Andy Hawkins – weigh to go!

by Karl Lenser
Mike Kemp photo

Conway resident Andy Hawkins has a simple philosophy when it relates to fitness success and motivation: “Regular, consistent exercise combined with a healthy diet is what works. Set some goals for yourself and adjust them as needed.”

Hawkins, who has had a stellar career in both broadcast journalism and insurance, has certainly benefitted from his philosophy — he has been a consistent and faithful member of the Hendrix College Wellness and Athletics Center (WAC) since 2009. He has lost more than 30 pounds since he began his fitness journey and has seen his energy level skyrocket because of the workouts. “The biggest change that I have seen (in addition to the weight loss) is my energy level,” Hawkins said. “After working out, I have found I have lots of energy to approach the coming day.”

His story is a great example of how to begin and continue with an exercise program. Motivation is the key to get things rolling. Without the mental drive, the body will have a difficult time in performing the physical exercises and movement that is the main part of developing and living a healthy lifestyle. Establishing short- and long-term goals is also something that is critical in becoming an active individual.

Another key ingredient in any fitness plan is adhering to a nutritional eating plan that is low in high-fat food/junk food and high in complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, whole-grain bread, potatoes, whole-grain pasta, brown rice and beans). Making small changes to your diet on a gradual basis is what works best.

Hawkins has adhered to the main principles of a healthy lifestyle by being consistent in his workout routine, establishing goals and having the discipline to complete the goals. In addition, he has incorporated some variety into his plan such as mixing up some swimming with elliptical, treadmill and weight training workouts. Most importantly, he understands that the 60 to 90 minutes that he invests in exercise yields life-changing benefits.

Q What are your thoughts about strength training?
A I like to use the weight equipment at least three days per week and generally focus on the chest, back, shoulders and abdominal area. I am not lifting to get muscled up but as a way to tone and firm up the muscles.

Q  When did you join the WAC and why?
A In 2009, I sold my Allstate Insurance Agency and joined the WAC to do something early in the day and to get in shape. I needed to lose weight as I was at 211 pounds on a frame that is happiest around 175 to 180. I initially began to use the pool because I did recreational swimming at the UALR pool when my wife (Kim) and I lived in Little Rock. Since then I have progressed into more of a land-based program where I work on the elliptical machine or a treadmill for around 35 to 45 minutes.

Q What advice do you have for the 501 readers who are thinking about getting active and in shape?  
A My advice is quite simple and that is to learn to love the weight scale. It’s either your best friend or your worst nightmare, but one thing about a scale is that it always tells you the truth! In order to get lasting results, a combination of proper food and regular workouts are essential. Set goals that are realistic and challenging.

Q What happens when you don’t get your workout in?
A I don’t feel right. And those are the days I fight with my food intake the most. So the lesson is get your workout done!

Q What has been the key aspect of your weight loss success?
A Learning to get on the scale every morning.

Q What would you say is your life philosophy?  
A Do the best with what you have.

Q What is your favorite sports team?
A The Arkansas Razorbacks. I have always been a sports fan since my days at the University of Arkansas where I interned in the Sports Information Director’s office. In fact, my first full-time job was doing play-by-play for the Razorback baseball games. I moved into the TV arena and eventually landed a job at KATV. I began my insurance career in 1984 and sold the business in 2009. I still continue to do play-by-play for the Conway Wampus Cats football team. I am still involved with the Razorbacks as I take pictures at Razorback football games. These can be viewed on my Facebook page.

Q Do you have any words of wisdom?
A Accept help gracefully. Dispense help humbly.

Q A book about your life would be titled?
A How the Heck Did That Happen: That’s What I Want To Do When I Grow Up.

Q Do you use any technology to help you with your diet and exercise?
A Yes, I enjoy using a Fitbit app that my wife Kim gave to me. It allows me to track my food intake and the amount of exercise I get every session. Technology is a wonderful tool.

Q What are your thoughts on the fitness scene in this area?
A We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful fitness facilities in this area. The Hendrix WAC and Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center are two among many fitness centers in Conway that are available to help individuals improve their health.


A Conway resident, Karl Lenser is the director of wellness programs at Hendrix College. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. An accomplished runner, he can be reached at [email protected].