Andrea Shaw is best known in the sport of bodybuilding as the reigning Ms. Olympia. Shaw became the champion after the return of the legendary contest at the 2020 Olympia in Orlando, Florida. Her physique is considered the standard in the Women’s Bodybuilding division, and she has plans on retaining that position in the future as well.
Shaw shared a retrospective of her career as the featured guest on this week’s episode of “The Menace Podcast” with bodybuilding legend Dennis James. She told James that after learning how to train from her mother, her competitive career actually started in the Figure division. She placed third in her first and second shows. She then decided to take a break because of something she observed when competing.
“I was the freaking mass monster onstage with these Figure girls. My legs, it was apparent looking at the photos. I was definitely starving. Doing cardio twice a day, working out once a day, so I was training three times a day, and I was still getting onstage at 140 (pounds), and these girls are like 120, you know, 110.”
After her extended time away from the stage, the Women’s Physique division was born. Andrea Shaw would turn pro after six amateur shows. However, it didn’t take long for her to figure out that it wasn’t the division for her either. The size of her quads was what made her next decision for her.
“I said ‘I’m not going to fight my body anymore.’ So I just told Lenda (Murray), ‘Yeah, I’ve been down this road before. So what do you think, what you got in mind?’ And she was like, ‘you know, the very next show, female bodybuilding, just jump in.’”
With the guidance of Murray and Alina Popa, Andrea Shaw made the switch and the rest is history. She went on to win the 2020 Rising Phoenix World Championship, and followed that up with the historic Ms. Olympia win ten days later. Now, she embraces the role as the ambassador of her division, and she wants to follow in Murray’s footsteps, who she called her “inspiration”.
“She has been a source for us when we needed it, and that’s what I hope to be for more young ladies or women who want to ask questions. That’s why I tell them ‘you got questions? Inbox me, I’ll answer them. You may not like some of the answers, but that’s okay. Sometimes you gotta grow.”
Shaw and James talk about her childhood, the business of bodybuilding, her love for apple pie, and a lot more. Catch the episode in its entirety over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel.
0:57 – Gymnastics and Cheerleading
2:45 Taught to Train by her Mom
3:55 – Thoughts About Competing and College
8:11 – Break from Competing
11:38 – Women’s Physique
13:41 – Turning Pro
16:35 – Decision to Switch to Women’s Bodybuilding
18:00 – Strategy for 2020
18:50 – Winning the Rising Phoenix/Working with Her Coach
21:17 – Mentors
23:46 – Iris Kyle and the Olympia
28:33 – 2021 Rising Phoenix/Ambassador for the Sport
30:38 – Inspiration
32:15 – Life as a Female Bodybuilder
36:30 – Choosing Clothes/Interacting with People
39:00 – What Does She Have to do to Repeat?
40:45 – Biggest Competition and Camaraderie
43:00 – Apple Pie
44:52 – Other Hobbies