For Minnetonka, Minn.-based nail tech Andrea Storlie, weightlifting has become a way of life. “I started with Crossfit, which incorporates the Olympic lifts but is much more cardio-centered,” says Storlie. “Cardio isn’t for me. The only thing I want to breathe heavy from is eating my pizza too fast!” The weightlifting aspect did appeal to her, however, and after joining in at a local weightlifting meet, Storlie was hooked. After three-and-a-half years of competition, she’s now a two-time state champion in her weight class (53kg) and holds state records for the snatch, clean and jerk, and total. She has competed at the national level, including two American Open Championships and one National Championship so far.

“I love that it makes my body and mind stronger and more capable,” she says. “It’s actually helped me as a manicurist because my back and arms are much stronger than before I started. I have no problems with work-related injuries and I think it’s aided in that.” Storlie also appreciates the discipline that comes with her strict regimen. “Because of how rigorous my training and diet are, I have to be very methodical in my daily routine,” she says. “It’s a comforting structure.”

Even what some might call a bad competition experience became a proud moment for Storlie. At the National Championships in Chicago, “I bombed out, meaning I missed all of my lifts and did not end up placing,” she explains. “It was humbling, but I learned more about myself and my team and coaches from the loss than I ever would have from a win. It made me hungry to get back to work and never be in that position again, and that is what I’m proud of: the grit and determination it gave me to keep going and get better.”

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