Imagine holding a plank position for over an hour.

Make that one hour, twenty minutes and five seconds, to be exact. That’s what George Hood did back in December 2011 and it earned him the position for static abdominal hold in the Guinness Book of World Records. The fact that he beat the last record holder by 30 whopping minutes makes me think that he will “hold his position” for quite a long time (pun intended).

But that’s not all for which George Hood shows up in the GBWR. He’s quite a competitor, making it to the GBWR pages for endurance in jumping rope and spin cycling. This year, he plans to set another record in the stationary bike after another competitor beat his earlier time. He’s a 54 year old personal trainer (and ex-Marine) with a fitness motto that explains his passion for making the GBWR: “Set goals. Keep score. And break records. Because anything else is just exercise.”

I know for myself that I need a challenge to help keep me going in the gym. Two years ago I completed my first sprint triathlon (and I have finished two more since — you can read about them on my blog). Last year I completed my first half-marathon, and my goal for this year is to complete a marathon. So I love Hood’s fitness motto. It made me want to take a closer look at it see how we can apply it to our daily fitness routines.

Set Goals

We all have fitness goals. Mine are typically centered around marathon and triathlons. Yours might be swimming, biking, yoga or martial-arts centric. It is my belief that our fitness goals should be centered around accomplishing an activity, rather than losing a certain number of pounds. By focusing on weight-loss, I fear that it could make your workouts more work than fun, and I’ve always believed fitness should be fun. If your goals are activity-centered, like Hood’s are, then it keeps you from obsessing about your weight. And if you work toward that activity goal, that weight will come off—while you are having fun!

Beth MarathonKeep Score

I keep a mental “score” of what I’ve done, but if we look at Hood’s philosophy, I think he’s talking about a lot more here. For Hood to compete and win, you know he’s watching what the other record-breakers are doing. There’s something to be said for DOCUMENTING what has been done—that’s what the GBWR is all about. I have often heard it said that keeping a record of what, how many, and how much you do in the gym is a good idea so you can have a gauge of how you are doing overall. I admit, this is something I don’t do, and which I need to do more of. It makes sense that a regular, documented personal “score” would only push you a little more each day. I’m going to start trying Hood’s philosophy here.

Break Records

I think this is a good idea, and I do this by trying to break my own records (for the most part). While I might look at what others are doing to gauge where I stand in my age group, I focus on what I have done in the past, and try to “up” it each time I go out. I believe that my greatest opponent in life is myself, and this is true in the gym, as well as anywhere else. If I can continually break my own records, then there will be no limits for me. Maybe you are more like Hood and are motivated by breaking other people’s records. Whatever the case, get out there and break some records!

One More Motivator: Find a Cause

Beth and Brad

Bethany and her husband Brad

Finding a cause to work for is not part of Hood’s fitness motto, but it certainly is something that motivates him. In his record-breaking fitness endeavors, Hood has managed to raise over $100,000 for various charities, including the Illinois Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), Kiwanis of Willowbrook Burr Ridge in Burr Ridge, IL, the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund and the Fox Valley United Way (according to his personal website.

Fit Freedom writers are all about supporting a cause, and so it makes sense that we love this motivating factor for Hood. So, like Hood, I challenge you to find a cause you can work out for. There are always events in every community, from 5 Ks to raise money for cancer or a full marathon for the same. It really makes a difference in your training when you know what you are doing makes a difference.


While writing this, I was inspired to start “keeping score.” Do any of you already keep score or break records?

Do any of you have activity-centered goals that keep you moving forward in the gym (or outside, or wherever you choose to workout)?

~Bethany Jo Lee


About Michelle S.

"Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever..." Make each day better than the day before.

2 responses »

  1. lightpaw says:

    awesome read, thank you.

  2. germanymarie says:

    I meant to comment sooner, sorry I didn’t :-/ This was a great read! What an insane motivational image to keep in my mind. I can’t believe this guy did the plank pose for so long… the video looks kind of excruciating! Thanks for the great article!!

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