It's hard to believe 10 years have passed since a defiant Andy Katzenmoyer glared at America from the cover of Sports Illustrated. Not because he looks any less intimidating these days - if anything, he's gotten bigger.

It's hard to believe 10 years have passed since a defiant Andy Katzenmoyer glared at America from the cover of Sports Illustrated. Not because he looks any less intimidating these days - if anything, he's gotten bigger - but because speaking to him about his time spent plowing unsuspecting quarterbacks into the 'Shoe's sod makes it seem like only yesterday.

Ask the ridiculously decorated former linebacker about his favorite game at Ohio State, and he'll tell you about the 1997 Rose Bowl against Arizona State. The textbook two-minute drill comeback. The way the teams matched up evenly. The perfect way it all worked out.

"Well, it wasn't very perfect," Katzenmoyer, 30, maintains. "I missed that tackle on [quarterback] Jake Plummer and had him score."

A bright future on the gridiron was dimmed in 1999 when Katzenmoyer suffered a neck injury during an excellent rookie season with the New England Patriots, leading to his retirement in 2001.

But true to his moniker, the Big Kat has landed on his feet. With his wife, Ashleigh, and brother-in-law, John Rocco Quint, Katzenmoyer opened the doors to L.I.F.T. (Life Improvement Functional Training) Fitness, a personal training studio offering everything from neuromuscular therapy to holistic perspectives, in his native Westerville in March.

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What was it like after you were forced to hang up your cleats?

It was a rough couple of years, me trying to figure out what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, and who I was. I mean, the football player was over with and now I've gotta find out who I really am and what I really want to do. And it was hard.

But then meeting my wife and having our relationship grow, she helped me realize what I wanted to do, and to move past that point and to get where I'm at today.

How'd L.I.F.T. come about?

I've always enjoyed lifting weights and working out, and I met my wife, actually, at a gym. She's always enjoyed this, and my brother-in-law is a bodybuilder and obviously loves lifting. So, we kind of talked about it for a couple of years and decided that this is something we should really do, because we feel like we can offer things to people that they can't get in Columbus.

You guys train such a wide variety of people. How do you go about helping them achieve their very different goals?

When we meet somebody, they come in for upper- and lower-body structural balance testing. That tells us a lot about how their body's reacting to lifting weights and where the imbalances and strong points are. We sit down with the individuals and they tell us whatever their fitness goals and needs may be, so we can attack and address those issues within a workout.

By the way, we can train everyone from the age of seven all the way to 80. Obviously, we tailor things to their needs and what their abilities are, but it can be done.

L.I.F.T. Fitness

6061 Chandler Ct., Westerville

614-818-LIFT

Web: lift-fitness.com

What's it like working with your wife here every day?

Actually, it's enjoyable! I was a little worried at the beginning, because you never know how things will be. We've been married a little over a year now, so we're somewhat newlyweds still. We just had a little girl in April, and with the stress of opening up a new business and somewhat of a new marriage, it's been crazy. But we're the best of friends and enjoy each other's time, so it's awesome.

As a personal trainer, what's your philosophy for getting people into better shape?

I guess the biggest thing I try to push is in order to get what you want, you have to be able to do the work. So many people nowadays want the quick success, and you just can't have that. You've got to put the hard work in - whether it be training, schoolwork, whatever - you have to put the time in. And then keep your head down and keep on going and putting in the effort, and eventually you'll see the success.

Have you ever made a play that made you wonder, "How the hell did I do that?"

Probably the play I'll never understand, we were playing at Missouri and I hit [quarterback] Corby Jones. He was killing us that game, scrambling around. And the hit that I put on him, I mean, I almost knocked his helmet off and I think it knocked him out. He never was the same.

And I never understood how he didn't see me coming. I never understood that. And if you watch the film, he just doesn't look. He just gets run over. I feel bad for the guy, because he was an amazing player.

Link: Katzenmoyer smashes Corby Jones

What do you see for yourself down the road?

I'm just planning for the next year and getting through that. I have a lot of good stuff going on right now, and I haven't been this happy my entire life. So, I'm kind of living in the now.