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LRMC soldier finds purpose in weightlifting > Landstuhl Regional Medical Center > Articles


As a junior in high school, 6ft 3in Timothy Burnell struggled to bench press just over half his own body weight, today he finds himself in a weight room almost every day, lifting a combined weight more than five times his own with the standard “big” three compound lifts.

The future soldier found his calling thanks to his determination and with the help of a high school coach.

“We had an introduction to the weightlifting class for basketball and I struggled with the bench press at 135 pounds,” said Burnell, now a Sergeant First Class in the US Army. “My trainer at the time told me to improve my bench by at least 50 pounds over the summer, and I’ve been in the weight room ever since.”

At a recent powerlifting competition at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Burnell demonstrated just how far he’s come from his high school days, after placing first, with a combined weight of three exercises (bench press , squat, deadlift) of 1,529 pounds.

A pharmacy specialist by trade, Burnell currently works at Troop Command Landstuhl Regional Medical Center as the Battalion Operations NCO, where he coordinates training progress and battalion events for approximately 700 troops at the ‘hospital.

“As a soldier, fitness plays a huge role in what we do, whether in the hospital or in the field,” says Burnell, a native of Roseburg, Oregon. “You always have to be ready for any challenges that are thrown at you, and I think that by weightlifting and increasing your strength, you increase your ability to meet those additional challenges.”

Along with other accolades in powerlifting, Burnell, who has twice deployed to the Middle East, has also proven equally capable in pharmacy where he was previously recognized as the Army’s top enlisted pharmacy technician in 2013.

Although exercising for two or more hours a day takes time away from family, Burnell explains that it’s not just about getting pumped, weightlifting is therapeutic and self-care for the husband and the father of a child.

“Luckily my wife is very supportive and knows that weightlifting is my favorite, or my stress buster, so she understands that every morning, Monday through Friday and sometimes Sunday, I go to the gym,” Burnell said. . “Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress or coping with stressful situations. For me (weightlifting) was just my outlet. I put on my headphones, I listen to my music and I enter my little zone. It’s a healthier alternative to what some people use for stress, and it really works for me.

Although the recent implementation of the Army Combat Fitness Test has several physical components, from physically demanding exercises such as the repetition strength deadlift and standing power throw, to more aerobics like a two-mile run and the 250 meters. sprint, drag and carry, Burnell hopes to be an inspiration to soldiers who aren’t the fastest in training.

“I often like to show soldiers that you don’t have to be the fastest runner, you don’t have to be the fastest at push-ups, you can excel in other areas,” said Burnell said. “You may be taller, or you may not run as fast, but you will be stronger and that makes the difference.”