San Antonio native places first in bid to compete for ‘America’s Strongest Man’ title

Austin Andrade will be in Shaw Classic, America’s Strongest Man competitions

San Antonio native places first in bid to compete for strongest man title

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio native Austin Andrade spends his days crunching numbers for the Bexar County Appraiser’s Office and his nights banging weights after work to prepare for one of several strongman competitions.

“I value houses for taxation purposes,” the 28-year-old said.

When Andrade clocks out of work, the 6 foot 2, 400-pound athlete spends his time grinding metal at Heavy Metal Fitness on the North Side with his training partner.

“Being the big kid, you know, that’s the one thing I gravitated towards in high school -- the weight room. And that’s one place I was comfortable in,” Andrade said.

The former college football player said he felt lost after leaving school. He was also gaining weight.

“I played sports, and I always had the weight room part of my life,” he said. “I started getting a little chubby, and my wife’s like, ‘Hey, you know, get back to the gym.’”

Andrade ended up at Heavy Metal Fitness, where there’s a big focus on strength training. He said someone there suggested he try out for a strongman competition. Once he did, he was hooked.

“Pretty much anything that looks cool -- we’re going to try to lift it and see who wins,” he said with a laugh.

Andrade participated more and more in competitions and received his pro status in the spring. He recently submitted a video audition for The Shaw Classic, an invitation competition put on by the Brian Shaw, four-time “World’s Strongest Man” winner.

Andrade was hoping to just place among the top 16 competitors. On the day the picks were revealed, he first checked the bottom of the list.

“I scroll down and don’t see my name. Like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And then I went all the way to the top, and I saw my name,” Andrade said.

He’s still relatively new to the sport and started training about four years ago. He said he plays any sport to win.

“I want to win. I want to beat people. So if someone does six, I’m going to do seven. That’s just my main goal,” he said.

He loves this competition because it’s a sport for anyone.

“Weights don’t discriminate. That’s the biggest thing I like to say. You know, 700 pounds -- doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, big, small. If you can lift that, you can lift it,” Andrade said.

Andrade did an 820-pound deadlift and a farmer’s carry with 420 pounds in each hand. That was good enough to place him at the top of the list among other strongmen around the world.

The Shaw Classic is in August, and then Andrade heads to America’s Strongest Man competition in September. The World’s Strongest Man competition in 2023 could be next, depending on how well he does at The Shaw Classic.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.