Sacramento woman sets world record doing 555 pushups

Fiona Castleton’s feat will be recorded with “The Book of Alternative World Records.”
Fiona Castleton’s feat will be recorded with “The Book of Alternative World Records.” Courtesy of Fiona Castleton

It took Sacramento resident Fiona Castleton just under 40 minutes Friday to set a world and personal record for pushups.

Performing the feat on “Good Day Sacramento,” Castleton, 24, surpassed the previous record of 302 pushups set by her teammate at Savage Life Fitness, Maria Tobar. She then went on to complete 555 pushups, topping her own personal record of 550.

The feat, done without leaving the plank position, will be recorded with “The Book of Alternative World Records,” “home to the collection of weird, crazy, incredible and unusual feats of dexterity, endurance, strength and agility,” according to its website. Castleton said she was inspired to attempt a world record after a veterans group issued a pushup challenge, and to benefit Shriners, which provides orthopedic and burn treatment to children, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.

Castleton, who was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, said she had some trepidation when she started going to the gym about a year and a half ago. She said she was afraid she would be told she couldn’t do certain things.

But she said Savage worked with her to modify some exercises so they would be safe for her back.

“A year ago, I would have laughed if someone said I would hold a world record one day,” Castleton said Friday afternoon. She credited trainer Chris Savage of Sacramento’s Savage Life Fitness, as well as Tobar and other people she works out with at the gym, for encouraging her.

Castleton grew up in the Land Park neighborhood and graduated from McClatchy High School. She went on to earn a degree in health economics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and now works as an analyst for the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

She said she and her husband, Craig, play recreational softball but get most of their exercise through gym workouts.

Castleton encouraged people not to allow perceived physical limitations to discourage them from pursuing an exercise program. With persistence and a good trainer, she said, “I was able to surpass anything I thought I was capable of.”

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy