We were lucky enough to catch up with the awesome Andrea Thompson, Britain’s Strongest Woman, ahead of our charity strongman competition taking place here at the park on Sunday 24th September in aid of Action Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Andrea will be joining us on the day as a guest lifter.
Andrea talked to us about her journey to the top, how she juggles a career, family and strongwoman…and Marmite!
Andrea Thompson (pictured left) with Eddie Hall, World’s Strongest Man
Q1. So. Strongwoman. That’s an unusual sport to get into- how did you end up doing a sport where you carry weights most people couldn’t even get off the floor?!
I fell into strongwoman by chance really. I started a weight loss journey with my big sister in crossfit and quickly realised that I hated all the running around and loved the weight lifting side. The trainers noticed how easy I picked up weights and soon the guys refused to train with me! I was encouraged to look into weight lifting competitions and came across Britain’s Strongest Woman 2015 and entered not knowing what the heck a Yoke, Log or Farmers Walk was! I then found Ben, my coach, and much to his horror we had 6 weeks to train for this! I came 3rd, and the seed was planted…
Q2. We understand you’re a mum as well as a strongwoman, and you work too! How do you find the time to fit it all in?
Haha! Sometimes I ask myself the same question! I’ve just started a new job that is flexible around my training programme and allows me to have plenty of time for my girls and hubby. Strongwoman has made a huge impact on my children. It encourages them to do something that pushes their limits and be more competitive. Schools don’t teach children to be competitive nowadays and I think it’s important to see that. Although you may want win every time, it’s important we teach kids that you have to put in 100% to get there. If you don’t, you learn and work harder next time. Sports day was interesting this year!
Q3. What has been the coolest/most exciting thing to happen to you in your strongwoman career so far?
There’s been so many cool things! Meeting CT Fletcher at the Arnolds, getting a high 5 from Iron Bibby on the way home! I’ve met Brian Shaw, Eddie Hall, Big Z (Zavickas), Loz (Laurence Shahlei) and Terry Hollands, and had a pep talk from Mark Felix before going on stage! I nearly cried when a youngster asked me for my autograph at World’s Strongest Woman last year! I have been told that I’m an inspiration to women and children. I’ve competed against some of the worlds strongest women and been classed as one of the best alongside them. Being recognised and congratulated by strangers in my local town, that’s probably the weirdest feeling!
Q4. If you could give advice to women thinking of coming into the sport, what would you say?
Definitely give it a go! You may not like it, but at least try! I mean, who doesn’t want to deadlift a car, right?!
Q5. Strongman is classified as an extreme sport. Have you had many injuries?
I’ve had a couple of minor ones. I fell off the monkey bars at the gym and rolled my ankle, I then fell over with a 120kg atlas stone on my lap and rolled the same ankle I’ve pulled a muscle under my rib, that was nasty!
(Ed- 120kg is the same weight as a baby elephant at birth!)
Q6. Since Eddie Hall won World’s Strongest Man in Botswana recently, there has been more interest in strongman as a sport in the UK. What do you see for the future of strongman for this country?
People are trying really hard to promote the sport in the UK. I really hope that it will be as big over here as it is in the USA, especially for the ladies. I love going to the local competitions to support the guys and girls, that’s where most of us started out!
Q7. On to the silly stuff- Marmite yes or Marmite no?
Urgh! No Marmite, I can’t stand the smell of it. My girls and hubby love the stuff!
Q8. If you could only take one thing and one person on to a desert island, what and who?
Suncream and my husband, Steve. He’s my soul mate and kinda useful to have. Suncream, because he burns easily!
Q9. What’s your favourite junk food?
I love a pizza, I’m a sucker for burgers and the occasional packet of Oreos. I try not to pig out too often as it has an effect on my training. I am always eating though; I’m forever getting comments about the amount I eat, but I just reply with “it’s all part of the training!”
Q10. What sort of music do you like to listen to when you lift and why?
Mostly hip hop, as it gets the blood pumping. Sometimes I’ll put some heavy metal on. It makes me angry and I use that when I’m going in for max lifts.
You can catch Andrea at the Pleasurewood Hills Charity Strongman Competition taking place on Sunday 24th September. The comp will raise funds for Action Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy charity. The day will also feature lots of extra goodies, such as inflatables/bouncy castles, facepainting, tug of war and more.