Andrew Malcolm is on his fifth deployment in the Middle East—for a grand total of 4 1⁄2 years spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Apache helicopter pilot puts his life on the line every time he enters the cockpit for physically draining up to eight-hour missions. Nevertheless, he’s in the gym every morning, training to maintain the physique he displays in NPC bodybuilding shows.

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The Best of Both Worlds


Most mornings, Malcolm gets up early to hit the gym when he’s well-rested and not fried from the adrenaline rush of piloting a $30 million gunship. 

“Our main gym is sometimes hard to get to, but we can get a quick pump in between missions at our smaller ‘prison gym,’ says Malcolm, describing a makeshift gym in the Army’s aircraft hangar. 

But there are days when the prison gym hits 130° and that makes training all but impossible. Malcolm adjusts and finds time to train regardless. In a 2007 contest he took first place in his weight class and third overall but admits that as a novice bodybuilder, he was fueled solely by the desire to look good, with little concern for diet or proper form. It wasn’t until a chance meeting with IFBB pro Toney Freeman at the 2014 Mr. Olympia that his obsession for the sport was truly sparked. In May 2015, Malcolm competed in his first NPC show, placing fourth in the heavyweight division, and now he’s hungry for more. As the only competitor in his unit, Malcolm feels it’s his duty to set the bar high for younger soldiers, who look to him for inspiration.

“My motivation comes from never being satisfied,” he says.

Civilian bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts might stress out about hitting their macros or adhering to a highly regimented training protocol. For Malcolm, however, there is purity to his pursuit: Bodybuilding fuels his real job—and is a welcome distraction in a life fraught with much bigger concerns.

Follow Malcolm on Instagram.