Back in 2014, Steven Wade was not happy with his body.

Barely into his 30s, he weighed in the neighborhood of 330 pounds before deciding to do something about it. Wade started losing some weight through exercise and diet changes.

Two years later he found weightlifting, a year later he found a girl and all that led to him winning six world championships in Ukraine, 5,320 miles from his home in Brighton.

“Not at all,” Wade, 36, said when asked if he thought losing weight and lifting weights would lead to all of this.

Wade lost 120 pounds to get down to about 210 pounds before he started working out at Total Fitness in Covington. He then put on 50 pounds of muscle to get to his current weight of 270, and it’s a very solid 270.

He had an ulterior motive when he started lifting.

“I hate to admit this because it’s really vain, but I got into this because I wanted to get bigger to meet girls,” Wade said with a laugh.

His first date with his fiancé, Diane Tullos, was at 4 a.m. in the gym.

They found powerlifting, which involves a lot more than the clean-and-jerk weightlifting you see in the Olympics, together, and both of them excelled.

Tullos is a world-record holder.

“If you want to go pound-for-pound, she’s better than I am,” Wade said.

Wade has been competing on the American Powerlifting Association circuit for about two years now. Earlier this year, for the first time, he qualified for the World Powerlifting Championships, which were held in Lutsk, Ukraine.

He made a great first impression on the international scene, taking first in six of the eight events in which he competed. Powerlifting competitions including the bench press, squat and dead lift. He finished third and fourth in the other two.

The trip was adventure for sure. After missing a couple of flights he finally landed in Ukraine and had to take a five-hour taxi cab ride through the former Soviet Union.

“I have still not recovered,” he said. “It was a pretty rough taxi ride.”

Once he arrived in Lutsk, things got better. Because it’s not a tourist town, things are very inexpensive in the city. The taxi ride only cost $60, he enjoyed a steak dinner for just $7 and a hotel suite went for $35 a night.

He met people from all around the world, including a Polish man his 70s who had been competing for 50 years.

Right now he’s working with trainer Ethan Boyd to get ready for the World Cup, which will be held in Washington state in October.

He’s also taken part in an American Powerlifting Association competition that will be held June 22 at Total Fitness in Covington.

Although this was his first time competing in an international competition, he plans on doing more of that in the coming years.

“I have plans for many more,” he said.

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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