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Hanane Garcia: Finding Success Beyond Her Comfort Zone

Hanane Garcia: Finding Success Beyond Her Comfort Zone

As a U.S. Army veteran who had lengthy deployments to Iraq, Angel Garcia’s bravery should go unquestioned. The same can be said about the decision he made on the home front 14 years ago.

His wife, Hanane, had recently given birth to their son, Daniel. The 5-foot-6 Hanane had gained 90 pounds during her pregnancy, putting her well over 200 pounds, and in the weeks that followed the weight wasn’t going away.

That’s when Angel suggested that it might be time for Hanane to lose some weight.

The next sound he heard was not the crashing of a flower vase on the wall behind him, but of his wife acknowledging that her husband was right. She was unhappy about the way she looked and had been told by her doctor that the weight gain had made her pre-diabetic.

So, she was ready for a change. The hard part was figuring out how to make it happen.

Learning About Health and Fitness

“I didn't really know what I was doing,” Garcia said. “I was eating salads and soups, or not eating enough. There’s so much more to it than that.”

When Angel left for deployment for a full year in Iraq, Hanane put her efforts into high gear. Over the next nine months, she lost 75 pounds. The weight stayed off.

Hanane was at the airport to greet him when he returned from Iraq. Her husband stepped off the plane and walked right past her. And when she got his attention?

“He was blown away,” Garcia said.

“He knew I was working out, but he didn’t think it was something I was going to stick with,” Garcia added. 

Learning from Failure

“I remember going to a YMCA,” Garcia said of her early failures, “and I was trying to do the lat pulldown. One of the handles ended up hitting me right in the head. It was not just knowing how to work the machines, but also not knowing the correct form. Plus, I was so shy to go over and pick up a weight, because I never really did that.

“When I decided to try something different and took a class, it was like [the instructor] was going right and I was going left. It was frustrating.”

She was able to stick with it because of her determination and her decision to hire a personal trainer to educate her on the things she needed to do to prevent becoming a life-long yo-yo dieter.

That frustration melted away right along with the extra pounds. And her life forever changed. Just how dramatic her transformation has been is reflected in the fact that the 36-year-old is now a competitive bodybuilder.

She again hired a personal trainer last year to help her prepare for the fitness competition. She entered three categories at a local amateur event: Bikini, Master Bikini, and Transformation. She finished third in all three.

“I’m so proud of myself that I did it,” said Garcia, who plans to enter another competition in March. “It made me fall in love again with learning more about fitness.” 

Garcia earned her personal training certificate from ISSA in 2011. She is currently studying to earn an ISSA certificate in nutrition and said she is finding the intricacies of a healthy diet fascinating.

“I just feel blessed to have this opportunity find out about new things and things about myself,” she said. “Who would have thought I would be interested in science, or anatomy, or anything like that? I sure didn’t pay attention to that class when I was in school.”

“Now it’s like, ‘Who am I?’ I’m really paying attention to these things.”

Helping Others Get and Stay Healthy

Angel works as a contractor, and his job takes him overseas for long stretches. While he tends to keep himself in good shape and eats well, Garcia said, her husband does enjoy “treating” himself on the weekends.

“But when he comes home, he knows he is on lockdown,” she said. “He says, ‘I open the fridge and all I see is vegetables.’ I tell him they’re good for him.”

She has the same message for her 14-year-old son, and for anyone else who will listen.

“I want to help others,” Garcia said. “I want to let them know that it is never too late.” 

Are you ready to push beyond your comfort zone to take control of your health and help others do the same? Follow Hanane Garcia’s lead and sign up for ISSA’s certified fitness trainer course now!