(CHICAGO) — An Illinois man who spent the past several months training seven hours a day, including 1,500 sit-ups daily, has broken the male world record for longest time in the plank position.
George Hood, 62, of Naperville, Illinois, held a plank for eight hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds, according to Guinness World Records, which certified Hood’s record.
Hood — a retired law enforcement officer who now works as a personal trainer — set his first world record for the plank in 2011, holding it for one hour and 20 minutes. He most recently lost the title in 2016 and said his children inspired him to try to win it again.
“I’m the father of three sons and part of me did this for them,” said Hood, whose adult sons have followed their dad into law enforcement careers.
Hood was also inspired to compete for the plank title again to raise mental health awareness. He completed the challenge on Feb. 15 at an Illinois gym, 515 Fitness, that focuses on using exercise to help treat mental health.
“I’m not a paid athlete,” he said. “I do this thing because I can and I can also help raise awareness.”
“I’ve seen enough folks in the military and my law enforcement comrades who haven’t fared so well,” Hood said. “We want to break that stigma of seeking [mental health] help.”
Hood deployed his own mental toughness to survive in a plank position for the length of a typical workday for most people. He listed to rock music to pass the time and focused on picturing himself as a rock solid tree.
“I often envision myself as a tree when I’m on that platform because all the energy I exude from that platform comes from earth,” he said. “Like a tree I have roots and those roots go deep and when they do I’m ready to weather any storm that comes across my platform. I’m ready to stay in my pose without wavering.”
Niki Perry, the founder of 515 Fitness, was by Hood’s side for much of the eight hours and also worked with him during his training to prepare him mentally.
“We focused on mental toughness and the four c’s that you have to be able to get through to get through something as arduous as this: Commitment, consistency, core beliefs and evaluating challenges,” she said, adding that the gym also arranged for members to speak out on their “why’s” in life to provide inspiration to Hood.
At the end of the eight hours, Hood celebrated his new world title by doing 75 push-ups.
He said he thinks this plank world record title will be his last. Hood is now eyeing new challenges, like the winning the Guinness World Record for most push-ups completed in one hour, which currently stands at 2,806.
His advice for other people looking to hold even just a 20-second plank or do one push-up is to just get started.
“Everybody has a starting point,” Hood said. “Everybody starts somewhere and then, like anything in life, you build from that.”
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