A local Memphian and personal trainer recently broke the Guinness Book of World Records for push-ups on his thumbs and raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Issac Coleman, 34, was a fan of Bruce Lee growing up and watched him perform the famous Bruce Lee’s Two Finger Push-ups on One Arm. “I borrowed his biography from the Old Central Library when I was growing up in Midtown and it was probably the first biographical book I ever read.”

While in elementary school at Rozelle, Issac loved to run and race his friends, realizing he was naturally fast and agile. He joined ballet class and enjoyed running, although asthma and bronchitis prohibited him from running long distances. During this time, Issac also lost his paternal grandfather to bone cancer, which ignited his desire to raise money for cancer research.

In junior high school at Fairview, Issac began doing hundreds of push-ups and thousands of sit-ups on his own time at home at night. A nearby neighbor who was an ex-marine took Issac under his wing and began to teach him how to work out and train properly from a military perspective.

“While working out and playing with classmates, I noticed that fingertip push-ups were increasingly easy for me; however, no other student could perform them, no matter how hard they tried,” he says.

Issac knew he had a special talent that was unique enough to one day be in the Guinness Book of World Records, and that is when his journey began. While attending the University of Memphis, he became a fitness trainer and instructor at the Fogelman YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-south; he began training his own clients in 2006.

In April 2019, Issac set out to break the Guinness World Record for Most Number of Thumb Push-ups in One Minute, which at the time was 43. While he did not beat his goal, he continued in his pursuit, and on Aug. 13, 2019, he coordinated a fundraiser for St. Jude and conquered his goal by doing 51 thumb push-ups in one minute. He is now invited to participate in Guinness World Record Day, Nov. 14, 2019, and the Guinness Book of World Records has officially approved his application to challenge and break the Most Number of Push-ups Performed By a Male in Three Minutes; the current standard is 300 push-ups.

“I am currently training for many other Guinness World Records in the area of fitness, and I shall always promote charitable cancer non-profit organizations throughout my journey,” Issac says.

In addition, Issac continues to train people in his home gym and also does meal prep for several clients. He is passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others.

“In reality, with respect to human biology, anything is possible if we employ proper nutrition, proper technique, determination, and dedication. We are going to put the reality back in fitness.”

To see Issac’s journey, visit Facebook.com/the.reality.of.fitness or watch his videos on Youtube.com/therealityoffitness.

By Christin Yates

Photo by Tindall Stephens