Coon Rapids bodybuilder raising the bar for others with Down syndrome

When a Coon Rapids man realized he was overweight, he decided to take his body and his life into his own hands.

He joined a weight-loss program, sparking a passion for body building.

“I been good. I work out every day,” said Jeremy Collins, who hits the gym to lift weights three or four times a week.

It’s not just exercise he’s looking for, however, he is also raising the bar for people with Down syndrome.

“I do get muscles, I got veins on my arms,” he said

Collins has always been interested in body building, but he didn’t get serious about it until he met body builder Collin Clarke, who has the same chromosomal condition at a national conference a couple of years ago.

Since then, he’s lost 60 pounds through a strict diet and exercise, improving not only his health, but also his attitude.

“He feels happier and is in better moods at work or with his friends and family,” said Tammy Nehmzou, Collins’ sister. “I really, really think that has helped him in his whole life. He has become a better person.”

Collins also strikes a pose a couple of times a year in body building competitions like Mr. and Mrs. Natural Minnesota later this month. His sister says he’s become a fan favorite.

“They love him, everyone is screaming,” Nehmzou said. “Everyone is talking about him and mentioning him by name behind me so it’s really special, especially when you are filming or taking photos and you hear everyone cheering for your brother. You think, oh gosh, everyone loves him.”

Collins has already inspired his cousin Chad to lose weight and follow in his bodybuilding footsteps and his sister is sure his example will encourage others to do the same.

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really inspiring,” Nehmzou said.

“I’m going to be a big star,” said Collins. “Be in the Hall of Fame.”