Andy McCord is a family-centered man raised by his grandparents in Nashville, Tennessee. At the young age of 9 Andy made up his mind to spend all his time keeping his dear grandfather alive, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer and given 3 years to live. Andy would spend the next 10 years putting his own life on hold for the benefit of a loved one. “I was focused so hard on the people around me that I forgot about what I needed. So I decided to go full on into a dance program studying ballet, modern dance, and jazz,” says Andy.

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After graduating high school, Andy’s passion for dance came to life, and he poured his energy into studying the art form. Weighing in at a lean 205lbs at 6’6” dance had brought purpose and joy back into his life, but a horrible injury during a big performance in 2011 took the wind out of his sails. A torn hamstring forced Andy to retire his dance career and rehab on his own.


“That’s when I got depressed and started eating. I had spent so much time and effort planning for this future where I would perform and be active, for it to be taken away in a matter of moments. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” says McCord. By this time Andy was engaged and had moved to Chicago in support of his dancer fiancé pursuing opportunities in the big city. A few months after their move Andy’s grandfather passed away unexpectedly. The next three years would see Andy put on 100lbs of bad weight as he suffered from the loss of his career, his grandfather, and his own personal freedom.

But then something changed and Andy turned it all around. He knew he had to find new hope, so he took up the gym with a 3-day bodybuilding program he found online, and that was it. “It was a full body ‘hypertrophic specific training’, a program that gives each muscle group two exercises, with about 12 exercises total over the course of six weeks in a progression from 15 reps to 5 reps per exercise.”


He quickly started peeling off the weight and in 2015 he entered his first competition. “I had never trained for any of these events. I was just going to the gym and working out,” he says, but he drove 3 hours to the Kentucky Strongman show and won, with no experience, and no expectations. “This made me very happy because I had done something in about 3 years that I thought was worth something.”

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Andy continues to pursue Strongman competitions with the support of his mentor Trevor Rutkowski and uses his experience overcoming life’s heavy challenges to inspire his personal training clients. “You have to more than want it—you have to need it. I found the best way to keep myself in line was to find people with the same motivation levels I had. All of the people I train with, be it for ballet or strongman, want success like it’s oxygen. That’s how you have to be if you want to achieve a higher level of fitness and health.”

Follow Andy’s journey @strongman_thor and