Zane was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1942. He started bodybuilding as a teenager after reading a muscle building magazine. He went from 130 lbs (59 kg) at 14 to 160 lbs (72. 5 kg) at 17 through weightlifting. In 1964, he received a Bachelor of Science from Wilkes University. For 13 years, he taught mathematics and chemistry while living in Florida and California. He also taught mathematics at Watchung Hills Regional High School for two years. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Cal State LA in 1977. He was awarded a master's degree in experimental psychology from CSUSB in 1990.