A Modern Day Hero Jake Strickland

Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town called Dunn, NC (40 min from Ft Bragg). Been to three different duty stations since joining the Army in 2009 and currently in East TN.

How long have you been in BU?

I joined BU in October of 2016 sitting beside my wife’s hospital bed the night before she had her colon removed.

Why did you join?

I’ve followed ET for years for motivational videos strictly. Then it became more than just a video. I got the book ASPW and attended Charlette ASPW tour 2016 which changed my life. I needed to be surrounded my likeminded good caring people for support. I joined sitting beside my wife’s hospital bed the night before her major surgery. I knew that if BU was something ET had a hand in I would have more than enough people to call on for prayer, uplifting, and the will to stay positive. Little did I know it would become a real family. My first post was a live video of me asking for prayer. It was like a flood gate opened and people who have never seen or heard of me were sending messages, comments, and literally showing up in person to the hospital to visit!

What is your strongest fitness attribute?

I have a few (so my wife says). I love lifting weights however I have learned techniques to lift in a very strategic way. If I want to change a body part I lift a certain way. I learned to develop the mind muscle connection needed to compete in bodybuilding. Also, I love to come up with routines with little to no weights literally on the fly just from experience. My strongest of all would be no matter the style of training I’m doing at the time it is extremely intense, goal oriented and focused. I have no fear of limits or boundaries when it comes to my fitness. In short I like to do it all, run, hike, bike, weight training, boot camps, etc. but it must be high intensity.

What aspect of fitness are you most wanting to improve?

For me currently I would have to say just getting back to athletic shape. I help coach high school wrestling and I want to be back in that kind of shape again. So not going to concentrate as much on aesthetics as I am performance. My diet will still be strict but workouts will be mainly focused on strength, conditioning, and speed.

How hard is it to keep up with your fitness dealing with recent surgery?

This was my third back surgery. First was 2013 and during that time I mentally prepared and strategically planned to compete in my first bodybuilding show as my comeback story. I went on to win two first place trophies and one third place trophy in the Natural Mr. MN 2014. Second surgery was August 2016 and was a complete failure. It crippled me and I was using a walker or wheelchair to stand or walk. That was one of the hardest battles I have every faced. But I made the decision to take the same intensity I had while training and place that in my personal development. The mental toughness I built through years of working out I applied to my mind and soul. I had to sleep in a recliner for over three months and fitness was out of the question. My recent surgery (Jan 2017) was a complete success and now I’m on the road to full recovery. I’m three weeks post op and have no nerve pain or back pain. My work outs for now consist of a two mile walk with light stretching. My life was changed by these events but my mental and spiritual strength is greater than it has ever been. Fitness has saved my life but when it was taken from my due to injury I realized being healthy was more about total body and not just being able to train harder than everyone else.

What would you say to someone who has faced a challenge like yours?

Remember that your health goes way deeper than outside appearance. Even when I stepped on stage with very little body fat and walked away with awards for it, I wasn’t where I needed to be in my walk with Christ nor my marriage. Fitness is a broad word that covers so many different avenues. The weights will always be there, you can always find time to run, but don’t rely solely on the physical portion of fitness. Make sure you have an even better routine to strengthen your mind and soul because you never know when and if your ability to work out will be taken from you. If you take care of your soul first mind second and body third you will be better in all aspects of life in my opinion and I’m seeing that now in my experiences.

What type of support are you looking for in BU?

I’m not even sure anymore. I went to BU for support through what I new would be difficult times. Now that I’ve connected with so many in the family its like I don’t go for support I lean on BU for sustainability. I’ve learned the more I connect and build real relationships within BU the more the support just comes when needed and without asking. I’ve also seen a shift in myself by reaching out to help others more than I ever have since joining BU. Really BU and more importantly the Facebook group for me as changed so much in my life and by being connected, life just keeps getting better and better.

Created By
Cynthia Saunders
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