Our Staff

Zak Ziegenbein

Head Coach and Owner

 Why did you get into fitness (and CrossFit)?

Growing up, I was always active and always played sports. I started out playing little league baseball, soccer and basketball in a small town. Once I got to middle school I played football, basketball, track and field, wrestled briefly, and was on swim team. I was introduced to weightlifting during middle school football, and learned to squat, bench press and power clean. I played Football, Basketball, Track and Golf once I got to High School. Back then my training days looked very similar to a CrossFit workout. During the summers of two a day practices for football, those can be boiled down to sled pushing, sprinting, and endurance training. In between practices we would usually lift. Every day was max out day! Back then it didn’t matter, since at 16-18 years old I felt unstoppable. My senior year football playing weight was 195, I played center and middle linebacker. After high school I was offered a spot on the Doane College Football squad, but decided to turn it down to focus on school and felt burnt out on sports. I regret not playing football in college whenever I think about it. I continued to train regularly at the strength and conditioning facility on campus, and played intramural sports when I transferred to UNL. I played and coached flag football and was a basketball referee. He tried out for the Nebraska Cornhuskers Football team at the 2002 football combine.

After nearly 10 years away from college strength and conditioning and starting a family I was overweight weighing 248lbs, constantly tired and just about to turn 30. I decided I needed to make major changes in my life if I wanted to see my kids grow up! I started by walking more, and trying to eat better. Then I decided to join a bootcamp facility training with bodyweight, kettlebells, kickboxing, TRX and body bars. I started to notice how my gym performance was going up as I kept going. I decided to keep up the schedule and try to go everyday and to be the best I could be! I ended up being a trainer there after a year and half, and being known by nearly everyone at the morning classes. Shortly after becoming a trainer there I started educating myself and realized I had plateaued at the boot camp facility, and without additional challenges there I started looking for a new gym. I worked out a large commercial gym for over a year, following bodybuilding forums, and magazine workouts. I tried running programs, and got up to running nearly 20 miles every weekend. I still wasn’t making the progress that I wanted. Then I starting learning about CrossFit after seeing cool t-shirts on Rogue Fitness. I even remember seeing the original CrossFit.com website back in the early 2000’s also while I was a computer programmer. CrossFit was being compared to open source computer programming at the time. I could hardly believe it was the same organization. I then found the closest local affiliate near me CrossFit 402. I trained there regularly for nearly two years. While training there I advanced my fitness education. I dreamed of opening a gym from the first day I started training again.

After regaining my fitness I nearly feel like I’m 18 again! Hopefully I’m able to maintain my  fitness until old age. I never want to feel like I did when I was out of shape ever again.

Currently Zak is training to compete in SuperTotal, which is a weightlifting competition where athletes squat, bench, deadlift, snatch and clean and jerk in the same competition.

Why did you become a trainer?

I have always wanted to be involved in sports, coaching and teaching. Being a CrossFit affiliate owner and coach allows me to achieve my dreams. I believe fitness training is about improving yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Getting fit is one of the most important things you can do in life and I think one of the most rewarding things you can do! I have followed countless fitness ideologies, methods and programs. CrossFit is in my opinion the most fun way to get and stay fit! The best part about CrossFit is that it can constantly change, and utilizes nearly any piece of equipment. Everyone deserves to achieve their best athletic potential, and CrossFit can do that.

What’s your favorite CrossFit movement?

I have two favorite movements, ring muscle ups and snatch. The fun part about CrossFit is it isn’t all about strength, it’s also about moving well and with good technique. It is the technique that keeps these movements interesting for me in particular. Moving well with good technique is more impressive to me than moving the most weight. It isn’t always the strongest man in the gym that wins the daily workout.

What is your favorite cheat meal?

My favorite cheat meal is donuts and coffee. CrossFit Millard also happens to be very close my favorite donut shop! I would say that donuts and coffee is a nearly anabolic food! I always have so much energy after a trip to the donut shop, and usually set PRs shortly after having this meal!

What’s your favorite Superhero and why?

Growing up my favorite superheros were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each turtle has a special talent and they skateboarded, fought ninjas and ate pizza afterwards! What could be better! Growing up my favorite turtle was Michelangelo.

 

I look forward to seeing you in the gym!

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit CF-L2
  • CrossFit CF-L1
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Scaling Certificate
  • CrossFit Judges Course 2016
  • CrossFit Judge Course 2017
  • CrossFit Anatomy
  • Mobility|WOD Institute Movement & Mobility Specialist
  • OPEX CCP On Journey Coach
    • Earned Certificate- Assessment
    • Earned Certificate – Program Design
  • USA Weightlifting L1 Coach – Olympic Weightlifting – Current for 2017
  • Brand X Kids Program Certificate
  • Eat to Perform Nutritional Coach (in progress)
  • CPR Certified

Accomplishments:

  • CrossFit Games Athlete Open 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020
  • Personally lost nearly 100 lbs the old fashioned way of hard work and nutrition, through trial and error on his own
  • Multi Sport High School Athlete, coached by a former Nebraska Cornhuskers Football player
  • 13 years of business experience with family business KZCO
  • Graduated from Ashland-Greenwood High School 2001
  • Graduated from SECC with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing 2005

Jenny Ziegenbein

Member Services

Jenny started CrossFit in June of 2016. She has enjoyed several other fitness programs, most notably Jazzercise. She enjoys eating healthy and exercise. Jenny is a mother of 4 and enjoys finding ways to bring the kids into fitness also!

She has lots of experience with weight loss and healthy recipes!

She is also a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital.

Jenny enjoys helping with CrossFit Millard, and you may see here around!

She enjoys helping clients any way she can!

Qualifications:

  • Career Pediatric Nurse, RN at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • CPR Certified

Accomplishments:

  • 4 wonderful kids
  • awesome wife to an awesome husband
  • personal weight loss success
  • experience in multiple training and exercise programs
  • experience with MSPI in children
  • Nutritional Experience
  • Wealth of healthy recipes

Eric Mason

CrossFit Coach

WHY DID YOU GET INTO FITNESS (AND CROSSFIT)?

As a child, I was very active and enjoyed participating in different sports and activities.  I was kind of a shy kid growing up, but I was athletic, and I could hold my own at any sport that I participated in.  Sports were a great way for me to meet others, to break out of my shell, and to interact with other kids in school that would not normally hang out with me.  I participated in football, basketball, track and field, volleyball, competitive swimming, and martial arts.  In junior high school my father and I would go to the local gym and lift weights.  Working out at the gym was the father-son activity he and I enjoyed doing.  We would have long conversations about bodybuilding, follow the Mr. Olympia contests, and read Muscle and Fitness.  One of the things I remember most is my dad teaching me the importance of technique and proper movement over worrying about the amount of weight on the bar.

After my first year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I decided to enlist in the United States Navy.  I was a Hospital Corpsman, and I was assigned to the United States Marine Corps.  Serving with the Marines requires one to maintain a high level of fitness.  I served during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.  I made sure to remain in top condition so that I was always prepared to protect my country.  Upon discharge, I moved back to Nebraska, obtained an associate degree in business administration, and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.  After years of pumping iron, I realized I was not going to be the next Mr. Olympia, and I was looking for something new and challenging.  In 2013, I heard about CrossFit from a friend of mine, and I gave it a try.  I was immediately hooked, and I have been doing CrossFit ever since.  I enjoy the fact that CrossFit is for everybody, it isn’t about the best person in the gym, the “nobody is finished until the last person is finished,” and the CrossFit community.  CrossFit is something I will be able to participate in for the rest of my life.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A TRAINER?

CrossFit has improved my life not only physically, but it has improved my life in so many other ways as well.  I am a more social person, I am more confident in my abilities, and I believe my overall mental health has improved because of CrossFit.  I have always had a passion to help and teach others.  I was provided an opportunity to volunteer with a non-profit CrossFit gym for veterans and those in the recovery community.  I truly believe that for me to keep what I have, I need to share it with others.  The next logical step was to become a trainer.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT?

My favorite CrossFit movements are muscle ups and clean and jerks. However, I am motivated to work on the skills and movements that are my “weak” areas and movements.  Each year I make a commitment to focus on one of these movements and spend extra time and training working to improve my technique and form.  I learn to embrace what I don’t like because I believe it not only helps me in various workouts, but I am challenged, and it helps build mental toughness.

Qualifications:

  • CrossFit CF-L1
  • CPR Certified
  • Military Service US Navy
  • US Marines

Accomplishments:

  • CrossFit Games Athlete Open 2014 -2020
  • Mojave Desert Games 2nd Place 2020
  • The Battle at Branded One 3rd Place 2020
  • The Frogman Competition 2nd Place 2016
  • Regent Scholar Award, Nevada State College 2011

Matt Livergood

CrossFit Coach and Youth Coach

Matt was born yesterday, and immediately upon exiting the womb, shotgunned a FitAid then snatched 135lbs. Matt was raised by a cup of coffee and a pair of Rogue Bumper plates and was allowed to live above the bathrooms in a gym growing up.  Matt played soccer in high school and graduated from Bellevue West. Matt currently competes in CrossFit.

Matt coaches our CrossFit Youth classes at 4:30pm, as well as our evening classes.  Matt is a great coach and brings plenty of energy to his classes.

Qualifications:

CFL-1