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Gainesville's Moon to attempt record 805-pound press
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Power lifter Tim Moon with 805 pounds he’ll try to lift on Saturday to set a record in the 50-and-over division. Moon works out at the Iron Beast Barbell, where the competition will be held. - photo by Nat Gurley | The Times

Tim Moon knows he’s become an ambassador for the weight lifting community both locally and nationally.

With God-given strength and a methodical workout schedule, he now hopes to attach his name atop the list of the best in the bench press during the North Georgia Ox Mover powerlifting meet Saturday at the Iron Beast Barbell, the facility where he lifts in Gainesville three times each week.

“I guess I’ll have a home crowd advantage going,” said Moon, who lives in Gainesville.

It’s not hard to spot Moon. With a barrel chest and thick arms, he has proudly reaped the benefits of becoming a champion in the weight lifting community. However, he never wants it to be mistaken where the source of his strength originated.

“God’s the one that made me strong,” said Moon, who has the primary help of three training partners at the Iron Beast Barbell.

After turning 50 earlier this year, Moon is attempting to set the new record in the 50-plus division with a bench press of 805 pounds in sanctioned competition. This is a mark he’s been eyeing for a while, but he had to wait for his most recent birthday to qualify.

Since taking up the bench press in competitive lifting in 2008, he’s earned nine world championships and 24 world records.

Moon said he’s hit 800 pounds about “four or five” times in practice, but needs to get the 805-pound mark to beat the current record-holder’s record of 804 and jump to the top of the rankings in his age group.

With so much on the line, many would feel anxious about the attempt.

Not Moon. He enjoys lifting in the moment with so much on the line.

“I do better lifting in meets,” said Moon. “I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Moon will have three attempts at the 805 record on the bench press. Since it a local meet, sanctioned by the World United Amateur Powerlifting, his strategy is to go for the mark right away. His warm-up to prepare for the meet, in his words, is to lift 765 — enough weight to easily crush any common man.

For the record to count, Moon will have to do the traditional bench press, meaning he has no boards on his chest to shorten the distance to have his arms fully locked at the top.

But this record attempt is special for Moon.

He anticipates 40-50 friends and family members to be able to come to watch since it’s right here in Gainesville, unlike many other events that have carried him around the world for championship lifts.

Also, Moon will be competing with a handful of his teammates from the Georgia Iron Dawgs in this traditional full-power lifting event, which starts at 10:30 a.m. Moon expects to go for his record lift at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Over the years, Moon has become efficient enough to be able to craft his own lifting schedule, one that would be daunting to even a moderate bench press participant. Each Monday and Wednesday, he focuses on recovery and lighter weight.

He’ll bench press 135 pounds for about eight sets of 60 repetitions, while also working shoulders and arms into his routine. Workouts on these days take about three hours apiece.

Then on Saturday, he gets down to business loading the 45-pound plates together on the bar.

He starts at the base of 135, then goes up 90 pounds each time until he’s into the 700s. When doing these workouts, there’s a heavy emphasis on safety, and he enlists the help of a handful of spotters capable of getting the weight off his chest quickly, should he fail.

Moon’s advice is for anyone interested in taking up bench press, or any weight lifting in general, is to surround yourself with knowledgeable people. For Moon, his partners are also around the Iron Beast and include Gary Hatifeld, the strength and conditioning coach at Brenau University, his friend and Iron Dawgs member Garry Glenn, and Iron Dawgs coach Mike Kidd.

To maximize his strength, Moon also has a diet heavy on the protein side. His diet includes three big meals a day with one of his favorite spots being Papa Sam’s Sandwich Shop in Oakwood.

Moon’s prior record in competition was 777 during a meet in the fall of 2013 in Athens.

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