Shabbat candle lighting: 8:07pm

Living his Boyhood Dream

Yaakov Bar Am Sculpts the Perfect Physique 

Yaakov's TrophiesYaakov Bar Am sporting his trophies

JCC Fitness Center Trainer and Bodybuilder Yaakov Bar Am looks cut in a tight yellow training jersey despite the fact that he recently completed what he terms the “Baltimore Food Crawl” with Fitness Center colleagues Denard Smith and Alek Groopman.

Before the crawl, and before a crowd of 1200 people and over 200 athletes at the Hippodrome June 25, Yaakov brought home third in his Open Men’s Physique height class – 5’6”-5’8” — against several younger competitors as part of the National Physique Committee’s (NPC) Maryland State Championships.

Yaakov also placed fourth in the NPC’s East Coast Championships Master’s Division (for Men’s Physique 35+) and fourth in the ECC’s Grand Master’s tournement (for Men’s Physique 40+).

To get his body primed for the competition, Yaakov worked out hard six days a week, kept to a strict diet, and maintained a voluminous water intake. (In the week before the competition, Yaakov drank three gallons per day for five days; two gallons on Day 6, and 1.5 gallons on day 7 for 18.5 gallons in a week: “water loading,” it’s called.) Yaakov jokes, “I get my mail in the bathroom. I don’t know who’s going to the bathroom more – me or my one-and-a-half year old.”

Following the triple showing, Yaakov, Denard, and Alek traversed the Baltimore food scene and gorged on TastyKakes, Berger cookies, Vaccaro’s Cannoli, Attman’s corned beef, and pizza.

Obviously, this is not your typical workout and diet regime. Still, says Yaakov, “It’s nice to fill out.”

Yaakov predicts his next tournament will be in the Spring of 2017 and for that he intends to gain 10-15 pounds of pure muscle. He currently works with his Coach who is an International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) Pro, Chris Mosher. The IFBB is the world’s largest body building organization.

Yaakov hopes to earn a Master’s Pro-Card so he can compete on the national level for money. “If you place in a national event you become qualified to compete in a pro-qualifier event and get a Master’s Pro-Card.”

“My philosophy now is to eat big – pure clean food, no junk food, no processed food — and lift big.” Yaakov currently works out days 6 days/week, with Shabbas as his one day off.

“Our bodies are incredible machines, and I want to make the best use of mine. With God’s help I can inspire others to have a healthier lifestyle. I honestly believe this is my God given purpose.” Yaakov’s mantra is: “I am not getting older, I am getting better. I use bodybuilding as my business card. I don’t have a pretty face, but if I can have a fantastic body then hopefully others will look at me and say if that old guy can do it, so can I! That’s important to me.”

Yaakov also emphasized that the fitness lifestyle and bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no short cuts, just hard work with good motivation and coaching.

A former CPA, Finance and IT professional, Yaakov started bodybuilding at 49. He’s now 52. Yaakov’s wife, Maia Bar Am, is extremely supportive of her husband’s personal training and bodybuilding career. Yaakov is also the father of six children – 1-1/2 to 14 years old – four girls and two boys.

Once he left the corporate world (Yaakov was with Verizon for 14 years), and entered the fitness professional as a certified personal trainer, he decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a bodybuilder.

“Working in a gym affords me the opportunity to train. I don’t have to leave the office to work-out.” Yaakov even eats in the fitness lounge, so members and guests can see how clean he eats.

“Being visible is highly important to me, as a trainer and as a role model.”