One man sets his goals higher and higher with... box jumping

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Ever since he can remember, Kevin Bania has been pushing the envelope. From what he's done professionally -- to what he's doing athletically -- Bania always wants to achieve more.

"I just kind of got it in my mind early on and it's been there ever since to try and be as good as I can at something," said Bania.

It's a process -- and like anything, it starts with a foundation.

"I'm pretty competitive. I have 2 younger brothers. Both my parents are UWM Athletic Hall of Famers. So that's a lot to live up to," said Bania.

Layer by layer, it slowly builds. All along, there's been a driving force; something that fuels the desire to set bigger goals. For Kevin Bania, that desire started at an early age.

"Ever since I was in high school. I always had kind of an inkling to enlist and join and serve in the military," said Bania.

The reality came years later, after Bania graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a civil engineering degree.

"I wanted to serve my country and decided that after college was as good a time as ever. So just went down to the recruiter's office and talked to them, decided to sign up," said Bania.

Along with serving our country, there were other factors that pushed Bania to enlist.

"My brother had already enlisted in the Army National Guard. And he being my younger brother and me being the older brother, I had to try to do him one better," said Bania.

Bania would serve two combat tours while in the Army. His first was in 2007 in Baghdad.

"The base we were at, had a small gym facility. We were able to work out on our down time. It wasn't work 24/7. We still slept. We still ate. We still played games and had essentially off time to decompress in between missions that we were tasked with," said Bania.

While change isn't always an easy thing, this particular decision had a profound impact on him.

"Right from the get go it had me hooked," said Bania. "It was really nice because it carried over to what I was doing for my job as a U.S. soldier. I was stronger. I was faster. I was more physically fit and more capable to do what I was, I enlisted in the Army to do."

The benefits also meant new challenges to overcome as the goals grew workout to workout. Maybe one of the biggest goals appears while he was working out with a friend during a vacation in Florida.

"We had a little wager that the guy who could jump the higher box would have free drinks for the night," said Bania.

That's when the process and benefits became even more clear for Bania.

"The standing box jump is a pretty unique exercise because it embodies several of essentially what the components of fitness would be considered," said Bania. "Physical strength, muscular strength, endurance, balance, coordination, and accuracy, timing, power production. So, in order to do a box jump you obviously have to have a little bit of coordination."

Winning the bet was just an addition to the foundation that had already been set. It also began to set him apartment from everyone else.

"I ended up doing a box jump pretty close to the current official Guinness world record. It was unbeknownst to me at the time," said Bania.

Now Bania is well aware of the official world record set in August 2011 -- at 58.7 inches -- or just under five feet.

"I was just fairly confident that if I could do that on a one-off bet on real short notice if I put a little bit of work into it, I could improve just like I have improved on everything else since I've found crossfit," said Bania.

Like always, the goals grew and grew -- and in October 2012, it reached 64.4375 inches -- well over five feet -- and high enough to set an unofficial world record.

Bania, recording the jump himself, goes through his routine, powering up and softly landing on top, setting the unofficial world record.

"It takes a certain sense of courage. It also takes a lot of focus. What I found worked for me was visualizing what I wanted to do," said Bania.

Even with proof of his accomplishment, the record is technically not his. But it might be one day.

For now, Bania will keep stacking the boxes taller and taller and jumping higher and higher -- making precise measurements every jump along the way to document his progress.