Bodybuilding and physique shows are all about the muscle and how the body looks, but there is a big mental aspect as well. Don’t believe me? Ask reigning Ms. Olympia Andrea Shaw, and she will validate that statement. In fact, she spoke with Isabelle Turrell on this week’s episode of the “Fit Rockstar Podcast, and her mindset was among the topics, including when she had to make the transition from Women’s Physique to Women’s Bodybuiding. Bodybuilding legends Lenda Murray and Alina Popa convinced her to make the switch after the 2018 Toronto Pro. She would enter the Chicago Pro a month later, in bodybuilding like Murray and Pope suggested, and she finished in second place. She then realized that she could’ve made that move a lot sooner.

“The time I spent doubting myself, I should’ve been pushing myself to just do it. And I was always afraid to be a female bodybuilder. It was just something like when I did Chicago, it was like ‘why in the world did I wait?’”

Shaw made the transition well, but it wasn’t a smooth ride. She won the 2019 Omaha Pro, but would finish 7th at that year’s Rising Phoenix World Championships. It was at this point that the native of Michigan had to have a hard conversation with herself.

“I gotta stop getting in my own way and do what I know I gotta do. Do what is required. This is different, right? This isn’t Women’s Physique. This is bodybuilding,” she said. “If it’s ground beef that I got to eat, that’s what I’m going to eat.”

Then the COVID-19 pandemic came. No one celebrated during that time, but some athletes were able to find the opportunity to see positives. Shaw was one of those. That time was when she made the decision to fully commit to all aspects of bodybuilding because she had big goals.

“Once COVID started shutting things down, it became an all-in mentality for me. I knew once they announced that the Ms. Olympia was returning, I had to give it more, but I was really fired up to know that I had another chance to come back to redeem myself at the Rising Phoenix, and get a shot at winning the Ms. O title,” she told Turell. “So I’m like you know what? Let’s do it and give it everything.”

As everyone who follows the sport now knows, Shaw did just that, and the reward made the commitment worth it. She won the Rising Phoenix last season, and then became the first Ms. Olympia since 2014 by winning that prestigious title in Orlando, Florida. She will now look to repeat as champion when she returns to Orlando on the weekend of October 7th through 10th.

Shaw and Turrell’s conversation revealed a lot of valuable insight into what made the champ so successful. Topics include her coach, how Lenda Murray went from idol to mentor, mistakes she made while dieting for shows, and more. Catch the full episode now over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. Episodes air every Saturday at 12 noon Eastern time