Sgt. Gabrielle G. Reynoso, canvassing recruiter, Recruiting Substation Butler, Recruiting Station Pittsburgh, participated in the 2014 National Physique Committee Pittsburgh Championship at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, Pa, May 3.
The National Physique Committee is the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States. Bodybuilders compete in competitions from local to national competitions sanctioned by the NPC.
Marines have rigorous standards of physical fitness which include an annual Physical Fitness Test, Combat Fitness Test and weight standards. However, to become a body builder one has to train differently especially with one’s diet.
According to Reynoso, she prepared most of her meals during the weekend because, as a canvassing recruiter, she is always on the go.
“You get to learn about yourself and self-discipline,” said 27-year-old Reynoso. “It was so time constraining. I wanted to see that I could do it. I had to be at the gym at 5:30 a.m. to work out and after work I was back at the gym to do cardio.”
According to Reynoso, Marines are the greatest war fighters in all of history and because of that it was important for her to maintain her physical fitness.
Reynoso, an 0612 Tactical Switch Operator, is the only female assigned to her recruiting substation, yet she beats out her male counterparts.
“I used to be the best, but then she came along. I think her physical fitness is higher than everyone else’s,” said Staff Sgt. Chase R. Kontor, staff noncommissioned officer in charge. “She is completely dedicated. Her diet and time off are dedicated to physical fitness; it’s hard to compete with her.”
To train for the competition, Reynoso had to complete a rigorous week of dieting known as “Peak Week.” In simplest terms, “Peak Week" refers to the final week of preparation leading up to the competition. The purpose of it is to show up on the day of the event with full muscle bellies and tight skin that reveals extreme muscle definition.
“You watch your water, your carb intake and your sodium levels to pretty much look like a statue,” said Reynoso, a native of Nampa, Idaho. “It was a hard week because I had to work and most body builders take that week off to recuperate.”
On the day of the competition, most participants are hungry, thirsty and wanting to go onstage. Once on stage, maybe for a minute or two, judges ask the participants to make a few of the mandatory poses including the front double biceps, rear double biceps or the side chest just to name a few.
Participants are graded on criteria to include mass, definition, proportion, symmetry, and stage presence to name a few and all of them being equally important.
As a result of her efforts and dedication, Sgt. Reynoso placed fifth overall in the Women’s Physique Class A; making her eligible to participate at the national competition.
“She is ambitions and has a positive-mental attitude,” said 29-year-old Kontor, a Pittsburgh native. “You have to have something to strive for outside the work place. Her having that drive and ambition to do well outside of work is a good thing.”
Reynoso wants to take the rest of this year to get to know her body more, properly diet, and hopefully, compete at nationals in 2015.
“I wanted to better myself and I started lifting,” said Reynoso. “I wanted to take it to another level and I knew that in the end the journey would be worth it.”