Mike: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Andrew: I am a 6’5”, 375 lb., 33 year old Software Engineer. I was born and raised in Burbank, OH but I live in Seattle, WA now. I also spent a few years in Dayton, OH and Louisville, KY. As of now though I consider Seattle home and can’t imagine leaving.
Mike: Have you always been into strength sports?
Andrew: Sort of. I grew up watching World’s Strongest Man all the time as a kid and I loved lifting weights in high school but I never had any interest in competing or following it seriously until years later. It took me getting tremendously out of shape after working 18 months of 60 hour weeks at a job in Louisville to get me off of my ass (literally) and into the gym with the goal of competing in my first strongman contest.
Mike: How long have you been a Pro and how did you get into strongman?
Andrew: As I said above I was really out of shape and just decided to pick a sport I thought my body would be OK at and start training. I got my pro card almost exactly 2 years after starting to lift weights again, and 18 months after my first contest. I worked insanely hard those first two years doing tremendous, and arguably stupid, amounts of work.
Mike: What kind of training split/program do you use for training? What are some of your PR’s?
Andrew: My training split will vary a lot depending on my goals at the time. If I am aiming to bring up my deadlift or press I may do only 3 days a week with a fairly standard powerlifting split. If I am trying to fix a strongman specific implement I will restructure toward that. I try not to talk about PR’s, they only matter in contest and always vary between training and contest. I will say this though, the last year every single number of mine has continuously either risen or gotten faster and I plan for that to continue for a long time.
Mike: Where do you train? Do you train alone, with a steady group of people?
Andrew: I train at Seattle Strength and Power, Todd Christensen’s gym in downtown Seattle, WA. I don’t have specific training partners on a daily basis but I am always getting help, spots, advice, or knowledge from Todd C, Pete Marcoff (who taught me every event, especially stones), or the other ladies and gentleman who train there.
Mike: What is your diet like?
Andrew: Big. I try to eat healthy most meals but I start to lose weight eating 6 large healthy meals so I tend to mix in some serious food that most people would be horrified by. Think a quart of ice cream with a cup of peanut butter on top of it. I like to take healthy meals and just add tons of PB and call it a day. I tend to eat tons of ground beef and chicken breast, along with some pile of tasty veggies and maybe some cheese and a tortilla or some rice for most of my meals.
Mike: What has been your favorite moment as a competitive strongman?
Andrew: California’s Strongest Man June of 2009. The stone load. No one else had even come close to finishing the 300-470 stone series. When I loaded it (fairly easily) the crowd lost its mind. The contest was in a beer garden so the crowd was especially loud. All contests should have alcohol being served to the crowd.
Mike: What are your goals in the sport?
Andrew: To get better, to win, and to get as much attention to the sport as I can. Other than those goals I don’t see any reason to compete. I also make it a point to have fun, which can be tough when you are beating the hell out of yourself day on day for years. Thankfully, it is fun to get really, really good at something. More people should try it.
Mike: You’ve mentioned a desire to compete in powerlifting, when are you planning on doing a competition? Any other strength sport aspirations?
Andrew: I have plans to do my first powerlifting meet within the next year. I expect I will be moving around some big numbers with the way things have been progressing, but I will let my numbers do the talking once I actually compete. I also did my first Highland Games contest this summer. They asked me to compete in B class and I won all but one event and set several A class field records in the process. I loved it and I will be doing more of these schedule permitting, but strongman still comes first to me.
Mike: If you could give any advice to anyone wanting to turn strongman from a hobby into a lifestyle, what would you tell them?
Andrew: Don’t. Keep it a hobby. Right now the odds of a person making a living doing strongman is effectively zero. Get an education. Get a career that pays well. Work hard at it. Strongman is still a hobby for me, one I love and put many hours and dollars into, but it is still a hobby. Someday that may change but for now it stands. The amount of work I put into maintaining my career, my strongman training, and my social life would astound most people, but it is also what has gotten me this far. And seriously, don’t ditch the social life to live in the gym people. Make friends, date, have fun. It will blow your mind how much that stuff can help your training even if it does cut into it a bit.
Mike: Rumor has it you beat Robert Oberst by a fraction of a second on the Yoke at America’s Strongest Man due to the length of your beard. Fact or fiction?
Andrew: Fiction. We actually tied with the exact same time in the yoke. That is the second time this year that we have had the exact same yoke time down to the hundredth of a second. However, in both cases, the crowd unanimously agreed that my beard was prettier, manlier, longer, and made his beard feel like it had just turned 13 and still not gotten its first chest hair. I’ve heard it from reliable sources that his beard was rather embarrassed after mine showed up and proved itself the best beard in strongman.
Mike: Anything else you would like to mention?
Andrew: Keep your eyes open all over the web and in magazines for me in the new Car2Go ad campaign. I’ve been spotted all over North America and the ad is pretty rad!
I love these interviews, keep them coming guys.
I loved his answer to this question “If you could give any advice to anyone wanting to turn strongman from a hobby into a lifestyle, what would you tell them?”