Local men vie to beat Guinness World Record for pull-ups
Proceeds will fund memorial to Elmhurst fallen soldier Joe Vanek
By Marisa Mancini
For The Elmhurst Independent
Two very patriotic men — Nick Janowitz, owner of Patriot Sports and Fitness in Elmhurst, and Jeremy Miller, a Patriot trainer — will each attempt to do 7,500 pull-ups in a 24-hour period in the hopes of breaking the Guinness World record which currently stands at 7,300.
The Pull Ups for Patriots fundraising event will take place in Elmhurst’s City Centre Plaza beginning on Friday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. and will continue through Saturday, April 29 at 9:30 p.m. The public is invited to come out and observe at any time during the 24 hours.
“The event is a fundraiser for a charity called Pull Up Bars for Patriots, which has no affiliation with Patriot Sports and Fitness,” said Janowitz. Founded by a former Marine, Pull-Up Bars for Patriots’ mission is to erect pull-up bar memorials to honor fallen service members while encouraging physical fitness across the U.S.
Amazingly, this will be the second time Janowitz will challenge a Guinness World record.
When asked what motivates him, Janowitz talked about his background. “I’ve been infatuated with fitness and athletics ever since I was a little kid and I guess I’ve always wanted to be the toughest kid around,” he said.
He recalled at age 5, while other kids were watching cartoons, he would watch workout programs and follow along.
Janowitz took up wrestling when he was very young.
“I’ve been testing my physical and mental toughness ever since,” he stated. After achieving great success as a high school wrestler, Janowitz joined the U. S. Navy and became a member of the All Navy Wrestling Team, with the hope of making the US Olympic wrestling team. After wrestling, he became a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter where he was ranked 35th in the world.
After his fourth professional fight, Nick broke his hand and needed a hip replacement. Still he had a yearning for competition.
This sparked his desire to break a world record. He initially looked into the pull-up world record, which at that time was 5,000, but considered it too difficult.
Instead he challenged the burpees record, because burpees had always been an integral part of his wrestling conditioning. The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full body exercise used in strength training which is done in four steps. From a standing position, the person squats on haunches with hands on the floor by the feet. In step 3, the person jumps the feet straight back and straightens the arms; then jumps the feet forward between the hands again, then returns to standing.
After contacting the Guinness World Records and receiving approval, Nick trained for two weeks and broke the burpees record of 10,000 done in 24 hours by doing 10,164 burpees in just 17 hours.
“The decades of military, wrestling and MMA training, the sacrifices and most importantly the set-backs – a hip replacement, hand surgery, and three knee surgeries – are what really made me believe I could break the burbees record – and that I can break this world record of 7,300 pull ups,” Janowitz said.
Jeremy Miller, Janowitz’s partner in this quest to break the pull ups record, just enlisted in the Navy on March 1 of this year. Miller’s goal is to become a Navy Seal. Janowitz beamed with pride at Miller’s ambition.
“Navy Seals are the ultimate warriors,” Janowitz said. “They are ordinary people trying to do extraordinary things. We only have one life and everyone is going to die someday — why not live a life full of honor, courage and commitment instead of putting it on someone else. People say we support our troops, but what does that mean? The best way of supporting our troops is by being a troop.”
Both Janowitz and Miller are very committed to supporting our military. Not surprisingly, when Pull Up Bars for Patriots contacted Janowitz last year about getting involved or donating money, he decided to do both.
“I contacted the Guinness World Records and got approval to challenge the pull-ups record,“ said Janowitz. All funds raised at the April event to break the pull-up record will be used to erect a pull-ups memorial in Elmhurst to honor Sergeant Joseph Vanek of Elmhurst, who at 22 years old was killed in action in Iraq in November of 2007.
“Heroes like Joe are being forgotten along the way,” he said. “The goal of this fundraiser is to bring awareness to the real heroes of the world. We take for granted what it means to give your life for someone else. Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. So, if I can help honor Joe and other fallen service members who are our true heroes, I will.”
Janowitz identified another factor that motivates him to challenge world records.
“I want to be the toughest man on the planet,” he said. “Some people might think that sounds crazy but I think it’s crazy if you don’t want to be it. I’m a firm believer in showing rather than saying. A lot of people think they are tough or fit, but can they prove it? I wake up every day and try to become a better man than I was the day before.
“If I want to continue coaching and molding warriors like Jeremy Miller, then I better lead by example. If you want to be the toughest man on the planet than you better train like it. The 10,164 burpees and the hopefully soon to be 7,500 pull ups is a good start to becoming the toughest man on the planet.
“See, everyone has a breaking point; I just want mine to be higher than everyone else’s.”
“It’s going to be a huge event and we plan on having 10,000 people throughout the 24 hours,” stated Janowitz. “This world record is considered one of the toughest physical challenges in the world. There will be a set of pull up bars for people to do pull-ups with us. This will be very motivating as we take on our challenge. We encourage everyone available to come out and support us.”
Many local businesses have donated raffle prizes and money for this event. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation and/or donating a raffle prize can bring or mail them to Patriot Sports and Fitness, 915 S. Riverside Dr. in Elmhurst. More information about Patriot Sports and Fitness can be found on their website, www.patriotsportsandfitness.com, or by calling 630-279-7206.