Julius Maddox shares his story of depression, drug addiction, dealing, and his eventual life transformation into an iconic world-record-holding powerlifter.

In the powerlifting world, Julius Maddox has become a juggernaut that has taken the world by storm. His epic lifts have become stuff of legend – instantly going viral with each new record attempt. He is currently the world record holder for the raw bench press at 770 pounds. He previously attempted to best his own record by benching 800 pounds, only to fail after his crew misloaded the bar. But Maddox’s life wasn’t always revolved around powerlifting. Initially, he battled a long stretch of depression and drug addiction before turning his life around. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Julius Maddox details his journey from being a drug addict and dealer to becoming the most talked about powerlifter currently competing.

While certain iconic athletes seem to come out of nowhere, even occasionally popping into popularity over night. The truth is that each athlete has his or her own story for how they became who they are. The same holds true for Julius Maddox. Best known now as an iconic powerlifter who is on course to be the first man to raw bench press 800 pounds, Maddox originally lived a much different lifestyle.

Julius Maddox’s original goal was to have a career in professional football, but he ended up falling into a life of drug addiction throughout his high school years and young adulthood. Maddox loved to live the party lifestyle and would often take drug use to the extreme in order to feel the “bliss” of living in the moment. This addiction eventually led him to becoming a drug dealer. This allowed him to live a luxurious lifestyle full of parties and drug use. A far cry from the disciplined life of a powerlifter.

“From experimenting in high school, and that’s kind of what was my downfall in football, just partying and drinking on the weekends and drug use. I’m not one of those guys that can balance the two,”Β Julius Maddox explains in our interview. “Once I got kicked out of college, that’s when it really spiraled out of control… In order to feed my addiction and the lifestyle that I lived, I had to sell drugs.”

Eventually Julius Maddox got arrested for drug dealing and faced a future in prison locked away from his newborn daughter. It was this moment that transformed Maddox’s outlook on life. He had become the kind of father that was forced away from his child. It’s something he never wanted to become. It was eye opening and the pain of being away from his family became bigger than the pain of becoming clean.

Julius Maddox then went to a long term rehab center. At that facility was a gym in the basement known as “The Dungeon.” It’s here that the powerlifting lifestyle became ingrained in Maddox’s brain. To deal with extreme depression as he came off years and years of drug abuse – he focused on lifting heavy weight. He became good at it and eventually worked his way into competitive powerlifting.

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Julius Maddox showcasing his immense strength on the bench press (above).

Now sober and working an honest job, Julius Maddox has a new passion. Instead of a life of extreme partying – he finds meaning in powerlifting. This has propelled him into the upper echelons of the sport. Not only is Maddox finding new meaning in the sport of powerlifting, he has become one of the most iconic athletes currently competing in the sport. A true redemption story that showcases what weightlifting and bodybuilding is really all about.

Certainly strength sports are about lifting heavy weight and building muscle – but it’s also about setting goals and building a healthy lifestyle. Bodybuilding, strongman, powerlifting and many other strength sports are all filled with stories of transformation. It’s a physical as well as mental transformation. It’s a life transformation that inspires millions around the globe.

We’re all still waiting with bated breath for Julius Maddox to make a second attempt at benching 800 pounds raw. And with everything he’s already overcome, it seems less a matter of if and more a matter of when.

You can check out Julius Maddox’s full comments on his journey to powerlifting in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

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