UNM Professor Precious tough in the weight room

UNM math professor and powerlifter Precious Andrew finished 11th at the USA Powerlifting Nationals that were held in Daytona Beach, Florida, in June. Above, she poses at Liberty Gym. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Precious Andrew has a special, unique look, like something out of a comic book.

She’s a superhero in the form of a powerlifter. Tattoos on her arms, legs, feet and near her waist. Her hair game is on point, as her sister is a stylist that gives her a do that stands out.

When she gets to lifting weights, she is among the best in the nation.

Her alter ego? Andrew is a University of New Mexico math professor.

Don’t let her first name fool you. She has a precious smile, but she’s as tough as they come when it comes to lifting weights.

Yet, she’s not the type that will shout or grunt loudly while trying to reach a new max.

“I like to have fun,” said Andrew, 35, who is the assistant professor at the UNM Valencia branch. “I take powerlifting seriously to some extent, enough that I’ve obviously gotten really strong. But I also like socializing and having a good time with it.”

Andrew is 5-foot-4, 150 pounds. Her dead lift is nearly three times her weight, as she achieved her then-personal best 430 pounds last month at the USA Powerlifting National Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. That’s where she finished 11th in the women’s division. She posted New Mexico state records in each of her three lifts, including 353 pounds in the squat and 209 pounds for her bench press — a total of 992 pounds.

“It was awesome,” Andrew said of her experience at nationals. “It was really cool because it was such a professionally done event, with all the fancy lighting and all the announcers and it was televised. Going up there with some of the strongest women in the nation, that was really cool. It was really motivating to see some of the strongest women. A lot of the athletes were really friendly.”

Precious Andrew, posing above at Liberty Gym, on Saturday set a state record in the squat with a 369-pound lift at a USA Powerlifting event at Albuquerque Barbell. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Andrew, who is on Instagram as adventures_of_a_unicorn__, stepped it up a notch at the USA Powerlifting event at Albuquerque Barbell on Saturday, when she completed her all-time best performance.

She set state records in the squat (369 pounds), bench (226 pounds) and deadlift (435 pounds), with personal-best lifts in each for a total of 1,030 pounds.

Andrew said the event at Albuquerque Barbell was fun because it included local lifters and others who competed for the first time.

Andrew, who grew up in Albuquerque and was home-schooled during high school, remembers her days as a beginner with fondness. Early on, while a student at UNM, she learned that she had to persevere and actually experience a powerlifting meet.

She competed in her first meet in 2017, when she finished second.

“I just liked lifting and I ended up being so strong that everyone was like, ‘you need to go do a meet,'” Andrew said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know,’ and then I went and tried it and fell in love with it.”

Andrew said she thoroughly enjoys powerlifting and training, calling it her favorite part of the day.

“It’s not a job,” she said. “I don’t make any money off of it. It’s for the glory. For the most part I do it because I love it. I’m strong enough that I take it somewhat seriously. To get to that level you have to.”

Mike Lynam, Andrew’s friend who is a former student of hers, said that Andrew has a nice balance when it comes to her training program and when it comes to turning it up a notch and “getting after it.”

Lynam said that Andrew motivates him and inspires him to improve as a powerlifter. Lynam, who was a student assistant for Andrew, has known Andrew for seven years.

“Pound for pound she’s way stronger than me,” said Lynam, who is a chemistry teacher at Amy Biehl Charter School. “I’ve been seriously lifting for four years.

My lifts may be numerically stronger, but in terms of body weight, and her ratio body weight to strength she is way stronger. I see that and I’m just like ‘damn.’ Or I see a (social media) post about her squat and I’m like ‘Man, I need to get it in gear. I need to get stronger.'”

Precious Andrew, a UNM math professor and powerlifter, poses in her work attire at Liberty gym. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

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