Lakewood OH

World record pull-up attempt planned for Feb. 9

By Kevin Kelley


A new world record for the most pull-ups in a 24-hour period will be set Feb. 9 at Grace Baptist Church. That is if Paul “Theo” Theodore has anything to say about it.

Along with his wife, Amber, the Westlake resident and fitness trainer operates Fit Me Up. The couple offer personal training programs out of Grace Baptist Church. But half of their work is with children. For example, Theodore offers an after-school program twice a week at Holy Trinity School in Avon.

Theodore had been thinking about attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark set for the most pull-ups in a 24-hour period. The record is 4,020, set in 2011 by Stephan Hyland in the United Kingdom. But Theodore said he didn’t want to pursue the record just for his own fame.

“I knew I needed a better reason,” he said.

About three months ago, Theodore heard about Zoe Watterson, a 16-year-old junior at Westlake High School who suffers from cystic fibrosis. The genetic disorder affects the lungs and digestive system of patients, who can experience coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, as well as life-threatening lung infections.

Two years ago, Watterson spent several months at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. During her countless hours in a hospital bed, she decided the sterile environment of a hospital ward is not conducive to healing, especially for children. The fifth floor of the hospital needs to be remodeled to be a more colorful, cozy place, she concluded.

“I would really like a workout gym and kitchen on the floor,” Watterson said of her vision for the floor.

Ultimately, Watterson applied to the Make A Wish Foundation, not to seek anything special for herself, but to make the hospital a more pleasant environment for the children who have to spend time there.

The fitness trainer, who heard about Watterson from kids he works with, had found his inspiration to pursue the world record.

His goal is to not only break the record of 4,020 pull-ups, but set a new one of 6,000.

“I’m confident, because it’s not about me,” he said.

In addition to maintaining his regular workout schedule, which includes running up to six miles three times a week, Theodore has added three pull-up-specific workouts. One is a long workout during which he does 300 to 1,000 pull-ups. The other two are strength-based workouts in which he performs pull-ups while wearing a 40-pound weighted vest.

Theodore will start his run at the record at 7 a.m. Feb. 9. The intent is the break the record during a benefit party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the gym of Grace Baptist Church, located at 23096 Center Ridge Road. Tickets for the benefit are $30 per person, $10 per child and $70 per family. The event will include a raffle, food and prize giveaways. Individuals are also encouraged to register a group for the team pull-up competition by e-mailing Amber Theodore at

For more information on Theodore’s world record attempt or Watterson, visit or




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