Nestled near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is one of the premier Hardcore Gyms in the country: Armbrust Pro Gym. And when entering this Rocky Mountain haven of Iron you may notice one young lady training as hard and heavy as any man there. Andrea Wanek is one of those staple members that you see every day and might just overlook, until you see her training. It doesn't hurt that she's preparing for the 2009 NPC Jr Nationals on June 19th in Chicago. Her trainings style, soled physique and propensity to pull heavy-ass weight makes her stand out.
Andrea entered her first national competition last year with the NPC Jr Nationals. Missing her weightclass of light heavyweight by only 2 pounds pushed her up to Heavyweight and a 5th place showing. But this year is different. With the support of IFBB Pro Heather Armbrust, and contest preparation by former Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray, she believes she'll come in fuller, harder, and within her competitive light heavyweight class. Doing cardio twice a day, eating broccoli and chicken a few times a day, and hardcore training with friend and NPC competitor Dylan Armbrust, gives Andrea all the incentive she needs.
With days that often start at 3am and cardio, and end at 9pm when she arrives home, how can she stay focused and motivated with only 3 weeks left. Andrea admits her drive and motivation come, in part, from her childhood. As the younger sister, she would often play football and hockey with her older brother and his friends. Not wanting to be outdone or ever let them see her cry, she would down her pads and helmet and take her licks. Building a strong competitive spirit as a child she drew upon her excellent genetics when she became interested in gymnastics. Not only was she a competitive gymnast throughout high school but she was also on the varsity cheer squad and was the junior varsity coach her senior year. Today she gets an extra boost training with her boyfriend, who just happens to be 2x IFL All-Star LB Ryan Palmer. It takes more than just drive to keep up with an All-Star Linebacker; it takes a competitive fire. Andrea says that being able to see the changes in her body-- the continued improvement-- is a tremendous motivation. She truly loves the sport and competition. Starting her internship at another gym, Andrea found a love for training and admiration for bodybuilding competitors. The competitive fires are burning bright; now let's see if it translates into a win at the 2009 NPC Jr Nationals.
Being 3 weeks out, the balancing act gets precarious. In the off-season she could take her EvoGen Creatine, ON and Species' Protein shakes, and some Species' Somalyze before bed. But soon fish will be her main source of protean, tilapia being her main choice. But how can she balance diet and training with work at the gym, personal training, a private Massage Therapy practice, and a personal life? It comes back to a love for what she's doing and the burning desire within her. On those days when she just can't eat another piece of fish, she can go to the well. In her case it's a social support system of friends and family, many consisting of athletes who have been down these roads before.
Training at Armbrust Pro Gym affords Andrea some special opportunities. Not only is there a wide arrange of equipment, and dumbbells up to 170, but a plethora of body, figure, and fitness competitors makes for an inspiring atmosphere to train in. Having IFBB Pro bodybuilders Heather Armbrust and Phil Heath around doesn't hurt much either. Heather has been working with Andrea on her posing this year and they have come up with a great posing routine. Given that Heather is known for her sweeping quads and equally dramatic posing routines it should be something to see.
Put it all together-- a desire for redemption, drive, diet, hardcore training, love of the sport, and the support of friends, family, and athletes around her-- and you have a very special person in Andrea Wanek. On June 19 the Fire will burn onstage at the 2009 NPC Jr Nationals. Will her flame match those of her fellow competitors? We'll find out in less than3 weeks!.