Zac Perna is all about the fitness lifestyle – you could say he’s a fitness influencer. The Mornington Peninsula resident speaks to Kate Sears about his persistence, hard work, and passion for helping people with their fitness goals.
When did your passion for health and fitness begin?
Growing up I was never a sporty kid. I battled with self-esteem issues and just wasn’t happy in my own skin. With the help of my older brother, at the age of 14 I started a home workout program using a couple of 5kg dumbbells and an old office chair. I then graduated to an actual gym at the age of 15 and fell in love with weight training. I was addicted and have been that way ever since.
With more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, you must be an influence to so many fellow fitness fanatics. In saying that, who is your role model?
I don’t aspire to be like anyone else. I think the reason that I even have a following is because I never aspired to be anyone other than me. My weirdness (for lack of a better term) is probably what separates me from the rest and I’ve always been worried that if I tried to emulate someone else I would just become another copy. However, I do like to take inspiration from others in my field, such as fellow Gymshark athletes, most being some of my really good friends. This allows me to be inspired by other people’s hard work and makes me want to collaborate and grow together.
Considering your YouTube subscribers total more than 650,000, combined with your Facebook and Instagram presence, is being in the public eye daunting at such a young age?
I remember being completely lost for words in the early days when someone would stop me at the supermarket. I think in the beginning they’re just numbers on a screen and you don’t realise how many people you can potentially reach and impact. It’s a big responsibility without a doubt but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How did you get to where you are now?
Around five years ago I started writing PDF diet plans and workout programs for clients. I loved it. One thing led to another and in 2018 I was able to scale the business to my own app and be able to impact thousands of clients worldwide.
What do you love about the fitness industry?
I love the connection it brings between people. Like any other it has plenty of pitfalls but one thing it’s great at is bringing like-minded people together that share the same passion and goal for self-betterment.
What’s your vision for the next five, 10 and 15 years?
I never know what’s around the corner. Five to 10 years ago I never could’ve envisioned the life I have now. I only knew what I enjoyed doing and the value of persistence and hard work. I have a similar mentality today. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing but I can say with confidence that I will pursue my love for making an impact on people through fitness and entertainment with absolutely everything that I’ve got.