Member Spotlight: Andrew Ward (GB Powerlifter, Entrepreneur, and Author)
Alumni and community member, Andrew Ward has been using our Sport & Fitness club since we first opened back in 2017. Andrew’s hard work begins here, most recently securing fourth place in the IPF Bench Press World Championships 2022 in Kazakhstan, using our facilities to train for competitions, alongside his active lifestyle.
Andrew has been powerlifting for nearly a decade and has an impressive competition history. From winning the IPF British Bench Press Championships three times, to competing twice at the World Championships representing Great Britain, he has been making history!
We asked Andrew a few questions about his experience and background, to hear his inspiring story.
Photo credit: White Lights Media
How long have you been strength training, and what got you into it?
I have been training in powerlifting for roughly 10 years but have always been involved in sports. I started my training journey with athletics when I was younger and then progressed to gymnastics when I was at university. I trained at the Munrow sports centre, and when I graduated, I found it difficult to maintain a structured gymnastics program. I then started going to the gym with a friend and lifting weights. One of my friends pointed out I would qualify for the British championships, so I decided to give it a go.
Why did you start training at University of Birmingham?
I initially chose the University of Birmingham due to its excellent facilities. It has a wide selection of equipment and calibrated plates, making it the perfect environment for my powerlifting training needs. Its central location and ease of parking make it extremely accessible.
What makes the Sport and Fitness club a good place for your training?
The staff at the gym have created a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. They are incredibly friendly and helpful and have even accommodated my requests for new equipment. For example, they recently added a heavy-duty bench with safety bars for use when lifting heavier weights. This means I don’t have to worry about dropping the bar on my neck.
What was it like competing at the World Benchpress Championships?
Competing at the World Championships was an incredible privilege, marking a massive achievement. On one hand, you are able to perform at a high level that enables you to compete internationally. On the other, you are surrounded by the greatest athletes in the world, giving the experience a unique spectacle. Everything is also well-organised and professional.
Additionally, it is a great privilege to be able to travel internationally for your sport; for example, I have been to Budapest, Kazakhstan and Lithuania, places I likely would not have visited otherwise.
How easy is it for our members to get into Powerlifting?
Powerlifting is an inclusive sport that is open to anyone, regardless of age and experience. The main lifts are the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift, so if you are already lifting weights and enjoy those exercises, you will likely enjoy powerlifting.
There is an active and welcoming community that is easy to get involved with, as each region in the country has its own powerlifting group that runs competitions. These competitions cater to beginners and more advanced athletes, so you don’t have to be at an elite level to give it a try. If you find yourself lifting at a high standard, you may even qualify for the British Championships. For more information on upcoming competitions, visit the British Powerlifting website.
How did you get into running your own Software Development business?
I’ve been interested in technology since I was a young child. After finishing my Taekwondo classes, I began to browse the internet and became fascinated by the idea of creating. After college, I was given the opportunity to work at Rolls-Royce. This provided me with invaluable experience and knowledge which I applied to my degree in computer science for business management. I continued doing freelance work alongside my studies as an additional source of income, making use of my corporate experience.
Upon graduating, I decided to set up a limited company, offering more complex web apps and online tools; this business has been running for nearly 13 years, and now specialises in complex mobile apps and online software.
Photo credit: White Lights Media
It’s safe to say that Andrew has an exciting future ahead of him, after already accomplishing such amazing things within the sport and business fields. Graduating in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science and Business Management, Andrew has gone on to run an app and online software development agency, and he has even published his own book.
He plans to continue powerlifting, with a goal of longevity in his sport. We feel great pride that he chooses to train at the University gym and utilises our extensive range of equipment to help him perform.
You can follow Andrew on Instagram via @andrewleeward, or read more about him on his personal website. Or check out Andrew’s intensive training routine in action!
If you’ve been inspired by Andrew’s story and want to find out more about our gym memberships – whether you’re an athlete in training, or simply keeping fit – view our memberships today.
Do you have a personal story about your fitness journey at Sport & Fitness? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch by emailing [email protected] to feature on our channels.