“When I was in middle school, I was made fun of a lot,” Jacob said. “I was overweight and kids would make fun of me for being bigger.” Instead of allowing his insecurity about his weight to take over, Jacob instead used it as fuel to get himself into the best shape of his life.
When he started his freshman year at Del Campo High School, in Fair Oaks, California, Jacob was asked to join the football team. “My parents hadn’t allowed me to start playing football until I hit high school,” he said. “So when I could, I jumped at the opportunity.” Football, coupled with the motivation from years of bullying, pushed his quest to get fit and healthy.
“Getting in shape and playing football has totally boosted my self-confidence,” said Jacob, who regularly trains in the off season at California Family Fitness. “Being a part of a team and watching the upperclassmen on our team really motivates me to stay in shape and push as hard as I can. I look up to our seniors because they show me that anything is possible.”
As a defensive lineman, Jacob knows he’s not the biggest or strongest player on the field — “I’ll be the first to admit that,” he said while laughing — but he focuses on working hard year-round to be in the best shape he can achieve. He regularly gets in his cardio in the off season at California Family Fitness by hitting the treadmill or jumping rope. He often finishes those workouts off with a strength training session on some of the gym’s dozens of weight stations and machines.
“When I’m on the field, I give it my all for myself and my teammates,” he said. “Off the field, when I’m on the bench, I am always rooting for my team. With every touchdown, every first down, I am cheering them on.”
Regardless of his size, Jacob thrives on pushing himself when it comes to lining up against opponents across the line, some of whom approach 300 pounds. "It’s such an adrenaline rush to go up against someone who is twice your size,” he says.
Jacob’s off season routine – where he’s been able to focus on putting on muscle to his frame – has been a critical part of his journey as a varsity football player. “Those extra workouts have given me the confidence not just on the field, but off the field, too,” he said. “I don’t think I’d be where I am today and on the team had it not been for those workouts at California Family Fitness.”