I have the ambition—the will, drive, and heart—to be the strongest powerlifter in the world. There have been several points in my life where I’ve made life-altering decisions; I am someone who is either 0 or 100. I believe in the “go big or go home” mentality, and I accept challenges and try to be the best at what I do. I played several sports growing up—I was a decent football player and wrestler, and dabbled in track. Football never panned out in college, and I never pursued wrestling or track beyond high school. I still searched for my calling, my passion.
Like everyone, I was asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I had no idea, but I fortunately had the opportunity to test the waters. I won’t bore you with the details of my short-lived football career...we’ll save that for a different time. Around 2011-2012, football stalled, yet my passion for training grew. It was all I knew and, in my mind, it was everything I had. I started to study personal training and bodybuilding, which enhanced my training quite a bit from the basics that I had learned in high school. I trained like a mad man and developed a new obsession with packing on mass and throwing around heavy weight.
My mindset once again shifted. I became accustomed to being obsessed with a sport, a task, or a project. I was never just the best at any one thing. I’d call myself a jack of all trades but—you know the rest—a master of none. I believe those critical formative years catapulted me to find my ultimate obsession: powerlifting. It is the one thing that has combined my strength, passion, and will in a sport I’ve grown to love.
Powerlifting is the platform that has allowed me to continue to excel at my obsession with strength sports. In the end, no one can take away my strength and my pride. In 2015, I competed at my first powerlifting meet. I signed up on a whim because my friend Destiny told me to try it just for fun. I fell in love instantly and immediately signed up for another meet four weeks later. During that second meet, I felt the fire light inside me. I knew the sport was my calling. I checked rankings, looked at numbers, and researched world records. I was obsessed.
I spent the next nine months training and competing before finally giving myself a break. At that point, I totaled 2,055lb. After competing at the LA Fit Expo, the satisfaction quickly dissipated. I was hungry for more. I wanted to be the strongest powerlifter in the world. I still tell myself this every day and I keep an affirmation that reminds me of this on my desk at work. It’s always on my mind. Even during my hospital stays with rhabdo and a torn patellar tendon, I still felt the nagging need to accomplish this goal.
Though I’ve made immense strides in the sport, I’m not satisfied. I truly believe you’re only as good as your last meet. Even though BOB 6 was my first meet back after my patellar surgery, in my mind, I wasn’t good enough. I failed myself. I was disappointed with my total and overall performance; I wanted and needed more from myself. I strive to better myself every day and do what I must to get there. Whether or not I actually attain this goal is solely up to me. At the end of the day, I hold the key to my own greatness. Buckle up because it’s already been one hell of a ride.
2020 is a tough year for everyone, especially competitive athletes. With shows and competitions getting canceled and postponed left and right, the uncertainty or lack of a final destination in your training can lead to a loosening of the competitive mindset. Some people can only stay motivated when there is a goal on the map. How do you keep your head in the game with no meets in sight?
Powerlifting, and sports in general, are long journeys where growth is inevitable. We're not talking physical growth, but rather mental and spiritual growth that occurs as an athlete discovers wisdom through experience. You will do foolish things out of ignorance. It's part of the process. But learning and adjusting your approach is what makes a lifter go from good to great. In his latest article, Rob Hall reflects on his years of powerlifting and shares some words of wisdom to his past self. Check it out.