Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What if? A stronger body

What if? Stronger bodies, longer life spans

While studying human anatomy and physiology, I became amazed, enthralled, with the complex inter-relatedness, the interdependent connectedness of the human body. Pausing from study, I thought, "I wonder what the human body is capable of not only in terms of life span but in sheer work? What is the human body of capable of doing?"

I soon began to search records to find some parameters. Climbing the highest mountain, holding one's breath the longest time, twisting the body in the most contorted way....But I realized that a collection of records would not diagram what I was searching for as an adequate answer. 

What if? it was me?
I also realized that this non-specific question could not be directly measured. So I changed the question to "What is my body capable of doing?"

Working out with weights was the beginning. It allowed me to measure with some precision how much weight I was lifting and how many times I was able to lift it. The ViQuest Center in Greenville, NC has a FitLinxx system that records each lift, its range of motion, and duration (each list must take a minimum amount of time). 

Having nothing else to go by, I hummed the old song "16 tons and what do ya get? Another day older and deeper in debt....." At first, lifting 16 tons (32,000 pounds) in a single day seemed like the maximum because that is the highest number I had heard recorded in a folk song.

I remember the first time I surpassed 32,000 pounds in a single workout. I thought "Wow, I did it!!"  

My most important rule was to not get sore. I would quit as soon as I felt tired, or even bored. I kept going. My next goal as 100,000 pounds. Then 150,000. Then 200,000 pounds without getting tired. At ViQuest was the first time that I was able to lift 201,750 in a single workout, recorded. 

So that was fine with me. I thought "Wow, I can do a lot more than I even thought." And I let it stand. 

Studies showed that endurance was also linked to longevity. Fitness also brought a sense of well-being, a feeling of personal power that I had not experienced before. There is no substitute for the the gladness and wholeness that comes from walking in your own fitness. I say "Health--accept no substitutes."

What if? I could do more?
Then in February of this year, I saw the record of Eamon Keane who bench pressed 350,300 pounds in an hour [1]. My next goal was to use my whole body routine to lift more than 350,000 pounds on the dozen or so machines I use at the Student Recreation Center at Old Dominion University [2]. This was accomplished on March 23, 2012 when I lifted 350,750 pounds, although it took longer than an hour.

What if? I could become the strongest in the world? 
Then I saw the world record of  Shaun Jones who squat lifted 1,013,350 in 24 hours. So a million pounds became my next goal. 

So why the competitiveness? It is not from a feeling of doing better than someone else, but from a sense that "here is a marker I have not reached before." If one person does it it must then be within the realm of human possibility. And if it is humanly possible, can I go there too?

There are some differences, of course. Mr. Jones at 50 is a decade younger than I am. He is also a man. He uses the squat to measure his workout while I use a variety of machines.   

Nevertheless, I plan on doing a million pounds of lifts on June 25th, my son Michael's 29th birthday. Why? Because I heard someone murmur that getting to 29 was "getting old." I am here to prove that fitness keeps you young; happy and young at the same time. Make a stronger body and enjoy your life longer. 

My very best wishes to each of you. I am here to answer any of your questions. 

ps to those who asked: Yes, I do this while eating the endurance food that I invented. KHW