Daniel Garcia’s lean frame led to a lack of confidence, but he built a world-class physique to serve not only himself, but the wider community too
Art of transformation
I was extremely skinny at school – about 115lb soaking wet – and lacked confidence. I first started working out in my senior year of high school in my best friend Brandon’s basement. We would train together after school, just benching and curling. I was then given a free month’s membership to a local gym where I began to fall in love with training the entire body. I noticed my body was responding and growing and quickly realized the art of transformation and building the best possible physique. It was making me a better person and I transitioned to becoming a personal trainer. I began to learn about anatomy along with the role of nutrition in achieving fitness goals.
Policing my fitness
My goal is geared towards gaining lean muscle, yet staying functional. As a police officer in Maryland, I like to view my body as an instrument rather than an ornament. Training has not only been a hobby of mine for over a decade, but also my duty in order to perform my job at the highest level. Being a police officer, I am highly aware that we face many more health risks due to the large amount of stress we face, and the overall nature of the job. It is my hope to reach as many first responders as possible, with the hope that I can contribute to them living a longer and healthier life.
Flexible diet, flexible life
I follow an If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet philosophy. It has allowed me to sustain good nutrition over a long period. I tried the whole chicken, rice, and broccoli approach before, which I quickly realized wasn’t sustainable. IIFYM allows me to have flexibility with my diet while focusing on the three major macros (fats, proteins and carbs), but it also allows me to get enough micronutrients and fiber. This style fits my lifestyle well, making it easier to balance eating with having an unusual work schedule. Some days my schedule only allows for 3 meals, and others I can get 4-5 meals. Ideally, I aim to have 3-4 solid meals a day, with snacks in between. I see many people let fitness and diets consume their entire life. They begin to think that they can’t socialize, restrict themselves to certain foods, have to eat every 2-3 hours, and it inevitably diminishes their life. I used to be that guy. Fitness should enhance your life, not restrict it.
My current routine is a Legs, Push, Pull, Rest day and repeat split. I used to follow the old-school approach of one body part per day, but realized I was only hitting each muscle group once a week. Following an LPP approach allows me to get more volume throughout the week, while also allowing me to hit each muscle group twice a week.
Legs – Day 1
Squats or Leg Press 4 x 8-12 reps
Weighted lunges 4 x 8-15 reps
Stiff leg deadlifts 3-4 x 12-15 reps
Leg Extensions 3-4 x 12-15 reps
Lower back extensions 3 x 12-15 reps
Standing calf raises 5 x 8-15 reps
Push – Day 2
Incline DB press 3-4 x 8-12 reps
Flat DB press 3-4 x 8-12 reps
Cable fly 4 x 12-15 reps
DB shoulder press 3 x 8-12 reps
Side lateral DB raises 4 x 12-15 reps
Overhead DB extensions 3-4 x 8-12 reps
Rope push-downs 3-4 x 8-12 reps
Pull – Day 3
Wide Grip Pull ups 5 x 10 reps
DB row 3 x 8-12 reps
Close grip pull-downs 3 x 8-12 reps
T-Bar row 4 x 8-12 reps
Rear delt flys 4-5 x 12-15 reps
Cable curls 3-4 x 12-15 reps
DB hammer curls 3-4 x 12-15 reps
Rest – Day 4
When cutting: I’ll aim for about 3-4 x 30 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions weekly on the Stairmaster. HIIT gives me more calorie burn in a shorter time than LISS (low intensity steady state). When bulking/maintenance: Two 20-30 minute LISS cardio sessions a week for hearth health.
• Age: 17
• Weight: 115 lbs
• Body fat: 7-8%
• Age: 28
• Body fat: 11-12%