Andrew Tracey works 80-100 hours a week. That’s just the day job. At night you will find him smashing out muscle ups on the rig he built onto his van or performing burpees on gravel ridden ground.
Once a personal trainer, Andrew owns an events business that is based all around the country - but continues to coach, contribute to fitness publications and craft e-books crammed with work outs to inspire others. Not to mention throwing himself into a strongman competition.
Andrew tells us all about his life and career in fitness, and how it has led him to this new test of fitness.
According to him all started with his first job in a small, body building gym (when he was just 16.)
“It was an amazing start to me and I instantly fell in love with fitness, absorbing all of the knowledge I could, listening to stories from the older guys, inhaling text books and eventually pursuing some professional accreditation to work as a personal trainer.”However, it wasn’t to be his career forever as Andrew explains how he lost the initial spark.
“After a stint working on highly commercial gym scene in London, I really lost my passion for the industry, I no longer wanted to attend workshops and further my education and had even started to fall out of love with my own training, I reached an impasse wherein I decided I loved fitness more than I loved making money from it, so I left to pursue a career in the events industry, doing pretty well for myself and eventually ending up in good enough stead to start my own company.”
The long working days and amount of time spent driving around the country were bound to take a toll i.e. not leaving enough time in the day to go to a gym or to even crank out an hour or two long session.
“Again, I decided something had to give and started to apply the principles I'd learned from a decade in fitness to create effective workouts wherever I was and with whatever I had. Soon with some minimal kit I was making some major headway, training away with short, sharp twenty minute workouts in service station car parks of an evening or festival grounds at lunch time."
This takes us up to now, so how did the opportunity to enter a CrossFit competition come around?
“After meeting the team at Bulldog, we sat down to brainstorm a collaboration and look at how we can make the 'You Are Not Your Gym Membership' movement accessible to the masses, off the back of this, Ian asked me if I'd like to take a spot a Rainhill, I was made up to be asked and saw this as an opportunity to further show what's possible with a bare bones, time savvy, minimalist approach. I've done the magazine cover 'all show' stuff, but it would be great to show that you can build some strength and an engine alongside the abs!”
While he has always trained with high intensity, training for a CrossFit competition is another kettle of fish, in terms of movements required, at least. So AT has had to switch up his programming, he tells us how he has been preparing in the last few months.
“On top of my events business, I coach and program at Farm Fitness in Essex and handle a few remote coaching and nutrition clients, so I decided to outsource my own programming to an excellent CrossFit coach, Andrew Karen-Daish, this means I don't have to give it any thought... and that I can't take it easy on myself on days when I'm feeling totally wiped! My training, although still extremely barebones, has consisted of much more olympic lifting and a ton of extremely challenging CF style met-cons, often spending my evenings doing CF bench mark workouts back to back!”
This approach has definitely worked. Andrew qualified at the top of the Kennedy category (the second highest rank out of four categories)
Of course, none of this can be achieved without difficulties. Andrew categories the challenges he has faced into three simple categories.
“KIT: Whereas before I'd rely heavily on kettle bell and bodyweight/ ring work to keep things simple and portable, the need for proficiency in the oly-lifts has meant committing to strapping a barbell to the van roof and taking it with me everywhere I go!”
“TIME- To be competitive I've had to put in some hours, but when your alarm goes off at 0430 and you're not done for the day until gone 10pm, this can be pretty tough! I've split my sessions into quick morning workouts when the boys are on a 20 minute breakfast break and a slightly longer car park session in the evenings.”
“EXHAUSTION - To be brutally honest, there have been days when I've majorly struggled to put in a good shift (after 16 hours of putting in a good shift on site!) On days like this I remind myself that I'm trying to set an example, and the motivation to get out into a gritty, travelodge car park at nine o'clock at night and do some snatches soon comes!”
Despite the barriers, AT continues to sport a refreshing and positive attitude as he looks to the future - to what’s next after The Rainhill Trials.
“I think I'm going try something slightly different, maybe a career as a professional competitive pizza eater? I reckon I could clear up! But really and truly, this has A) Given me the bug to get involved in some more functional comps so watch this space, and B) Made me realise how incredible it could be to try my hand at other sporting ventures whilst working under the same conditions, I'm interested to see how training for a triathlon would go in a service station on the M1!”
Follow Andrew Tracey on Instagram to keep an eye on his Road to Rainhill, and for other exciting collaborations coming soon.