Strength for the Kingdom: An Interview with Catholic Bodybuilder Jared Zimmerer

Lift Heavy Pray Hard

JaredIt’s not often you encounter a real-life Samson, but that’s exactly how I felt when I met Jared Zimmerer. At 6’5″, 260-pounds, Jared evokes the Bible’s great strong-man (though without the ravishing hair or pride). What’s apparent upon meeting him, though, is that Jared’s strength extends beyond the physical. He’s one of the deepest, holiest men I know.

Jared and I first became friends through the Word on Fire blog. After meeting a couple times in person, we discovered a shared love for pipes, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Catholic tradition. However, Jared’s main passion, I learned, was evangelizing the fitness and bodybuilding culture with Catholic virtue.

Jared’s the perfect guy for the task. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and has been a non-competitive bodybuilder/power lifter for over twelve years. He’s also the founder of Strength for the Kingdom ministry which promotes growth in virtue, knowledge of the Catholic faith, and understanding of authentic masculinity.

Ten Commandments of Lifting WeightsJared recently brought all of his insights together into a powerful book, titled The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights: Recommendations to the Devout Body Builder. After reading it a few months ago, I began applying his advice to my workouts, and quickly noticed a change. Not only did his tips help me lift more and enjoy my work-outs more—since I have a much better idea of what I’m supposed to do (and not do) in the weight room—but I’ve also learned to infuse my workouts with prayer. Whether listening to the Divine Office while lifting, or praying a rosary while jogging, Jared taught me to live out St. Benedict’s famous adage: prayer and work, ora et labora.

Jared recently sat down with me to share advice on sanctifying our workouts, avoiding vanity, and integrating prayer into the weight room.


Watch or download our interview below:



Watch the video here (15 minutes)


Download the interview here (15 minutes)

Topics Discussed:

1:41 – How do we sanctify our workouts?
3:12 – How does Mary fit into weight-training?
5:48 – How can we avoid vanity while strengthening our body?
8:06 – How do you integrate prayer into weight-training?
9:56 – What advice would you give someone just starting out in the gym?

Keep tabs on Jared’s work by visiting and following him on Facebook. Also, check out his excellent book, The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights: Recommendations to the Devout Body Builder.

If you liked this discussion you’ll find several more on my Interviews page. Subscribe free via feed reader or email and ensure sure you don’t miss future interviews.

How do you integrate faith and working out?