Just when you think you're tough enough

CrossFit Tough Takes

Marine Veteran breaks World Pullup Record in the strangest way

Guy Valentino completed 5,862 pullups in 24 hours
Guy Valentino completed 5,862 pullups in 24 hours

Guy Valentino, a 37-year-old CrossFit trainer and Marine Corps veteran, completed 5,862 pullups in 24 hours, setting a new world record on November 11, 2015.

How in the world did he do it?

  1. He did 5 reps every minute. This pace kept his heart rate down so he could conserve his energy for the long haul.
  2. He pretended he was on a mission in Iraq. Every 1,000 pullups got him to a “checkpoint,” where he was able to resupply fellow Marines with ammo and food.

If Valentino didn’t make it, the Marines would die.

That’s an unconventional strategy to say the least. But then again, with an exhausting, near-impossible feat like this one, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” technique.

It’s whatever helps you find the physical strength and the mental strength to finish the next rep—even when your hands bruise, your vision blurs, or your rib pops out of its socket, as Valentino’s did three times.

For Valentino, his motivation came from the Marines—and not just the imaginary ones at his checkpoints, but also the real ones suffering at home.

Army veteran Brendan Ferreira doing pull-ups with one arm.
Army veteran Brendan Ferreira doing pull-ups with one arm.

That’s because he used to be one of them. A decade ago, Valentino had just returned home from his tour in Iraq, and sunk into a depression.

“Here I was, a war fighter who had been in charge of 42 men, and I come back and I’m not in charge of anybody,” he says.

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after his battalion had lost 16 men to improvised explosive devices. He stopped taking care of himself. His training improved his life so much that he turned it into a full-time job.

He became a trainer, and recently opened his own CrossFit box in Dallas called CrossFit Apocalypse. Now, he wants to help other vets find peace, too.

“I want to get veterans to wake up from PTSD, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts,” he says.

“I want them to get back to the foundation of what makes military men and women strong, which is physical fitness.”

But perhaps most powerful for Valentino was the presence of Army veteran Brendan Ferreira, an ambassador for the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Taking Up Fitness campaign, which helps vets get back in shape.

Ferreira, an amputee, did pullups while he was there in support—with his one arm.

“Just seeing him do pullups was a reminder that I got nothing to complain about,” Valentino says. “I have two damn working arms.”

Related: Veterans Remind You Why Your Problems Don’t Really Matter

And that’s what helped push him through his toughest moments. When every pain receptor in his body was telling him to stop, Valentino kept going.

It’s impossible to quit when your mission is so much bigger than you, he says.

Read the full story onMen’s Health.