Guinness World Records holder for planking George Hood knows a thing or two about training for success. The 60-year-old veteran Marine officer, who recently made headlines for breaking two world records in the span of 24 hours (all in a day's work), caught up with LIVESTRONG.COM to discuss the odds and ends behind his successful feat.
On Training for the Big Day
During his recent event, Hood impressively titled for the longest continuous plank (10 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds) and most cumulative planks in a 24-hour period (he broke the first record after an 8-hour warm-up, for a grand total of 18 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds of planking.) What does it take to train for such extreme endurance? According to Hood, just a simple seven hours a day and “about 1,970 plank hours (in a 16-month timeframe), averaging four to six hours a day.” And there was a catch: These planks had to be done in a maximum of three sets, all within ten to 12 hours.
For strength, the record holder and Downers Grove, Illinois, YMCA fitness director also partook in crunches, push-ups and leg and arm workouts. On the cardio side, running, spin cycling or the elliptical were the workouts du jour. “It was a commitment I don’t regret,” Hood said. “[It was necessary] to have the muscular endurance to press on and see how many plank hours I could accumulate in 24 hours.”
On Using Food as Sustenance
How do you fuel for a strenuous, plank-filled workout? With 7,000 calories per day, of course. To be in top shape for his event, Hood avoided refined sugars, hydrated heavily (at least 80 ounces per day) and chose meals that were heavy in fruits, vegetables, carbs and proteins.
On Setting Himself Up for Success on Event Day
It’s difficult to imagine what could run through the mind of an athlete who's about to spend ten-plus hours engaging their core, elbows on the floor in front of an audience. For Hood, the day-of mental preparation begins with liquid supplements and a few sips of coffee. (Fun fact: The world record-holder stops eating 12 hours before starting an event.) Hood also relies on cognitive coaches, who keep his mind “calm and full of good thoughts.” “There are no distractions,” he said. “My mind is prepared for battle.”
He speaks of battles, but by Hood’s description of the event, you would not guess its strenuous nature. “The platform is a sacred place, full of energy and life,” he says. “I draw on those around me, not just crew, but my online followers and friends and those who show up to watch.” His other secret weapon? Tunes that are “all synced up just right so I can proceed on my journey and get lost in some very good music.”
All in all, Hood is a centered force of nature.