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I’ve known Adela Garcia since she first started competing for the NPC in fitness in 1995. So it’s amazing to realize that she’s been competing as an IFBB Pro League Fitness athlete for 20 years now! Time has flown by.
Garcia has made great use of that time, winning, among other titles, the Fitness Olympia eight times and the Arnold Sports Festival’s Fitness International five times. After all that success, Garcia decided to retire in 2014. So I decided to ask her what prompted that decision.
“A lot of it was simply that I’d won the Olympia title so many times,” she said, “It started to feel like there wasn’t much point, that I had nothing left to prove. That enough was enough. Training for a contest like the Olympia, you have to put most everything else in your life on hold. It takes a lot of motivation to make that kind of sacrifice, year after year, when you’ve already had so much success taking that title.”
There was another reason, Garcia admits. She started being aware of a lot of negative feedback from people who said they were tired of seeing the same athlete win so many times in a row and wanted a change.
“A lot of this came from the Internet,” Garcia explains. “People on the Web are not shy about expressing their opinions, and there are a lot of trolls out there. So this made me start to doubt there was much to gain by continuing to compete.”
But Garcia says she never stopped training. “Competing or not, I have a workout schedule that I stick to. When you’ve been in fitness as long as I have, it becomes a way of life and I wouldn’t feel right about myself if I didn’t put the necessary hours in in the gym.”
In the last year, several things happened to change Garcia’s mind about competing. For one, Jake Wood bought the Olympia Weekend, and this promised to bring more energy, money and excitement into the competition.
“We haven’t had somebody with this kind of passion for muscle competition and desire to support the athletes since we lost Joe Weider,” she says. “Jake Wood is making this a whole new ball game.”
For another, Garcia learned that Oksana Grishina would be coming out of retirement to compete. “I really felt that having two past champions returning to compete against each other would make for a very dramatic and dynamic contest, one that would be extremely popular with the fans.”
Along with putting in her time in the gym, Garcia is continuing to try and improve on her fitness routine.
“I’ve learned to go with my strengths,” she says. “I’m not a trained gymnast, so I rely on strength moves, flexibility, dance and using acting to put as much emotion into my performance as possible. Performance standards in IFBB pro fitness have always been very high and they aren’t getting any easier.”