News: It's date night at the gym
Story by Pfc. Samuel Ranney
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - For most couples, Friday nights are spent going out for dinner or drinks, spending time with friends, or just relaxing at home; then there are other couples who spend this time at the gym … training to become professional fitness competitors.
Gunnery Sergeant Russell Garcia, data chief on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., has been training with his wife, Katherine, for several months. He has been preparing for his first event: a physique competition for The Tournament of Champions, by John Lindsay.
“I originally got into fitness when I was younger after finding out that I had heart problems,” said Garcia. “I needed to stay physically fit for that.”
Garcia explained he has enjoyed lifting weights since high school. In the last few years, however, Garcia and his wife took fitness to a new level. The couple even hired an online personal trainer.
“My wife and I did a 12-week plan and got awesome results,” Garcia said. “I lost 20 pounds … the trainer thought I would be competition ready just a few weeks after that.”
Garcia signed up for the Tournament of Champions and began his competition training program on July 13.
“This close to the competition, I’m eating white fish, steamed vegetables, eggs and egg whites,” he explained. “That’s pretty much what my diet consists of … and a gallon of water a day.”
Every other day, Garcia gets up first thing in the morning to do 30-minutes of cardio interval training, without eating or drinking anything. In the afternoon, he does abdominal exercises and works out whatever part of his body is scheduled for that day. After every workout, he practices his poses for 30 minutes.
“I lift five days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” he added. “On Wednesdays I take a break from lifting and only do cardio and abs.”
“With (the competition) right around the corner, its work, gym, tan, and meal preparations every day,” Garcia said. “It’s a vicious cycle.”
He is 110 percent dedicated, Katherine explained.
Having his wife as a training partner makes the process a lot easier, Garcia explained. They get to see each other a lot more often as opposed to one of them doing it alone.
“It’s also nice to have someone you trust there to spot you,” added Katherine. “You can lift much heavier (weight).”
Katherine, a Temecula, Calif., native, said they use each other for motivation. “Everyone has a day when they don’t want to go to the gym; it’s nice to have someone there to push you … and to go with you,” she said.
The couple explained that fitness and dieting have become more of a lifestyle now.
“It’s become second nature,” explained Garcia, the Waller, Texas, native.
They may not go out on dinner dates or out with friends on the weekends, but they still have fun. For their next anniversary, they are going to a fitness retreat, explained Katherine. The dedicated couple has a goal … they each want their pro cards to be considered professional fitness competitors.
Katherine, who will be competing in February, explained that she believes her husband will do well in his competition. However, more than winning, his goal is to push himself and to be better than he was yesterday.
Garcia encourages anyone to get involved; however it’s not just something you can jump into.
“It seems like just a couple weeks ago I couldn’t even see my abs,” Garcia said laughing. “However, if you train right and eat right you will get there … with time.”