Who is Andrea?
I am an athletic academic advisor at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where I work with Wrestling and the Swim and Dive Team. I am originally from Milwaukee, WI. I was a distance swimmer in college and my background is in Psychology.
What made you want to start your fitness journey?
I have been on a fitness journey probably since about 2015 when I gained a lot of weight after college. I was still eating like a swimmer but was not practicing like one. I felt very lost in the “real world” because my identity had always been as an athlete. I have always loved working out, for me, it is a huge escape and it helps with my anxiety. I just never really had all of the pieces. I loved working out, but I wasn’t eating the right way and I did not have a community. I was motivated to start working with Okon because I was in a very low place mentally. I am very hard on myself and I just had an overwhelming feeling that “no matter what I do I’m never good enough”. For me joining Okon really had nothing to do with a fitness or weight loss goal and more to do with confidence and taking better care of myself and finding a place where I fit in. I had been in a couple of classes with Angie and every time I left I felt so strong and empowered. So I took the step-well for me felt like a leap because I literally turned my whole lifestyle upside down.
What inspires you most?
My dad is a huge inspiration to me. He is one of the hardest working people I know and I get my discipline from him. He never makes excuses, for years he was up at 4, would run 20 miles, work a full-time job, come home and still help us with homework. I really look up to him and any time I feel like I want to quit or slow down, that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
What have been the biggest obstacles getting started?
For me it was anxiety. It was not knowing if this would work, or if I could do it. I had a ton of doubts and no confidence in myself. At first, I did not have a ton of support going into the program. But decided before I submitted the application that if I was going to do this, I was going all in.
Why did you choose to work with Okon Fitness?
It was really because of the classes that I attended and the energy that Angie and Cora brought. I felt so confident and strong and empowered after the classes. That was what got me looking into the VIP program and when I started reading up it just had all of the pieces that I was missing. I liked that it was individualized from the meal plan to the workouts. And above all, I got to see first hand the community that Okon has built and I wanted to be a part of that.
Being a busy hard working woman, how have you managed all the things in your life?
It is not easy to balance everything. But I have always been very disciplined, really to a fault. I may be too intense sometimes, but when I want something I go after it. For me workouts and work are non-negotiable, it has to get done,I have always been like that. Nothing get’s in the way of my career. I have worked for years to get to the position I am at now, and I am driven to be the best academic advisor that I can be. I am very proud to work at UMN in the role that I am in. I love what I do both at the gym and at work and so I make it work. Through my work in the VIP program, I also put myself first. My goals matter, what matters to me matters to me and I make room for those things without question. I deserve to take care of myself and also to be proud of the life that I have built and am continuing to build.
Have those around you been supportive?
At first honestly, no. I really went into the program with not a ton of support. Everything from it’s too restrictive, you don’t need to lose weight, You’re crazy for trying this, there’s no way that is sustainable…I chose to ignore it all. As I started to get more involved in the program, I recognized the support from my team and the women in the group. They have been supportive since day one. Angie and Cora are also a critical part of this in providing support and advice!
Do you have any mottos or sayings that you live by every day?
“Train the quit out of you.”
Mental toughness is so important to me. I push myself hard. This really goes hand in hand with “Where the mind goes the body follows”. There is a saying that when your mind wants to give up, you’re body is only at 40% of what you are physically capable of. So when I want to give up on a set I push myself one rep further.
What is some advice you have for someone who is just getting started?
Just start. Take the jump, because you are way more capable than you believe. There was no right time, and I certainly did not start out “great”. I am a very normal person, who just decided to start and not give up.
Fun Facts about Andrea
I may seem intense or serious, but I am actually, really goofy.
I love true crime/serial killer/forensics shows.
I love shoes but I hate wearing them outside because I don’t want to get them dirty.
I am afraid of balloons, specifically the popping.
My hobby legitimately is working out.
I am going to compete in my first NPC Bikini competition this year!
Favorite healthy meal?
I love ground turkey and rice! I am super low maintenance when it comes to food but for whatever reason just really like the ground turkey meals better than any of the other ones. Also, I love peanut butter.
I love hot Cheetos and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I love shoulder and upper days the best, but my favorite lift right now is probably upright rows or curls.
Favorite physical trait about yourself?
Right now my arms, haha but actually, I think my favorite thing about myself is actually my intensity/mental toughness.
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