I was working at the gym one day and one of the biggest men that I had ever seen in my life walked through the door. He was 5’8” tall, weighed 250 pounds at around 12% bodyfat. His chest was so thick that you could set a coke can on top of it and it would balance perfectly. He had legs the size of tree trunks and traps up to his ears. He went over to the bench press and loaded 315 pounds on the bar. He took the weight and repped it out 10 times!! I had never seen anything like this before! I was in awe! Little did I know at that time what a huge influence this man would be in my life. I heard him say that he was a World Champion Powerlifter. I didn’t know what that was at that time. My friend Matt and I decided that we would pay Steve to train us so that we could get bigger for bodybuilding. We would see people deadlifting with white powder on their legs. We thought it was gym chalk! Later we found out that it was actually baby powder and that gym chalk would actually hinder the lift, not help it. So, Steve told me to come watch him and Dave Contraraz train on Saturday so that I could see what it was all about. I still laugh at how naïve I was. Steve was deadlifting off of the floor and Dave was deadlifting while standing on 100 pound plates. Dave was shorter than me and I’m only 5’4”. I asked Steve,”Is he standing on those plates because he’s short”? Steve just laughed and said, “No you idiot, that makes it harder so it builds his explosive power from the floor.” Then, they went on to squat. Steve had this little bottle of something that he would sniff before he lifted. My friend Matt and I were so intrigued. We thought that it may be some kind of inhalable steroid!! We finally got up enough nerve to ask him what it was. He said ammonia. We were like “what the fuck”? Then Steve explains about how it helps to get your head clear and make you focus upon the now. There will be much more on this in later chapters. I then began my quest for strength under the guidance of Steve Goggins. Steve showed me the proper form for squatting, benching and deadlifting. I asked him if he knew anything about steroids. He said, “Yes, if you want to get strong, then you need to take them.” At that point, I had a little guidance. So, I got my first real cycle which consisted of sustanon, deca, reforvite-b and anadrol. HOLY SHIT did it work!! Steve picked out a contest for me to do. It was the 1992 USPF Texas State Championship. Now, I had never even seen a powerlifting meet but I was about to compete in one!! I was going to lift in the 181 pound class. About three weeks from the contest, I pierced a vein with a shot in my quad. It got infected and it scared the shit out of me. It was turning green. Everyone at the gym just told me to put a heating pad on it. Well, I knew something was wrong so I got up enough courage and told my mom. She was very understanding and did not look down on me for it. She took me to the doctor and he was really cool. He asked what had happened and I told him. He just said that he’s seen people injecting a lot worse things than that. He said that it was a good thing that I came in and that some antibiotics would probably clear it up, if not, then he would have to cut open my leg and drain it. This scared the shit out of me and I stopped taking all of my stuff. In the gym, I missed a 300 bench and a 500 deadlift. I missed that deadlift 3 weeks in a row. Steve wondered what the hell was wrong with me. When I told him that I quit taking my stuff, he got pissed! He told me to never stop taking my stuff before a meet no matter what. So, he talked me into keep taking the anadrol but that was it. I wasn’t going to be injecting anything for a while. It was during this time that I got into my first adult relationship with a woman. To make a long story short, she ended up cheating on me and broke my heart. I had a lot of anger and hate inside of me because of that. I broke up with her right before the meet. Steve took me to the contest. I was unsure, heartbroken, insecure and fearful. I had no idea what I was about to learn that day. I didn’t know all of the rules and Steve said that I needed a singlet. I was like, “ Where the hell do I get one of those?” He said that he would take care of it. Well, he brought me a black and white, snakeskin design singlet!! He thought that was funny as hell! I was not amused. We got through my warm-ups and headed back stage. I was nervous as hell, my heart was racing and I was sweating profusely. All I could think about was how could that girl do that to me? How could she cheat on me? What was wrong with me, what did I do wrong? At that moment Steve squatted down in front of me and looked at me with a wide eyed serious look. He said, “Boy, you better not embarrass me. You better squat deep. If you miss it because you miss it then that’s ok but if you cut it, if you get called for depth, I will whoop your ass”!! I knew he wasn’t joking around. The bar was loaded to 523 pounds. I was full of doubt, fear, sadness and now I had a huge black man about to whoop my ass. I chalked up, took a whiff of ammonia and Steve smacked me on the back of the neck. Then something magical happened. My mind quieted, I focused on the now, all doubts, fears and insecurities left my body. There was peace and clarity along with focus and drive. I unracked the weight and awaited the squat command. After the signal, I took the weight down to the depths of IPF standards and bolted back to the top. Three White Lights!! A moment of great joy!! Steve hugged me in congratulatory happiness. I finished the meet that day with a 341 bench and a 529 deadlift and achieved second place. But what I had really achieved was far much greater than a trophy or a placing. I had learned how to focus on the now, how to quiet my mind and step out of the ego and become one with my inner self. When you see athletes perform at their best, this is what they have done. Some call it being in the zone but it is a moment of clarity where you no longer think about the past or the future and you are 100% focused upon the now, this one moment in time and that is where you are the most powerful!! I had no idea of the depth of what I had experienced at that time but I knew that it felt good and wanted more of it. It won’t be until many years later that I realize what I had learned that day.