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How Pete Koch make a Life Bodybuilding, Acting, and also Playing Football

Dedication in the weight room led Pete Koch to a solid NFL career, significant film roles, and also an encounter through the godfather of bodybuilding.



Just one look in ~ the life—not to cite the body—of actor and also former NFL defensive lineman Pete Koch, 55, provides irrefutable proof that a never-ending dedication come the Weider principles of training deserve to make you, well, damn close to ageless.

Back in 1984, prior to being selected in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals, Koch was standing 6’6″ and weighed in in ~ 280 pounds, v a chiseled physique labeling “fantastic” by NFL scouting reports. It was a far cry indigenous the gangly, almost-100-pounds-lighter brand-new Hyde Park Memorial (NY) nine grader who was said by his football coach he had actually the talent—but not the muscle—to play university ball.

That’s once Koch claims he discovered the Weider way. 

“I’d use my pin money to buy Muscle & Fitness magazines, and also I review them over and over,” Koch recalls. “Arnold had my favorite physique. Ns admired Franco Columbu’s strength and also Lou Ferrigno’s height—we were around the very same size. And also Dave Draper to be my idea of the California bodybuilder.”

With lots of hours in the gym and also heavy doses of egg protein powder, Koch included 60 pounds through his senior year, completing a change that catapulted him come a full ride to Maryland, whereby he collection a team document with a 465-pound bench push in the at an early stage ’80s. His NFL career extended a modest five seasons, separating time with the Bengals, Chiefs, and also Raiders—he had a career-high 51⁄2 sacks through the Chiefs in 1986—all the while preserving his love for going heavy in the weight room. His devotion even landed him the can be fried prize: a meeting v Joe Weider himself.

“He had actually this an excellent big office—massive,” claims Koch. “Right in former of his desk, encountering it, were two other big desks thrust together, wherein his secretaries would certainly sit.” after a short conversation, Weider asked him come represent among his protein supplements. “I was paid, maybe, $150, and also he just ran the hell out of the ad,” Koch says. “But ns didn’t care. That was really thrilling to be a little piece of history with Joe Weider and also his empire.”

At the end of his NFL career, Koch parlayed his sports fame, muscle-bound body, Venice coast tan, and perfect wavy brown hair into a secure career as an actor. He’s racked up a multitude the TV and film credits ~ above IMDb, including the iconic role of the menacing maritime Swede Johanson, who tells his commander, Clint Eastwood, “I’m gonna rip your head off and shit under your neck,” in the standard Heartbreak Ridge—a component for i m sorry Koch still attracts admirers.

“It’s for this reason random as soon as it happens—you’ll simply hear, ‘Swede, Swede!’” Koch says. “Or i could post the most random photo on Instagram and also people just respond by writing, ‘Swede.’” Koch is now 30 pounds leaner than during his NFL days and can still load a pair of 45s on each side of a barbell and bang out a slew of shoulder presses.

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He’s even come to be a certified personal trainer, dispersing the gospel of the Weider Principles and a related device he produced called FAST—for Functional advanced Sports Training—a program he uses for both celebrity client (like gibbs Benicio Del Toro) and 75-year-old grandmothers alike that’s geared less for the ar and more for enduring the aging process. The vital to win the battle against time, the says, is squats—goblet squats, prior squats, single-leg body-weight squats.

“As her life it s okay closer and also closer to the end, ns promise you, you i will not ~ be wishing you will do done much more cardio,” the says. “You’ll be wishing you might get turn off the toilet. And also how do you perform that? you squat.”

And though he may no longer be exactly Venice coast strongman material, he’s happy come have end up being what that calls “a proud generalist.” He focuses top top being an excellent at everything: street running, sprints, jumping, and also rowing. “I’m as capable on a C2 rower as I am doing a deadlift, swinging a kettlebell, or doing burpees,” he says. “I’m really proud of that. And that’s by design.”

Today, Koch’s Swayze-like brown hair has actually turned silver, yet the physique still gets him recognized on set—sort of. “I worked on The Bold and the Beautiful a tiny while back,” Koch says. “One that the stars observed me and also said, ‘Holy cow, watch what taken place to Richard Gere end there. He’s functioning out.’ It to be pretty funny.”