Zaragoza: Not any body
Longtime Valley personal trainer continues competitive bodybuilding career
Juan Zaragoza has been a personal trainer for more than 18 years and is the owner of Sonoma Valley Fitness, where he is seen recently working out in preparations for future bodybuilding competitions.
As a young boy growing up on a farm in CD Guzman Jalisco, Mexico, where he was born in 1977, Juan Miguel Zaragoza Magana learned to be a hard worker with family values from his parents, who, along with many of his relatives, also came to the United States for years to work and forge a better life.
Working the land with his family – producing corn and raising milk cows, pigs, chickens, horses and other farm animals – Zaragoza always held hope for the opportunity to expand his horizons.
Then, in 1988, Zaragoza’s life took a fortunate change for the better when his parents moved the family to the U.S., where it settled in Sonoma.
Though the transition wasn’t easy for Zaragoza and his two brothers and two sisters, and not speaking English, he was more than enthusiastic to make the most of this chance to build his future.
When Zaragoza reached the eighth grade, he discovered and fell in love with his favorite sport. No, it wasn’t his birth country or the majority of the world’s most popular sport, soccer, or baseball, or basketball, or American football – it was bodybuilding.
He started seriously lifting weights and training, and became immersed in the sport and decided to take it to the next level.
“I learned how to train, how to eat healthy, and how to make my muscles grow without any drugs,” said Zaragoza. “I wanted to compete, therefore I needed to learn more than the average ‘Joe’ at the gym. I started picking up magazines, books, anything that had to do with bodybuilding.”
Knowing the sport of bodybuilding demands lots of time, training and patience in developing the body and confidence to reach the high-level competitions, the dedicated Zaragoza progressed with his climb up the ladder to success in his athletic and life-fulfilling dream.
“After 6 years of working out, studying hard, and putting 100 percent into bodybuilding, I felt that I was ready physically and mentally to step on the big stage,” Zaragoza said. “I learned how to pose to make my body look bigger and more defined and I’ve been competing for more than 15 years.”
In those past 15 years, Zaragoza has competed in more than 25 major bodybuilding shows all over the United States, winning four titles and earning 10 second-place finishes, along with a third, fourth and fifth in NPC national competitions.
He’s also been featured in numerous articles, newspapers, magazines, music videos and movies, as well as on TV and radio talk shows in both the United States and Mexico.
Recently, Zaragoza claimed second- and third-place finishes at the NPC natural competition as a middleweight, and he is currently getting ready to compete in May for Mr. Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico, as well as in other shows in the Bay Area.
Everything that has happened to Zaragoza in the world of bodybuilding inspired him to become a personal trainer, which he has been for 18 years. He opened his own gym, Sonoma Valley Fitness, in 2007 with the help and support of his parents, wife, family and friends.
“My goal is to inspire other kids or people and to emphasize that weight-lifting is not only about having big muscles, but it’s also about being healthy and challenging yourself to get into the best shape of your life,” said Zaragoza. “It hasn't been easy – it’s been a long road. But I still have a lot more things to accomplish and I will not give up.”
As for his last statement, all you have to do is just look at Zaragoza and his infectious smile and awe-inspiring body in a photo, or especially in person, and not be impressed with what he has accomplished in his life, and what he will achieve in his future. Giving up doesn’t exist in Zaragoza’s being, and along with the inspiration you take away from being in contact with him comes his well-known send-off phrase, “Remember to always have a strong mind and strong body.”
Anyone interested in what is offered for personal health at Sonoma Valley Fitness, located at 18615 Sonoma Highway, can visit the gym or call Zaragoza at 933-8369.