Making the turn onto Blackberry Road and seeing a long, steep, and winding road heading deep into the Appalachian Mountains, I knew I had arrived somewhere unique. Zap Fitness is a place that it truly different from anything the world has ever seen and somewhere you not only learn about the others around you, but yourself as well.
Driving onto the campus of Zap Fitness was stunning as they turned an old pasture into a facility perfect for a professional running group. The weather was an amazing 55 to 75 degrees because they were in a temperate rainforest so it always got cooled down and the view of the tree covered mountains all around was remarkable. As an intern my role was to help with any task necessary to keep everything running smoothly. Whether if it was laying gravel down on the tow path, weed-eating the property, preparing the lodge for the adult camps Zap Fitness hosts throughout the summer, or any assignment needing assistance, I was the man for the job. I loved every second of it and being able to help an organization toward a good cause was very rewarding to me. But enough about the labor work, now it’s time to hear what really made this internship special.
Being at Zap is like having the key to the door with all the resources you could ever dream of right in front of you. All you have to do is unlock it and that is exactly what I did. I sat in on coaching seminars, went on daily runs with the professional athletes, learned their nutrition schedules, helped with the Zap Fitness – Reebok running store, went to game seven in a ping pong match of the ages with Irish Olympian Mark Carroll, fixed the Wi-Fi on four time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers phone, picked up a Google employee from the airport, attended a symphony party, received exclusive Zap Fitness – Reebok gear, went to a Scottish festival on the 6,000 foot Grandfather Mountain, learned how to cook from a chef who has a background in fine dining, and most importantly networked with several Reebok Representatives. I certainly had no idea my summer would entail even one of those things, but I am extremely grateful it did.
With all that being said, one of my favorite parts which still surprises me to say, was my time spent in the kitchen with Chef Michael Ryan. I had never worked in a kitchen before so I was oblivious to all cooking related activities. I like to think I am a quick learner and I got the hang of it fast. Slicing and dicing potatoes, peeling corn stalking’s, jamming to Jazz and 70’s Funk, and washing plates for 25 plus
individuals a night, the kitchen was somewhere I grew not only as an intern but as a man. I credit that to Chef Michael as I began to understand that what we make in the kitchen and eventually serve to people must be perfect or else their night will be ruined and I took that mindset and applied it to my everyday life.
While working towards my degrees in Selling and Sales management and Entrepreneurship & Innovation I found what Pete and Zika made with Zap Fitness very unique. Them, along with the staff, athletes, and all the campers that took the time to spend a week at Zap have inspired me to pursue my dreams and apply what I have learned to my life. This fall semester I will be working at a new donut shop on Purdue’s campus called Hammer Donuts. There I will be the Digital Marketing Coordinator along with working part-time in their kitchen. Additionally, I am working on creating my own clothing line and I hope to have products available to purchase by spring 2018.
Once again I cannot thank Zap Fitness and Reebok enough for the opportunity of a lifetime. I will be working hard to use everything I learned to the best of my ability in all aspects of life. From my interview with coach Warrenburg to my last airport pick-up, my summer at Zap Fitness was one that I will never forget and I hope to one day continue working with Reebok to help Zap Fitness reach heights even greater than the peak of Grandfather Mountain.
Be More Human, Ethan Hoeft