CAMP HUMPHREYS. South Korea - A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED) employee recently pulled an Army Humvee with her body during a competition where physical strength is the key to winning.

U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys hosted the 2019 Strongest Warrior Competition at Balboni Field, Oct. 19. Among the competitors was Gina Petrino, a contract specialist, who was competing for the first time and won 2nd place in her weight class of five other competitors.

Petrino, who has been an employee with FED since July, has managed to remain active throughout the years after playing sports in high school. She stated that she hadn't done any power lifting or weightlifting until about two years ago.
"I went back to school for my MBA ([Master of Business Administration], and during that process I was working full time and going to school full-time," said Petrino. "It was very overwhelming and it was exhausting - reading and writing - and it was constant every day. But in-between work and studying I'd go to the gym, I needed a relief. I started going to a crossfit gym, and it was just for fun, just to get my energy up and I just found that lifting heavy weights, for me, was calming."

After completing her MBA, she wanted to have a new challenge. Petrino stated that it feels great to accomplish such a feat and strive to push harder than what she could have imagined.
"Being able to physically push yourself to the limits, beyond what you can mentally do in everyday training, and succeed without injury, is an indescribable feeling," said Petrino. "Makes you want to push yourself further and see how far you can really go."

The Strongest Warrior competition included five events including the log press, atlas stones, yolk walk, Humvee pull, and farmer's carry. During her training for the competition, Petrino suffered an injury and didn't think it was possible for her to participate.

"I took three weeks off and just did light training," said Petrino. "I didn't plan on competing but at the end of the three weeks I got back on schedule and was able to push the weight up and actually PR [achieve her personal record] several of my best."

Petrino didn't change much of her training for the competition as she already trains daily at the gym, but she admitted that she was a bit anxious the week leading up to Strongest Warrior.

The competition proved to be successful for Petrino, who was able to do some self-reflection during and after the competition, and is now more aware of what to do in order to prepare for future opportunities.

"I was very nervous but excited about the competition," said Petrino. "Nervous because this was my first competition and had no idea what to expect and excited because I wanted to see how I would perform under pressure. Afterwards, I felt pumped to get back in the gym and train for the next competition. I identified my strengths and weaknesses in the events so I was ready to work on them!"

The next USAG Strongest Warrior competition is scheduled for Sep. 2020 and Petrino stated that she plans to be there and hopes to fit in some other organized competitions until then.