How This 57-Year-Old Vegan Broke 2 Guinness World Records For Pushups

Joe DeMarco used the event to raise money for a no-kill animal shelter in Massachusetts


3 Minutes Read

Vegan athlete and Guinness World Record holder Joe DeMarco The athlete now holds two world records - Media Credit: Joe DeMarco

What would it take to complete 20,000 pushups in half a day? According to former bodybuilder and Guinness World Record-holder Dr. Joe DeMarco, a diet rich in plant-based foods could be key.

On May 25, DeMarco – a practicing chiropractor, author, and vegan – decided to take on a new challenge at what he calls, 57-years-young.

It’s safe to say it was a success. After a grueling half-day session, DeMarco claimed two Guinness World Records for the most pushups performed in eight and 12 hours: 15,261 and 21,008 respectively. (The previous records were 14,444 in eight and 20,085 in 12 hours).

While some people were skeptical about the challenge, DeMarco was confident he could pull it off. “I knew that this world record attempt was going to be tough. I think, because of my age, I had a lot of people who doubted I could do it,” he told Plant Based News (PBN). “However, I never had any doubts.”

Elaborating on the lead-up to the event, DeMarco explained: “I took a very strategic approach to my preparation. Over the past seven to eight months, I began to move away from weight training (I am a former Masters National Bodybuilding Champion) and more into bodyweight training.”

“Cardio training was greatly increased and I began to focus on breathing techniques,” he continued. “Over the course of my training I lost 22 pounds, getting down to my old gymnastics weight (I competed in gymnastics in high school and college).”

Pushups on a plant-based diet

DeMarco’s diet remained relatively unchanged whilst preparing for the big day. “Nutrition-wise, I knew I was all set,” he said. “This is because I eat a 100 percent plant-based diet. I have always avoided ‘junk food,’ and I don’t drink alcohol.”

“I am plant-based because of my love of animals,” he continued. (DeMarco dedicated the Guinness World Record to his rescue dog Buddha, who had cancer last summer).

“However, I also feel that it provides tremendous benefits for my overall health.”

While he trained for the world record attempt, DeMarco’s wife (who he describes as an “excellent vegan chef”) prepared most of his meals.

“She would experiment with different plant-based meals during my training to see what worked best for me in regards to providing me with the needed energy and nutrition. She would also prepare home made electrolyte drinks for me,” he explained.

“My nutrition was a huge part of my success! I never got run down or depleted, even during days when I was training six or seven hours per day.”

Fundraising for charity

“My primary motivation for this pushup record event was to raise money for Cape Ann Animal Aid,” DeMarco told us.

“They are a wonderful animal shelter in Gloucester, Massachusetts.”

The nonprofit is a no-kill organization, “dedicated to facilitating appropriate placement of adoptable animals and enhancing the lives of all companion animals by promoting respect and wellbeing through education and outreach,” its website reads.

“So far, we have raised over $7,500 USD and I’m hoping we can still raise more!”

Those interested can donate to the fundraiser here.

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