A Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., resident won the overall National Physique Competition, Gold Coast Classic, in Culver City, Calif., Feb. 8. <br /> <br /> Katherine Garcia, figure competitor and spouse of Gunnery Sgt. Russell Garcia, communications chief here who also competes, won her first competition after months of training and years of following the sport. <br /> <br /> “I have always been interested and followed the sport,” Katherine explained. “Within the last year, I started taking it more seriously. I wanted to be a part of it (women’s figure competitions) and not just a spectator.”<br /> <br /> Katherine first won her height category, then came back that night to compete against all of the height winners and won overall. She earned a trophy for placing in the height category and a sword for being the best overall figure competitor there. <br /> <br /> Katherine now qualifies to compete at the national level … if she qualifies in the top two for overall figure there, she will be able to earn her Professional Card (Pro Card). Once she earns her Pro Card, she will be considered a professional figure competitor, said Russell. She can start getting paid for winning competitions. <br /> <br /> The couple’s ultimate goal is for them to each earn their Pro Cards, they explained. <br /> <br /> “We’re training partners,” Russell said. “We have gotten closer because of it … it’s our date night.” <br /> <br /> Russell, who competed for the first time in September 2013, explained now that they both have competed, they understand what the other person is going through during competition preparation. <br /> <br /> From stress and nervousness to missing out on social gatherings and changing your diet on a dime … altering different parts of your body is not an easy thing to do, he added.<br /> <br /> “Everyone needs encouragement sometimes,” Russell said. “You need someone to push you on those few days you don’t feel like going to the gym … she did it for me (when I was in preparation) and I did the same for her.” <br /> <br /> Katherine explained she has been training specifically for this competition for 13 weeks.<br /> <br /> She was in the gym six days a week, eating the right food at the right time in the right portions, and practiced her poses and turns for an hour each day. <br /> <br /> “If you could give more than 100%, she did,” Russell said. “She did what she needed to do every day … even when she was sick she gave it her all.” <br /> <br /> The fitness couple’s trainer, Steve Poynter, online personal trainer and nutritional coach, has seen their progress and explained how far Katherine has come. <br /> <br /> “It’s really hard to put into words with how far she has come … her work ethic is ridiculous,” Poynter explained. “She started out looking like … (someone) who didn’t appear to have much muscle mass and she looked as though she hadn’t really hit the gym hard in the past. If you look at her now, and if you are fortunate enough to have known her before this transformation started, it’ll blow your mind.” <br /> <br /> Poynter further added that couples who go through fitness changes like Katherine and Russell are highly successful. Having the same lifestyle as a significant other allows you to motivate each other and grow closer. <br /> <br /> Physique competitions may not be for everyone, explained Katherine and Russell, however, both encourage people to take an interest in fitness and live healthy lifestyles.<br /> <br /> “It’s about eating right, taking care of yourself, feeling good, and making and meeting short and long-term goals,” said Katherine. <br /> <br /> Katherine, the Temecula, Calif., native, also encourages other women to incorporate weight lifting into their fitness routines. <br /> <br /> “Weight lifting is not just for boys,” she added. “Lifting weights will not make you big and bulky, it will help you burn fat and gain lean muscle.”<br /> <br /> Katherine’s next challenge will be in Las Vegas this July, where she will be competing in the nationals, fighting to earn her Pro Card. Russell is also slated to compete this summer. <br /> <br /> The couple explained they are going to take what they have learned, work on their weaknesses, and motivate one another during their overlapping contest preparations this summer. <br /> <br /> “I love the sport … I’ve always loved the sport; and now being a part of it motivates me. I am now a physique competitor and someday I want to compete for the Olympia title,” concluded Katherine.