This feature aims to highlight and acknowledge outstanding individuals who never stop pushing in pursuing their fitness goals. It is a tribute to all weightlifters, athletes and fitness enthusiasts who share the same struggles and obstacles, conquering fears and most of all celebrating victories. We are all in this together.
Q & A with JAKE HEERWALD
a. Where are you from?
Born: Seoul, South Korea | Raised: Minnesota.
b. Instagram name
c. What motivates you to train?
I struggle with depression and type 2 bipolar so exercising consistently everyday has been vital for my mental health. It’s one of my main motivating factors to lift everyday. For a couple hours each day, all the self doubt, wondering if my emotions are valid or not, figuring out who I am .. it all falls to the wayside. The constant chatter in my head from the “roommate” becomes tolerable. The gym in general has become a safe haven for me, it’s why i look forward to spending 2 hours of my day there. When I take the rare rest day, I do have trouble sleeping, my thinking isn’t as clear or sharp and my mood swings are more noticeable. I love lifting and enjoy the physical challenges just as much as the mental challenges.
d. What’s your greatest success in lifting?
Honestly, I think it would have to be the physical changes I’ve been able to make since I joined my home gym in 2016. Up until then, I had never set foot in a weight room, never used many of the standard machines you see in every gym and never seen numbers go so high on dumbbells before. I was intimidated and apprehensive for the first 6 months, didn’t feel like I belonged in there. Three years later, I call the weight room my second home. But I still feel like I haven’t fully earned the right to be in there, which is why I probably push so hard. Its kind of a motivational ploy but at the same time I halfway believe the I need to earn the right to come back each day.
e. What music do you listen to when training?
It varies bur I always come back to hard rock. The “old guys” like Metallica, Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, AC/DC, Motley Crue, GNR, LA Guns, Danger Danger, Bang Tango are all pretty common to be blaring in my headphones.
f. Who is your weightlifting inspiration?
I have great respect for all the pros both male and female. But for me, my inspiration isn’t from anyone person. My inspiration (and another source of motivation) is to make those who’ve guided me on my journey proud. I never want to let those select few people down, ever. That group of friends is both here in Minnesota and abroad via Instagram and SnapChat. I have great respect for each of person. They all bring something different to the table and have encouraged me many times over. But not only have they guided me in the gym, some have helped me mentally as well. My peaks and valleys aren’t much fun and it’s difficult for me to verbalize my emotions/feelings. There are two specific people who understand me and have taken the time to help me when I needed it. Both those people are on Instagram. I’ll only mention one for privacy reasons .. Marisa (marisa.amara) if you read this, thank you so much for your friendship and understanding who i am. We might be thousands of miles apart but you’ve helped so much in many ways that you probably don’t know. You are one of the reasons why I started to become more transparent and upfront with my bipolar struggles. I am grateful for the day I stumbled onto your account and will always be your friend.
g. Do you have any shout outs or people you’d like to thank?
To all those who have checked in with me, asked me how I am feeling and genuinely care about who I am .. thank you. Those words of encouragement, understanding and peace have meant the world to me. You all are appreciated more than you know.