MALONE – Mike Fournier is preparing to go out in a blaze of flames.
Fournier, local resident and owner of Freedom Fitness Club in Malone, has his eyes set on breaking the world record for lifting the most weight in his powerlifting class, the Men’s Professional Push-Pull 275-pound Masters Division (age group 55-59).
It’s a record he almost broke without meaning to.
On Dec. 12, with his combined total of 1,005 pounds, (bench & deadlift) Fournier won the Metal Militia Powerlifting Federation World Championship.
He went into the competition hoping to bench press 500 pounds and deadlift 500 pounds. He reached 500 pounds on his second rep in both categories each, not needing the third rep allowed to him.
When Fournier hit his goal of a combined total 1,005 pounds, he was unaware that he was just five pounds shy of hitting the world record for his division until a friend he trains with told him.
“I told them I’m not taking my third lift,” Fournier said. “I know I can deadlift more, and with only five pounds more, I’m going to do it again at the end of April.”
Before he chases the world record for his division, Fournier, 57, is taking much needed rest. Fresh off of competition, he can barely lift 150 pounds currently.
Starting this February, Fournier will begin training by starting at roughly 200 pounds.
It typically takes three months for Fournier to reach his peak for a competition. But like any athlete devoted to a sport, Fournier has made many sacrifices. He currently uses a knee brace, and also needs a knee replacement. Not to mention ligament issues in his ankle.
Fournier is prepared to leave it all out there when it’s time to tack on another five pounds.
“I figure if I break the record, I’ll wreck the rest of my knees. And if I don’t hit it, I’ll wreck them trying,” Fournier said. “At that level, for five pounds, I’m not going to spend the rest of my life wondering, ‘What if?’”
World records are divided by age and categories. The current record – 1,005 pounds – was set by Robert Cushman in 2019. He, like Fournier, is in the Metal Militia Federation.
According to openpowerlifting.org, there are six different federations ranked in the top 11. Fournier and Cushman have a firm hold in the top two.
“It’s pretty good that the two of us are Metal Militia,” Fournier said.
Battling arthritis and some ankle issues, Fournier attests that the only competition with the sport is one’s own body. And he’s preparing to put it all on the line one more time.
“I’m going down to break the world record. That’s my goal, that’s my mindset,” Fournier said. “Hopefully my body can take it, because I’ve been lifting weights for 45 years. When you do those kinds of numbers, it’s hard on the body.”
The next powerlift competition will take place late April at an undetermined location in the Glens Falls area.
“If that ends my career that day, at least I could say I went out trying or I went out on top,” Fournier said. “Checkered flag or crash.”