MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Imagine waking up in the morning to eat exactly six egg whites, a perfectly measured cup of oatmeal and immediately washing it down with a sweat-inducing, muscle-stinging cardiovascular workout session.
The rest of the day is spent eating similarly measured meals, all while maintaining a workout regimen that is as demanding as it is intense.
Sgt. Michael B. Binkley, a scout squad leader with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, doesn’t have to imagine this. It’s his life as a champion power lifter.
Measuring 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 163 pounds, the Collegeville, Pa., native routinely bench presses more than twice his weight and dead lifts more than 500 pounds.
Binkley is the current world-record holder for the bench press in the police, fire and military category in his weight class and a winner of power lifting competitions such as the 2006 World Championship, East Coast Invitational, Jacksonville Open, Wilmington Invitational and the federation weightlifting tournament known as the Gene Rychek Open.
“I compete in three different 100 percent raw weightlifting categories- bench press, squat and dead lift,” Binkley said. “In raw weightlifting we don’t use any aids, such as bench suits, and we get drug tested.”
“I’ve been competing for almost five years and one of my most recent and proudest accomplishments was when I set the record for police, fire and military bench press at 365 pounds while weighing in at 158 pounds,” Binkley said.
Binkley also walked home with four other first-place awards at that same world- record-setting tournament, the 2007 National Bench Press Championship.
Binkley started weightlifting as a young boy to take out his frustration. The childhood stress management soon turned into a life long fascination.
“I started lifting weights when I was about 12,” Binkley stated. “When I got mad, I would go beat up the weights and take out some anger.”
Binkley’s father, Phillip Dougherty, was one of the most prominent people behind his current success.
“My father provided me never-ending encouragement,” Binkley said. “He always told me that I could do anything I wanted and he supported me. He stood by me every step of the way and made sure I knew there was nothing in this world I couldn’t do.”
Dougherty passed away from cancer, but still remains a source of motivation for Binkley.
“This last event I competed in, I had my father on my mind the entire event and I wanted to do the best possible in his honor,” Binkley said.
When Binkley realized how much stronger he was getting compared to his peers, he became fully submerged in the sport and lifestyle of power lifting and began competing.
“I was amazed by how I could transform and sculpt my body into a machine,” Binkley said. “From that point on, I got consistent and fell in love with it.”
Binkley’s dedication is the true driving force behind his success.
“This guy has dedication unlike I’ve ever seen in anyone before,” said Gunnery Sgt. Wendell L. Hall, a platoon sergeant with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “His drive is the biggest asset he has. There’s a spark in his heart and he truly believes he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. Anybody would be stupid to try and stand in the way of something this Marine has set his mind to.”
Hall, a regular workout partner with Binkley, describes him as the epitome of supreme physical health.
“His workout ethic is just as impressive as his dieting,” Hall said. “The majority of everything he does is self-taught through the process of trial and error. He truly knows every aspect of his body.”
What’s next on Binkley’s plate? Among the guys that know him, the answers are very similar- “The sky’s the limit.”
“I plan on competing in the 2007 World Championship in Italy this year,” Binkley said. “This is the biggest event. It’s where all the different federations select their best competitor to compete.”
With the dedication and commitment Binkley possesses, one could ask him, “Is there anything you don’t think you can do?”
Binkley said, “I’m living proof that shows your parents weren’t lying when they said, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to. ’”