Some competitors in the Olympia find contentment in a Top-10 or Top-3 finish. For others, only the title can satisfy their competitive hunger. Adela Garcia has had her fill in years past, attaining five Fitness Olympia and four Fitness International titles as well as having secured countless additional pro wins during her 12-year pro career. Garcia won her first Olympia title in 2004; her run since secured her place among the best fitness competitors of all time and certainly the best in the game today. As she prepares for her fourth Olympia title defense she is confident of success and that she will bring further improvements to distinguish herself in a class her own.
Born in Cabrera, Dominican Republic, and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Adela lived an active life with volleyball, softball and basketball taking up much of her time. At age 17 she started weight training and almost immediately began experiencing positive results. She was so proud of her weight training status she would walk around school with a weight belt draped over her shoulder. Her well-defined delts are now employed hoisting the poundage needed to craft her award-winning look, and to hold aloft the Olympia Sandow Trophy each time she competes in this prestigious event.
She placed second in her first fitness event in 1995 - the NPC Europa Sports Fitness Championships. That win inspired Adela to begin training toward pro status, a goal she achieved in 1999 with an NPC USA Fitness Championships overall win. She placed eighth in her first pro show - the 2000 Fitness International. The next season, she took third place in the Fitness International. Since then she has claimed 17 pro wins.
During her successful pro career Adela has become famous for her consistency: she never fails to bring exactly what the judges are looking for and is rewarded accordingly. This year she promises to be as well-conditioned as always, but lighter and curvier. To attain such a look she has increased her used of plyometrics and curtailed her weight training to three times per week. "I try not to train too hard with weights, but more with athletic movements," she said. "I believe this is the best way to attain that athletic physique that the judges are looking for."
Given her champion's mindset and admirable work ethic, it is no surprise that Adela is currently in her best form and a hot favorite to win this year's Fitness Olympia. She may be the hardest working athlete in the business today; her success wasn't just handed to her. Rather, she views her training as a job to be taken seriously.
Garcia combines a well-choreographed routine with a muscular, defined, yet feminine physique, and Adela makes it all look so easy. In the following interview she outlines how she achieved what is expected to be her best look to date.
Q: What improvements have you made to your physique since you won the 2010 Fitness Olympia?
I like to make sure my physique is always on point; as I get older it has become easier for me to stay in good shape. At the 2010 Olympia I felt a bit more muscular, so for this year's Olympia my goal is to be a few pounds lighter while getting my glutes bigger. More curves all over.
Q: What do you think it is about your look that has made you the best in your division for five years running?
I bring the overall package and that is what fitness is all about. I am always consistent in the physique department and always improve on my routine as well. At least I try my best to do so each year with the help of my wonderful choreographer, Renzo Coste.
Q: What kind of physique are you hoping to present onstage at the 2011 Mr. Olympia?
Small, tight, curvy and sexy!
Q: You are known for having the best combination of shape, size and overall conditioning on the Olympia stage each year. What do you do to achieve such great shape and how do you maintain it from show to show?
Thank you. I give my body a break in the off-season. I believe it is important to do so in order to have longevity in the sport, especially in fitness.
When it comes to training, I do a lot of plyometrics and cut weight training down to three times per week. I try not to train too hard with weights but more with athletic movements.
I believe this is the best way to attain that athletic physique that the judges are looking for.
Q: How often do you include cardio training in your regimen? And when do you cut it from your program pre-contest?
I do cardio almost every day. Cardio is my morning coffee and when I don't do cardio I can't function. In the off-season I would do at least 30-45 minutes 5 times a week.
Pre-contest up to 2 hours plus routine practice, once I see my body and where I want it to be I will back up on the cardio and do more routine work.
Q: What do you like most about pro fitness competition? What keeps you motivated to compete year after year?
I love the way we can transform our bodies. Also, bringing a smile to people's faces when they see you on stage. It is an amazing feeling to inspire others. Meeting new people and the energy that your fans give you show after show.
Q: How would you describe your current approach to training?
My training revolves around the improvements I have to make on my fitness routine. I am blessed that I have been competing long enough that I do not have to touch the weights as much. I incorporate a lot of plyometric exercises into my training.
My fiancé Trent Calavan is a big help because he is always incorporating new training techniques to help me achieve my goals.
Q: How would you describe your training mindset?
When I step into the gym or aerobics center I take it as my job. I know I have a goal to meet and if I don't give it 100 percent then I won't see the results that I want. I know that I won't get this day back and I would hate to look back and know that I could've given more.
Q: What kind of competitor would you describe yourself as being?
I would consider myself a humble competitor. Coming from the Dominican and having no background in gymnastics or dance I have had to work hard for everything that I have attained.
I am very grateful for the guidance that I have received throughout the years from other competitors and now I try to give that same guidance to the younger competitors today.
Q: Have you made any changes to your training over the past year? If so, what have these been and how have they helped you improve your physique?
Yes, I have been doing a lot of handstand work to improve my fitness routine.
Q: Could you describe your current nutritional approach?
Mike Davies has been doing my nutrition for years, but we work together since I know my body pretty well by now. He knows that if I need a little more carbohydrates I will add them to my daily diet and if I feel I need to remove them I will do so. I couldn't give you an exact breakdown because it could change from day to day depending on how I feel. I know if I am tired and need carbohydrates to practice my routine, then I will add them in.
Protein is very consistent where I strive to reach 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. I am an Eat To Grow sponsored athlete and I am lucky to get the best quality protein out there, especially my fish. Fats are always used sparingly and I always incorporate omega 3's for their health benefits.
Q: How do you address post-training nutrition? What do you do following your workouts to begin the muscle re-building process?
I am lucky to have a great sponsor like GNC which provides me with all of my nutritional products. Post workout I stick with glutamine and vitamin C. I might add a post workout shake when I am in my offseason.
Q: What is your view on supplementation?
Supplementation is key for athletes, as there is no way to obtain all of the necessary nutrients that our bodies need from our food. Today's foods are processed so much that a lot of the nutrients have been taken out so we must supplement our bodies with the correct nutrients to keep it operating at full capacity.
Q: Which supplements do you take and why?
Vitamin C- antioxidant, Vitamin D- antioxidant, Vitamin E- antioxidant, BCAA- muscle sparing, Glutamine- Recovery, Multivitamin, Fat burner- to aid in weight loss, Vitamin B-complex for energy, and fish oils.
Q: This year's Fitness Olympia will host the usual top line competitors, you included. Whom do you see as being major competition for you and why?
I believe everyone stepping on that stage is competition. I never underestimate anyone. These athletes are hungry so they are all at work to make it to the top. I do focus on me, because I am my biggest competition.
I learned not to worry about what the others are doing and focus on bringing my very best to that stage.
Q: What are your major strengths as an IFBB pro competitor?
My passion for the sport. I love fitness and it is challenging to be able to perform a routine while bringing your very best physique.
Q: Where do think you will place in the 2011 Fitness Olympia?
I am aiming for first place. I challenge myself so that is my goal. I can't control my placing but I can control my performance and my conditioning.
Q: What message would you like to give to your fans, those that will be coming to watch you competing at the 2011 Olympia?
Thank you for supporting our sport. Without our fans we wouldn't be able to continue to have a stage to showcase our talent. Please stop by the GNC and the SmartShake booths where I will be signing autographs and greeting my fans.