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Body Evolution in the Press - October 12, 2005

South Elgin resident Chicago's "Most Fit Man"
South Elgin resident Chicago's "Most Fit Man" By Erik Jacobsen
St. Charles/Geneva Sun    Posted on Sunday, October 12, 2005

Bulky powerlifters and ridiculously buff bodybuilders owned the main stage for much of the day at BenchAmerica's Fitness Expo at the Elgin Community College Events Center on Saturday.

However, 150-pound South Elgin resident Ken Hedrich stole the show in earning the title "Chicagoland's Most Fit Man."

Hedrich, a 35-year-old personal excercise physiologist who owns and operates Body Evolution in South Elgin, beat out four other male finalists in a competition that consisted of six events — a 5-kilometer run, stair-climbing, push-ups, chin-ups, benchpress reps and a maximum benchpress lift.

"I'm always looking for ways to be a good role model for my clients," Hedrich said.  "I personal train full time, so I've got to practice what I preach and that was my primary motivation."

Hedrich beat runner-up Joe Eckert, who's sister Kristen Eckert earned "Chicagoland's Most Fit Woman" honors.

Throughout the summer, men and women performed the six events at XSport Fitness Center's throughout the Chicago area in an attempt to qualify for Saturday's finals.

Of the five men and four women who took part Saturday, Jack Bellmer — a wiry, balding Springfield resident — was the oldest.  At 55-years-old, Bellmer's 82 push-ups in a minute, 16 consecutive chin-ups and 20 bench reps of 130 pounds were competitive with his younger counterparts.

"All I can say is where's the handicap?" Bellmer said with a laugh.  "But seriously, this is good competition and a fun event."

Hedrich, who entered the finals with the most points from qualifying, completed an amazing 112 push-ups in a minute.  He also performed 30 consecutive chin-ups and benched 48 reps of 150 pounds.  Before each event, Hedrich's 4-year-old son Andrew offered some support from the side of the stage.

"I'm not a stranger to competition, but this is certainly a neat event and a little bit different than what I am used to," Hedrich said.  "With the music, the lights and all the people cheering for you, it was a great atmosphere."

Hedrich earned his master's degree in exercise physiology from Northern Illinois University.  His research in energy expenditure was accepted for presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine's 2001 Annual Research Symposium.

He has served as director of the Gerontology Strength Clinic at NIU and as vice-president for Strong Athletes Against Steriods, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting drug use in sports.

At Body Evolution, he typically sees between 40-50 clients per week, taking them through an individualized exercise program, while continually monitoring their nutritional intake and body fat percentage.

He said he often hears potential clients saying, "I need to get in shape before I see you!"

"Not true at all," says Hedrich.  "Regardless of how poor your fitness level is, you should never hesitate to call me for support.  My specialty is working with overweight and out-of-shape individuals who really need one-on-one attention."

For a consultation, call (847) 931-8000.  Visit

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