More than a decade after his untimely death, Aziz ‘Zyzz’ Shavershian has made a big comeback.
On social media, that is, with Gen Zs.
But first off, for those of you unfamiliar with the man, the myth, the legend – Zyzz was a Russian-born Aussie bodybuilder, personal trainer, and model who created a cult following on YouTube and Facebook from his bedroom and local gym in suburban Sydney.
Back in the late 2000s, Zyzz skyrocketed to fame as Australia’s poster boy for washboard abs, ultra-ripped bodies, and confidence glow-ups. Him and his aesthetics crew would trawl festivals and troll forums with their jacked physiques, playing on the jealousies and envies of men to boost his fledgling internet fame.
One of world’s first ‘influencers’ before the word even existed, Zyzz created a world of in-jokes amongst his followers, like the slang “jelly” as a way to joke about how he made men jealous, or “you mirin’” for women checking him out. He also promoted bodybuilding supplements and even released a book called ‘Zyzz’s Bodybuilding bible’.
But most of all Zyzz encouraged a ‘revolution’ of self-improvement and self-acceptance telling his audience “we’re all gonna make it brahs” – something which he was a living embodiment of having gone from a scrawny World of Warcraft player to a self-styled Spartan Warrior.
However, just as his profile was seriously taking off it was all cut short following his death in Thailand in 2011.
So how’d he rise up into Instagram and TikTok feeds for a whole new generation a decade later?
It all started when fresh tributes to Zyzz went viral around his birthday on March 26th this year, triggering a wave of google searches and a surge of activity on social media.
A quick scroll through the accounts dedicated to his lifestyle – especially YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, where the top 3 Zyzz tribute accounts exceed 600k followers – and you’ll find comments like:
“Dude’s a vibe. A vibe that’s still relevant in the current day. What a legend. RIP”
“I love this guy bro 🥺, this man has influenced me changed me and my life, when I die and if I ever get to meet him I’ll thank him ZYZZ FOREVER ♥️ love you zyzzbrah”
Because although he’s been dead for more than a decade, his story of transforming himself from a skinny gamer to a jacked gym beast still inspires many young men from around the world to get fit and healthy.
Compared to when he began, lifting weights has become widespread amongst young Australian men. The research from our Gen Z Wellbeing Check report found 56% of male Gen Zs lift weights compared to 30% of female Gen Zs. There’s no doubt that a good amount of them would’ve been inspired by Zyzz to pump iron.
But while there’s no denying Zyzz’s influence on young men in making positive steps to improve their health, fitness, and body confidence, the amateur bodybuilder’s alleged steroid abuse – which some have speculated led to the cardiac arrest that caused his death – is one aspect of his lifestyle young men shouldn’t be so quick to emulate.
However it’s also an opportunity to open up the conversation with young men about healthy body image and authentic physical wellbeing, and achieving these goals in a healthy and sustainable way.
So if you find your couch/computer potato son is suddenly obsessed with the gym and lifting weights (and listening to trance music in the process), there’s a good chance Zyzz has been the inspo.