STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — It’s no secret that it takes incredible strength to lift hundreds, even thousands of pounds.

For more than 20 years, Ryan Rhodes has been doing just that. He’s a strongman, similar to a powerlifter, but instead of just lifting the weights he moves with them too.

“It’s how much can you lift and move within a minute,” Ryan said. “So, it taxes your endurance significantly as well as your speed and strength.”

But while Ryan is doing this, his heart stops beating a few times every minute.

“When you die, which I did six times, you start asking a lot of questions and you start being unsure of yourself,” he said.

In 2016, Ryan’s heart stopped beating six times. The doctors came back with a diagnosis, but no explanation. He’s been living with Stokes-Adams Syndrome and a pacemaker since.

“The kinesthetic aspects of it of only being able to move my arms in a certain way so I don’t crush the wires and kill myself,” Ryan said. “I’ve had to change all of that, kind of re-learn how to train so that I could keep going.”

And Ryan has kept going, despite doctors telling him he’d never be able to lift again. Now, he’s spending six days a week inside the Statesboro YMCA, training to compete in the World Strongman Games for the sixth time.

“It’s all about how bad you want it, it’s with anything in life, you know,” Ryan said. “If it’s something that you want to do then you’ve got to figure out a way to do it. And there are some people who just can’t, you know, but there’s always — nowadays, especially with accommodations in sports — there’s always something you can do.”

He plans to keep the fire burning within him for as long as he can.

“I’m prideful in the fact that I kept going,” Ryan said. “I’m prideful that I’m still at the top even though I’m old, I’m little and I have a battery-powered heart. And I’m proud that I am an example for some people.”

Ryan will compete for the world’s strongest title on Nov. 11 through 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida.