I am a firm believer that in order to be great at anything in life, a certain degree of obsession is required. Anything that I have ever set to go out and accomplish in my life so far, I have completely and utterly obsessed over, because I am not one to half ass anything. I can’t accept that. I do not have the ability to accept sub-par performances out of myself. I have always held myself to an extremely high expectation. It is this unique ability to 100% totally and utterly obsess over things that has led me to all my successes in life.
When I was heavily involved in the martial arts, I went above and beyond the things that I was being taught in the Dojong. It wasn’t enough, I wanted more and wanted to be the best that I could be at it. I started buying books, and magazines, and began to study other styles. I started out in free style Taekwondo, and moved on to Olympic style Taekwondo. Soon after this I would also get involved in full contact Karate, as well as Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. This still wasn’t enough. I taught myself eleven different weapons from reading books and watching videos. The three sectional staff is a kung-fu offensive weapon that I learned by wearing a helmet and practicing out in the snow every night for an entire winter. I got good enough at these weapons that I was allowed to even host classes and teach others. I achieved my black belt at 12 years old, and pursued this sport until I picked up my first weight at 14.
Fast forward a handful of years and a 20 year old me is completely indulged in powerlifting. Everything I did was powerlifting. If I wasn’t in the gym training, I was writing down ideas for my next workout. I was researching the most effective assistance exercises for each lift, looking up all the records, looking up all the different federations there are, and learning about what all the current world record holders were doing. I was reading about the history of the sport, all the way back to the 30’s and 40’s. My inspiration for picking up weights was the god father of the squat, Paul Anderson. I wanted to do the crazy things he was doing some day. My obsessive behavior did not fizzle away as I got older.
Every aspect of every day I was living was somehow dedicated to the sport. Making sure I was eating enough throughout the day, the countless dollars spent on protein supplements, tracking my sleep and recovery times. I can remember waking up at 2 a.m. during my training for my 900 pound benches, getting out of bed to do two things. Drink a pre made 800 calorie weight gain shake and a peanut butter sandwich with a snickers bar in it. Trying to put as much weight on my body as I possibly could. Anywhere we went, anything we did, had to accommodate my training in one way or another.
Not once did I take a vacation from work. I couldn’t go anywhere without having access to my weight room and dedicated crew of training partners. I sacrificed time with friends and family to make sure I was getting my training in. I never cheated on my training. I never smoked a cigarette, or drank a single drop of alcohol. I never drove recklessly or took place in risky behaviors, because I did not want to risk any sort of injury and inhibit training. I lived what probably seemed a very boring life to some. But that is what it took. I wanted to be the best in the world, and I was willing to sacrifice everything else in order to get there.
I am the type of individual that does not live with regret. I refuse to. If I do not totally love something, then I will not put my entire heart and soul into it. I do not regret a single moment spent training in the sport of powerlifting. It is the very essence of my being, and reason for existence. Even through the shitty times, it is has always been totally worth it. I have traveled to the other side of the country, to only bomb out and come home with nothing. One of the worst times I ever had in the sport was traveling to Vegas for the WABDL Worlds. I was competing in the single lift single ply bench press, trying to best the 903 I had done earlier in the year. It turned out to not be my day, and I missed all three of my attempts.
I could not afford to make this trip on my own. I had people coming to me, handing me money, telling me that they believed in me. Make us proud, is what they told me. Coming home empty handed was one of the worst feelings in the world. I felt as though I let every single one of my friends and family members down, including my wife (fiancée at the time). I for the first time in my career had doubts about continuing on. But I shortly came to my senses, regrouped on moved forward. The obsession continued. And it forever will.