What started out as a hobby for Andrew Brown changed somewhat, now being a top five finish away from earning his pro card.

Brown will compete in the NPC National Bodybuilding Championships Saturday in Miami, where if he places in the top three of his height class, will be a full blown professional leaving the amateur ranks behind. Brown can also finish in the top five and still earn a pro card, but can only compete in certain professional events.

Two years into his bodybuilding career, Brown trained like no other training regimen to prepare for this one.

“We normally train six weeks out of an event, but this time around we trained 20 weeks,” he said. “It really has made a difference because I feel more confident.”

Brown will compete in Class C for individuals from 5-7 to 5-8 in height where there are normally between 10 to 25 competitors in each class.

Preliminaries start Saturday morning at the James L. Knight Center with the top five individuals advancing to the finals that afternoon.

Things could change for Brown if he earns his pro card.

“From there I will take a year off and just try to get bigger to compete with the professionals,” Brown said. “This could also qualify me for nationals next year and I will not have to worry about going through regionals to qualify.”

For these championships, Brown concentrated on a few areas in order to give himself an opportunity to compete at the highest level.

“I really concentrated on my back, because in bodybuilding the back will win a show,” Brown said. “When I first competed I didn’t have a back at all. But all of this year we’ve trained on back like twice a day at times and even sometimes three days a week.

“From the support that I’ve received from the community, I’ve heard certain remarks like my back has really improved. Just by them showing me how much they care, that is why I think I have a good chance of getting the job done this week.”

Training with local trainer, Derek Bess for the past 2.5 years, even he thinks this has been his best camp yet.

“Me personally I see him top five, and I believe even top three just because I’ve been with him this long and I’ve seen the growth and development that he’s gone through,” Bess said. “He’s mentally stronger at this point than I’ve ever seen from him.”

Even Bess was expecting much more from Brown during this go-round in the gym. He even had Brown doing things out of his comfort zone.

“This go-round we posed at the gym,” Bess said. “I knew he was going to be uncomfortable, but I needed to get him in front of other people before he actually hit the stage. Just by doing that he’s become more comfortable in his own skin.”

Before picking up bodybuilding, by nature, Brown was a quiet shy man. So he’s had to overcome some things because of bodybuilding in order for him to be successful.

“I’ve gone to posing seminars in Houston where we pose in front of 20 people which has made me more confident to come home and pose for my wife, which is something I never used to do,” Brown said. “But it is just me getting more confident posing in front of people that I didn’t know.”

At times baby steps have helped Brown achieve certain goals. Now he is ready for his biggest adventure with confidence.

“Because of all that I’ve done to improve, I just try to think that I’ve worked so hard for this,” Brown said. “I can’t afford to go out and stumble over my routine and that would be the reason not to get my pro card.”

Joel Luna is sports editor for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0160 or at

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