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Heavy lifting: Local man aims for 725-pound press
Tim Moon chalks up his hands before lifting in June 2011 at Iron Beast Gym in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

What is 725 pounds?

It’s the weight of a large adult tiger. It’s roughly half the size of a full-grown hippopotamus.

It’s also the weight that Gainesville resident and Georgia IronDawgs bench press champion Tim Moon will try to lift on Friday at the American Powerlifting Committee National Championships.

Having already lifted the weight regularly in practice, Moon will attempt to set a new personal record on bench when he competes at the event. To do that, he must get two out of three judges to approve the lift. Currently, his record sits at 705.5 pounds.

“I’ve been doing 725 in practice pretty regularly,” said Moon, who has been lifting competitively since 2008. “I did it at a meet, but I didn’t have two judges approve the lift. That’s pretty much my goal this weekend.”

The competition, which determines champions for the World United Amateur Powerlifters, will be held at the Clarion Hotel in Jonesboro. Both Moon and the IronDawgs picked up titles in the event a year ago.

It’s an impressive feat, considering Moon has only been competing for four years.

He got his start after reading about a powerlifting competition in the newspaper.

“I saw a story about a guy who had won the Georgia championship,” he recalled. “I just remember thinking that I could lift more than that. I never knew there was even such a thing.”

It didn’t take long for him to see he had a knack for the sport, however. When he attended his first competition, he intended to take it in as a spectator. After being convinced by a fellow spectator to participate, however, Moon shocked the other competitors.

“I won it in my street clothes,” he said.

Since then, he has steadily progressed from benching 430 pounds at his first Georgia Games in 2008 to a personal-best 705.5 pounds at the World Bench Press Championships in Jonesboro last September. He said he lifted 727 pounds at a competition in Reno, but did not have the required two-judge approval.

“God has made me strong,” Moon said. “I just feel like I’ve been blessed to be strong.”

He also trains hard and continues to learn the techniques from others who have been lifting competitively for longer.

“There are just tricks,” he said. “Like lifting more weight with less repetitions, rather than doing sets of 10 or something like that. Having great training partners at the Iron Beast has been a blessing, as well.”

Lifting more than 700 pounds is not something many people can do, much less 48-year-olds like Moon.

“My wife thought I was crazy when I told her I wanted to do it,” he said with a laugh. “Back in 2008, I came home and told her what I was going to do, and she told me it was one of the dumbest things she had ever heard. Six months later, I was lifting in Germany, and she got to go with me.”

And he plans to continue the success at the competition Friday.

His last day of heavy lifting before the competition was last Saturday and he said he will do minor stretches and lifts to stay loose throughout the week.

On Friday, he’ll get three lifts to try to make it to 725. He’ll start with 655, and move up from there.

“I don’t have any butterflies yet,” he said, “but I’m sure I’ll get them Friday.”

More than just the competition, though, Moon says that he enjoys the sport because of the opportunities it gives him in other areas, like ministry.

In July, Moon will travel with others on a mission to Bolivia where he will participate in an exhibition of his weight lifting. He will be able to meet with kids and let them watch him lift, as well as take part in events in which they can try to lift their own body weight.

“It’s been a fun and interesting ride for me,” he said. “I’m still pretty much a novice, but I’ve come a long way since 2008. I’m not sure where it’s going to take me, but I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ, and I know I have opportunities to do things with this gift. I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

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