Alicia Weber on Working Toward World Records

by Alicia Weber

I grew up in a family of healthcare professionals in Pittsburgh, PA, where discipline and health were important. I have always been a serious athlete in training. I was lifting by age four with my father's help. I began running half-mile timings at a half-mile cinder track at 6 years of age with my first clocking at 3 minutes 30 seconds. My father got me a punching bag and pull up bar and I trained daily. I was referred to as "Ace" and everyone in the neighborhood would play 'Chase Ace' games and try to see how long it would take to catch me.

Early on, other kids wanted to get around me to be challenged. Boys sought me out for football, basketball, and boxing matches. I played a game called 'Exercise Elimination' with girls that involved gymnastics. When I was 13 years old weight training in Washington D.C. at 95 lbs, I benched pressed 220 lbs on a Universal Machine in December of 1993. Also at age 13, I set All-Time Physical Fitness test records in 1993-1994, which were off the charts for a female in the Presidential Physical Fitness Test and I competed with the boys. I did 27 consecutive pull-ups (chin goes over the bar with a pronated-grip and then arms fully extend before going back up). I ran 600 yards in a record time of 1 minute and 35 seconds. I completed a chin-over-bar, bar hang isometric hold for 1 minute and 58.84 seconds.

I also received the highest points ever for a physical fitness test. This was a major turning point for me in preparation for international competitions. I entered my first international competition in 1994 at the Pittsburgh 10K Great Race that had 6,000 runners. I finished first in my age group. I competed in that same competition in 1997 and was the 19th woman to cross the line and the 10th American. I did my 10k in 36:41 and earned a full Cross Country and Track and Field scholarship to Duquesne University by the result from that race alone.

I was always known for my high energy and always doing the impossible. I was nicknamed "The Machine." I was inspired by the Great Finnish Olympic Runner, Paavo Nurmi, known for his rigorous training and back to back Olympic Track victories with less than an hour for race recovery between races. I would have a full day of track events and win most, if not all of them. I would start with the 3k, followed by the 1500m, then 400m, and finally end the day with the 800m, and go to Nationals. In 1996, I became a National Champion in the 3K at the Junior Olympic National Championships in Houston, Texas, and I took the silver medal in the 1996 National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1997, I was the only high school runner to qualify, compete, and medal in the Junior National 10k track event, where I earned my first All-American. I was also the only female athlete to do a 'distance double' where I took 10th in the 5,000 meters and less than 12 hours later took 5th in the 10,000m. I ran in 106 degrees F in 1998 where I became 3rd in the Nation for 10,000 meters and was the only high school athlete to become an All-American in that event again at Junior Nationals in Edwardsville, Illinois. I received scholarships all over the US and coaches marveled over my ability to do gymnastics and strength events with high level strength as well as be a highly competitive runner in sprints and distance events (but primarily distance running).

By 1998, my senior year in high school, I was the only US track/cross country athlete to qualify and compete in sprints and distance events (e.g. 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 10,000m, and cross country) on the national level. I earned 7 National Championship medals between 1996 - 1998 for running. I self-coached myself to these victories! I was also setting records and winning as a world-class triathlete. I represented the US in Perth, Australia, for the 2000 ITU World Triathlon Championships at age twenty.

I spent 1 1/2 years at Duquense University and then transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. I ran for JJ Clark at the University of Florida and received my B.S. degree there in 2002 in Telecommunication and Film Studies. I was recognized for my well-written screenplay that incorporated Paavo Nurmi and I became a published author/illustrator. I received many recognitions on the track as well. I was letterwinner in track and cross country, recipient of the Coaches Award, named to the top-10 list for 6k cross country, and won the 5k indoor track SEC Quad race, among other achievements. I was also the team entertainer and motivational speaker. JJ Clark has been the US Olympic women's track team coach for the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics. His wife is 5-time Olympian Jearl Miles-Clark and both his sisters (Joetta Clark-Diggs and Hazel Clark-Riley) are multiple Olympians in the 800 meter track event. I will always treasure my time training with the Clarks and running under JJ's tutelage. JJ Clark was very aware of my strength and my desire to set strength records someday. He and others would watch me do 50 consecutive chin-ups and 30 consecutive pull-ups in the UF Athletes Gym.

After my experience at UF, I entered the working world and I still continued my athletic pursuits. In May of 2004, I met the criteria to become a professional triathlete. I trained and competed on the ITU triathlon circuit and US non-draft circuit for 3 years. As much as I enjoy triathlon, I like to take advantage of every opportunity there is to do the grueling fitness competitions that combine strength, speed, and endurance. I would probably say that fitness competitions are my favorite competitions and there are few of them. I won the 2001 Ultimate Athlete of Florida competition when I won 7 of 10 events including 100 yd. open water swim, suicide run, 1 1/2 mile run, archery, obstacle course, shot put, and rock climbing. The competition included former gladiators, bodybuilders, and military participants. I went on to compete in the Nova 2004 North American Fitness Championship. With a competitive field of 30 women and 1 man, I won overall most fitness points and became the North American Fitness Champion! I set the National Record for most fitness points for the competition which consisted of 7 one-minute exercises completed within 13 minutes. I also set 4 Individual event National Records in pushups, sit ups, and two types of jump roping all just under 200rpm. I tied the dip record of 23 reps in a minute.

This was yet another major turning point in my athletic career. I felt I needed to start focusing on world records; however, I was juggling those aspirations with my triathlon career that was also taking off.

It wasn't until January of 2007, when I decided to get serious about a plan and take action to set strength records. Mainly advice from another All-American Triathlete and P.E. Coach, Nicole McCarthy, led me to have strength world record setting as a major goal for me in 2007 and 2008. I finished out some last competitions in '07 and became the Sunshine State Games winner of the 500m recreational kayak flatwater sprint in a 6o+ lbs. fishing kayak and I took 2nd overall in the 200m flatwater sprint race. As of late 2008, I have competed in approximately 166 competitions with at least 58 victories and 140 top-10 finishes.

In preparation for world records, I train at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida. Exercise Specialist, Hemant Hariprashad would watch me a lot and follow up with me on my training and competition results. I really focused on muscular endurance like I never did before. By the summer of 2007, 65 consecutive dips were my failure point. Fall of 2007, I would get to 70 dips on occasion. It wasn't till December 19, 2007, that I got to as many as 80 consecutive dips before failure and tried a world record attempt. After the review of my first world record, the conclusion was that only 74 reps were done correctly. I kept working.

In the meantime, I was also working on muscular endurance in timed pull up and chin up events. World Record training and testing is very strict. There is no momentum and swinging allowed to help with the exercise. I also have to be aware of full-extension of the arms in each rep (where the elbows lock out) and the return of the rep would be a 90 degree angle for a dip exercise or a chin visibly seen over the chin up bar for a chin up and pull up. If reps are too fast, they aren't counted. It takes me 4 minutes usually to do sub 80 consecutive dips. In fact, doing the consecutive dips past 70 reps is very taxing on my triceps. I need to taper and literally not do any dips for at least 1-2 weeks to be fresh and get above 70 reps correctly in a test session. On February 21, 2008, I completed 75 consecutive reps of correct dips in Clermont, Florida. I had World-Class Coach, Carl Rose, review my exercise style. He coaches national and international athletes.

I continued into pull up and chin up timed training. In fact, I spent July - September of 2008 getting critiques from a variety of fitness professionals and working strictly on the 1-minute and 3-minute timed events. Adam Gardner is a fitness/nutrition professional and sport photographer. He reviewed my pull up and chin up form. My World Record results in pull ups and chin ups are what I do on pretty much any given day. I do not need to taper for these events like I do in the dip exercise events. I am wild about exercise, setting goals, and getting results and this mind-set carries over into my career. Just like kids would seek me out for a challenge when I was just starting out, now people tell me they want to get around me because they know they will lose weight - I am a fitness trainer and more!

Outside of my quests for athleticism, I worked toward a bachelors degree in Biology and I am currently in a Doctorate program. I have been a Fitness/Nutrition/Solutions Consultant for 10 + years with many certifications. I attribute my world record success not only to my physical training, but to my good nutrition. I have been selected as the Premiere Fitness Professional in Central Florida and I answer Fitness Questions on I work with over a thousand clients of all ages, lifestyles, and ability levels in Aquatic Therapy, Fitness Training, Nutrition, and Business Consultation in Central Florida. I also work worldwide with my online Fitness and Business Services and teach 'A Winningway to Health, Wealth, and Wellness!' My business web site is

Alicia's blog can be found at

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