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Chef Andre Rush puts the same passion and dedication into a dish when serving a homeless man as he does for the President of the United States. “You don’t waver on service,” Rush, who’s cooked for four U.S. presidents, told Muscle & Fitness. “I don’t care who it is. I tell students all the time, if the president comes in and you give it your all but then that guy with baggy pants comes in and you want to give 10 percent, I’m done with you. Point blank.”
It’s a lesson he learned when his mother would invite people off the street into her home for a warm meal. “I remember the first time it happened she pulled me and my sister aside and said, ‘You help as many people as you possibly can because they’re people. Some people are not as fortunate as us.’”
Rush, a 24-year Army veteran, applies that same mentality to the motivational speeches he gives across the country. You won’t see him be any less driven in front of a group of elementary school students than he was in front of the New York City Police Department or newly enlisted Army cadets.
Rush doesn’t care who you are, if you need help and he can provide it for you, he will. “I have hundreds of people who DM me,” he says. And sometimes, those requests can be life-or-death situations. Rush has received messages from people contemplating suicide or who may be struggling to find a reason to live.
“Some of my friends will say ‘Why are you on your phone all the time’ and I’ll get angry, I’ll actually get angry,” he says. “Because people don’t understand what other people are going through.”
An average person might become emotionally drained due to that demand, but Rush constantly wears a smile on his face and is constantly motivated to keep pushing on. Why?
One of the many lessons he learned in the military is that you must keep proving yourself, even when you think you’ve reached the highest level.
“I tell people to not become complacent; Don’t get comfortable; don’t just think just because you’re there that your service is stellar. You have to always work each and every day,” he says. “My key to success is that every day is a reset button. It’s like my first day.” He continued, “I just got a message that said, ‘Just remember, you’ll always be nobody bro.’ And I responded, ‘You’re right, but I’ll be that nobody that everyone remembers.’”
One thing Rush will always be remembered for is his 24-inch biceps, which recently went viral. He built them not just through hard work in the gym but by his daily 2,222 pushups. Throughout the world, many people will do 22 pushups in honor of the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day due to post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental illnesses brought on by combat situations. Rush, never content with average, explained his reasoning for upping the ante.
“I tell people all the time, ‘Be different,’” he says. “If I tell people I do 22 pushups a day, they say ‘Oh’ and that’s the end of that. But I tell them I do 2,222 then people say, ‘I don’t know who you are, but I want to know who you are.’ It invites them in to learn more.”
The chef’s interest in muscle goes well beyond his eye-popping biceps. He’s also a personal friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a regular at many of the world’s biggest bodybuilding and fitness events, including the prestigious Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend, regarded as the Super Bowl of the fitness industry.
Dan Solomon, Chief Olympia Officer, tells Muscle & Fitness, “The chef is doing a tremendous job as an advocate for the fitness community. He inspires millions around the world through his work advocating for mental health, while also using his platform to motivate his followers to build strength, both mentally and physically. We are always pleased to welcome Chef Rush to Vegas each year for Olympia Weekend.”