It’s that time of year for people to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Getting yourself in shape is usually the first thing on that list.

Sam Zylstra is excited that a new year is coming. “I want to get in good physical shape for the New Year. We've got 8 competitions set out already,” said Zylstra.  Traditionally people want to get in shape for the New Year. “Whether they start out eating too much in the Christmas and thanksgiving holiday season, or they want to do something new.  No matter what that driving force is they set out with a lot of momentum and energy,” said American Iron Gym trainer Travis Ortmayer.

Zylstra is aiming for something more. He wants to compete in national strongman competitions. But it wasn't always that way.  “In high school I was a pretty heavy child. I wanted to lose weight and get in shape so I started collegiate wrestling,” said Zylstra. He was so gifted that he got a very exclusive invitation. “I ended up getting approached by a guy named Gary Brisco.and he was represented the school that WWE professional wrestling pulled from at the time,” said Zylstra.  His professional wrestling try out for the WWE didn't turn out. In an unrelated incident, a disability from his college years laid a crippling blow to his plans for the future.

“I suffered a pretty bad head injury,” said Zylstra. Disabled and despondent, he spiraled downward into depression. He didn't train for 6 years, until recently when he decided to workout at the American Iron Gym in Reno. “I would literally have to sit in bed for 4 days because my ribs and my muscles would ache so bad I could barely get up the next day,” said Zylstra about his training regimen. Since he started working out again, he has lost 30 pounds and he's looking forward to his first ever strongman competition in 2019.  “I feel 10 times better about life than when I am not in the gym,” said Zylstra. He says that it was fitness that changed his life.

Studies by the American Cancer Society, Preventative Medicine magazine, and the Journal of Aging Research all agree that even medium activity can extend a person's life span.