Tyndall instructor tows trucks with muscle power

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Capling
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A Tyndall Air Force Base Airman Leadership School instructor has been training to lift some heavy logs.

Tech. Sgt. Jacob Peeterse isn't moonlighting as a lumberjack. The logs are 265 pounds of solid steel, and he's aiming to lift them from the ground to his chest; to over his head as many times as possible in a short amount of time.

Sergeant Peeterse is preparing to compete in the South Atlantic Strongman III platinum contest, Feb. 16 in Columbia, S.C. The top three competitors from each weight division receive a berth into the national competition in Las Vegas this November. Sergeant Peeterse is competing in the 231-265 pound weight division.

The contest, similar to television's "World's Strongest Man," contains non-traditional athletic events that require substantial feats of strength.

One event requires the contender to pull a 700-pound chain, while another has participants pull semi-style trucks by way of a body harness. The keg loading contest has contestants lifting 200, 225, and 250-pound kegs to various heights.

Sergeant Peeterse first became interested in participating in strongman competitions a year ago while reading about them on the Web.

He placed fourth in the "Powerhouse of the South," his first competition, last April in Mississippi.

"I started competing to have a reason to train," he said. "I used to go to the gym just to go; now I have a definitive goal. I like directing that competitive urge toward something I can compete in. I used to have aches and pains just from going to the gym, now it's for the contest."

He also said he likes being solely responsible for the results.

"There aren't any teammates. If you're going to blame anybody (for poor results), you have to blame yourself," the sergeant said.

His typical day begins with a 4 a.m. wake up followed by a one-hour commute. He trains at the Tyndall AFB fitness center between one and two hours. Sergeant Peeterse then works at ALS until 4:30 p.m. He said his bedtime is usually between 7-8 p.m.

"Tech. Sgt. Peeterse is one of the most dedicated people I know when it comes to physical fitness," said Staff Sgt. Richard Marshall, ALS instructor. "He does not have to rely on other people to keep him motivated because when the gym is open he will be there with or without you."

His weekly training regimen consists of weight training three days a week and cardiovascular training the other two days.

"I try to do as many lifts in the gym that mimic the competition lifts," Sergeant Peeterse said. "I tend to do a lot of clean presses, squatting and dead lifting."

Despite his full schedule, Sergeant Peeterse doesn't think of himself as being very busy.

"I don't think of it as busy," he said. "Busy denotes I don't like what I'm doing. I like what I'm doing."

Following the Feb. 16 contest, his next competition is slated for March 22 in Pensacola and he has high hopes.

"I want to win. I go in with the attitude that I'm going to win," he said. "If I go in and give 100 percent, then I'm satisfied."