An above-average Joe has a record-setting goal

Street Stories

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Performing a squat without weights sounds easy, but imagine doing it 1,000 times an hour for an entire day.

Fitness is the Reverdes’ family business and it all starts with Joe, whose son suggested taking a shot at the world squatting record of just under 16,000 within 24 hours.

For Reverdes, who’s a personal trainer at his daughter’s Johnston gym, the first hour or so isn’t so bad.

“Your lower back starts tightening up. Your whole body starts tightening up and your heart rate goes up,” Reverdes said. “So you have to learn how to control your heart rate almost like you’re jogging or sprinting.”

While some might slow down a bit as they approach 50, Reverdes revved it up when he jumped in the ring as a mixed martial arts fighter when he was 47.

“I got into the best shape of his life,” the 53-year old said.

Whether brawling or squatting, Reverdes has a goal.

“To show people that age is just a number,” he said. “If you take care of yourself and you want it bad enough. Anybody can do it. I’m just a normal guy.”

“When I get tired, I look at people who have no legs,” Reverdes said. “People that’s in the hospital with cancer. That tells me to stop complaining.”

When he was younger, there was plenty to complain about.

“I grew up on the street,” Reverdes said.

He was nearly 30 before he ever heard those vital three words from his mom.

“I was on the phone in prison. That was the first time she told me she loved me… and I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said.

He remembers his dad as “a playboy,” who fathered 52 children.

“What I remember is him teaching me how to lie,” Reverdes said. “He taught me wrong and I looked up to him because that’s my dad. The best thing that happened to me was going to prison because I realized I’m better than that.”

Now this father-of-four and grandfather-of-four, who’s been with his wife for 43 years, has something else to prove.

He already broke the squatting tally in 2018 with more than 16,000 squats in about 21 hours, but Guinness World Records requires you to pay for the travel cost to send a witness for verification.

So Reverdes is raising money to get his feat on the books with a goal of 20,000 squats.

“I have to do something for my grandkids and my babies to know even though my papa, my dad had a tough life, he turned it around and did something positive,” he said.

Reverdes is on his way toward his fundraising goal but says no matter what, he will find a way to get the record in the books.

Email Walt at with your story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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