MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Bartlett man hopes to earn the title of "the fittest on Earth" in the Masters division of The CrossFit Games, which are just over two weeks away.
Gus Vandervoort spends about six hours in the gym every day preparing for the international fitness competition.
"Being 30 to 50 pounds overweight, I couldn't do anything. I couldn't do one pull up without assistance. I couldn't do push ups. I couldn't do an air squat," he said.
But, that's no longer the case.
At 56 years old, Vandervoort can now do 50 pull ups in a row with ease.
Vandervoort, a former gymnast from Oak Park, Illinois, said he started working out and exercising because he wanted to get in shape and be fit. He came to Memphis on a scholarship to compete for The University of Memphis.
Seven years ago, his inner athlete resurfaced thanks to CrossFit. It's a lifestyle change that may have saved his life.
"I had some success, and then during one of the workouts a few years ago I had a heart attack," he said.
The heart attack is now just part of his journey to becoming one of only 20 men in the world competing in his age group next month in Madison, Wisconsin.
"I was 30th one year, 24th, 23th, 22nd, and 230th the year of my heart attack. But, it's been a struggle and to actually qualify, it's most surreal," he said.
The CrossFit workouts are strenuous, intense, and challenging, but that has driven him to become a top athlete.
It's an accomplishment, he said, we can all achieve.
"I also want to motivate other men to get off the couch. You don't have to settle for a beer gut," he said.
The CrossFit Games begin Aug. 2.