Garcia’s epiphany began on a nice, sunny day in April 2008, when he took his 3-year-old daughter to play at a neighboring park six blocks down the street from his home. After playing tag, kicking around the soccer ball, and playing on the slide, Garcia knew it was time to return home, and proceeded to carry his tired daughter for six blocks after she willfully asked him to do so.
“You can imagine her tired, hot and saying, ‘Carry me, Daddy.’ That visual will stay with me forever,” said Garcia. “I carried her for about a block when I started to profusely sweat, hyperventilate, and my vision became blurry.”
Garcia, a 320 pound man at the time, said he had to stop his walk, put down his daughter, and sit under a stranger’s tree before continuing. He began gasping for air, and explained how his daughter was crying right beside him.
Although many neighbors came to his aid, Garcia was troubled to see so many strangers and friends concerned about his wellbeing.
“It was the single scariest, most embarrassing moment of my life,” he said. “I thought I was having a heart attack. I was only 25-years-old at the time. I decided right then and there that I would never feel that way again.”
Without further ado, he sought help from his best friend, a former marine, in order to push himself through the fitness routines. Garcia said this moment in his life was emotionally taxing, and he wanted to be healthier for reasons greater than himself.
“I went in tears to my friend. I told him I wanted to live for my daughter,” he said. “I want to be able to see her walk down the aisle. I want to be able to watch her graduate. It was pretty emotional.”
Garcia’s friend complied, and they began working out in his friend’s garage daily.
Together, they began learning methods similar to CrossFit, a principal strength and conditioning program for athletes, tactical operation teams, military operations, police academies and champion athletes worldwide. Eight months later, Garcia was down from 320 pounds to 228 pounds. His body fat composition went from 54 percent to 20 percent. Garcia said he owed his new body to CrossFit routines and another workout system called Fight Gone Bad, an intense workout combination that left him floored after every test.
In 2009, Garcia said he was pretty healthy, but lacked discipline when it came to taking care of his body outside the gym. Like most resolutions, they begin to sway and fall over time, especially when reaching your desired results. Garcia focused on fitness rather than being healthy, and paid a dear price.
“I was having too much fun with my new body,” he said. “I was up late at night and I hadn’t had much sleep. When I left Turlock, I fell asleep at the wheel.”
Garcia hit a palm tree going down Las Palmas Avenue in April 2009, which left him diagonal welts across his chest from the seatbelt and a welt around his neck from the steering wheel.
Though he was not badly injured, Garcia complained of injuries from the seatbelt, and the doctor concluded that the engine bounced off his own leg, causing pains in his knee. What surprised Garcia most of all however, was the fact that he had gone through an incredibly impossible feat, according to his doctor.
“My doctor walked into the room and told me, ‘I want to meet the man who broke a steering wheel with his neck,’” he said. “The doctor said that was almost humanly impossible. My fitness literally saved my life. If it wasn’t for my neck muscle, if it wasn’t for the thickness of my chest, for the density of my bones, I definitely wouldn’t be here. I probably would have been decapitated. As you know, you can’t do much damage to a palm tree, but that sidelined me for the rest of the year. I pretty much sat around for seven months. I went through depression and felt like I let myself down. I gained 60 pounds back.”
Despite the letdown, Garcia strove to regain composition, although he admits it wasn’t easy to do so. He continued working towards his goals, and eventually sought a new direction career wise as a way to begin his life anew. He became a certified personal trainer of the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) in 2011, and dedicated his new career to helping others reach their own weight loss and nutritional goals.
“I love being a trainer and I love that group family atmosphere,” Garcia said. “But you have to be in charge of your own fitness. It’s all about tracking data. Apply what works and put what isn’t working off to the side.”
Garcia is now CrossFit certified as well, and leads classes at Patterson Health and Fitness today. He believes that working within a small gathering that encourages and pushes each other on is one of the best motivational techniques utilized for fitness.
“Without CrossFit, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “Crossfit means self-improvement through communal fitness. CrossFit means changing lives one mile at a time and giving new hope to a person who has lost faith in their own ability. CrossFit has gave me my life back, and I hope to return the favor…”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.