The room was 104 degrees, but the temperature wasn’t where Milton resident Scott Amell’s mind was on June 4 in Aberdeen. Instead it was on the bench in front of him, and the 465 pounds he would have to hoist in order to break the 308-pound weight division Masters bench press record. He would get several attempts, breaking the record on his first try by benching 467.5 pounds. He then cemented the record by lifting 489.5 pounds on his second lift.
“It’s just a lot of training. I’ve been training for about 11 month straight, a couple of times a week, and it came pretty easy for me. God gifts everyone with something, mine is just strength. It’s something a lot of people might have to work hard for, but it just comes natural to me,” Amell said.
Amell got a third attempt in which he was able to bench more than 500 pounds, but an early start disqualified the attempt from being official.
Amell trains at Northill Fitness in Milton with his coach, Jeff Magruder, who also helped Amell break an American bench press record in 2013. This record was important to Amell, as Magruder was recently diagnosed with ALS and was honored at the same event.
“There was a lot of emotion. My mom and my dad were there, some close friends were there and my coach. On game day you gotta put it all together and be perfect. That’s what I always try to do,” Amell said. “It was 104 degrees in that gym and no air conditioning and I’m sweating just crazily. I didn’t doubt I could do the record; I just felt so relieved I could do it with my family and my coach there – that means a lot to me. (Magruder) brings out the very best in me. I just really want to do it while he’s around and healthy.”
The record break also represents a personal victory for Amell. After struggling with a drug addiction, the new record holder set his mind on weight lifting, a positive influence on his life. Through the support of the local community, including Mayor Debra Perry and Police Chief Tony Hernandez, he has been able to overcome.
“There were some people that really believed in me, offered me some help, and I got some help. God had bigger plans for me than I did. I’m grateful that I got the help that I needed and was given another chance. I’m grateful that God had bigger plans for me than I did,” Amell said. “Ms. Perry and the chief came to me and said you need help and now life is different and I’m grateful for that. God is good.”
For the future, Amell is looking to slim down and drop a few weight classes before continuing to break records. There’s an event in British Columbia in July that he already has his eye on.
“I’d like to be able to do 600 pounds and I think I could do it, as long as I don’t have injuries maybe. I’d be healthier and I’d be stronger at 275,” Amell said.