For many people with chronic, physical mobility problems, veteran Marine Zak Schulps and his Phyzique Fitness training center in the Almond Orchard Plaza have been heaven-sent. For more than a decade Schulps has helped the young and old regain long-lost movement and freedom from pain. But Schulps’ story goes deeper than physical training. The certified exercise rehabilitation specialist also drums for a new rock band called 3House, once played Rocky in a performance of Rocky Horror Show, cites actor Leonardo DiCaprio as his cousin and recounts his days on the Los Angeles Rams practice squad. Whew! For more on Phyzique Fitness, call Schulps at 228-7436.
What kind of people come to you for help?
Anyone who has serious, long-term body-motion problems. The causes can be from genetics, injury, illness or surgery. Many come to me who were exasperated with their normal therapy.
Why did you choose this profession?
I like improving people and I know how painful body injuries can be. Years ago as a motorcycle racer I ripped my shoulder 7 inches out of its socket. It took a year of painful therapy to recover.
How are you different from regular sports medicine and rehab therapists?
I customize workouts using things like weights, aerobics and Pilates according to each person’s character and personality. I improve their whole body, as opposed to just a specific body part or symptom. For instance, if someone can’t fully move their leg, I not only work on that, but I train them to lift, walk and sit more efficiently.
Why is most of your equipment and furniture red?
It represents the blood, sweat and tears I’ve gone through to reach this stage. In addition to my certification, I’ve trained Marines while in the military [and] coached football at Chico and Orland high schools.
Can you give us a favorite success story?
Sure. One lady, Sue, who’s 78, has been with me since I opened 11 years ago. She had cancer, lost the use of half a lung and could barely get off her couch. Doctors were unsure how long she’d live. After failing at other gyms, she came here and slowly progressed from using 40 percent of her lung to 80 percent. She trains here five days a week and says I saved her life.
What’s the secret to your success?
My father, who passed away last year, told me to find something I liked and earn a living from it. I have lots of other interests, but bringing people back to health is my biggest joy.