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Life & Work with Zac Shepard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zac Shepard. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I moved from Hawaii to San Diego in 2012 and began subbing in for classes at the gym I was at when the coaches were sick or out of town. A few years later I would end up at the UFC gym teaching my own classes to eventually running my own Muay Thai program not to long after out of my friends Krav Maga gym Art of survival. At this point, I had been coaching for 4 years out here and 3 years prior in Hawaii and started thinking about what’s next for me. I started looking around at open spots in my area and the idea of opening up a gym went from idea to reality with the support of my parents and grandma within 2 months and Premier was born. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely been a roller coaster of a ride, me and my family had no business experience and we figured everything out either the hard way or from other gym owners who gave me advice on running a gym. 2 1 /2 years in when we finally started breaking even and things were looking up COVID started and it took a huge hit on our business. Through Covid, we loss almost half of our student base and again were set back to build back up. During this time, I had contemplated many nights of closing the gym for good but eventually decided to keep pushing and with my gyms solid Coaching staff as well as my students we were able to keep the ship sailing and we’ve come back even bigger than we were before Covid. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Aside from running my gym and working with everyday people, I Coach Professional fighters who are either just starting off or have competed/are competing on the biggest shows in MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. What separates me from the other coaches is my adaptability and my open-mindedness. I’m constantly training and continuing my martial arts learning where other coaches feel they’ve got the answer for everything and they stop learning even though the game is constantly evolving. What makes me unique is also my ability to adapt my style for any rule set whether it’s MMA, kickboxing, or Muay Thai because I have actual experience competing in various different rule sets. 

What do you think about luck?
I don’t believe in luck; I believe that working hard and having belief in yourself and what you’re doing is how things are brought into place. Things could be going wrong with everyone telling you to quit but being able to see through that with belief and keep going is what separates successful people and quitters. The “Lucky“ person more times than not is just the person who believed and never gave up. 

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