Rookie powerlifter stands ground

By Dyer Whitt
Staff Writer

The original Metroflex Gym in Arlington is home to more than 100 professional and awarding-winning body builders; the gym is also the training facility of choice for Coppell High School junior Andrew Chalk.

Andrew Chalk pursues his passion of powerlifting at Metroflex Arlington. Photo by Jodie Woodward

Chalk is a typical CHS student with the intriguing goal of becoming the best power lifter for his age and weight.

At his first competition back in August, Chalk proved his worth in the sport as he walked off the stage with the first place medal; a confidence boost that is still fueling his urge to succeed.

The route to success however is not as smooth as it sounds. Training for power lifting consists of countless hours in the gym, a strict diet and grueling workout consistency.

“It’s hard in every aspect, but while I am in the gym, I turn into an animal and quickly get in the zone,” Chalk said. “Mental strength is just as important as physical strength.”

An ironic contrast to Chalk’s bodybuilding was his past hobby and interest for cycling.  As a cyclist, Chalk focused on his legs as a main source of strength. Taking up power lifting, he now implements upper body exercises into his daily workout routine. As a cyclist, Chalk participated in races around the Dallas area and avidly road the streets with a passion.

“When I met Andrew as a sophomore, we jokingly began calling him ‘Andy Legstrong,’ to compliment his legs which were extremely ripped from cycling. He definitely puts all he has into fitness,” senior Sam Kim said.

Chalk’s love for cycling began to fade after a few accidents. He severely hurt his knee after making a fatal sharp turn while on a ride and required months of physical rehab. In the end, it just was not the same for Chalk.

“After my accident, I didn’t feel like biking, but I knew I had to find something to fill that empty void,” Chalk said.

Searching for a new hobby he could embrace, Chalk turned to weight lifting as an alternative to cycling. He signed up at local gym, Express Fitness, and soon fell in love with the “gym rat” lifestyle.

“Lifting compliments my life so much; I can’t see myself doing anything else,” Chalk said.

After becoming comfortable with lifting weights, Chalk decided to pursue powerlifting. Last summer, Chalk contacted his current coach, Josh Bryant, with the opportunity of becoming a member of the Metroflex Gym. Bryant trained Chalk for almost three months before participating in his first competition.

Training consisted of lifting almost daily at both Texas Family Fitness and Metroflex. Andrew felt confident and comfortable with his regimen and never looked back. However, his mother, Denise Chalk, was reluctant to hand her son over to the sport of powerlifting.

“I worried that Andrew might hurt his back, neck or another part of his body by lifting too much weight,” Denise said. “But he has a great coach who helps him with the proper lifting techniques and has provided him with an exercise regime tailored to his current ability level.”

With his second competition less than a month away, Chalk is confident his training will pay off and help him push through with another first place win in the books.

“I’m pumped for my competition date. I have friends and family coming from all over to see me and that is great motivation,” Chalk said.

Through pursuing the sport of powerlifting, Chalk has also discovered a new life goal that he is very passionate about.

“I want to major in business and minor in nutrition so I can own my gym and help other people be successful in the sport,” Chalk said.

As a powerlifter, discipline has influenced Chalk greatly and he sees great improvement in all aspects of his life everyday.

“Powerlifting has given me great focus on my education and what I want to do for the future. It has been a life changer to say the least,” Chalk said.