Personal trainer simplifies fitness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
"Give me a stability ball, a 10 pound set of dumbbells and a corner, and I will have anybody saying 'no mas' in 10 minutes," said the broad-shouldered man as he opened a small container filled with whole grain rice and broccoli. "You see, I don't need a gym to perform my craft."

Known by his clients for his knowledge and toughness, his business is whipping people into shape.

Chris Andruschkevich is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified personal trainer who spends much of his day in the Freedom I Fitness Center. He typically begins work at the fitness center at 5 a.m. and usually doesn't leave until 8 p.m. His jet-black hair sticking out from beneath a faded hat and well-trimmed beard with a touch of grey is recognizable to most gym regulars.

"I try to simplify the process of getting fit," he said. "I try to convey this message to a cross section of very diverse people so everybody can understand it and succeed."

His interest in fitness began in high school, noting the best way to get better at sports was to get more physically fit. However, it wasn't until after he got a job at Joe Weider's Bodybuilding Camp that he found his passion for training.

"I was a gofer boy at Joe Weider's Bodybuilding Camp," said Andruschkevich. "Whatever they needed, I got. There, I was surrounded by all my idols. It was great.

"When I got back, people started asking me for tips and advice, so I gave them information," he added. "When I started seeing them reach their goals and succeed, I thought this was what I want to do."

His interest continued in college where he studied exercise physiology, and health and exercise science. He said he had to leave college for the real world before earning his degree, but keeps this scientific approach when working with clients.

"He not only trains you, but he tells you about the science behind each move and why it works," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Gustavo Perez, 23d Communications Squadron client systems technician. "He is very dedicated. For me, it's his knowledge that makes him so successful."

Andruschkevich said he always tries to break down the exercises and puts an emphasis on the science behind them.

"Anybody can jump on a bike and not really understand why it's important," he said. "But, if they know why and can see the progress, they are much more likely to succeed.

"Exercise is easy," he added. "There are only four ways our bodies move, and I always start with this when I have a new client. If I can show them these four movements, all exercises are a breeze. It all comes down to breaking things down so everybody can understand."

Breaking down each exercise was helpful for Perez, who came to Andruschkevich for help while recovering from a knee surgery.

"He was very helpful, and taught me how to do the exercises with proper technique," said Perez, who has known Andruschkevich for more than two years. "He is very serious about his work, and he will push you 110 percent."

Andruschkevich's seriousness is hidden behind a soft, calm voice, which reveals an almost quiet confidence.

"I am only as good as my client, and they are all awesome," said Andruschkevich. "I see some level of success in every single one of them. I do take my job seriously, and I get emotionally invested with clients. I want to see all of them succeed.

"I love the gratification of watching a client learn and grow," he added. "You can almost see the light bulbs going on. Getting fit is as much mental as it is physical."

However, his 20 years of experience have taught him something about people and fitness. Andruschkevich said almost everybody has some knowledge or has heard bits and pieces about exercise which are often times misleading.

"The biggest challenge is dispelling the myths," he said. "I always have people who want to practically starve themselves to lose weight. Also, a lot of people think you have to spend hours a day in the gym to get ripped. This isn't true either. Get in, be efficient and get it done."

No matter who they are, what their goals are or what their current level of fitness is, Andruschkevich says everybody who exercises does it for one reason.

"I notice that people sometimes get lost in themselves and what they are trying to do," said Andruschkevich. "Whether you are a competitive bodybuilder or just somebody trying to be fit, it's all about quality of life. That's something I try to convey to people. We are all trying to improve our quality of life."

But despite all his knowledge and experience, it all comes down to how hard people are willing to work.

"When it comes to being fit, nothing can replace hard work," said Andruschkevich. "Anyone can improve and get into shape if they work hard."

Andruschkevich said his favorite piece of equipment is the squat rack. He also keeps a couple of tires outside the fitness center for a ramped-up tire-flipping workout.

For extra motivation, he uses the occasional joke to lighten the mood and motivate his clients. He has been at it for 20 years, and his future plans?

"To keep training and helping people reach their goals," he said. "I love what I do."