Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 8:18pm
Join the J Locations Schedules
Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 8:18pm

Introducing Blake Piesto

J Fitness Team Member Muscles 407lbs off the Ground

J Fitness Team Member Blake Piesto has been coming to the JCC of Greater Baltimore since the age of five. In many ways, he is your classic J Kid. He attended preschool here, Kids Center after school, and every summer, he attended J Camps.

The difference between Piesto then and Piesto now is incredible. For starters, he’s stronger.

At 26 years of age and holding in the 130lb. weight class, Piesto recently deadlifted 407 lbs. to become a USA Powerlifting Champion.

407 lbs. is a lot of weight!

The thrill of winning the championship Piesto describes as “awesome, a rush, and totally exhilarating.”

In his earlier J days, Piesto was into skateboarding, hanging out with friends, and making skate videos. By the end of high school those activities alone didn’t cut it.

Piesto moved to downtown Baltimore to attend Stratford University, where he eventually earned a degree in Hospitality Management.

Getting Hooked…on Weightlifting
As a student, Blake started doing push-ups and curls and started noticing differences in his shape and muscle tone. He was hooked.

Stratford, meantime, provided students free memberships to a downtown gym, and Piesto started lifting seriously in 2009.

“I originally worked out for the looks,” he says, “I just got sucked in.”

Piesto ultimately found his way back to the J, where he came to work as a member of our fitness team. His personal focus at that point shifted to safe weight lifting and how to be a competitive weight lifter.

Piesto’s original goal was to hop on a bodybuilding stage and compete in bodybuilding, but that goal went by the wayside when he decided he was more about getting stronger — that he was more about powerlifting.

On April 16, Piesto is going for another USA Powerlifting championship in Dundalk, MD.

According to Piesto there’s one other competitor he has his eye on because they are both “pretty similar in strength, and it is always great to go head to head with him,” Piesto says.

For Piesto, his goal is to break his own 407 lb. record and create two new records for squat and deadlift.

From all of us here at the J, we wish you the best of luck Blake!!

Blake Piesto’s Top 10 Weightlifting Tips

  1. Stay safe – make sure your form is on point.
  2. Become familiar with proper form and limits. One way to do this is to go online for how-to videos.  Another way is to work with a trainer.
  3. Hop on a program and stay consistent.
  4. Find peers that have the same interest – social motivation is key.
  5. Find a trainer who understands your goals.
  6. Always have a spotter to avoid getting shocked.
  7. Wear comfortable clothing when doing squats – Chuck Taylors or flat sole shoes.
  8. Get a weightlifting belt – it provides you with an extra set of abs and keeps your core tight.
  9. Breathe in on the hard part of a repetition, breathe out on the easy part.
  10. Drink 4 liters of H20 a day – Start getting hydrated as soon as you wake up.