’t care really. I think, you know, part of it’s been a while, right. Yeah. That was ten years ago that I stopped playing.
So, between then and now, there’s a lot of adjustments, a different path I took and did CrossFit and class training in class-pass and like all different kinds of things, just to find something that would like stick that I would like and stay with and been more motivated as I’ve gotten older and been like, well, shit, this hurts and that hurts and this hurt. And like, I need to keep myself in good shape and really care about it.
So, part of the reasons why I reached out last year.
James Cerbie: Yeah, for sure, I mean, it’s a really common story among a lot of the people that we get to traditional sports and then they’re kind of left with this gaping vacuum of sorts. And then they go and they start trying kind of anything that they can get their hands on. Yeah, but they just can’t find the right thing that fits. It’s like they tried this one thing. They’re like, yeah, I tried to CrossFit and I loved the whole community aspect was great.
The people were awesome. Didn’t like the programing.
Zach Kayne: Right. Yeah.
James Cerbie: Or like I have this like one parallel. I got a program off the Internet to do and then I’m just like I just feel like a lone wolf. I have no accountability and I eventually just drop off and then I start like shiny object syndrome program hopping every like three to four weeks, like you hear the same stories. Repetitively, again and again and again, from our population to people towards like, I know I want this outcome, I mean, it’s not entirely sure where to go to get it.
Zach Kayne: Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, you’re just you’re floundering around trying this and that and like, nothing ever really stuck for more than, I don’t know, three to six months maybe. It feels great at first. And you get that for you. I got a new program. I’m so excited about it and like getting after it. And then after a little while, it’s like, where am I even going with this? Yeah. So definitely that’s the same story for me.
A Look Into Zach’s Training Numbers
James Cerbie: Just as I know that you have a couple of numbers there in terms of like what your progress is, looks like since being with us since August. So, I would love to touch on what do those numbers actually look like so we can give people a frame of reference of like, hey, this is where I was, this is where I am now. So, and then I would love to hear what you think was something like the biggest contributing factors that allowed you to, like, experience those types of results.
Zach Kayne: Yeah, I mean, I’d say the reason why I joined the program, first of all, in August was like I’d seen your postings of, like people who were really enjoying the team atmosphere that you guys kind of helped to foster. And just having a specific program with, like goals in mind of what you’re working towards and being able to see the results from A to B. And so, I think I’m a clear example of that that works. And so, yeah, I think the super strong the first one that I did was just like a 30 day like hit it hard, let’s deep bench and squat and deadlifts and let’s just focus on those three lifts.
Right. Not a whole lot of other things. And I hadn’t frankly done squats and probably like five years because I just like I had naturally strong legs. And I was like, I just I want to do squats. I just want to what I just want to do. And my legs were so fine. And so, like, I came in the program, I was like, what, two eighty-five for like three reps, APR’s, like where I was at by whatever month and a half from now, like six weeks from the initial thing I think I was up at around like three, fifteen for three.
Pretty easy. And then today you went from Superstrong to the Apex program and then been doing that steadily since October, I think the beginning of October now. So, we’re talking about six, seven, eight months and now I’m doing like three, sixty-five for three, which is like eighty pounds more than I was doing last August. Yeah. And some of that attribute to the fact that I didn’t do much before, but like a lot of it is attributed to like I have a specific program in order to focus on growing and training and tracking and those numbers, like I didn’t really think about it all that much until like I put the before and after and next to each other on the page and jumps out of just how big of a difference it is.
James Cerbie: Yeah, that’s a huge difference.
Zach Kayne: So, that’s one that’s back squat. That’s one thing. And to that point, I’ve also started doing some front squats, which I basically never done in my life because I know the whole risk thing with baseball. I always use that as an excuse and found the strap method which I love and killed it on the front squats. I think that I enjoy it much more than the back now. And so that’s like my new thing that I never would have even tried before.
But I love the feeling that it gives. And from there I’ve seen from my first trying front squat two seventy-five, I went down a little because I want to be careful. I’ve seen over I’m doing 315×10 now.
James Cerbie: Little different squat 315 for 10, especially coming from…
Zach Kayne: Not doing it. Yeah. It’s just crazy because I hadn’t done it before and then I’ve got a program on a track and I don’t have to think about it right now.
I don’t have to think about my progression other than just, all right, here’s what I need to do. I’m going to do done and then see what I end up. And so, I’ve seen bench. I never before in my life, even in college, when we were doing Blitz with really lifted more than 230 on bench for a single round. And I just did not have a strong chest or whatever. Some of it. I think the form that we worked on in the Superstrong really helped.
And I went from like a at the time in August 205×3. So, I’m at like two fifty-five by three now. Fifty pounds over seven months. Just the numbers are just mind boggling of the change and stuff that I’ve been able to see.
James Cerbie: Damn it, that’s great. That’s huge. I love it. Yeah. That’s so awesome.
Zach Kayne: Deadlifts went from 335 to 385. I was able to get 385 for 2 just a couple of weeks ago. So, huge, huge, huge, huge increases. And what I liked about obviously we’re talking about the three big lifts here and stuff. But like some of the other numbers, like the more athleticism-based stuff, the broad jump, like, I wasn’t getting over 100 hundred inches and I used to be able to really jump like I could.
I could jump out of the gym. I haven’t been jumping. And so, I like all the that kind of stuff that’s mixed in with the lifting, which if I was just doing it by myself, I’d never do. Yeah, because I’m not going to sit here and do two steps and then a big broad jump, just like my training. I look around and nobody else is doing that in the gym, like I’m the only guy off in the corner doing my weird shit and.
James Cerbie: Throws and I still be athletic.
Zach Kayne: Exactly. Exactly. Like my goal is not to be just this meathead muscle-bound guy who can’t do anything. I like to go and play sports. And so, I want to have functional strength and increased athletic ability and all that kind of stuff, which you just don’t get with a lot of the other programs. So, yeah, my project, like when we were doing the test the other day, I was like 12 inches. And so then at just under 100 it was like ninety-eight or ninety-nine I think casual sports and brought up casual, casual one foot.
And you can see there over the course of like eight months. But again, it’s like some of it all attributed to the fact that like I wasn’t training for that right now I’m training for it. But it’s also because I’ve got specific training to focus on those things and be able to track the differences, which is which I love.
James Cerbie: For sure. Do you know if you’re vertical or if any of the conditioning tests have improved also?
Zach Kayne: So conditioning tests have improved? The only one I have noted, and this is it is kind of conditioning not is like the biceps ladder during the which is horrible. It’s a terrible exercise that leads me to pieces. I went from like one minute fifty to like a minute sixteen. So, I shaved off like forty seconds on like a sixty-rep version of that. So, it was like night and day from where I was trying before to, I got to what else.
Pretty similar results on the triceps lot have the specific numbers, but around the same thing, it was like over like a 30 or 40 percent decrease in time in order to get the same number of reps.
James Cerbie: Beautiful, love it, increased strength. The increased power increase capacity. All the good things.
Zach Kayne: All the good things. And I did tend initially to say, you know what, I’m just going to play tennis instead of like do this exercise on the rowing machine and then bring in the assault bike and do all that crap. So, I kind of like shied away from that at first because I just was like, I’m not done, but I think I’m enticed. You said, hey, I’m going to play tennis. I play tennis every once in a while, instead of like doing like these like things, which is good.
James Cerbie: Which is totally cool.
Zach Kayne: Right. But like, it’s not the same from getting your heart rate up and stuff. So, I do try and mix that in a little bit more.
Difference Between Training With Rebel Performance Versus Other Training Outlets
James Cerbie: Beautiful man. So, what do you think has been some of the biggest differences in like working with us versus the other things that you’ve tried, the reason that you’ve been able to stick to it, you’ve been able to see progress, make progress, and everything is still just trajectory like this way? Yeah, everything is still moving up. There’s no signs of a plateau anywhere.
Zach Kayne: No, no. I mean. Yeah, no signs of a plateau yet. I’m sure I’ll hit one at some point. But I think the difference is for me, part of it’s been when you see the results, it’s additional motivation, like when you’re tracking it like through the app and stuff. And I can go back three weeks, four weeks, six weeks and see where I was at and where I’m at now. And that in and of itself, it’s like, oh, man, this is really working.
It’s like additional drive to keep doing it and keep pushing hard. I’m competitive by nature. So, when somebody posts that score, I’m like, man, I got to try and beat that. And so, I’ll look there and I definitely do not beat lot of them. There are some monsters that are part of the program, which is just good men got have goals. That aspect of it I really like, and being able to chat with people and see what they’re doing and the successes and wins and struggles and all that stuff and get feedback.
I think the community aspect of it, which especially with covid, I know it’s difficult and tough and stuff, but like this was like the only outlet I had to like, talk with other people while I was working and doing stuff like that. And so that aspect of it really helped.
James Cerbie: And hopefully we’ll be able to dial that up more now that we’re going to start running the training camps three times a year. Yeah, I actually get people together in person and so we can.
Hopefully have this, like, really cool online vibe that no one else has of the seven program pathways you can choose from, you get an awesome community, all this other stuff, we get to actually come together and lift in person three times a year. So, it’s like you can get hands on coaching and meet other people in the team. Just try to like really blend and have a hybrid approach of like you get some in-person, you get the remote the best of both worlds.
So hopefully they’ll be able just to keep kind of dialing that up for people.
Zach Kayne: Yeah. I think that’s great. I saw that first one not got the three kids. Now, my brand-new daughter is like seven weeks old a few days ago, so I’ll still want to try and make one of those. I definitely will not be doing three a year, but I’d love to be at least, at least get one to go and meet some of the people and get out there and get after it. I’m excited about that and the challenge and the challenge that we did last week. That’s pretty fun too.
James Cerbie: Oh, yeah, that was pretty brutal. They were. So yeah, that was what was your what was your least favorite event in that challenge?
Satan’s Beep Test
Zach Kayne: Satan’s deep test. I almost threw up.
I thought, I want to see that one literally has me on the ground like almost dry heaving. I was horrible, absolutely horrible. It was all awesome, fun, fun test, fun to challenge myself. But that was what I read and was looking through it. I didn’t I didn’t realize how bad it’s going to be until I started and as soon as I started through my first one. I like all this sucks.
James Cerbie: Is as best to go and totally naive to how terrible it’s going to be.
Zach Kayne: Yeah, that one got me the worst, but they were all fun.
James Cerbie: Nice. We can post the details for Satan’s deep test in the show. Notes for people if anybody wants to. So, give it a run and have some fun. It’s pretty awful and terrible, but I highly recommend you do it.
Zach Kayne: Yeah.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I actually need to go back and pull what the. Yeah. As we get more people that run it, we’ll be able to have like some standardized like breakdowns of like percentage tier finishes.
Zach Kayne: Excellent man. So don’t tell me mine after like, you know, don’t post that out to everybody.
James Cerbie: So, let’s wrap here. Let’s say if somebody is listening to this and they’ve been on the fence about like jumping on board what we’re doing and working with us what would be a year or two since piece of advice for them.
Zach’s Closing Piece of Advice
Zach Kayne: My two cents piece of advice… You have to have the internal motivation like this program isn’t just going to work for itself. You’re not going to just, oh, I’ve got this program now. I’m going to be awesome. You actually have to put in the work.
It is a lot of work is dedication and time commitment. But if you, do it and you put your all into it and follow the program and follow the training and really kind of buy in the results speak for themselves. So, you know, somebody who doesn’t like to play in my own training, I can’t stand like trying to have to find time to think about what I’m going to do next. In fact, I can just open up the app.
It has everything in there that’s kind of geared towards what I’m looking for and just like follow it and get after it, it works. And you know that if the results are testament on the right, like I can talk all I want about it, but like the results speak for themselves. So, if you want a program that is easy to follow, gives you a great community aspect, people to be able to look over what you’re doing and help you out and provide technique tips and all that kind of stuff, then you can get all that there.
And it’s just good people. It’s a lot of fun.
James Cerbie: Beautiful. Thanks so much, dude, for coming on, really glad that we got to reconnect ever just in training and throwing down, kind of like I feel like what our first bond was, was like hanging out in the weight room, late-night hours on a T and a cage and running train and everybody in Flicker Ball. So that’s what we’re going to do.
Zach Kayne: Those were the days.
James Cerbie: That we’re going to do we’re going to have a Flicker Ball tournament at one of these training camps.
Zach Kayne: We should show them how it’s done. James Cerbie: Bring back the glory days off of it. Thank you. So, anybody listen to this. If you’re like, hey, this sounds awesome. I would love to learn more than in the show notes beneath here, just like there’ll be a button to be a little link. You can click to chat with our team. We can answer any questions you have. One of our big goals is always make sure that we get you pointed in the right direction for you.
So, we’ll talk to you about your goals or how long you’ve been training. Do you have any pain right now? What kind of equipment do you have access to? And we’ll give you our best honest, unbiased recommendation about where you should go, whether that’s with us, whether it’s with some of our friends or the people we work with. But, yeah, that will be in the show notes. Just click that to chat with the team.
But otherwise, Zach. Thank you, man. Everybody listening, you guys have an amazing week. And next week we’ve got Ty Terrell from the Atlanta Hawks coming back on board to talk all things velocity-based training. It should be really good. So, stay tuned for that. Zach, anything else? Anything else for the people?
Zach Kayne: No, James is the man; you’re a mad genius. I don’t know how you figure this stuff out, but it’s crazy the results we get. So, appreciate all the hard work. And, you know, I think you guys are continuing to improve the program over and over again.
James Cerbie: Awesome, man. Thank you so much.
- Follow Zach Kayne on Instagram here:
- Explore the Free Training Samples here:
- Check out Satan’s Beep Test here:
- Chat with our team here:
- Text REBELRADIO to 81493 to get 10% off your first program
- Text RPCOACHING to 81493 to join our next case study training group.
- Take the Rebel Performance Training Quiz to find the right program for you
- Get a coach that’s dedicated to your success
- Take a course to become a better coach