(Body) Building Strong in Korea: FED Soldier captures body building title in U.S. competition
SEOUL, South Korea - Maj. Danny Kang, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District plans and operations officer, took home the championship in the Men’s Classic Physique True Novice and Novice Divisions at the 2018 Washington State Open Bodybuilding Championships – National Physique Committee National Qualifier on Aug. 4, 2018 in Auburn, Washington.
Kang also took home a host of top ten finishes in numerous other divisions and qualified to compete at the national championships held later this year.
The journey to the championship was a long one for Kang who has been interested in bodybuilding since junior high school. Due to injuries and competing sporting interests like taekwondo and kickboxing, he never devoted his time exclusively to training.
“I was always intrigued by it since I was a little kid,” said Kang. “It wasn’t until July 2015 when I reconnected with an old friend who had been competing in high level amateur body building that I got back into it. He inspired me.”
He began training intensely in October of 2017, waking up every day at 5 a.m. to go to the gym. Led by his coach, Derek Aparis, an International Federation of Body Building professional, he began honing in on his weight training and diet regimen.
“I was on an 18-week preparation as far as my diet,” said Kang. “As the 18 weeks progresses, you start cutting calories, taking out beef and just eating chicken, fish and broccoli.”
Despite all the training and sticking to his diet religiously, Kang said he was apprehensive as the competition got closer.
“I was nervous and concerned whether or not I would be lean enough,” said Kang. “When you see yourself in the mirror with a nice shirt you might look good, but when you’re up on stage and under the lights it really shows whether or not you’re ready.”
Despite all the hard work and living a Spartan lifestyle during the lead up to the event Kang said he wouldn’t trade it for anything.
‘It was definitely worth it,” said Kang.
Kang said there are only a few professional body builders in the military and he hopes to be part of that exclusive club when he competes at the national level and tries to earn his International Federation of Body Building pro card.
Kang also would like to promote bodybuilding in the military as he prepares for his next tour of duty in the continental United States.
“In my opinion the U.S. military has some of the best athletes in the world and they don’t even know it,” said Kang.
He also hopes to train Soldiers afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“If I can earn my pro card and use my national qualification status to help and motivate other Soldiers that would be amazing,” said Kang.
**Maj. Kang would like to thank Col. Theresa Schlosser, Far East District commander, for supporting him and allowing him to travel from Korea to compete. He would also like to thank his coach and mentor IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Derek Aparis, his brothers Jonathan and Joey Gallardo, Team Aparis, his wife and son; Alyssa and Jayden and his training partner David Jones aka Big Oklahoma.
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