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Soldier lifts 525 pounds

JBLM’s Summers Finds A New Passion In Lifting Weights

Jacob Summers has become passionate about powerlifting, adding 45 pounds to his frame and deadlifting nearly three times that. Courtesy photo

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It's as though Jacob Summers has reinvented himself.

Three years ago, Summers was as skinny as a flag pole. He weighed 155 pounds when he joined the Army in 2011. Then, as a way of releasing stress, he started lifting weights.

Now he's a solid 200 pounds, is capable of deadlifting 525 pounds and competes in powerlifting competitions. The transformation is complete.

"I was a very dweeby, geeky kid in high school," Summers said with a chuckle. "I'm still a geek."

But he's now a muscular geek.

Summers got involved in weight lifting to help release tension as he studied for nine months at the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Language Institute in 2012. But he didn't stop with lifting weights: He took the next step and wanted to be a trainer to help others lift as well.

What began as a stress release has become a passion. After studying for six months for the test, Summers is now a certified trainer. When he gets out of the Army in nine months, he will be a trainer full time. Right now, though, he's doing it on the side and giving people advice online. His website is

"This is my passion," said Summers, who is stationed at JBLM.  "The reason I jumped into personal training and got my certification was because ever since I found out that this is a great stress relief for me and gave me purpose and made me feel good to be able to lift those weights, I kind of realized that this was my calling. I figured there was no better time than to use this as an opportunity to pursue this both as a hobby and professionally."

He's proof that powerlifting isn't just for the super jock. In high school, Summers, whose father and mother were both in the Army and the family bounced across the country, was a skinny kid who played soccer. He lifted weights occasionally, mostly when a coach told him to. Now, he sees powerflifting as something for everyone, from the skinny teen to the aging grandpa.

Summers enjoys powerlifting for two reasons.

"I enjoy it for what it does for me and also for what it does for other people," he said.

He knows that powerlifting can be life changing. Before he got into lifting, he couldn't even lift his own body weight. Now, he can squat about 450 pounds and bench press nearly 300 pounds. In addition to lifting correctly, Summers also knows it's important to eat correctly. Calorie counting is as important as counting reps on a lift.

Summers isn't just lifting, though. He's also running. He's run 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon and a marathon. He's entered in either powerlifting competitions or races a couple of times a month. In September, he'll compete in his first Army powerlifting competition.

"It's a weird balance," Summers said of his mix of lifting and running, "but I enjoy the feeling of doing a run."

And he also enjoys helping someone do the same thing.

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