Story and photos by Walt Johnson
Kanina Garner has had a goal to do something to promote the physically fit lifestyle that she enjoys. She will be able to do just that as she competes in her first bodybuilding and fitness contest Saturday at Doherty High School in Colorado Springs.
The annual Southern Colorado and
Armed Forces natural bodybuilding and figure championships will feature many members of the local military community and a number of top-level civilian competitors. Pre-judging competition begins at 10:30 a.m. and the finals will be at 6 p.m.
From the time Garner joined the military when she was 19 years old, she had been fitness conscious because she said she wanted to do something for herself in addition to being fit to fight. Her early years brought her to the gym where she met a woman who was into fitness and bodybuilding competitions, but her immediate goal was not to compete in a competition.
“When I was 18 or 19 years old, I was a Soldier in Germany and I was really shy. I can say that my outlet at that time was the gym and I decided that I wanted to get into bodybuilding. I felt I was skinny and I felt self-conscious and I felt if I could buff up some I wouldn’t be so skinny. I met a girl there who was competing and she was a bodybuilder and power lifter. I talked to her and her trainer about competing, but that fell through, because I was getting ready to move from Germany to Washington. After that, I just continued to work out on my own,” Garner said.
After arriving in Washington, she met and married her husband and they moved to Kentucky. Garner gave birth to her son in Kentucky and said she put on quite a bit of weight with her second child. She said she decided to get back in the gym after the Family arrived in Kentucky and again she met a girl at the gym that got her interested in a fitness contest.
“She was a heavier girl when I first met her and after about two months I noticed how she began to have this phenomenal body and I asked her, “how did you do that?” She told me she was getting ready for a figure contest which I had never heard of before. She and I started working together at the gym, and I made the decision I wanted to see her show and that was when I knew I wanted to be in a figure competition. After I saw the show, I was so excited because I felt I was introduced to a whole new world. I wanted to do it even more than ever,” Garner said.
Still, years went by and Garner prepared to compete but the timing was never right, until now. She looks forward to being able to compete and has certain goals she wants to achieve Saturday night.
“This will be my first competition. I trained for a competition last year but I didn’t get a chance to participate, because we were moving to Colorado.
I just never felt my body was ready and when I would look at myself I just never felt that I was ready for a competition. I am the type of person who won’t do something because other people tell me I am ready. When I know I am ready then I will do what I am training for. I think this is what I was supposed to be doing. Right now I don’t have any doubts that I am ready. I’d like to win but mainly this is going to be the culmination of my goal to compete before I am 35 and to gain the experience
I will gain in this event. Also, I would like my children to know that their mom is strong and that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. And I want then to know they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to do,” Garner said.