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Doctor live-streams more than 20K pushups in world-record attempt

Dr. Joseph DeMarco beat the world record for pushups by over 900 reps.

Dr. Joseph DeMarco pushes through his challenge to beat the Guiness Record for most pushups. Courtesy

A Manchester doctor live-streamed himself doing more than 20,000 pushups — a feat meant to not only beat a world record, but to help local animals in need of care. 

On Wednesday, Dr. Joseph DeMarco, a chiropractor and former bodybuilder, held a push-up marathon at MAC Fitness in Gloucester. His goal was to beat the current Guinness World Record for push-ups, which is currently set at 20,085 push-ups performed in 12 hours. 

The 57-year-old doctor managed to finish 21,008 pushups in 12 hours; he’s in communication with the Guinness World Records to update the current record.

DeMarco live-streamed the endeavor on his YouTube channel OcraMed Health in the hopes of raising money for Cape Ann Animal Aid. His adopted dog, Buddha, inspired the fundraiser. He was able to raise over $6,200 for the organization via a Spot Fund page, and $7,500 in total.


A vegan and animal lover, Dr. DeMarco said he’s overwhelmed by the response. 

“I always felt from the beginning that even if I didn’t reach my push-up goal, the event was still going to be a big win because of all of the donations,” DeMarco told Boston.com. “To me, it was never about the push-ups and the Guinness Record. It was about the fundraising to help Cape Ann Animal Aid.”

Stomach spasms, hand blisters, and pain in the forearm, neck, shoulders, and knees beckoned him to quit about 100 times during those 12 hours. 

“I knew it was just pain and not any type of serious injuries. Pain is something you can just ignore. I stayed in the moment, concentrated on each breath I took, each push-up I performed, and never let my body convince my brain that I was exhausted. It was a mental grind, to say the least.”

The hardest part of the experience wasn’t the pain of the moment, though — it was the daily grind of training for it. 

Dr. DeMarco trained for eight months to take the record, and lost 22 pounds in the process. He also did thousands of pushups each week, along with several hours of cardio and breathing exercises. For him, finishing the push-up challenge was 90 percent mental.


“I knew it was going to come down to mind over matter,” he said. 

Dr. Joseph DeMarco celebrates 21,008 pushups with his wife Lori, and his sons Jack (left) and Joey.

As DeMarco waits to hear back from the Guinness World Records, he hopes to have inspired people to stick to their goals. 

“Don’t allow others to convince you otherwise. People love to tell you what you can’t do. Like the old saying, ‘Those who say it can’t be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it,’” he said. 

Due to his age, DeMarco said he heard from a lot of dubious people who didn’t think he could pull off the push-up challenge. But he kept his focus by looking to the supportive friends and family around him — especially his wife, Lori.

“You have to stay away from the negative influences in your life and surround yourself with supportive people. People that inspire and encourage you. I want people to know that if you eat healthy and exercise, you can accomplish anything. Age is just a number.  We only get old, because we let ourselves get old.”


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