George Hood can’t stomach whiners. He is “rockstar” confident. And he definitely understands the importance of a properly functioning external catheter.
All of which came into play when the U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Naperville held his torso rigid for eight hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds at a fitness club in Plainfield — landing him, once again, in the Guinness World Records book for planking.
“The elbows break open, they bleed — it’s like a very bad abrasion,” says Hood, 62, who calls himself an “ultra-endurance athlete” and speaks rapid-fire, saying things like “execute” and “10-4” a lot. “But you get used it. It’s fine.”
To the unfamiliar, holding a plank position might sound like some medieval torture. You hold yourself near-level above the floor with just your forearms and toes touching the ground. No sagging bellies or skyward butts allowed.
Running a marathon, “You have to push through walls.” says Hood, who worked for about 15 years for the Chicago branch of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration before retiring in 2007. But planking, “I’m static — I can’t move and have the beauty of seeing different scenery.”
People would stop to watch when he went for the record, especially when he was getting close to the record.
“It ebbs and flows because no one is going sit there and watch a guy plank for eight hours,” he says.
Hood started planking in 2010 when Guinness introduced it as a record category. A year later, all it took was one hour and 20 minutes to break the record. He broke it again in 2013, holding the position for three hours and seven minutes that time.
To prepare for his latest record attempt, the evenly bronzed Hood trained seven hours a day with a regimen that included about 2,000 situps, 700 pushups, 500 leg lifts — and four to five hours of planking.
He starts each day with a fistful of vitamins and supplements. He doesn’t smoke, do drugs or drink alcohol.
“The chemistry in my body is pure, and that facilitates my ability to do what I do,” he says.
So just why would anyone want to spend hour after hour in a pose resembling a human bench?
“I’m solving problems when I’m in that plank pose,” Hood says. “I’m thinking about where I’m going to live. I’m thinking about the kids. I’m working on updates to my social media.”
And, despite gulping down plenty of fluids, he no longer needs to think about urinating.
“I used to just p--- in bottles, but when I discovered that external catheter, that’s brilliant!” he says.
Hood has a hard, muscled exterior, but he’s a softy when he gushes about his three grown sons. It also it turns out that he loves a good love story — particularly Danielle Steel’s first novel “Going Home,” which he read on a flight to the U.S. mainland from Honolulu.
“I remember crying on that airplane,” he says. “I was so engrossed in that novel.”
When it’s showtime, though, the only thing trickling down Hood’s face is sweat. Hood says he can’t abide whiners — people who, for example, give a wishy-washy response when asked how things are going.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Hood will answer with a drill sergeant’s bark. “You woke up, for God’s sake! Be grateful you got out of bed.”
Hood says he’s achieved all that he wants in terms of competitive planking.
But you’ll still find him in the gym, where his regimen includes a 500 pushups “daily, minimum.
“I would like to move into the pushup genre,” he says. “The most pushups in an hour seems to get my attention.”