July 16th was a day the record books were re-written. It was my best day, and my worst day. It is a day I’ll never forget.
I started out my day at 8am in the morning doing a radio show interview. It was the typical questions you’d expect, asking about the records I was going for, and the cause I was raising money for. I casually told them I was roughly a half hour away from attempting the one hour squat record which stood at 122,000 pounds. Later that day I would go for the one hour deadlift record which was 90,000 pounds.
After a brief discussion about my powerlifting background and previous feats of strength for charity they wished me luck on my efforts and I was off to Goodlife fitness in Guelph.
The first one hour squat record started a little after 9am. Never before in the gym had I ever lasted the full one hour while attempting to break this record. We had figured out the pace I would need to break the 122,000 pound record. Yet, I had never been able to keep up the pace over the course of the hour.
The first half hour of the record attempt was grueling enough. By the half way mark I was tightening up in my legs, and had pain shooting up from my lower back. I gave the signal to my seconds to take off 30 pounds total from the bar I was lifting to lighten the load. This meant I would have to increase the amount of reps to reach my goal of totalling over 122,000 pounds squated over an hour.
Initially it was a gutsy move, but it proved to be beneficial as I managed to hang onto the right pace up until the last-minute of the record attempt. Then with 30 seconds left, and still slightly behind of the record I blasted out 21 reps and sealed my place in history. I fell forward with the bar crashing onto the rack, and me colliding with the floor.
There I layed as the ground spun underneath me over and over. I was too dizzy to get up, and could hardly catch my breath. I had lost 5 pounds of sweat, and was greatly depleted. The media snapped shots of me as I covered my face. After a few moments I got my breath back and my wits about me. I was helped up by my seconds and put onto a chair where I did an interview with the press.
After fielding a variety of questions I was helped back to the dressing room where I took a minute to collect myself. It’s hard to put into words how it feels to be pushed to the brink so close to breaking. The strain you put on your body is a lot, but the battle quickly becomes mental. If you can imagine doing the squatting movement with no weight on your back for an hour straight you can picture how the burn in your legs would feel. Imagine doing it with enough weight on your back to total 122,000 pounds after hundreds of reps of squats are completed in that hour. Your body is close to shutting down, and your mind is fighting against it to keep going.
I went back home to rest and eat what I could before my second record attempt in Hamilton at Ivor Wynne Stadium in front of 21,ooo screaming fans. What I ended up being able to eat was only a couple smoothies and some fruit and vegetables. It was not much, but with all the nervousness in my system I could not force much down. I had just taken a World record that some one else worked hard for. They likely took time off after the record attempt and left all the energy they had into that record. It likely sapped all their strength. They must have felt exactly as I felt. But my day was only half over…
I showed up at Ivor Wynne Stadium feeling like I had very little in my tank. I did an interview in front of the crowd in mid-field and told them I had taken a World record earlier that day and that I was sure I was about to take another one for them. They cheered my bravado. I was convinced I was just trying to talk myself into doing this again. I knew I was heading into hell one more time.
My chief second, Aras Kvedaras, taped my feet as I got ready for my second World record attempt of the day. I was positioned on the side of the field under a tent so I was blocked from the mid-summer sun. Despite the tent, I lost more fluids through several more pounds of sweat.
Minute after minute ticked by, and hundreds more reps were belted out as I broke another record. This time I deadlifted more than 95,000 pounds with the end of the record concluding during the football game’s half time. The crowd cheering my name as I belted off the final reps. Once again I had to seal the victory with a final salvo at the final 30 second mark. I belted off so many more reps that I destroyed the old record by 5,000 pounds in that final half-minute. A lot can happen in less than a minute.
With the half time on and my record complete I did an interview for the fans and asked them to please donate to the McMaster children’s hospital of Hamilton on my website. They cheered the cause and gave me a round of applause. Then they took to the field and I gave autographs and took pictures with them. My team tossed 6 Pack t-shirts into the stands for the kids (and some adults!)