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Body Evolution in the Press - December 2, 2005

'Competing against yourself'
South Elgin resident combines life's work and business
Chicago's Fittest Man
By Nick Swedberg    Kane County Chronicle    Posted on Friday, December 2, 2005

Ken Hedrich stands in front of a row of elaborage machines and weights with his back to a mirrored wall lined with trophies.

His accolades represent decades of work, years of sweat and sacrifice.

This South Elgin man's most recent accomplishment — a regional lifting promotion company recently named him "Fittest Man in Chicago" — is another in a lifetime of competing that started with winning a pull-up competition in grade school.

"Ultimately, you're competing against yourself," said Hedrich, 36.

His hard work also is his business.

Hedrich runs a fitness center called Body Evolution in the basement of his home.  There he trains his 50 clients, some who have been with him for 12 years.

He offers an 8-week training package geared to any exercise level and caters to those who might not like the health club lifestyle.

"There are a number of people who are not comfortable in a health club," Hedrich said.

He earned a master's degree in exercise physiology from Northern Illinois University.  Hedrich trains himself and his clients according to the latest diet and exercise information.

"That's why the fittest man award fits so well," Hedrich said.

One long-time friend has worked out with him for 20 years.

Art Virta, 84, met Hedrich as a 16 year old when he first joined the Strong Athletes Against Steroids, a weightlifting group that hosts lifting events.

He and Hedrich competed in the fittest man competition, but Virta didn't finish as well as hoped because of a shoulder injury.

"He had a dream, where he was No. 1 and I was number 2." Virta said.

A Mount Prospect resident and weight lifter for 60 years, Virta said he and Hedrich became friends during the group's many lifting competitions.

"It becomes rewarding to me to see someone improve himself because of something I tell them," Virta said.

Now, Hedrich is passing on his knowledge and training to the next generation, his son Andrew.  The 4-year-old will compete in lifting competitions in the spring.

"My (20) years of hard work have paid off," Hedrich said.

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